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Shimano RC502 road shoe review

Shimano’s mid-range road shoe proves comfortable and well-fitting

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £139.99 RRP | USD $154.99
Shimano RC5 road cycling shoe.

Our review

The Shimano RC5 road shoe ticks a lot of boxes, but the sole may prove a drawback for those after a racing shoe
Pros: Comfortable upper; secure fit; good looks
Cons: Flex in the sole; integrated heel pads
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The Shimano RC5 road shoe sits in the middle of the brand’s range, above the RC1 and RC3 shoes and below the Shimano RC7 and RC9 shoes.


As a result, the road cycling shoe shares details and features from the higher and lower ends of Shimano’s range, doing some things very well and others less so.

The latest version of the shoe continues to use the wrap-around upper design of the previous-generation RC5, which was borrowed from Shimano’s top-end S-Phyre shoe, but with a number of refinements.

The sole has the same stiffness ratio as the previous version, with fore and aft cleat adjustment and carbon reinforcement.

The sole may have some flex, but at £139.99 / $154.99, the Shimano RC5 offers good value for money when it comes to comfort, fit and looks.

A comfortable upper

The shoe closes with a Boa dial and Velcro strap.
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The Shimano RC5’s upper uses a synthetic leather material and mesh.

It forgoes a traditional tongue and instead has a wrap-around design that hugs the top of your foot. This is a feature that appears on Shimano’s top-end shoes as well as its lower-end RC3 shoes. It’s also something we’ve seen other brands such as Fizik adopt.

You can adjust the fit and tightness of the RC5 via a Boa dial across the top of the foot and a single Velcro strap across the toe box.

The Boa dial adjusts two bands that run across the top of the shoe. The dial, bands and wrap-around design all work to distribute pressure evenly across the top of your foot.

The Velcro strap across the toe box extends from a loop in the centre of the shoe to run in line with the loops of the Boa dial’s cord.

The shoes have perforations for ventilation.
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I thought this strap would provide a decent level of adjustment, but despite pulling it hard I found it had little impact on the shoe’s fit.

While this may seem like a gripe, I found I didn’t really need this extra adjustment due to how comfortable and well-fitting the Shimano RC5 is.

While my feet are relatively narrow, anyone with slimmer feet may want more fit refinement and should possibly consider the Shimano RC7, which has a second Boa dial for adjustment lower down the foot.

Elsewhere, the upper has a decent level of ventilation and the padding around the Achilles heel does a good job of preventing any heel slip.

Flex in the sole

The sole has a stiffness rating of 8/12, according to Shimano.
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The sole of the RC5 is nylon with carbon reinforcement in the midsole. It can fit three-bolt cleats for road bike pedals and has fore and aft cleat adjustment.

Like Shimano’s other shoes, the RC5 features Shimano’s Dynalast technology, described as a “toe-spring section” that’s supposed to make your upstroke smoother and more efficient.

Shimano says the RC5’s midsole stack height is low to stabilise the foot and aid power transfer.

On its own stiffness scale, Shimano rates the RC5 between the more flexible RC3 and stiffer RC7 at 8/12.

The sole has an integrated heel pad.
Stan Portus / Our Media

While Simon Withers said the previous version of the RC5 was “stiff and efficient”, I found there to be a fair level of flex in the latest version of the shoe.

For context, I’m used to riding shoes with stiffer soles, such as the Fizik Infinito R1 and Quoc Mono II.

The sole has a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) outsole with integrated heel and toe pads that are textured for grip. It would be nice to have replaceable lugs to increase the lifetime of these shoes, but it’s not too surprising to see in-built ones at this price point.

A cut-out vent at front of the sole helps keep feet cool.

Shimano RC5 performance

The shoe has subtle branding and a thin reflective strip on the heel.
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I wore the Shimano RC5 shoe for a mix of road rides up to 100km in length.

The upper, with its wrap-around design, creates a shoe that is comfortable and fits around the foot well, even if the Velcro toe box strap offers little adjustment. I didn’t suffer any rubbing or issues with circulation.

Using the shoes in the UK during the summer, where temperatures were between 20˚C and 25˚C, the venting in the sole and upper prevented my feet from overheating.

Weighing 496g for a pair in size 43, the RC5s are also lightweight for the price, weighing less than the £130 Udog Tensione and slightly pricier Fizik R5 Tempo Overcurve.

With its Dynalast technology, low stack height and carbon reinforcement, the Shimano RC5 felt stiff and efficient enough for many of my rides.

However, on harder rides where I was keen to press on the pedals, I found the flex in the 8/12-rated sole hindered my effort. When I put more power down, I found the shoe to flex linearly and laterally underfoot, leading to some discomfort and strain on my legs come ride end.

That’s likely because I’m used to the rigours (and benefits) of an even stiffer sole, but if you prefer a more pliable sole it’s possible you won’t have these issues and will enjoy the flex the RC5 affords.

Shimano RC5 bottom line

The shoes have a clean look.
Stan Portus / Our Media

With many features borrowed from Shimano’s higher-end shoes, the RC5 will prove an attractive option if you’re looking for a more affordable cycling shoe.

The shoe’s upper provides a secure and incredibly comfortable fit with virtually no heel slip, continuing Shimano’s reputation in this area. It also looks smart without being too flashy.


On paper, a less stiff sole should make a shoe comfortable for long rides, but I found the flex of the RC5 to make the shoe better suited to shorter or less intensive, steadier rides. Riders wanting an easy-to-live-with shoe will find much to applaud in the RC5. However, those who prefer the feel of a stiffer sole may be left wanting.

Product Specifications


Price GBP £139.99USD $154.99
Weight 496g (43) – (43) – pair
Year 2022
Brand Shimano


Cleat fitting 3-bolt look type
Shoe closure Dial and velcro
Sole Nylon reinforced with carbon
Triathlon/TT-specific no
Winter-specific no