Shimano S-Phyre RC9 review

The updated Shimano S-Phyre RC9 shoes are still great despite the relatively minor change, a great shoe to suit many different riders

Shimano S-Phyre RC9
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Brilliant shoes from Shimano and ones that seems to be favourable to many different feet types. If you want some dream shoes that'll fit better, here they are.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    As stiff as they come

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    Big choice of sizes

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    Well made

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    Firm/secure upper

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    You can find performance shoes for less

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

It is because the Shimano S-Pyhre RC9’s, the dream shoe of choice, seems to fit a variety of foot shapes it secures a place in Cycling Weekly’s Editor’s Choice two years in a row. Its latest update has only served up better security and breathability.

The Shimano S-Phyre RC9 shoes have been a favourite of many testers on the Cycling Weekly Tech Team. For 2019 they've been updated to be better fitting and more breathable, has it worked?

It isn't a redesign, more a tweak, and you wouldn't notice much different if it wasn't for the new very loud green colourway that the new Shimano S-Phyre RC9 shoes come in.

Thankfully for those with a little more subtle nature, the updated RC9's come in a very nice pearlescent white, another nice sparkly update to the 2019 versions.

Other than colour the update consists of a better ventilated upper, which is now more perforated to offer greater breathability, not something I ever struggled with in the previous version. It remains comfortable temperature wise; neither getting too hot or too cold, something Bont has struggled with controlling in the past.

Shimano S-Phyre RC9

New grippy ankle

Something to look out for is that the latest version of the Shimano S-Phyre RC9's is that they come up slightly smaller compared to many brands at the moment. So if you are a solid 42 size, you can actually fit into a 43 very comfortably as I have found. So if you are at the larger end of those round sizes, you might want to look to size up.

As for fit it is much the same as previously stated. Comfortable! The big USP going for the RC9's is that the through my testing comparing that with other riders in the office (all of which have different preferences and shaped feet) we all like wearing and using the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 shoes. No one experienced numbness or tight spots; that was in a number of different sizes and testers.

Shimano S-Phyre RC9

Not much has changed with the carbon sole

That is why we love the Shimano shoes at Cycling Weekly, unlike the other dream shoes on the market; Sidi, Specialized, Northwave, Bont, to name a few, one of the team found something they didn't like in the fit. Whether that was a hot spot, or a niggle that meant the tester couldn't ignore them and reach the Holy Grail of cycle testing. forget you are using the item you are testing.

You get a new material at the rear of the shoe for grip around the ankle, you get an updated Boa cable routing too, which has increased total security of your foot when pedalling.

That said, at 537g for a size 43, the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 is by no means the lightest road shoe out there – as a comparison the Giro Empire SLX weighs 175g but it still is lighter than the Sidi Shot shoes.

Shimano would argue that shedding every last possible gram can have the adverse effect of diminishing performance in other aspects and the S-Phyre shoes can not be found guilty of that.

Shimano S-Phyre RC9

New Boa cable routing works better at securing all of your foot

I’m a fan of the uppers on the Shimano S-Phyre – they achieve a good balance of stiffness and comfort. All too often I find shoes have supremely comfortable uppers that are too floppy for sprinting. You get a stiff carbon sole too, which has a rating of 12 from Shimano - of course we can't compare that number to anyone else.

For £319 they are expensive but look at any dream shoe on the market and you are paying top money, although you can get other performance lead shoes a little cheaper than these.

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Symon Lewis joined Cycling Weekly as an Editorial Assistant in 2010, he went on to become a Tech Writer in 2014 before being promoted to Tech Editor in 2015 before taking on a role managing Video and Tech in 2019. Lewis discovered cycling via Herne Hill Velodrome, where he was renowned for his prolific performances, and spent two years as a coach at the South London velodrome.