Shimano’s RC9 S-Phyre marked a new era for the Japanese brand’s road shoe. The shoe weighs in at 545g [size 45] for the pair, and were the lightest shoe Shimano had released, weighing about 30g less than the R321 in the same size. Shimano shoes have never been known for being particularly feathery, especially considering similarly high-end offerings from brands like Specialized, Northwave, and Giro weigh roughly 100g less in the same size. To reign in the number on the scale, Shimano dumped the lasting board on the top of the carbon sole and removed the custom-fit heat mould panels and foot beds. These custom-fit panels not only added weight to the shoe but were made of stiffer material that added cost, too.
With the shoe available in normal and wide lasts, as well as half-sizes from 37-47, I think you’d struggle to find a foot that won’t fit in these shoes comfortably. The fit is still customisable to a point – the stock foot beds come with interchangeable foam arch support wedges. For my foot, the medium wedges in combination with the arch support that’s built into the carbon sole feels like good support to prevent my arch from collapsing, which is important to me to help avoid any knee and hip problems associated with poor foot support. The fit of the S-Phyre is noticeably less aggressive than that of the S-works shoes or even similar offerings from Scott and Giro.
There is a growing contingent of high-performance shoes that put such a premium on foot retention, and you almost need a shoehorn to get in and out of them. This makes for great performance but does sacrifice a bit of comfort and convenience. With the RC9 shoes, there is a strong, supportive and efficient hold, but one that feels a bit closer to your favourite pair of running shoes, rather than plug ski boots.
By Dylan Eather – Pushys Sponsored Athlete
Categories: Product Review