Crafted from a unique woven synthetic Powerweave fabric, the all-new Rapha Pro Team road shoes step up with race-ready performance in order to outfit the EF team on the World Tour. Building on their recent shoemaking success, the new lightweight carbon Pro Team shoes deliver a ‘glove-like’ fit for maximum power transfer and comfort riding in all seasons.
Rapha Pro Team Powerweave carbon road bike shoes
After creating their first in-house Classic road and Explore gravel road shoes last year, the new Pro Team is Rapha’s first dedicated road race shoe. The Pro Team leaves laces and the conventional leather-like upper behind, swapping for benchmark Boa dial retention to cinch the all-new open Powerweave upper around your foot. Then under foot, a light & stiff full carbon sole ensures efficient power transfer to the pedals. At first, the new Rapha road shoes look pretty similar to the latest crop of open knit shoes from a number of established shoemakers, but the woven structure of the upper is actually unique.
Pro Team Powerweave – Tech details
The real standout feature of the new Pro Team shoes is their Powerweave upper construction. Rapha says they experimented with many existing microfiber and knit fabric options, before settling in on developing their own Powerweave, something they could apply to more than just shoes (it is expected to come to bib shorts as well this spring.) By using a woven synthetic instead of a knit, Rapha was able to vary the properties of the horizontal weft vs. the vertical weft fibers throughout the complex shape of the one-piece upper to get the best of both strength and flexibility. The end result is a fabric that has significantly less stretch than knits, even less than standard microfiber, while still hugging the foot closely. Combine that with a pair of Boa IP1 dials for micro-adjust fit and secure retention.
Like a knit, the Powerweave also breathes well, but its polyester yarn doesn’t hold water. Then an additional hydrophobic fabric treatment means that it even sheds water directly. Rapha says this makes the Powerweave-based Pro Team shoes suitable for year-round riding, from cold & wet off-season rides to the hot summertime race season.
Beyond the unique upper, Rapha developed a new full-length, full-carbon sole to get the most stiffness possible for road race pedaling efficiency. The lightweight hollow, trapezoidal section sole extends to an external heel cup for firm support of the foot. Then, the whole things gets finished off in UD fibers that belie the real stiffness packed inside.
Rounding out the details, the three-bolt road shoes get molded-in (non-replaceable) TPU rubber toe protection, but a replaceable rubber heel tread.
Titanium Stainless steel cleat nuts aim to keep weight down, with Rapha claiming 220g per shoe (size 42). That seems a bit optimistic, and probably doesn’t include the adjustable arch support insoles, since my size 43 shoes with insoles were 20% heavier.
Rapha Pro Team road shoes – Pricing & availability
The Rapha Pro Team carbon-soled Powerweave road shoes sell for £260 / 310€ / $355, and come in three color options: black, white that is actually light gray because of the weave, and the almost color-changing purple & blue of the EF Education first team edition. All three colors feature a subtle contrast stripe woven into the toe, but much less pronounced than the rest of Rapha’s shoes. Sizing is expected to be generally the same as the Classic shoes, from 36-47, with half sizes from 40-46. The shoes go live on Rapha.cc tomorrow exclusively to RCC members, and will be available to the public on February 27.
Pro Team road shoes – First impressions
We’ve had a pair of the EF team issue purple and blue Pro Team shoes to ride since November of last year. And while I spend most of the winter riding on mountain bike pedals for their ability to walk safely in changing conditions, I have had the chance to spin a few hundred kilometers in the Rapha Pro Team road shoes. The comfortable Powerweave fit is probably the biggest takeaway, along with their surprising versatility in winter riding conditions. Check back later in the week for my full thoughts on the new shoes after riding them through cold, wet & changing conditions on the road, just in time for public availability.
Update: Check out our detailed review here.