Just like sneakers in every day life, bike shoes are a practical bit of kit that have morphed into a fashion statement over time. In some cases, they've even become a bit of an obsession, and if you browse through Instagram you'll find hundreds of people who have gone one step further and made their kicks one-of-a-kind by getting them customised.
But for most of us, bike shoes are simply what we use to ride in because they're more practical and comfortable for riding than normal shoes (even if a lot of them are infinitely less practical the moment you're no longer clipped into pedals). With stiffer soles and a much closer fit, bike shoes are much more suitable for riding in, and this here is our guide to some of the shoes that Shimano offers for road, gravel and XC riding. the best part is, you dont have to spend a fortune to get a set of shoes that are really rather nice...
One of the newest additions to Shimano’s road range, the RC5 are a performance shoe for anyone who wants all the looks of a set of top-end road kicks but doesn’t like the £200-300 price tag.
The RC5 has a Boa L6 dial closure that provides a great hold when combined with the Mesh/TPU/synthetic leather upper. That upper is uses a surround wrapping structure which reduces overlap helping to give the most comfortable fit possible.
At the bottom, the carbon fibre reinforced Nylon sole doesn’t compromise on stiffness and offers a super low stack height meaning your foot is as close to the pedals as possible improving power transfer and stability.
Shimano S-Phyre RC901
At the other end of the spectrum to the RC5 are the S-Phyre shoes, the very epitome of Shimano’s road shoe range. Light, stiff and incredibly good-looking, the S-Phyre shoes are the choice fo countless pro road riders and it’s not hard to see why.
Using an integrated sole and upper construction, the S-Phyres have a wide range of adjustability thanks to the dual Boa IP1 dials which have been offset to the side to make sure that no hotspots are created on the top of the foot.
The Boa wires are dual routable, depending on how tight you want the shoes, and the hold they give is secure and comfortable. The uppers are covered with tiny vents, meaning your feet stay cool even when it’s really hot out, and the bottoms have draining holes just in case you get caught in some serious rain.
The S-Phyres also come in a wide fit for anyone who needs that option, and are available in half sizes too.
You might think that gravel-specific shoes are a bit of a waste of time, but that’s because you haven’t used Shimano’s RX8 yet.
They’re designed to be tough and lightweight, offering the best possible performance for gravel riding and racing. Soles have a recessed cleat mount and abrasion-resistant TPU lugs so that you can walk comfortably off the bike.
Closure is managed by a Boa IP1 dial and single velcro strap, and the uppers have excellent ventilation in the form of multiple tiny holes to aid cooling.
Recently updated to follow the lead of the top-end S-Phyre XC910, the new Shimano XC501 is a mid-range XC racing shoe that punches well above its price range and looks fantastic.
Coming in either classic black or electric blue, it’s a shoe that’ll turn heads wherever you go and the tech it contains has the performance to back that up.
Using a single L6 Boa dial for closure, the upper uses the same surround wrapping technique as the RC5 but combines that with an exclusive Michelin high-traction, mud-shedding pattern on the outsole that can hold its own even in awful conditions.
The glass fibre reinforced sole provides a great balance between power transfer and comfort when walking and the low stack height is another boxed ticked on the power transfer front.