Trickle-down economics may have fallen out of fashion these days, but trickle-down technology continues to have wide appeal, and Shimano’s new RP – that’s Road Performance – shoes show why. The RP5s borrow numerous design features from Shimano’s pro-level R321s, most notably the ‘Surround’ upper that wraps around your foot, rather than having a traditional tongue.
The RP5s are secured by a pair of Velcro straps and a ratcheted anchor. The ratchet attaches to the strap rather than the shoe itself, a system that pulls the shoe in more evenly. At first we found the top strap a little baggy even when the ratchet was fully tensioned, but using a 3mm Allen key to adjust the serrated strap quickly sorted this.
The volume is generous, especially around the forefoot, and the upper is largely enclosed except for a triangular mesh section on the toe box outer, which makes them a fine choice for cooler days, and even for wet days when paired with toe covers.
The reinforced nylon sole is bolstered by a carbon cleat plate that adds rigidity exactly where you need it, though they’re still not as stiff as Shimano’s pricier options. The RP5s’ 660g weight (size 45) isn’t that light but is reasonable for the price, and they can be used with three-bolt road cleats and two-bolt SPD-style setups, though you might want to use an adaptor for greater security off the bike if using the latter.
And though the large rubber heel bumper makes walking easy when using road cleats, we would have liked a more substantial rubber toe bumper.
Still, if you prefer the convenience of a double-sided pedal yet still want the look of a pro race shoe without the price that goes with it, the RP5s might be the ideal choice.