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Rapha has a new SPD shoe aimed at gravel and adventure riders called the Explore Powerweave, which uses a TPU-reinforced-yarn upper, BOA dials, and a sole that is flexible enough at the toe for walking.
Rapha Cycling Club members can buy the $355 shoes beginning today, with the general public getting access on March 11.
Rapha claims its shoes have been tested “over tens of thousands of kilometers” with riders bikepacking, racing, riding and walking.
Lachlan Morton (EF—Education First Nippo) was an early tester of the shoes.
“For the sort of riding I do most days, they’re the perfect shoe,” Morton said. “Walking is super easy, which is kind of the trade-off normally. Shoes can be comfortable to walk in, or they’re stiff. These have the perfect middle ground – you can walk five or ten kilometers in them. On the road they just feel like road shoes. I’d happily race in them, but people would laugh at me.”
The upper looks like the popular knit style in casual shoes, but Rapha claims the TPU-reinforced yarns make for a durable outer material.
The BOA Li2 dial system is built into the shoe’s upper, and the shoes come with adjustable arch support.
The sole uses a carbon insert for pedaling stiffness, but that ends underneath the ball of the foot to allow for a bit of flex at the toes for walking.
Ultra-endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox was another tester.
“They’re lightweight, roomy and sharp looking,” Wilcox said in a release from Rapha. “They kind of feel like a combination of loungewear and performance.”
The toe strap and heel elements are reflective, and the toe and heel feature extra reinforcement on top of the yarn upper.
The shoes are available in black and navy.