Shimano shoes are a perennial favorite here in the office as its quality, performance, and durability receive the same dedication it places in its components, which is to say, very impressive. These particular kicks, the SH-RC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe are its range-topping road offering and is analogous to its Dura-Ace parts, balancing weight, stiffness, and reliability in an impressively fitting package. Shoe comfort is critical as its one of your 3 contact points on the bike and thankfully, through professional feedback from World Tour racers, this shoe has it in spades. This updated version of the SH-RC9 includes more perforations for increased ventilation in warmer weather, built in drainage holes for rainy conditions, and a striking new green colorway.
Shimano constructs the upper from a single piece of Teijin microfiber synthetic leather that delivers suppleness and a precise fit. It engineered drainage holes for rain to exit the shoe when caught out in a downpour and the quick-drying 3D mesh lets your feet breathe keeping them feeling fresh even on long summer rides. The micro-adjustable and independent dual Boa IP1 dial closures provide such a glove-like fit, Shimano actually got rid of its Custom-Fit heat and vacuum system we were used to seeing on its high-end shoes over the past decade. The strategically placed BOA dials and well contouring upper fit so well, these shoes simply don't need it.
A rounded one-piece molded heel cup starts at the sole and continues up the back of the shoe. It stabilizes the heel, keeping it planted, and eliminates the possibility of twisting and rolling throughout the pedal stroke improving comfort and efficiency. The lining of the heel features a cat tongue-like gripping fabric, preventing heel lift allowing you to pedal perfect circles while your foot is held firmly in place without excessive pressure over the top of your foot. Flanking the cleat mounting and toe area of the sole is a bonded overly protecting the bottom of the shoe and allowing for stable footing at red lights and stop signs.
If you are a weight-weenie, Shimano shoes might not impress you on paper but when you consider that it refuses to skimp on important performance bolstering features in the quest to shed a few grams, you might start to get it. Similar to a frameset or set of wheels, weight is just one criterion and Shimano balances fit, comfort, and power transfer, in addition to weight, when it's time to design, develop, and manufacture shoes. The sole is an ever stiff Dynalast carbon fiber version designed to improve foot support and comfort and transmits every watt into the pedals. A seamless mid-sole construction process eliminates the board last, which reduces weight and lowers the overall stack height of the sole for maximum efficiency. The sole's stiffness measurement is an impressive 12 out of 12, the stiffest from Shimano, and provides 11mm more fore-aft cleat adjustment over its previous road shoes.
A single size 42 shoe comes in at 243g so it's actually quite at home chasing KOMs in the Grand Tours while durable enough to survive the muddy cobbled classics. If the RC9's were a cyclist, it'd certainly be a rouleur, stiff enough to sprint, light enough for the mountains, and comfortable enough for an all-day breakaway. The fit, performance, and durability is everything we have come to expect from Shimano shoes and we think you'll love them too.