Shimano are updating their road shoes range for 2011 with several new models – although the changes are tweaks and updates to existing shoes rather than wholesale, start-from-scratch redesigns. These are the key developments…
At the top of the tree, the lightweight R310 race shoe becomes the R315 and gains a new upper material in the shape of Rovenica ultra-fine synthetic fabric which has a leather feel to it. The heel pad is more protective too, the toe cap has increased ventilation – the holes are bigger, essentially – and the buckle design has a lower profile than before. And they look cool as you like. We’ll have a couple of pairs, please.
You still get a unidirectional carbon sole and a custom-fit upper and insole – you heat the shoe up, put your foot inside and allow it to mould to the correct shape. There’s an anti-slip lining too, which stops your heel lifting inside the shoe on the upstroke, and it really works (the £219.99 R240 has this too). The R315 will retail at £269.99.
In the middle of the range, the R132 gets upgraded to the R133 with a new multi-layer mesh design. In other words, there’s a whole lot more webbage in the uppers to let cool air in and sweatiness out, hopefully keeping your hooves feeling fresher. There’s a bit of a price hike to contend with, though, from £119.99 to £139.99.
The R105 becomes the R106 (£109.99) and looks a whole lot cooler in our eyes. The biggest change is that the upper strap gets a ratchet closure rather then the previous Velcro-esque design, but the shoe has a more sporty appearance to us, which is largely down to the swoopy graphics because the last remains unaltered. The fibreglass-reinforced composite sole is now white rather than silver too – and we just can’t get enough white right now.
Moving out of the competition shoes and into the more general sporty options, the R086 gives way to, you guessed it, the R087, but the changes are largely cosmetic and the £79.99 price remains unchanged. You still get a fibreglass-reinforced nylon sole that’s compatible with SPD-SL (three bolt, road) and SPD (two bolt, mountain bike) cleats (all Shimano’s sub-£80 road shoes have the dual drillings) but the graphics on the upper are all flowing lines. It’s a change for the better, we think.
It’s a similar deal the R077, the shoe formerly known as the R076. The sweeping graphics are new but the fibreglass-reinforced sole and triple hook-and-loop closure are pretty much unaltered, as is the £69.99 price tag.
Shimano do three of their road shoes in a narrower women's fit: the WR61 (£109.99), the WR41 (£79.99) and the WR31 £69.99).
The new models will be available from September.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.