Shimano have today announced a new line of road shoes that will be available from October. The RP series shoes are “designed to bridge the gap between competitive level performance and new road cyclists”, according to the manufacturer. So they sit below the flagship R321 shoes that were launched earlier in the year and cover a range of price points and uses.
The RP9 is the top of the range, and like the R321 it's heat-mouldable. The Shimano heat moulding process involves softening the shoes in a special oven, then forming them to your feet using a vacuum bag. It's a full-shoe process, with the uppers and insoles conforming to your foot shape.
There's two Velcro strabs and a ratchet buckle, similar to the R321. The look is more minimalist though, with a leather-texture microfiber cover and subtle detailing. Dare we say it, they look a bit Fizik-esque in their understatedness. That's no bad thing.
The sole is woven carbon fibre with a 3-bolt cleat fitting and Shimano rate it as 11/12 for stiffness. So, quite stiff. Inside there's an antibacterial insole with a mint aroma. Yes, you read that right.
At 538g for a size 40 they're pretty light, and they're available in sizes from 39 to 48.
Shimano RP5, RP3 and RP2
The RP5 is similar in appearance to its more expensive sibling but the leather look is replaced with a sort of golf-ball-dimple effect which looks quite neat. Shimano aren't making any aero claims for it but it'll match your Zipp wheels. The sole is a nylon/glass fibre construction with an added carbon composite plate, and as well as the 3-bolt attachment you can also use 2-bolt SPD cleats.
The RP2 and RP3 shoes share a similar design and a sole without the carbon insert; the difference is that the RP3 has a ratchet buckle while the RP2 makes do with three Velcro straps. Both are drilled for both SPD-SL and SPD cleats like the RP5.
There's a new women's shoe as well, the WR84, which is designed for competition. It's not dissimilar to the RP9 in design and construction but it has been contoured with a narrower heel pocket, narrower volume, added support in the instep and a lower volume toe box. Shimano are keen to point out that all Shimano shoes can be worn by either gender, though. Especially the mouldable ones.
Last up in the new range is the TR9 triathlon shoe. It mates a stiff (10/12 in Shimano's scale) carbon fibre sole with an upper that's partly dimpled synthetic leather and largely open mesh sections to allow wet feet to dry.
There's two easy to grab Velcro straps, and the large main strap is designed so it can be trimmed to your preference, so there isn't any spare strap flapping about and losing you time.
The TR9s are very light at 502g for a size 40, and come in Shimano blue. There's a white TR9W shoe too, in a women-specific fit
All of the shoes are likely to be available in October, with the exception of the TR9 which is scheduled to arrive a month earlier. We don't have UK pricing on the shoes at present, so we'll update you when we know.