Apparel & Accessories

Shimano S-Phyre RC902 road shoes – details and first-ride impressions

Shimano refines its flagship road shoe with 3D power analysis.

Shimano released the latest iteration of its S-Phyre road shoe today, with a handful of riders at the Tour de France racing in the new RC902 while many more are using its predecessor, the RC901. I got a few rides in on this new shoe and I’d like to share my impressions here, as well as details on the new top-end shoe.

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The shoe is being raced at the Tour by a few rides on Jumbo-Visma (Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss, and Wout Van Aert), Team Sunweb (Cees Bol, Nikias Arndt, and Marc Hirshi), and Arkéa-Samsic (Warren Barguil, Diego Rosa, and Winner Anacona). Many other riders are racing in the RC901.

The S-Phyre RC902 is an evolution on the RC901, keeping the same dual-BOA design with the wrap-around upper design that replaces the tongue style seen in most shoes. What’s new are the particulars of the BOA — a new, svelter Li2 dial is used — and a refinement of the heel cup and upper construction.

Shimano owns Bikefitting.com, which is a 3D pedaling analysis tool. Think Retül fitting bike meets Garmin Vector power analysis. Shimano claims that studying pedaling dynamics with Bikefitting.com helped determine the design with a rock-solid heel cup to keep the foot in place, but a fairly flexible forefoot area for comfort.

The upper micro-fiber material wraps around part of the full-carbon sole.

Early ride impressions

Personally, I found the shoes to be comfortable out of the box on long rides. Although a touch tighter across the metatarsals than the old Shimano R321s or the current Specialized S-Works, the upper does in fact give pretty easily in the front of the shoe. So, I didn’t have any hotspots or any discomfort over the course of three- and four-hour rides. And the heel cup certainly delivered on the promise of keeping the foot locked in place, even when the shoe was lightly tightened.

The BOA Li2 dials work well. Small adjustments in both directions are easy while riding, and the snap-open quick-release feature is handy for popping off the shoes at the end of the ride.

Instep height is adjustable with the little Velcro-on inserts. Photo: Ben Delaney

Shimano S-Phyre RC902 cost, weight, and details

I weighed a size 45 shoe at 266 grams — exactly the same as the size 45 Specialized S-Works shoe I have.

The men’s version comes in four colors — white, black, red, and blue — and in whole and half sizes. The women’s version only comes in white and only in half sizes. A men’s wide version comes in whole sizes only.

The Shimano S-Phyre SC902 shoes will be available in October for $425.

Shimano-RC902
The RC901 shoes come in four colors in men’s sizes and in white in women’s sizes.