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Van der Poel and Philipsen spotted using new Shimano shoes - the RC903 perhaps?

Van der Poel hasn’t been hiding them on his Instagram or Strava and Philipsen has been winning in them at the UAE Tour

With the S-Phyre RC902 having launched in September 2020, the shoe is about due an update and that leads us to believe that the shoes we’re looking at here are the RC903 and will also sit in the S-Phyre range which is Shimano’s most expensive.

Alpecin Fenix's Mathieu van der Poel and his teammate Jasper Philipsen have been spotted sporting some new pearly white shoes. So, what can we tell from the photos? While the large top tongue still wraps over the top of the foot and the shoes seem to again be secured using Boa’s Li2 dials, there have been changes to the lower lacing pattern, the heel cup, the venting in the upper and possibly the lining material.

Shimano RC903 1
Philipsen, in red, has slightly different shoes to those of his Alpecin-Fenix teammates

The most noticeable change initially is the upper which seems to have moved from being a two-piece design to a single piece, though we’d expect that the new shoe will stick with the same faux leather material. This upper has always featured perforations for ventilation, though the new design appears to use more perforations over a wider area.

Shimano RC903 3

We’ve never had an issue with the RC902 shoes being too hot, though we also don’t race in Spain through the summer months.

Another change comes at the lacing pattern of the lower dial. There seems to be an additional anchoring point that creates smaller gaps between where the laces cross along with what looks like black loops at the anchor points. Underneath this, Shimano appears to have gone back somewhat to the design of the original RC901 with a large mesh panel. As with the perforations, this could be in an effort to improve breathability.

Shimano RC903 2

Towards the back of the new shoe, a white heel cup can be seen which differs from the silver plastic found on the RC902. The design also features several tightly spaced ridges, though the purpose of these isn’t clear.

> Review: Shimano S-Phyre RC902 Shoes

Finally, this one is difficult to confirm thanks to the lack of a real close-up image, but the lining of the shoe may have moved from a mesh to synthetic leather. We’ll have to wait for a closer look to confirm that one though.

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