For 2024 Shimano once again tweaks their top-tier S-Phyre shoe line-up, with a SH-903 series across road, triathlon, and XC mountain biking. On the road, the new RC9 PWR once again reshapes the Boa dial closure configuration in a bid to improve fine adjustment and power transfer. Off-road, the latest XC9 gets the refined upper introduced as road-only last year. And now, triathlon joins the top-tier Shimano S-Phyre family for the first time with a closure combination designed to get in and out of faster in the transition zone…
All-new Shimano S-Phyre triathlon racing shoe
The real novelty in the 2024 Shimano S-Phyre shoe family is the TR9. The first ever top-tier S-Phyre triathlon racing shoe. Adapted from the popular RC903 mashed up with the TR901 in theory, the new SH-TR903 is actually a completely new design.
It features a more ventilated upper, a lower cut, and a new strap & Boa retention combination optimized for faster transitions on and off the bike.
The new tri shoe keeps a large mid-foot velcro strap for the main retention since it can be quickly opened widely. But uses a newer quick drying woven strap material. The overall upper is a similar smooth synthetic microfiber like other 903-series shoes. But it gets larger perforations like the 902 shoes, and a heat welded in mesh toe vent like the old 901 shoes did.
Newly, a single side-mounted Boa Li2 dial and laces cross the midfoot 3 times. That offers fine micro adjustment control once you are pedaling out of the transition.
It also features a significantly lower plastic heel cup that Shimano claims will smooth transitioning onto the bike out of the water. As well as a barefoot liner of course. The shoe also rotates its heel loop 90° to make it easier to get the shoes on. And it retains the trusted triathlon toe bumper to keep the shoes looking good even with the occasional transition stumble.
The TR9 comes in whole sizes 36-48, plus halves 41-46, in team blue or matte gunmetal gray. A hollow carbon composite road sole construction is designed to drain water away as you pedal. It rates a 10 out of 12 for stiffness, with a claimed shoe weight of 250g (size 42).
Shimano S-Phyre road shoes add RC9 PWR power
Shimano’s top-tier S-Phyre road & XC shoes have gone back-and-forth with the fine details of how they arrange Boa dial retention over the past few years. And they return to a single alloy Boa Li2 dial on the shoe’s side to deliver the best power transfer. That paired with a maze of plastic wire guides and a velcro toe strap
This ‘new’ RC9 PWR shoe – or in Shimano speak, SH-RC903PWR – isn’t really all that ‘new’, just a new combination. This is the exact same configuration you would have found on the previous generation RC9 T track shoe – SH-RC902T – with the previous generation upper.
The RC903PWR does use the same 903-series micro-perforated synthetic upper. And it gets the same 12/12 stiffness low-stack, full carbon sole. Just 5g heavier than the standard RC9, Shimano says the S-Phyre RC9 PWR is the ideal road shoe for time trial racers, and powerful sprinters on the road or track, at a claimed 230g (per shoe, size 42). And they come only in white, because it’s faster, right?
XC903 cross-country mountain bike & CX update
Shimano S-Phyre XC shoes have been the mainstay of many top cross-country and cyclocross racers for year. And one of the places we’ve spotted mid-development prototypes along the way. Now in their 3rd official iteration of the XC9, Shimano gives mountain bikers the same latest S-Phyre 903 series perforated upper. Now, paired to the same proven grippy Ultread outsole as the 902-series.
Even less has changed here on the SH-XC903 over the previous generation. Honestly, making the XC903 shoe look more like the previous XC 901 generation, just with better dials and sole.
The latest generation XC9 is still a 11/12 stiffness with a carbon sole & removable toe spikes. Claimed weight is 290g per shoe (42) , available in black, white, or team blue.