The Shimano RC3 sits second in the brand’s range of road footwear, above the RC1 and below the RC5, and is a great-looking and comfortable shoe for all-round riding.
The RC3 features a clean-looking wraparound synthetic leather upper that has trickled down from the brand’s high-end S-Phyre shoes.
They are very comfortable too, and will appeal to riders who want a performance-oriented shoe that doesn’t break the bank, though the fibreglass-reinforced nylon sole lacks the stiffness racier riders may be looking for.
Shimano RC3 details and specification
The RC3’s neat-looking upper is designed to maximise breathability and comfort, and is secured by a single, low-profile L6 Boa.
The three-bolt sole is designed with a seamless midsole, which is intended to “minimise stack height while maintaining a clean finish”, according to Shimano.
The sole is pretty stiff but not excessively so, rating six on Shimano’s own 12-point scale, which feels about right for a road cycling shoe designed for the commuter, fast tourist or sportive rider, rather than the wannabe racer.
Weight, at a shade under 500g for a pair of size 42s, is good, and they’re available in an impressive range of sizes – 36-52 for men, in both wide and standard fittings, and 35-44 for women.
Shimano RC3 performance
As you’d expect from Shimano, you get a high-quality look, feel and comfort from its RC3 shoes.
They have a super-neat wraparound design and a single L6 Boa, which is placed centrally rather than at the top of the foot.
Instead of a traditional tongue, the outside of the RC3’s upper wraps around your foot. The Boa dial is designed to spread the pressure evenly, and while it does so, I’m not convinced it’s better than the top-mounted Atop dial and twin Velcro combination of the dhb Aeron Carbon Road Dial shoes I also had on test.
However, it keeps the weight down and the Boa dial is intuitive to use, offering quick and easy adjustment on the fly.
Another unusual feature is the sliding cleat plate that has three settings, and which provides about a centimetre of fore-and-aft adjustability.
As with Shimano’s more expensive shoes, the RC3 is based around Shimano’s Dynalast, which the brand claims produces “an optimised toe-spring section that promotes a smoother, more energy-efficient upstroke”.
I’m not sure I could feel any great difference on the road, but these were certainly comfortable. Part of that may be down to the sole – it’s pretty stiff, but not incredibly so.
By contrast, Shimano’s top-end S-Phyre RC9 measures 12 on the stiffness scale. If you’re producing an all-in effort, you will get the RC3’s soles to flex, but I think this level of stiffness is about right for most day-to-day and fitness riding.
The sizing is also spot on, the toe room is ample, the fit supportive and the low stack puts you closer to the pedal axle.
The upper has laser-cut vents over the toes and along the inside, along with venting at the front of the sole. While tough TPU nose and heel bumpers are very tidily finished, I would have liked a little more height to the shallow heel.
Weighing it up against the competition
Shimano’s RC3s have a lot of stiff competition when it comes to options for around £100, including shoes with full-carbon soles.
If you’re looking for stiff-soled shoes, Wiggle’s dhb Aeron Carbon Road Dial and the likes of Boardman’s Carbon Cycle Shoe have the edge.
These are not only stiff carbon shoes with replaceable heel and toe bumpers, but the well-vented uppers have a pair of Atop dials.
However, the RC3s are well-matched with Giro’s Stylus shoes, with both of them having mid-level sole stiffness, though the Giro sole is also compatible with two-bolt SPD cleats, for extra versatility.
Shimano RC3 bottom line
The Shimano RC3 shoes offer the brand’s usual attention to detail when it comes to design and construction, and if you’re an endurance rider who favours comfort over all-out stiffness, these are a very good choice.
That said, I’d still have preferred a second Boa dial, or even a Velcro strap, to even out the pressure over the foot more evenly.
|Price||AUD $200.00EUR €110.00GBP £110.00USD $120.00|
|Weight||498g (42) – per pair as tested|
|Features||Sizes (men's): 36-52 (standard and wide)
Sizes (women's): 35-44
Colours (men's): Black; red; white
Colours (women's:) White; indigo blue; black
Upper: Synthetic leisure