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Shimano updates its S-Phyre road shoes

1 Sep 2020
Verdict:

It is all change for the Shimano S-Phyres. The new RC902 shoes feature new upper materials, a reconfigured heel cup and dual Boa Li2 dials

Shimano has renovated its S-Phyre RC901 road cycling shoes. The S-Phyre RC902 design looks to build on one of the most popular designs on the market with a host of new features, including the latest Boa Li2 dial design.

Looking back at 2017, it was something of a landmark year for Shimano. The brand released its first S-Phyre RC9 shoes, which are commonly regarded as Shimano’s first road footwear to blend brilliant function with desirable form. The RC901 shoes continued the brand’s fine form.

Consequently the shoes have become popular among pros and amateurs alike, and have taken countless victories at all levels of the sport. Despite their official launch being today, the S-Phyre RC902s have already seamlessly continued that success – Wout van Aert wore them to victory in the 2020 Milan-San Remo last month.

 

Recognising the high standards it needed to meet thanks to the S-Phyre line’s previous popularity, Shimano says the S-Phyre RC902s are the evolution of the first and second S-Phyre designs. At face value the brand certainly seems to have nailed one part of the brief – the RC902s are certainly as handsome in form as their forebears, using Boa’s slim new Li2 dials to close a glossy mixed-materials upper.

That upper uses a combination of non-stretch Kuraray Rovenica (an artificial leather), Teijin Nanofront (an ultrafine polyester) and PU laminated mesh to create ‘function specific zones’ over the rider’s foot in the ‘360° Surround Wrapping Upper’. Shimano says this ‘optimises foot stabilisation to minimise energy loss’.

 

The RC901 S-Phyres’ carbon sole plate is carried over, meaning the shoe retains its ‘maximum level 12 stiffness’ credentials. Shimano says a new ‘anti-twist stabiliser’ heel cup shape supports the sole in creating excellent power transfer in the RC902s though.

‘Foot movement and pedaling studies of professional-level riders were analysed to discover the forces exerted during explosive accelerations. This resulted in a redesigned heel cup featuring a combination of flexible and rigid materials built to handle the intense twisting forces caused by explosive accelerations,’ says Shimano.

 

The S-Phyre RC902 shoes are also one of the first designs on the market to make use of Boa’s new Li2 dial design, which will take over the closure duties of premium cycling shoes from Boa’s previous IP1 variation from now on.

The Li2 retains the IP1’s macro-release and dual-direction adjustment, but Boa says the adjustment increments are even finer. What’s more, the Li2 dials use a new glass fibre and polycarbonate composite so that the dial can be thinner and stronger. As a result the dial is lower in profile by 3mm, despite also offering better resistance against impacts and dirt contamination.

Despite all the updates to the design, the latest Shimano S-Phyre cycling shoes are the lightest iteration yet, although the scant 7g per shoe that's been shaved off the previous versions in a size 42 will not be noticed. As it is though the 470g per pair is competitively light anyway.

The price of S-Phyre RC902s remains similarly constant at £319.99 and will be available from Shimano dealers from mid-October.

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