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review

Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR

9
£169.99

VERDICT:

9
10
A high-quality pair of top-end shoes at an excellent price compared with the opposition – though the fit is slightly odd
Great price
Stiffness and comfort
Twin-dial closures
Effective sole vents
Awesome looks
Unusual long and narrow fit
Hard to keep clean
Weight: 
642g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

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The Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR are the much-anticipated racing kicks from Decathlon's high-end bike and kit brand. These come in at a fraction of the price of the top-level shoes from the competition, they have stiff soles, a comfortable fit and an effective twin-dial retention system. They do have a slightly long and narrow fit, so I'd recommend trying them on in person if at all possible, as Decathlon's return policy is quite restrictive, but that's about their only down side.

For more options check out our best road cycling shoes buyer's guide.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - side.jpg

When Decathlon announced last year it was going to be sponsoring the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team for the 2024 cycling season, I know a lot of people were excited at the prospect of the French sports retail giant bringing out some top-tier performance gear at its usual highly appealing prices – and these shoes achieve that.

Decathlon says this new shoe is designed to satisfy the most demanding riders, competitors and enthusiasts alike, and while I think it's nearly impossible to provide the best experience for all of these at the same time, I think Decathlon has done a very good job at getting close.

I think these shoes really do look the absolute business and, in the white colourway on test, I think they are some of the most timeless-looking shoes I've tested – they're certainly the whitest shoes I've ever seen.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - front.jpg

I first wore them with a pair of older white socks, and they actually made those socks look grey, to the point where I was actually wondering whether you should only ever wear them with socks that aren't white. But the shoes looked great with a new pair of matching white socks, creating a very clean look.

They use a two-dial closure system, similar to those from BOA, but in the case of the Van Rysels they're made by habu. These tighten in small increments, and you release them by popping the dial up. That said, their internals are made by BOA and they come with a lifetime guarantee, so were you to damage a dial, you could easily replace it.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - dials.jpg

The full-carbon soles feature two reasonably large vents and have the familiar three-bolt design for Look, Time and Shimano cleats. The cleat holes are positioned quite well for me, as I like my cleats set quite well back, and these shoes allow for that. They also offer a small amount of fore-and-aft movement.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - sole toe.jpg

The sizing is the one area where these shoes feel a little odd. I've worn size 45 shoes for years and I'd say the Van Rysel 45 is a lot longer than those from other brands. This meant my custom insoles had the room to move backwards and forwards when I used them with these shoes.

They're also a little narrower than shoes from a lot of other companies. I've got quite wide feet and I've just about been able to get away with them, but a friend with wider feet found them too narrow for him.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - sole heel.jpg

Neither the length nor the width actually caused me any issues, I've been able to get my cleats in the correct position, and I found the shoes comfortable. But it is certainly worth bearing in mind and I'd strongly recommend trying these before buying them.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - sole toe vent.jpg

The insoles these come with are better than those that come with a lot of shoes, as they offer both stiffness and arch support. But my personal recommendation, as with all cycling shoes, is still to get custom insoles made.

You do need to keep the white colourway clean if you want them to keep their looks, and I found myself cleaning them with baby wipes after every ride to keep them as fresh-looking as possible, but the material the uppers are made from means it's hard to keep them spotless indefinitely.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - in step.jpg

But when using them, these feel very much like top-end race shoes. Their stiff soles are great for sprinting, and I found the sole ventilation excellent when testing these abroad in very hot conditions, when they successfully kept my feet cool.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - heels.jpg

I actually found them comparable in feel to that of the S-Works 7 shoes, with their stiff soles, lightweight construction and twin-dial closures to keep them secure. If anything, the Van Rysels were a little more comfortable than the S-Works shoes, the uppers of which tended to dig into my feet a little.

2024 Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR - back.jpg

Shoes are a very personal item, of course, but I found these performed as well as any top-end race shoes on longer training rides and in high-level races. Stiffness, comfort and power transfer were excellent, and their twin closures keep them secure without any pressure points developing.

Value

One of the biggest selling points of these Van Rysels is inevitably the price – their £169.99 RRP making them much more affordable than other top-end shoes I've tested.

