Boasting airy ventilation and comfort, knitted uppers have become popular, but the woven uppers on Rapha’s Pro Team shoes shift the goalposts. They have a close, supportive fit with limited stretch, and breathe very well.
The redesigned Pro Team shoes use one-piece uppers woven from unlined polyester Powerweave fabric with an anti-slip microfibre layer inside the heel and thin reinforcing strips below the Boa lace anchor points. It has a feel somewhere between denim and Cordura.
The shoes feature an external moulded plastic heel cup and a carbon fibre sole with large, low-profile thermoplastic heel and toe bumpers for great walking grip and shoe protection.
Twin Boa IP1 dials give single-click, two-way adjustment, plus instant release, while the shaped, woven tongue is padded for protection and partly rubberised to shrug off spray.
My size 45 pair weighs an impressive 585g, including the EVA insole with medium arch supports fitted. Alternate high-arch supports and a shoe bag are supplied.
Compared to the previous Easton-soled Rapha shoes, these Pro Teams are much better suited to wider feet and very comfortable.
Under tension from the Boa laces, the woven uppers feel more cradling than squeezing, and the low-profile toe box allows ample room for each digit to wiggle while still feeling taut when pulling up with maximum force.
Efficiency is hard to measure, but the Raphas performed at least as well as other big-brand headline shoes and cost less than many. There’s no perceptible sole flex nor sloppiness or hotspots in the uppers.
The Pro Team shoes felt virtually unnoticeable during multiple-hour rides and were more protective than expected. Although easily breathable enough to not need additional cooling in the uppers or soles, they were comfortably warm at 12 degrees with Merino socks.
The DWR (durable water repellent) coating on the uppers repels spray and light rain surprisingly well, but will need maintaining. The comprehensive spec, quality of construction and detailing is excellent, and I expect durability to follow.