Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen wear unreleased Shimano S-Phyre shoes

Could this be the new Shimano S-Phyre RC903?

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 21: Jasper Philipsen of Belgium and Team Alpecin-Fenix red leader jersey competes during the 4th UAE Tour 2022 - Stage 2 a 176km stage from Hudayriyat Island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater / #UAETour / #WorldTour / on February 21, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Last week, we spotted Mathieu van der Poel wearing what appears to be the fourth iteration of Shimano’s S-Phyre road shoes, which will almost certainly be called the S-Phyre RC903.

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In a video posted to his Instagram, van der Poel is seen getting ready for a ride where he trades pool slides for a pair of Shimano shoes that appear to have a number of differences when compared to Shimano’s S-Phyre RC902 road shoes – the current version of the brand’s top-end road shoe.

Given the RC902 was released in September 2020, and we have only seen a Dura-Ace limited edition since then, the possibility of a new flagship road cycling shoe from Shimano seems likely.

Since then, we have spotted the shoe twice more – on van der Poel’s Strava and on the feet of fellow Alpecin-Fenix rider Jasper Philipsen at the UAE Tour.

Close up of Mathieu van der Poel's legs on Canyon Aeroad bike wearing new Shimano shoes in white
Mathieu van der Poel posted a ride on Strava with a picture showing off the shoes.
Mathieu van der Poel / Strava

A number of key external changes can be seen on the new shoes compared to the RC902.

Firstly, the heel cup of van der Poel’s shoe is white. No current shoe in the RC902 range has a white heel cup. Instead, the heel cup on the currently available RC902s is silver. The heel cup also appears to have raised ridges on its surface.

The two Boa dials appear to be laid out in the same way as the S-Phyre RC902 shoe. However, the design of straps across the toe box looks different, with two loops for the Boa laces on either side of the tongue, rather than one like the previous iteration of the shoe.

Jasper Philipsen on Stage 2 of the UAE Tour wearing the Shimano shoes and red leader's jersey.
Jasper Philipsen on Stage 2 of the UAE Tour wearing the Shimano shoes and red leader’s jersey.
Tim de Waele / Getty Images

There is also a light grey section underneath the straps at the front of the shoe, which suggests Shimano has redesigned the tongue layout.

It appears there are more – or finer – perforations in the upper of the shoe, possibly suggesting greater ventilation.

Shimano S-Phyre RC920 shoe
The RC902 was released in 2020.
Jack Luke / Immediate Media
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The branding is subtly different, too, with no splashy ‘S-Phyre’ logo alongside the outside edge of the Alpecin-Fenix rider’s kicks. This, however, could be because the shoes are a prototype model, or possibly because Shimano wanted them to remain secret a little longer.