You could even get two pairs of the Van Rysels for a little less than the price of the £349 Shimano S-Phyre RC903s that Steve rated very highly, while the Specialized S-Works Torch shoes come in at £385, though Liam was very impressed.

And it's a tenner still more for the Lake CX333 shoes, which'll give you just a fiver's change from your 400 quid.

These are the sort of top-end race-ready shoes that Van Rysel is attempting to compete with – and they definitely compare well with them.

About the only area in which they don't score quite so well is weight. Our Van Rysels came in at 642g in size 45, with the S-Phyres weighing 516g and the S-Works 502g, though those were only 41.5s. This is a difference of around 60g per shoe, but I personally think comfort and stiffness trump low weight.

Conclusion

If you're looking for top-end race shoes at the best possible price, I don't think you can go far wrong with these Van Rysels. Just be careful with the sizing and the fit, and you could always consider going for black if you don't want to end up cleaning them after pretty much every ride.

Verdict

A high-quality pair of top-end shoes at an excellent price compared with the opposition – though the fit is slightly odd

road.cc test report

Make and model: Van Rysel Road Cycling Shoes RCR

Size tested: 45

Tell us what the product is for

Van Rysel says: 'Van Rysel RCR Road Cycling Shoes | The RCR (Racer) is the best performing shoe in the Van Rysel range. Designed to satisfy the most demanding riders, competitors and enthusiasts alike.

The RCR is characterised by a good fit thanks to the tightening of the habu® Fit System Li2, a comfy fit and a highly rigid, ventilated 100% carbon sole. Developed with and chosen by pros.'

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

Outer sole of: 70.0% Carbon, 30.0% Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Upper of: 50.0% Polyurethane, 50% Polyester

Lining and sock of: 100% Polyester

Backboard: 100% Polycarbonate-Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

Screws: 100% Steel

Cabling: 77% Polyamide

23.0% Stainless Steel

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

They're well-made shoes, with good seams and a high-quality finish throughout.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They're stiff, comfortable and breathable and work very well as a pair of high-performance shoes.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The white colourway is very hard to keep clean, with marks staining them easily if you don't keep on top of them. But there were no issues with the rest of the shoes, and they are also available in black, or as Decathlon calls it 'smoked black'.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

The fit is unusual, as the shoes are both long and narrow – so it's a case of 'try before you buy' if at all possible. The cleat position is good though, with the holes positioned far enough back and with some fore-and-aft adjustability.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

These do come up long, so do try them first if at all possible.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

They come in a little heavier than other top-end shoes, but not by much, and I didn't find their extra weight noticeable.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

In spite of their width and length issues I personally found these very comfortable, with the cleat position good and the huba-BOA dial system effective.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

There's no doubt that these represent excellent value – offering the sort of performance of other top-end shoes at less than half the price of some of their competitors. As such, they offer more bangs for your buck than just about any other top-level race-ready shoes you can buy.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

I've found I had to keep on top of cleaning these after almost every ride, otherwise the marks just don't come out. Though this would be much less of an issue with the black shoes.

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

These shoes perform very well – they're stiff, comfortable and breathable. Power transfer feels good, and their twin-dial system is both comfortable and secure.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The stiffness of the soles. Oh, and I'm a big fan of the looks too.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The long and thin fit is a little odd, and I wish they were a little easier to clean.

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

These are much, much cheaper than anything similar on the market, but they combine that appealing price with a quality equal to that of the competition.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes – absolutely

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – if they were looking for high-end shoes on a budget

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Van Rysel RCR shoes are a high-quality pair of shoes; they look great, they're comfortable and stiff, with excellent power transfer and an effective retention system.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 174  Weight: 72

I usually ride: Storck Aerfast   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Semi pro

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Add new comment

2 comments

Avatar
leedorney | 2 months ago
0 likes

NEVER understood narrow shoes, never still I ever, Lakes all the way, even the Lake 333 is possible to get in wide, these no, poor show Decathlon, you're great in many areas but cycling shoes - forget it!

Avatar
check12 | 2 months ago
0 likes

Bleach your socks 😍😍

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