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Unboxed: Shimano S-Phyre RC-902 Cycling Shoe

Shimano's latest update to their high-end road cycling shoe, the S-Phyre RC-902, has an updated heel cup and upper design, along with some tri-related features.

Though it’s been a while since we last looked at a brand new tri shoe, there have been some excellent road shoes with tri-related features coming out, just like Shimano’s S-Phyre RC-902 or Giro’s Imperials from last year. While it doesn’t bear the true tri tag, this is a high-end shoe that would be a good choice for almost any triathlete, particularly a long-course one, who wants a super enveloping fit, a stiff sole, light weight (even with dials), and some venting/drainage that looks purpose-made for tri. In terms of power transfer from any direction—lateral, torsional, etc., there’s not much out there that would top the RC-902 in leg-to-wheel connection with its new heel cup design. This is also a shoe for triathletes who want to stand out in transition or on their group ride (especially in the ruby red color).

First Impressions

Shimano S-Phyre RC-902: $425; competitivecyclist.com

What I Like About The Shimano S-Phyre RC-902

  1. Crazy light weight, but still uses BOA dials for a snug, adjustable-on-the-fly fit
  2. 360 wrap design means less movement in the shoe, more power transfer, and less fatigue as you head out onto the run
  3. Ventilation in the forefoot upper and two drainage/vent ports in the bottom

What Makes Me Worried About The Shimano S-Phyre RC-902

  1. The price
  2. Lack of a replaceable heel or toe

Final Thoughts

  1. As a big proponent of high-end road shoes for training and racing, these have some of those low-key tri features that could make the RC-902 a good choice for both.
  2. Though the torsional power transfer feature on these shoes’ heel cup is more likely a good fit for those who put out tons of watts (think climbers or sprinters), it certainly can’t hurt to make sure every bit of energy makes it to the road.
  3. Aside from the price tag, everything from the construction to the dials to the weight checks all of the boxes.