Shimano RP3 cycling shoes review
Shimano’s budget shoe has a quality construction, although the sole unit is a bit flexy
The Shimano RP3 shoes have a quality upper with a really comfortable fit. They’re easy to adjust when out riding, but are a bit let down by the flexy sole unit and overpadded upper. You get good ventilation but may find over time that you want something that gives a more connected pedal feel.
Floating cleat bolts give extra adjustment for 3-bolt and 2-bolt cleats
Flexy sole unit
A bit over-padded and loose fitting for efficient pedalling
The Shimano RP3 shoe benefits from a ratchet upper closure. This gives a firm hold on the foot, for good pedalling efficiency and leads to easy adjustment while on the move. Its not quite got the fine adjustability of the Bontrager Circuit’s Boa or a Velcro strap though.
The upper strap is nice and wide and the ratchet is positioned well to the side of the upper. This, coupled to the padded tongue, leads to comfortable distribution of pressure over the top of the foot.
The forefoot box is quite large, so your toes don’t feel too constrained. But this does mean that the midfoot takes all the pressure if you do want to ratchet the shoe tight. In fact, the whole of the Shimano RP3 shoe feels generous. This keeps your foot comfortable, but along with quite a flexy sole unit does reduce pedalling efficiency.
>>> Clipless pedal systems explained
The shoe also has plenty of ventilation, both from the mesh sections in the upper and from a series of vents in the nylon sole: in the toe and the midsole, behind the cleat .
The sole isn’t quite as stiff as some other sub-£100 shoes which we’ve tested though. Although it’s reinforced with glass fibre, there’s quite a bit of flex, which you can feel whilst pedalling.
>>> How to cycle with clipless pedals
There are cleat holes for both two bolt and three bolt cleats, with the two bolt version being ready-built into the sole unit, rather than you needing to punch out the blanks. Both the three bolt and two bolt fixings slide back and forwards in the sole, so there’s some extra adjustment range over fixed cleat bolts – a feature that you often find in shoes at this price.
In common with the brand’s other shoes, there’s a wide range of size options for the Shimano RP3. It’s available in full sizes from 36 up to 52, while if you have a really wide foot, you may find the wide fit version more comfortable, although in practice there’s plenty of room even in the normal fit version. The wide fit is available in the same range of sizes. There are black and black/blue colour options as well as white.
>>> Cycling shoes buyer's guide
So the Shimano RP3 feels more like a beginner’s shoe than, say the Specialized Torch 1.0 or the Bontrager Circuit. It’s comfortable, but if you get serious you’re likely to want something with a bit less flex and a closer fit to up your pedalling efficiency.
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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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