A few weeks back a pair of Shimano's new S-PHYRE RC-9 road shoes landed on my desk. To say it was love at first sight is not an exaggeration. When I picked them up out of the box there was that 'these are going to be good' feeling.
4 weeks in and plenty of k's down the road, is the love still there?
Words and Images - Mike Boudrie
So, there's a pile of technical specs out there about Shimano's new top end road offering and I could list them all out for you, but to be completely honest, that would be a bit boring... So instead I'm going to tell you how these puppies made me feel.
Number 1. EXCITED.
Lets be honest, when most of us buy stuff it's part brain and a large part heart. These shoes look awesome. Mine, in white, are just not done justice by pictures. In the flesh they have got a sort of lustre that makes you just want to touch them. And while I love the white, there's also blue, yellow and black available. I'm pretty sure I'd give up something pretty significant to get my hands on the full set.
The design is clean and pared right back, and as I sit here now writing this the rounded heel shaped black foot cup is glinting at me. I'm pretty sure that if I met a fighter pilot that was a cyclist, these are the shoes they'd roll up in. They look fast... they make me want to ride fast.
Number two. CONNECTED.
There's no custom fit moulding on these bad boys like previous Shimano offerings. Did I notice a difference? No. Fit is personal, and obviously we've all got various foot arches and shapes. With wide and largish feet, I've always gotten on well with Shimano's shoes. The S-Phyres are no different, except it's taken things to another level.
I can safely say that I have never felt more connected to the bike than in these shoes. It's immediately obvious that the RC-9 shoes are light, super stiff and hold your foot like a velvet vice. As a result, when you move, your bike is moving. No flex, not heal slip, no pressure spots, no numbness.
Number 3. SNUG.
The massive move to BOA by Shimano is welcome one. I've loved making micro adjustments on the fly to get things feeling perfect, or back off the tension as the day hots up. While we are on BOA, I'm finding that these shoes, give a really nice snug and even pressure over and around your foot. There's no tight spots in the way you can get with a ratchet.
There's great airflow, and on some of the few hot days we've had my feet have been treated to good fresh air through the sole and upper keeping them from overheating.
Number 4. PRO.
Now I'm not a pro. I have never been one, and will never been one. That does not stop me wanting to be one, or to be like one. The S-Phyres have got professional written all over them and I love that. They give you the best possible performance to get the most out of yourself, even if it is just 'racing' your mates. The only problem is that if you don't come up with the watts they leave you little room for excuses. These things are even aero, so you'll be sliding through those headwinds just a little bit easier... dare I mention 'marginal gains'.
Now, I'm a big believer that wearing good kit, shoes and having a good looking bike, while being no substitute for training and strength work for out right speed and endurance, will make you feel good when you are on the bike... and when you feel good you ride well and ride fast.
Shimano has made a huge departure from the old 321, and I love the direction they are taking. The S-Phyre RC-9 leaves no excuse, they look fantastic and get the job done easily. So, to answer my question, 4 weeks in these shoes are my number one pick, and the love is still strong. I can't wait to get them up some mountains over summer.
These shoes make me want to ride my bike. What else can you ask for.