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Shimano RP9: Road performance shoes for the long haul

According to Shimano, the brand's new RP9 shoes -- for "road performance" -- are "designed to bridge the gap between competitive level performance and new road cyclists," with efficient power transfer and breezy comfort.

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Shimano says the brand’s new RP9 shoes for road are “designed to bridge the gap between competitive level performance and new road cyclists,” with a balance of efficient power transfer and breezy comfort.

Their minimalist aesthetics make them pretty easy on the eyes, too.

The shoes bear a number of obvious similarities with Shimano’s flagship road shoe, the R321—not the least of which is  the way they’re made. Like the R321, the RP9 is heat-mouldable, notably. It’s an aspect of the brand’s Custom-Fit Technology, with the shoes softened and made more malleable with the use of an oven designed specifically for that purpose, then closely contoured to the shape of a rider’s foot. Hugging every curve and outline, the shoes holds the foot firmly in place, providing the rider with ample support and stability.

That support, too, can be customized. The RP9’s adaptable enclosure system adjusts to various instep heights and shapes, balancing its tight holding power with a noticeable degree of all-day comfort. Comfort is also achieved through the use an air-intake system: the placement of air vents on the toes and “exhaust ports” on the heel keep a rider’s feet dry, particularly on long rides.

Stability and power transfer, meanwhile, forms the core of the sole’s design, the stiffness of which maxes out at 11 on the brand’s rating index—out of 12, only the flagship R321 are stiffer. Made of weaved carbon-fibre composite, that rigid sole features a standard three-bolt clip fitting.

Overall, it’s a classy, tasteful shoe, designed with a range of riders in mind, with equal focus on comfort and performance. In terms of pairing the shoes with other gear, they work best, Shimano says, with the brand’s Ultegra PD-6800 SPD-SL pedals, but will work with any three-bolt cleat system.

Quick facts

Cycling discipline: Road
Weight: 538 g (Size 40)
Sizes: 36; 37-47 in half sizes; 48, 49, 50; wide sizes 36, 37-47 in half sizes, 48