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These RT82 touring shoes are an updated version of the RT81s that I tested, and raved about, three years ago.
I loved my RT81s. They looked fantastic and were incredibly comfortable but after three years they started to fall apart. In fairness I should point out that I'm hard on shoes and gave them a pretty sound thrashing in that time. The RT82s look a little more clumpy, although still smart, but they rectify the weakness of the RT81, which was the mesh gap between the toebox (which eventually ripped open) and the silvery faux leather covering (which rubbed off). The RT82s have a toebox which is better integrated into the whole of the show and the upper has a more robust finish. It feels a bit odd, slightly rubbery, but it should out last it's predecessor.
The RT82 retains the built up sole of the RT81 - it works brilliantly and is very reassuring to walk in. Of course you can only use two bolt cleats, but that's hardly a problem for tourists, audaxers and commuters.
The closure system is almost the same as the RT81:- two velcro straps and a ratchet. The straps have been moved slightly further across the top of the shoe and are offset, the middle strap is about 2cm further to the outside of the foot than the other. To be honest I can't say I noticed any real difference.
The biggest test of any shoe, of course, is how comfy they are on the bike. Every time I put the shoes on I was aware of a very slight rubbing on the inside of my foot, just where it bulges out below the big toe. I would guess that the more robust upper has less give than that of the RT81. At first I was concerned that it was going to be an issue, but in practice I barely noticed it once I actually started to pedal. The ultimate test came when I took the shoes on LEL. In 1400km of riding, spread over just 5 days, my feet were one of the few bits of me that didn't suffer. I also spotted quite a few pairs of these piled up outside various controls, so I'm not the only one who recognises their value.
The RT82s may not be the prettiest shoes, but they are superbly practical, comfortable and excellent value. If you don't race, you'll struggle to find anything better.
Not as flashy looking as the RT81 it replaces but more robust. An excellent shoe for non racers.
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Make and model: Shimano RT82 SPD shoe
Size tested: Black, Size 43
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Blurb says - "A lightweight, road style shoe for high mileage touring applications"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Supple synthetic leather and mesh upper
Micro adjust buckle
Dual offset straps
Volume + Last shape with an accommodating toe box
Glass fibre reinforced polyamide midsole plate
2 bolt cleat fitting
A distinct improvement on the RT81 it replaces. Those were fine, but with hard use the faux leather and mesh upper eventually failed. The RT82 uses a more robust upper which should last longer.
I rode LEL in these shoes. That's 1400k in five days and my feet felt fine. You can't get much better that that.
I managed to kill my RT81s after three hard years. I'd expect these RT81s to last longer.
Hardly heavy and really, it's only skinny weight weenies who fret over an extra gramme of shoe.
They don't quite have the slipper like comfort of their predecessors, but I rode LEL wearing these shoes and didn't have a moment of discomfort.
RRP is the same as the RT81s I tested three years ago and you can get these online for just over £70.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort and practicality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Really, nothing of any substance. The RT81s were better looking though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
For non-racers, this is all the shoe you'll ever need.
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides