Shimano has released a new version of its flagship S-Phyre road shoe, with updated materials for the upper, the latest Boa dials and a sole designed to improve power transfer.
Called the RC902, and the third iteration of the flagship S-Phyre shoe, Shimano says it has focused updates on three areas: function-specific zones, power transfer optimisation and engineered fit.
Function-specific what? During development of the new S-Phyre shoe, Shimano says it studied pedalling dynamics and foot movement in pro racers to ensure the right combination of support, movement and comfort.
That led to a new upper design, using a mix of reinforced mesh and leather, laid up in a way that apparently maximises fit, rigidity, elasticity and breathability.
Venting has been realigned too and there’s a ‘Silvadur’ antibacterial treatment to stop the RC902 shoes from getting whiffy too quickly.
On the bottom there’s a carbon sole with Shimano’s maximum 12 stiffness rating. Shoe brands love to rate the stiffness of their soles on an arbitrary, in-house scale but what that essentially means is that the sole of the RC902 is going to be extremely rigid, as you’d expect for a race-focused shoe.
Beyond the sole, power transfer has apparently been improved, according to Shimano, by a newly-designed, ‘anti-twist’ heel cup. That’s another change in response to studies of pro riders, which looked at the forces transmitted through the shoe in explosive accelerations. The sole is finished with a replaceable heel pad.
Shimano has also looked to provide a consistent fit across all its sizes, via its new ‘360-degree Surround Wrapping’ upper. The design is said to provide comfort and secure foot retention for riders, regardless of shoe size.
Shimano quotes a weight of 235g per shoe (size unspecified). That’s a little lighter than the 243g claimed for a size 42 version of the outgoing RC9 shoe.
New low-profile Boa Li2 dials
Closure comes via two low-profile Boa Li2 dials. The Li2 is a brand-new design from Boa and replaces the IP1 dial on the existing RC9 shoe.
The Li2 still offers dual-direction micro-adjustment but the increments are said to be finer, and the low-profile design is more compact.
The dial also has a new glass fibre and polycarbonate construction, said to offer improved impact protection.
The new design has already notched up a notable victory with Wout van Aert wearing the updated model when he crossed the line first in this year’s Milan-San Remo. Shimano is the shoe, clothing, groupset and wheel supplier to Team Jumbo-Visma.
Shimano S-Phyre RC902 sizes, price and availability
As usual with Shimano’s shoes, there are lots of size options, from 36 to 48, including half sizes and wide fit options. There’s also a women’s-specific fit, the RC902-W, with a narrower last and upper, available in sizes 36 to 44.
The RC902 shoe is available in blue, black, white and red, while the RC902-W shoe is available in white only.
Availability of the new S-Phyre RC902 will be from mid-October with a UK price set at £319.99.