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First Look: Shimano RT5 road shoes with recessed cleats

New Shimano RT5 shoes have a recessed cleat for easy walking

If you want a cycling shoe that has the appearance and style of a sleek high-performance road shoe but with a recessed cleat for easy walking, there are a small handful of options available to you, and you can now add the new Shimano RT5 shoes to the shortlist. We’ve just got a pair in for review so here’s a first look before we get testing them.

Shimano unveiled a new Explorer Collection last summer which “fuses technology-driven performance and minimalist urban styling” and includes shoes, gloves, shorts, jerseys and trousers. The RT5 shoes here (there are also the lace-up RT4) look like a pretty normal road shoe from the outside, with three velcro straps and a perforated synthetic upper, and the thoughtful addition of some reflective details on the strap and heel. As one person on our Instagram pointed out, they look a bit like Rapha’s Climbing shoes, which isn’t a bad compliment at all.

Shimano RT5 shoes - sole detail.jpg

Turn the shoe over and there’s no ultra stiff low profile carbon sole with a road-style three-bolt cleat drilling here. Instead, it’s a glass fibre sole with a recessed two-bolt drilling that’ll accept Shimano’s mountain bike SPD cleat system (other pedal systems are available) with the raised tread sections ensuring you can walk without fear of slippage. It’s not an aggressive sole like you get on a mountain bike shoe, they’re not intended for walking in muddy conditions, but getting around town, the office or cafes without slipping up and spilling your flat white. There’s a good range of fore-aft cleat adjustment so setting up should be a doddle.

Shimano RT5 shoes - heels.jpg

That all makes them well suited to commuting, Audax, touring and, we think, potentially bikepacking and adventure riding, which is obviously on the rise and raises some interesting kit debates. And of course, there’s no reason why you can’t use them on a road bike in place of conventional road focused shoes. There’s a visual similarity to the Specialized Audax shoes I tested last year, but those had a regular three-bolt cleat sole so they fell down in the walking test because they don’t have a recessed cleat like the Shimano RT5 shoes here. Using a mountain bike shoe has long been a popular option for road cyclists that want the convenience and practicality of a recessed cleat, but Shimano has cottoned on to the needs of road cyclists before with its own RT82 shoe, which has been a popular model over the years.

Shimano RT5 shoes - front.jpg

These are a size 45 and the fit feels, well perfect really. Shimano also offers wide version if you have, um, big feet… And as well as these bright blue shoes, the company’s signature colour, more subtle black and navy colours are also available. Weight on the scales for one shoe is 378g, Shimano claims 317g for a size 42. Sizes are available from 36 to 48. The last bit of info you probably want is the price? They’re £89.99 and available now from all good bike shops. Stay tuned for a review soon.

Buyer's Guide to Cycling Shoes

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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