Why launch one pair of redesigned shoes when you can tell people about a whole host of design changes across your range? Shimano hasn’t held back on this one, with updates to no fewer than five models.
Most interesting to us are the updated RC7 and RC5 road models, as these are the entry to mid-level offerings from Shimano. There are also a couple of new colours for the RX8 gravel shoe, and those have been inspired by Laurens Ten Dam’s second-place ride at Unbound gravel, a little 200-mile pootle through the Kansas dirt.
And then if track cycling is your thing, an updated RC9T is here along with a special-edition Dura-Ace version of the RC902 road shoe.
Starting with the RC7, or SH-RC702 to give them their full name, there is a host of trickle-down tech from the range-topping RC9 road shoe which comes with a £10 price bump on the outgoing model.
The most noticeably similar design feature comes at the upper which is made from the same material as the RC9. There are plenty of perforations to help with breathability on a hot day.
Rather than the Li2 Boa dials, the RC7 uses the L6 dials, but there is still two of them to spread retention pressure evenly across the top of the foot. You’ll also find the same cross lacing pattern as on the RC9.
When you get to the sole, there is a similar slight step down with a 10/12 rating for stiffness rather than the 12/12 you’d find in the RC9. That said, this is still a three-bolt carbon sole and is likely to be perfectly capable of transferring our power.
The RC502 is the same price as before, and still uses an interesting-looking single Boa L6 dial that engages two tongues. There is then an additional velcro strap for forefoot retention adjustment.
Again, Shimano uses a synthetic upper which is claimed to provide a glove-like fit, with the sole scoring 8/12 on Shimano’s stiffness index. The important thing is that, if previous versions of the RC5 are anything to go on, you’re getting excellent road cycling shoes at a fraction of the price of the top-end models.
Both the RC702 and RC502 are available in standard fitting (sizes 38-50, half sizes from 38-47) or wide fitting versions (sizes 38-50, half sizes from 38-47). The RC702 weighs a claimed 255g for a size 42 and the RC502 weigh a claimed 241g for a 42.
There is also a women's-specific version of the RC502, which gets all of the same features as the standard RC502 but with a slightly different last.
The RC502 Women are available in a standard fitting (sizes 36-44), at a claimed weight of 228g for a size 40.
We very much liked the Shimano RX8 gravel shoes when they first launched, and for fans of those shoes, thankfully this is just a colour upgrade to the shoes that we gave 9/10.
The shoes go from the original silver to this lovely autumnal bronze. While you could call the colour ‘mud’, they’re apparently inspired by the desert at dusk, and the sun sinking on Shimano-sponsored rider Laurens Ten Dam’s second place at Unbound Gravel.
Should you be bold enough to rock gold shoes, there is a sandy option available.
The world of track racing is a nice place to be when the weather outside is frightful. Inside the velodrome, the temperatures are comparably delightful and Shimano has specific racing shoes for keen track racers.
The bones of the RC9T come from the road-going RC9, but the RC9T moves to a single Boa Li2 dial which, like the RC502, uses a double tongue to better spread the retention forces from the dial down the top of the foot.
At the forefoot, the RC9T uses a velcro strap as this is more comfortable and compatible with the toe straps that you’ll still find used to secure the feet of sprinters into their pedals.
Finally on this bumper new Shimano shoe round-up is the Dura-Ace edition of the RC902 road shoes. This is essentially a glossy black colour scheme with Boa Li2 dials in pearl metal and purple logos. They do look rather fancy, but they come at a bit of a premium over the standard RC902, which are £319.99 as opposed to £349.99 for this version.
Availability is now for RC9T and RX8 with the RC502, RC702 and RC902S set for January.