SH-RC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe
Shimano shoes are a perennial favorite here in the office as its quality, performance, and durability receive the same dedication it places in its components, which is to say, very impressive. These particular kicks, the SH-RC9 S-PHYRE Cycling Shoe are its range-topping road offering and is analogous to its Dura-Ace parts, balancing weight, stiffness, and reliability in an impressively fitting package. Shoe comfort is critical as its one of your 3 contact points on the bike and thankfully, through professional feedback from World Tour racers, this shoe has it in spades. This updated version of the SH-RC9 includes more perforations for increased ventilation in warmer weather, built in drainage holes for rainy conditions, and a striking new green colorway.
Shimano constructs the upper from a single piece of Teijin microfiber synthetic leather that delivers suppleness and a precise fit. It engineered drainage holes for rain to exit the shoe when caught out in a downpour and the quick-drying 3D mesh lets your feet breathe keeping them feeling fresh even on long summer rides. The micro-adjustable and independent dual Boa IP1 dial closures provide such a glove-like fit, Shimano actually got rid of its Custom-Fit heat and vacuum system we were used to seeing on its high-end shoes over the past decade. The strategically placed BOA dials and well contouring upper fit so well, these shoes simply don't need it.
A rounded one-piece molded heel cup starts at the sole and continues up the back of the shoe. It stabilizes the heel, keeping it planted, and eliminates the possibility of twisting and rolling throughout the pedal stroke improving comfort and efficiency. The lining of the heel features a cat tongue-like gripping fabric, preventing heel lift allowing you to pedal perfect circles while your foot is held firmly in place without excessive pressure over the top of your foot. Flanking the cleat mounting and toe area of the sole is a bonded overly protecting the bottom of the shoe and allowing for stable footing at red lights and stop signs.
If you are a weight-weenie, Shimano shoes might not impress you on paper but when you consider that it refuses to skimp on important performance bolstering features in the quest to shed a few grams, you might start to get it. Similar to a frameset or set of wheels, weight is just one criterion and Shimano balances fit, comfort, and power transfer, in addition to weight, when it's time to design, develop, and manufacture shoes. The sole is an ever stiff Dynalast carbon fiber version designed to improve foot support and comfort and transmits every watt into the pedals. A seamless mid-sole construction process eliminates the board last, which reduces weight and lowers the overall stack height of the sole for maximum efficiency. The sole's stiffness measurement is an impressive 12 out of 12, the stiffest from Shimano, and provides 11mm more fore-aft cleat adjustment over its previous road shoes.
A single size 42 shoe comes in at 243g so it's actually quite at home chasing KOMs in the Grand Tours while durable enough to survive the muddy cobbled classics. If the RC9's were a cyclist, it'd certainly be a rouleur, stiff enough to sprint, light enough for the mountains, and comfortable enough for an all-day breakaway. The fit, performance, and durability is everything we have come to expect from Shimano shoes and we think you'll love them too.
- Pro-level road shoe blending comfort, performance, and durability
- Carbon fiber composite sole is light and efficient
- Breathable synthetic uppers contour to feet
- Additional perforations increase breathability
- Better drainage holes evacuate water during rainy rides
- Dual Boa IP1 closures dial in the fit
- Compatible with three-bolt road cleats
- Item #SHI00JZ
What do you think about this product?
April 3, 2020
Best shoes and best fit I have ever had
Great shoes, good fit, easy to tighten and loosen, even tightness, durable, very stiff. Love them.
February 3, 2020
Shoes are okay, but buyer beware
These shoes were given to me as a gift for a birthday. I used them lightly, only putting about a 1,500 miles on them before a boa dial broke at the 8 month mark. After reaching out I was informed the shoes would probably be replaced as they should. But thereafter Natalie a warranty specialist treated me poorly and informed me competitive cyclist would not replace the shoes as it was “wasteful and unnecessary” to do so. This despite the boa dial being a different color from the others which at $400 is a confusing fix if the company cares about its customers. This has changed my opinion of competitive cyclist. Do not expect the shoes to be replaced if a dial fails, regardless of if it is in the replacement warranty period. Therefore the shoes get a 1 star but not for the product itself. The bottom line is if the shoe only lasts 8 months of light use and will not be replaced there are far better goods stores who will honor their commitments such as REI.
February 3, 2020
Hi James - As we discussed, BOA covers their closure system separately from Shimano's 1 year warranty. My offer to make sure you receive 4 new, matching BOA closures still stands. Feel free to contact me if you would like to get that process going. Thank you again!
April 3, 2020
James contact BOA- I ripped a BOA off my shoe and they replaced (sewed on back on) for free. BOA’s customer service isn’t unbelievable. Or it sounds like back country will handle for you as well with BOA.
January 27, 2020
Traded up from my Sidi wires. Same size (44) but the shimano’s (44) have a bit more room in the width. Comfy footbed too, Very happy!
October 20, 2019
I have funky feet, normal to narrow heel and very wide around the toes. This shoe felt a tiny bit loose in the heel walking but don't feel any heel slip on the bike. I wear a size 12 street shoe & 46 fit perfect. Love the boa ratchet in both directions as you can make incremental changes as you ride as your feet swell or contract. Click, boom, done! The only nit to pic is they are very hard to keep clean. I got black and yano black shows dirt anyway, but.... Geez. Ride by any dirt and your shoes are dirty. Nature break? Oh yeah, dirty. I'll live. Bottom line? Comfortable shoe. Light and stiff. Yes, I'd buy them again.
