The RC3W is Shimano’s new value-oriented SPD-SL women’s road cycling shoe, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance.
A sleek appearance and quality materials suggest much more expensive footwear than the RRP, and the RC3 benefits from a tech trickle-down from Shimano’s range-topping Sphyre models.
The RC3Ws weigh 238g (each), which is impressive for the price and makes them a good choice for someone starting to ride further and faster on the bike. For context, this makes a pair approximately one mini Soreen malt loaf heavier than Shimano’s pricier RC7s, which are my shoe of choice.
A single Boa closure mechanism is a key feature, and not commonly found at this price. It looks great, but I wasn’t convinced of its effectiveness.
It didn’t grip my foot as well as the dual Boa of the RC7s. It also seemed to place greater pressure around the top of the foot, without gripping the ball of my foot as closely.
The glass-fibre reinforced nylon sole is rated 6/12 on Shimano’s stiffness scale. While a stiffer shoe may be favoured by racers, a more compliant sole can offer more comfort. They certainly felt so on my feet, and ventilation built into the sole and upper was sufficient for hot rides in the Mendip Hills.
A high-quality padded heel cup grips well and the slightly roomier toe box gives space for feet to expand.
The shoes feature subtle reflective detailing on the upper, and the drainage holes are appreciated on wet days.
The RC3W women’s-specific shoe tested here is available in sizes 36 to 42 and where stocked can be found in blue, white or black, while the men’s RC3 shoe is available in sizes 40 to 48 and in black, white or red colourways.