Rapha releases new gravel and road footwear range

Here are all the details and first ride impressions

  • Rapha has launched its new footwear range including both a road shoe and an adventure shoe, which sit in the established Classic and Explore ranges respectively.

    It’s a step change for the brand, marking the first time it has developed shoes entirely in-house, previously using Giro’s expertise. The two new shoes were developed in tandem over the last two years.

    Rapha Classic shoe

    Rapha’s Classic road going shoe is a distinctive lace design with one velcro strap over the fore foot. According to Rapha, the lacing system distributes tensional forces over a larger area, eliminating pinch points that can often be felt with a dial closure system.

    According to the brand the double-wall lacing system closes the one-peice upper more securely. This is made from a seamless, perforated micro-fibre that feels harder than competitor lace-up shoes such as the Giro Empires. It features a low cut around the ankle which the brand says should avoid rubbing.

    The sole is a full length carbon plate that’s wrapped in a thermoplastic for extra protection and additional grip when walking off of the bike. The shoes weigh 314g a shoe in a size 43, which is quite heavy. The use of double materials is likely to add weight compared to other full carbon soled shoes.


    According to Rapha, the shoes have been through tens of thousands of kilometres of testing, including on the feet of EF-Education racerssuch as Lachlan Morton.

    On my first few test rides, I’ve found the Classic shoes to be impressively comfortable, especially around the toe area which is more roomy than the Giro Empire ACC models I’ve been riding recently, avoiding any type of rubbing or pinching. My pair of size 43 shoes have been spot on. So far, I’ve not found any hotspots from the laces on the top of my foot, either. A full review will follow soon.

    The shoes are available from a size 36-48, including half sizes and will cost £180.

    Rapha Explore shoe

    The Rapha Explore shoe follows hot on the heels of Rapha’s recent push into the gravel and adventure riding markets, with the brand saying it has been purpose built to stand up to the most demanding terrain and conditions.

    It features the same carbon sole as its road going sibling, albeit it has been cut 3cm from the heel and 2cm from the toe to allow the fore-foot to bend when walking off-road. The sole is set into a rugged tread designed to provide traction on any terrain.

    Elsewhere the design is much the same as the Classic shoe, including the double-wall lacing system and the seamless one-piece microfiber upper.

    Rapha says these shoes have been tested over 30,000km on bike-packing expeditions and ultra-endurance races everywhere from the Dolomites through to the Sahara.

    The Rapha Explore shoes will be available in four colours: Black, Black Pearl, Dark Green and High Vis Pink. Sizes range from 36-48 including half sizes and will cost £220.