SHIMANO SH-R321 ROAD SHOES

At first look the Shimano SH-R321 road shoes look slick! Shimano's new high performance road shoe is designed for the pro peloton, the have been built to perform... and with a plethora of shoes on the market, the stakes are high in the performance and value departments.  

We've been riding in the R321s for the last month, read more to see if these shoes live up to the hype!

Report - Kirra McDonald     Photography - Andrew Clifforth


ABOUT

The SH-R321’s have been designed and engineered by Shimano for ‘superb fit, comfort and maximum pedaling efficiency’.  At La Velocita we've found that they live up to this claim!

I have been in shimano shoes since I started riding, and of course as I have developed as a cyclist and succumbed to the need to go faster, and dare I say be a little bit of a weight weenie, my shoes have also had to ‘step it up’…

Shimano have created a shoe that is heat mouldable, providing a superb balance of rigidity, fit and comfort….  How so?  Super stiff carbon soles, heat moldable insoles, and adaptable arch wedge provide a platform to custom fit the shoes to your feet, no longer is a ‘generic fit’ acceptable…

There's a long list of features on the SH-R321s, we especially liked:

  • the wider cleat adjustment range
  • Heal cup, for better heal hold and stability with anti-slip heal lining.

The full range of features can be viewed here

RIDE

Of course features are meaningless if they don't deliver.  If you are about to splash out on these shoes, you will want results... or you just love the look of them!

Shimano claim to have used some of the most advanced fabrics and textiles to develop the R321’s, as a result you are presented with a pro-level super stiff cycling shoe.  The R321's are up there with some of the best road shoes we have ridden.

We tested these shoes for a month before jumping back to our everyday Shimano shoes. The first thing we noticed was the reduced comfort and the ‘glove like fit’ that the R321’s had provided.  It was instantaneous recognition of the fact that the R321’s fit perfectly... it's hard to go back to anything less!

There are so many features of this shoe that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Reverse ratchet buckle - Once you get the hang of using the new design, the reverse ratchet buckle encapsulates the remaining ratchet so that there is no longer a bit of plastic dangling in the breeze, instead being drawn back up within the shoes’ upper (aerodynamics- tick).

Integrated air intakes -  help airflow throughout the shoe, making it nice and comfortable on those hot summer rides or for heat of the moment racing!

Ergonomic heel cup - We've seen these before, but they sometimes turn out to be a  fancy name for a bit of moulded heel padding…  But NO!  It’s a genuine feature that is noticeable. 

The support in the back of the heel of the shoe provided us with great heel stability, so when you want to put in an effort, you do not have to worry about your heel lifting out of the back of your shoes!  Now I’m no Andre Greipel, but I do like to think that I can put out a sprint if I need to and these shoes just make that all the more comfortable and efficient!

Interchangeable arch-supports - Its expected at this level to have a range of arch-supports to improve fit and the R321 is no exception.

SIZE

The shoes, for the average size 40 come in at 489g.  Shimano offer a good size range, with 37-47 including half sizes to ensure the most appropriate fit for your foot, and for the small 36 foot you are also covered as are the 48 sized feet out there.

OPTIONS

For those who don’t like lots of wild colours, you will be very happy.  Coming in white/black the colour range is limited, but at the end of the day, the functionality and engineering behind the shoe is what will likely win you over, matching shoes to kit can be kept for the Sunday special…

PRICE

Price point in Australia: Expect to pay around $360 - available from all good bikes stores.

OVERALL

So, all in all do I think these shoes are one of the best we've had the pleasure to wear and ride in...Yes.  Will I be going back to anything less than custom fits... NO.

A big thank you to Essendon Cyclery for providing the Shimano SH-R321 shoes for review.

SPECIFICATIONS

UPPER

  • Heat moldable Custom-fit Technology
  • Innovative"Surround"upper pattern provides perfect balance of holding power and absolute all-day comfort
  • TEIJIN AVAIL100 ultra-fine fiber synthetic leather
  • ・Excellent shape-retention by unique balance of high rigidity and elasticity
  • ・Stretch resistant, superior durability and lightweight
  • Adaptable mechanical closure system adjusts to various instep height and shapes
  • Expanded Custom-Fit sections for greater support and comfort
  • 3D breathable mesh for optimal ventilation
  • Custom Fit reinforced ergonomic heel cup ensures a comfortable, performance-enhancing fit

INSOLE

  • Custom-Fit insole, heat moldable insole with adaptable arch wedge provides custom natural foot

LAST

  • Shimano Dynalast provides a precise fit and improves pedaling efficiency

SOLE

  • Ultra-rigid, lightweight hollow channel, weaved carbon fiber sole
  • Available in half sizes and wide type
  • Best matched with PD-9000

RIDES.