Shoes and ovens shouldn’t really mix, but no one seems to have told the manufacturers of cycling footwear. Shimano, along with brands such as Bont and Lake, have taken to warming up their high-end models to improve fit and comfort.
In the case of Shimano, the moulding – and vacuum fitting – of both the shoe’s heelcup and insoles is done in selected stores by trained technicians. Makes sense, as we know of one person who tried it at home and ended up grilling a rather expensive pair of clogs…
Get it right and moulding your shoes for a bespoke fit does provide you with reassuring amounts of support and security, but the best thing about the Shimano SH-R241s is that if you forego gas mark six for 10 minutes, they’re still a cut above many shoes.
Of course, you should expect nothing less than excellence at 250 quid, but that’s what you get here. The upper is predominantly synthetic leather. It’s supple faux cowskin, though, which means there are no pinch points or hard spots when you strap them up tight.
Getting a secure fit is simple with two Velcro straps across the forefoot and a sturdy, well-built aluminium and plastic ratchet buckle across the ankle. A nicely padded tongue helps keep your foot secure but without any pressure from the straps.
The heel is lined with an anti-slip mesh which uses metal fibres to aid grippiness. Although this feels a little harsh to the touch, it’s thankfully unnoticeable to socked feet, and it does a great job of preventing heel movement. Mesh venting at the toes and on the instep allow some fresh air to get through to your feet on hotter days.
The secure feel of the upper is complemented perfectly by the carbon composite sole. This is as stiff as you like, and getting any flex from it is pretty much impossible so transferring what power (or not) that your legs are generating through to the pedals is an efficient process. Perhaps surprisingly, despite the stiffness we found the R241 an easy(ish) road shoe to walk in.
We’ve said it before, but the best cycling shoes are the ones you put on and forget you’re wearing until you take them off. The R241s fall firmly into this category. (Although like more and more shoes, your bank account is a pretty good reminder that you own them!)