October 4, 2019
More of this please Shimano
You can ride a really light bike. You can have really fast wheels. You can have electronic shifting, and a powermeter, and carbon pedals, and a whole host of other fancy-schmancy gear to make you that little bit faster, but none of it matters if you aren't comfortable. Close your eyes and think about your favorite shoes. Maybe they're your house slippers, or an old pair of Vans, or even some wooden clogs from your trip to Holland. It doesn't really matter. They fit perfectly, support your foot, and (usually) look super fly. The S-Phyres are my favorite shoes. Now, if the answer to my question was "my cycling shoes," stop reading. You've already found the answer, and unless they're starting to decompose, you'll probably be happiest sticking with what you've got. I'll bet though, that most of you reading are in various states of what I like to call "content discomfort." You wear the shoes that you wear because they were a sweet deal, or they match your kit, or (insert professional rider here) wears them. They probably feel fine, maybe even good. Without realizing it though, you adjust them 7 or 8 times every ride, a toe or two will go numb after an hour or two, and you probably breathe an unconscious sigh of relief when you take them off in the garage. I myself floated in a state of "content discomfort" for years. I've worn Sidi, Lake, Giro, etc, and while all of them were really stellar shoes, the fit was never quite spot on. Enter S-Phyre. Shimano has been making shoes longer than I've been around, and they've always been pretty good. The typical reaction to Shimano shoes has always been that they're dependable, pretty standard, and somewhat forgettable. But then a couple of years ago, the Japanese giant decided to get serious and throw its considerable R&D weight into the world of shoes. When the first pictures of the S-Phyre came out there was an audible "wow" throughout the cycling world. The design was memorable, but not gaudy. Bright, but not garish. I waited eagerly to try a pair, and I was blown away when I did. Out of the box, they feel broken in. The materials are incredible. It feels like you're wearing a rock solid slipper. The boa cables follow an unusual pattern that lends itself to lace-up levels of pressure distribution, and it really shows on the bike. The sole is insanely stiff, but it isn't undermined by poor fit. (A completely rigid carbon sole won't do you any good if your foot isn't held in snug.) As far as fit goes, my foot falls between the designations of "normal" and "wide". Working here at Competitive Cyclist, I've observed that at least half of the customers I work with have a wide foot, but that most shoe brands hold tight to a Euro-centric, fairly narrow fit. Shimano seems to have realized this and sized the S-Phyre line accordingly. For reference, I wear a "mega fit" Sidi, and an HV Giro, but a normal Lake. My fairly wide, square-ish feet felt most at home in the non-wide S-Phyre, and based on that, I would say that the wide series would be great for those of you with a particularly wide foot. I can't attest to the long-term durability just yet, but my initial impressions have been very positive. I can't tell you which shoe is going to help your foot reach podiatric nirvana, but if you're not quite there yet, you're gonna have to give these a shot. If you want to speak in more detail, shoot me an email at email@example.com and we can talk!
December 20, 2019
Great review, but I am one of those that has very narrow feet so European shoes fit well - will these?
June 21, 2019
Best Road Cycling Shoes Ever.
I went on a quest to rid foot pain and numbness. Usually when you buy a shoe ever so slightly bigger, they feel better. NOT THESE! A little bigger felt totally wrong. A half size down feels PERFECT. I did get a new fit as new cleat install would naturally be different. Ill lend some of the credit to the new fit. Nevertheless, they feel great. Spend toe $ and get the old stuff. Cheaper will usually feel and perform as such and you will spend more correcting wrongs instead of gettin right the first time. No Price sticker regret as of 5 rides in.
June 16, 2019
very nice shoes
Very nice, light and comfortable shoes. Length and width is about the same as previous shimano shoes like xc90 or r315 the only difference is they have more volume in the front of the shoe. I have a high arch and very low volume feet so I did replace the insoles with giro supernatural insoles which helped reduce the volume and get better arch support.
May 27, 2019
My best road shoe thus far
These are the 2019 model. Just did 20.5 miles on Friday and 33.96 miles on Saturday and they are terrific. No more numb toes. I’ve ridden Sidi, I’ve ridden North-wave, I’ve ridden Pearl Izumi. State of the Art what I always expect from Shimano. Highest Quality throughout. Thank you Competitive Cyclist for having my size and great price.
April 26, 2019
It's a very comfortable shoe. True to size. Between the Fizik R1 Infinito and the RC9, the RC9 feels more like a glove. I really like the looks of the Fizik but the upper feels very stiff and the tongue would dig into the front of my ankle. The RC9 felt very comfortable from the start. I'm not sure if it's a true or perceived because I spent 400 dollars on a pair of shoes but it feel like I can put more power out with less effort.
January 6, 2020
Did you end up with the same size in both the Infinito and this Shimano shoe? (Infinito is my current shoe) Thx
January 18, 2019
Money well spent
Great shoes, very light and stiff. Exceptional breath ability. Fit was almost molded. I have narrow feet.
December 20, 2019
Great to hear because I have narrow feet too and I'm hoping these work as well as Sidis.
November 7, 2018
Best of any national class racer
As a former pro racer many moons ago and now a 200 per week geek I find these shoes to be everything claimed. I’ve tried them all. They are Simply perfect. How can they be so solid and yet so light so close to the pedal perfect ability to adjust them to your foot They provide you with a connection to your bike where you feel as one spinning climbing sprinting. Really a step above any other shoe right now.
November 19, 2019
How much fore-aft adjustment does the 3-hole cleat have in cm? thanks
November 20, 2019
Thank you for your questions Aldo. Shimano states the RC9 (along with most others) has a combined fore and aft cleat adjustment range of 22mm or 2.2cm being that 11mm from the outsole and 11mm from the paired cleat. I hope this answers your questions, but if not feel free to shoot me a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
May 13, 2019
How different is the new green color of this shoe as compared to the yellow older version of this shoe?
April 14, 2019
How do these actually size? I have heard they actually run a little small. I fit older Shimano road and mtn shoes in 42.5. How would these fit? Thank you, Robert