Price as reviewed:
It’s always great to see a brand try something new, and it’s even better to see it turn out well. That’s exactly the case with the Rapha Classic shoes, which might be a first attempt but have the comfort of a brand that’s been doing it for years. That’s the reason they’re on our Editor’s Choice list for 2019.
The Rapha Classic shoe marks not only a return to the world of cycling footwear but also the first time they’ve produced them in house. Instead of using Giro, as it has done in the past, the brand used its own expertise to design and develop these shoes – something which it says took them three years to do.
The Shoe is made from a one piece microfibre upper that’s perforated for a bit of extra ventilation, although I would classify these as a warm shoe, as not much air passes through them.
As you might expect from a brand as focussed on design as Rapha, the shoes come with stylish laces rather than Boa dials. It does mean a sacrifice in performance, as the shoe isn’t minutely adjustable on-the-fly, but it does add comfort.
To be more specific, Rapha has used a double-walled lacing system which works a treat. They close comfortably with a snug fit to the sides of the foot while avoiding pressure spots on top. Impressively for laced shoes they have a very good hold on the heel of the foot and I never noticed any slipping when riding, regardless of how hard I stomped on the pedals.
While the fit of the Rapha Classic shoes was good, I’m pleased I opted for a half size up as there there was plenty of wiggle room in the toe box. Narrowness is something I’ve struggled with in the past when it comes to the fit of the shoe, for example on the the Giro Empire ACC shoes, and it contributes to foot numbness when out riding. Fortunately, the extra space allows the circulation to keep flowing and for this reason they’ve become my go to set of shoes, rivalling the Specialized Torch models for comfort.
The shoe comes with a full length carbon sole, although its covered by a rubber outsole to prevent scuffs and scratches when walking off the bike. It’s a nice touch, especially when you spend as much time walking through train stations as I do. The outsole does add weight though, and my size 43.5 weighed 314g per shoe.
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With over 1000kms in them, the only casualty has been the left elastic lace loop that prevents them from catching in your drive chain. There’s also scuffs and scratches, as you’d expect for a pair of white shoes, but the worst of it has been absorbed by the rubber sole protector. Fortunately, they’re available in three other colours, including black and pink should you want to limit this damage.
For a first attempt, I'm impressed. The Rapha Classic shoe offers up comfort and style in spades.
Weight: 314g per shoe
Size tested: 43.5