Shimano S-Phyre RC9 (RC902) SPD-SL Shoes
Shimano's S-Phyre RC902 shoes are stiff, comfortable and hold the foot securely during big power efforts. There are changes over the previous model, the RC9, but the basics stay the same. This is a comfortable, well-thought-out pair of race shoes.
The S-Phyre’s stiffness was good before and is still exactly what you want from a race shoe. It is a very thin sole and that results in a low stack height.
The Boa's Li2 dials are new. The tension adjustment is great, and once set they hold that tension perfectly. The micro-adjustability goes both ways, allowing you to crank the dials down tight for town sign sprints and then release them a bit once you've beaten your mates.
The upper dial pulls on a wide strap which spreads pressure very well while the lower dial relies on a criss-cross pattern to spread the retention pressure.
You get a new heel cup and the move from a cat's tongue material to two rubberised pads sitting on either side of the Achilles tendon is a brilliant one. This system absolutely clamps the heel in place.
There is a less aggressive taper at the toe box that offers a bit more wiggleability than previously, but it’s when we get to the redesigned midfoot area that Shimano will either gain or lose your business. The fit is noticeably more snug than before. Thankfully, those with wider feet still have Shimano's wide-fit shoes to turn to.
Overall, these are comfy and stiff with great heel retention – what more could you ask of a flashy set of race shoes?