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review

Shimano IC1 Indoor Cycling Shoes

5
£69.99

VERDICT:

5
10
An interesting entry into the indoor-only market, but the IC1s don't quite hit the mark
Upper is comfy without socks
2- and 3-bolt compatibility
Very well vented
Closure system isn't quite right
Not stable enough for harder efforts
Insole is very basic
Weight: 
547g

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Shimano's IC1 shoe is designed for your indoor riding, and it's decent enough for steady state stuff, but the retention system isn't quite right, and the insole isn't that comfortable either.

The IC1 is specifically designed for indoor training. Specifically, it's designed to be really well vented, easy to get on and off, and comfy to wear with or without socks.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The upper is a single-piece mesh, which you can see through if you hold it up to the light. It's reinforced at the toe and the heel, and the heel is also reflective, because... well, no one knows.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - heels.jpg

Over the top of your foot there's a neoprene section which makes the shoe easy to slip on and off. A single doubled-over Velcro-fastened webbing strap is used for holding your foot, and there's a padded and shaped cushion around the back of the heel cup to stop your ankle slipping out.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - strap.jpg

The sole is glass-fibre-reinforced nylon and scores a 6 on Shimano's Stiffness Index, which goes up to 12 for the top-end road shoe, the RC9. It's well vented, with a toe vent and a longitudinal vent behind the cleat. There are mounts for both 3-bolt and 2-bolt cleats, and there's a rubber bumper at the back.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - sole heel.jpg

There's no front bumper, though, which means you'll be clip-clopping around the house in them when you've left one of the things you need for training in another room, ie every time you train. It's more of an issue with metal SPD cleats than with plastic road cleats, in terms of what damage you're likely to do to your floors; it's possible to get walking adapters for SPD cleats that add a rubber bumper on each side if it's going to be an issue for you.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - sole toe.jpg

Once you've fitted your cleats, the shoes are super-easy to get on and tighten up. The upper feels comfortable against the skin, so if you want to train without socks then that's not an issue here, at least for the top of your foot.

The insole of the IC1 is perforated so that it's easier for air to move around. It's flat and quite thin, and in my size 48 shoes (the IC1s size up a bit small like most Shimano shoes I've tried) it was a bit gappy, not covering the full width of the footbed at the front of the shoe. Sometimes my toes would find themselves rubbing against the edge, especially when I wasn't wearing socks. I swapped out the insoles with the ones from my RP9 road shoes and the IC1s were immediately much more comfortable. Obviously, that's an expensive shoe with a more supportive insole, but overall I thought the IC1 insoles were a bit under par, even for the £69.99 asking price.

> The best indoor cycle training kit

The single strap retention system is adequate for most of the indoor riding you'll do, but I don't feel it's ideal. It's difficult to get it sufficiently tight without it being uncomfortable, because the way that the strap works – crossing the shoe twice at an angle – means the closure around the top of the foot is a bit low, and it applies pressure across the tarsal bones rather than securing the foot above them.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - velcro.jpg

I think the shoe would be hugely improved by having a couple of simple lateral Velcro straps rather than the big doubled-over one. You'd be able to secure the top of the shoe properly and adjust the top and bottom of the shoe independently to fit.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - in step.jpg

In use the shoe is pretty comfortable for steady-state efforts and the like, so if your indoor training is centred around FTP intervals and the like then it'll probably suit you quite well. I spend a fair bit of time doing high-intensity intervals and Zwift racing, and the IC1 isn't really ideal for either: it's not stable enough for sprints, and I found the insole a bit uncomfortable for the hard pressures of racing. I didn't ever find sole stiffness an issue, but mostly that's because it would always be a secondary to the closure system here.

2021 Shimano IC1 Shoes - openings.jpg

Overall, the IC1 shoes were okay, and there's certainly value in having a well-vented lightweight shoe for training indoors, but I'd say the design needs a bit of a tweak before they're going to have universal appeal for the indoor aficionados among us.

Verdict

An interesting entry into the indoor-only market, but the IC1s don't quite hit the mark

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano IC1 Shoes

Size tested: 48

Tell us what the product is for

Training shoe designed specifically for indoor use.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Shimano lists:

Indoor cycling shoe with maximum breathability and a sock-like fit - perfect for at home training or a spin session at the gym

Easy open and adjustment with a single cross strap ensures the perfect fit and a secure instep

Breathable sock mesh upper and sole ventilation keeps your feet cool even during the hardest workouts

Lightweight glass fibre reinforced nylon sole for optimum power transfer

SPD and SPD-SL compatible

Weight: 225g (size 42)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Shoe itself is very well made, insole wasn't a great fit.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

They're okay but there are issues with the insole and the retention system.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

No reason to suspect they won't last; they seem sturdy even though they're light.

Rate the product for fit:
 
5/10

Just not quite there on the insole and the retention strap.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
6/10

They size up a bit big, I'm normally a 47 and the 48 was fine (like most Shimano shoes).

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

Nice and light.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
5/10

Not especially comfortable, especially if you're trying to get them nice and tight for harder efforts.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

They're not expensive, but I wouldn't say they were especially good value given the performance.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Okay.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The venting is well designed and the upper is comfy against the skin.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The retention system needs a bit of a rethink and the insole is a bit subpar.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Not a lot of indoor-specific shoes out there, but in terms of the tech £69.99 doesn't seem too bad.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not especially.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

They're kind of average, really. I like the concept more than its actual execution here. A couple of tweaks would make this into a nice indoor shoe.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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