Back in mid July Shimano unveiled a number of new road and mountain bike shoes topping off with the carbon soled RC7 & XC7 with a single Boa. At the time it was clear that there was a gap at the top of the line, and now they have filled that with a couple of new S-Phyre shoes offering the best of road and cross-country (and cyclocross) power transfer. Tested for months in the pro ranks, Shimano has now pulled the curtain off their new top race offerings…
The new S-Phyre shoes are all about delivering the max in power transfer efficiency. They start with even stiffer carbon soles, and then add in a second Boa dial to those of the next down 7s to cinch in a perfect fit from forefoot to instep.
Shimano see the road-going S-Phyre RC9 as the absolute top of the range, and it’s not hard to see why with the stiff sole and overall lightweight setup you get with a road shoe and its minimal tread. tested throughout the 2016 race season under the feet of riders on Giant-Alpecin, LottoNL-Jumbo, Orica-BikeExchange the shoe is ready to head to consumers now.
The shoes are constructed from a single-piece Teijin Avail synthetic upper that Shimano says is both breathable and resistant to stretching over use or when wet. Then they add a bunch of perforations in larger dimples to provide good ventilation, a mesh sole vent, and even drain holes to get water out on wet rides. Retention is managed by two independent Boa IP1 dials and a criss-cross of forefoot lacing and a large instep strap. Keeping things slim and pared down the RC9 claims a weight of just 232g a shoe. The new road shoes are available in this blue, white and hi-vis yellow in sizes 36-48 (including half sizes.)
Over on the off-road side of things the shoes are almost the same, save the outsole. While the RC9 gets a smooth vented carbon setup, the trail-going XC9 substitutes in a Michelin sole. We’ve seen a number of Michelin soles from the likes of Northwave and some others, so it’s nice to see them getting some traction in a mountain bike-specific design.
The XC9 carries over the efficient pedalling of the road version, while still being up to tackle the elements, especially when using the asymmetrically-located toe spike threads. The paired down Michelin outsole does a good job of keeping racers moving, whether on or off the bike. Per shoe weight comes to 325g for a size 42. The XC9 will be available in blue or yellow, and again in sizes 36-48, including half sizes and wide footbed options.
To add a bit of pro feel, both pairs of new S-Pyre shoes will be sold with color matching premium synthetic socks. The socks have their own pro performance tech, with a temperature-regulating ventilation of the sole, extra cushioning in key stress areas, and a woven in shape that is said to help with heel stability and a tall cuff that wont’ drop over time.