Those who have owned Shimano cycling shoes in the past are quite familiar with the quality and performance the firm puts into its kicks that are similar to what we're used to seeing in its much-lauded components. If you haven't experienced its shoes yet, set aside your component brand loyalties for a moment and try some on. Built for a higher volume foot, Shimano's SH-RC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe - Wide is ideal for those with big boats that don't necessarily want to go custom. Footwear makes up one of three points of contact with your bicycle and if you hope to achieve a comfortable ride, a dialed fit, and top performance, nice shoes like the SH-RC9 is mandatory. Countless pros trust the RC9 S-Phyre in training and racing, and for good reason, they refuse to sacrifice comfort or efficiency loss to substandard shoes.
Shimano constructs the single piece upper for Teijin microfiber synthetic leather, now with more perforations, offering suppleness, breathability, and a precise fit. New, built-in drainage holes allow rain to exit the shoe when out on your own spring classics and the quick dry 3D mesh keeps feet feeling fresh even on the hottest days. The micro-adjustable and independent dual Boa IP1 dial closures provide such an incredible fit, Shimano actually skipped the Custom Fit heat and vacuum system we are used to seeing on its high-end shoes over the past decade. The strategically placed BOAs and upper contour to feet so well, it simply doesn't need it.
A rounded one-piece molded heel cup starts at the carbon sole and continues up the back of the shoe. It's designed to stabilize the back of the heel, gently holding it in place, eliminating the possibility of twisting and rolling to improve comfort and efficiency. The lining of the heel features a cat tongue like gripping material that prevents heel lift so you can pedal perfect circles while your foot is held in total comfort without excessive tension on the shoe. Surrounding the cleat mounting and toe area of the sole, a bonded overlay protects the sole and makes the walk up to the counter at the coffee shop a little safer.
If you're a weight-weenie, Shimano shoes might not impress on paper. The firm refuses to skimp on performance bolstering features in the quest to shed a few grams. But, just like a frameset or wheelset, weight is just but one part of the equation that adds up to a great ride and Shimano regards fit, comfort, and power transfer, in addition to weight, when it comes to designing, developing, and constructing shoes.
It's a shame that you never really get to see the shoe's sole on the ride because that's where the shoe starts to earn its paycheck. Its pool table stiff Dynalast carbon fiber sole is designed for improved foot support and comfort that channels every watt dished out into the pedals. The 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 comes in at an impressive 12 out of 12, the stiffest from the brand, and provides 11mm more fore-aft of the 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 at the Grand Tours while durable enough for the muddy cobbled classics. If you have wide feet, you're doing yourself a great disservice if you don't check out this higher volume RC9. The fit, performance, and durability is everything we have come to expect from a Shimano shoe and if you've used them in the past, you know what we are talking about and welcome home. If you haven't, take the plunge, you won't be disappointed.