I ended up getting the Shimano AM41. After 5 decent length (~20km, ~450m ) rides I am really happy. They grip well, are nice and stiff, seem to be holding up well, and keep mud/water out of my shoes!! They fit me well, and have already protected my toes a few times. The first ride I tagged a rock pretty hard with my toe, and expected a nasty scuff, but didn't see any noticeable scuffs under the rock dust. The only upgrade I see is putting in some arch supports because I am semi flat footed.
The biggest question is how well the soles hold up. Because the rubber isn't really soft I could see the tread pattern breaking off, but so far they show no breakage. I guess only time will tell!