Welcome to an all-new range of products from Shimano. The Japanese component giant is unveiling its S-PHYRE ‘series’ of products, starting with road and mountain bike shoes that will be hitting the market in the coming days.
With a hyphen in the name, it means a hashtag of an entirely new line needs amending before it becomes common parlance on social media. Of course, there’s the obvious solution: edit the word accordingly – ie. #sphyre – and off it goes… generating a buzz. At least that’s the hope for Shimano.
This is a big, bold rethink of one of the company’s most popular products: shoes.
But “S-PHYRE” will be more than shoes alone. Consider it like the Dura-Ace you can wear. (Or, for the social media savvy, “the #DuraAce you can wear”.)
New to market today, after an embargo was lifted at 1.00am (Australian eastern standard time), the bright blue, yellow or white shoes are going to retail in Australia for $449 and they’re bound to have an impact.
You can’t miss them, particularly when married up with matching socks. Bright colours on moving limbs, it’s part of a growing trend in cycling.
POC got things moving with these bright colour ways a few years ago. More recently Bontrager has launched a series of products built around the bright, brighter, brightest line of thought. And now Shimano – or, rather, S-PHYRE – is tapping into the idea.
Safety is one aspect but fit is arguably more crucial when it comes to these items. The importance of good footwear in cycling can never be underestimated.
A good pair of shoes = better enjoyment of the art of cycling.
A bad pair of shoes = misery for your feet and a potentially fun ride destroyed by cramps and aches.
Gone are the days of heat moulding for a better fit, the initiative that was instigated by Shimano (as well as Australian manufacturer, Bont, albeit in a different manner) a few years ago had plenty of merit but the aim with S-PHYRE is to create a good fit without the fuss.
The new S-PHYRE range do not go into the oven. There is no vacuum for proper fitting.
There are inner-soles and two types of arch support that can be easily fitted underneath the base lining. There is the inclusion of the “Boa Closure System”. There’s a carbon-fibre sole. There’s a wealth of graphics which makes cleat alignment simple. There’s a choice of colours. And there’s a finish which is first-class.
Alas, the boxes of samples that were snuck into the RIDE office last week only included the right shoe (in three colours). It meant we could get some photos and ogle them for a little while, but riding with them on our feet will come later.
When it comes to cycling shoes, Shimano has long been a major player. This is a complete rethink on a product that Shimano has done very well in the past and S-PHYRE heralds a new beginning for “touch point” products from the company.
What’s yet to come remains to be seen but expect to get used to the name. With a hyphen or not, it’s bound to get plenty of traction in the market – and we can bank on a wealth of social media shares too as people begin to show off their latest high-end footwear.
Let us know what your favourite colour is and, should you get a pair, please let us know what you like most about them. There is, after all, a lot to like.
In the meantime, here Jack Lynch’s quick appraisal after an examination in the office… (see below).
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Shimano: S-PHYRE RC9
– By Jack Lynch
Pow! The latest Shimano shoes are something to get really excited about. Are your current shoes looking a little more tattered after seeing these?
Already known for harbouring some of the most comfortable shoes on the market, Shimano has raised the bar with the release of the S-Phyre RC9. S-Phyre will now represent Shimano’s ultimate apparel. Just as Dura-Ace is synonymous with ‘the best’, S-Phyre will hold the mantle in Shimano’s footwear department. (One can only imagine the dizzying hype a range of Dura-Ace shoes would incite!)
Firstly, they look great. Each of these three colours (with a black one on the way too) stand out from the pack and Shimano’s first use of the ubiquitous Boa closure system has come at a great time.
The Boa wires are colour matched to the shoes and can be looped twice at forefoot for extra support or not, and left a bit looser. The top strap can be detached quickly so the S-Phyres are easy to slip into. This ensures the strap and heel’s longevity by not having clumsy riders shove their foot into a tight spot before every use.
Shimano has done away with the heat mouldable custom fit technology in favour of something a little more simplistic. S-PHYRE shoes arrive with three different arch-support inserts in the box so riders can tailor their shoes and altered as many times as necessary.
There are more cleat adjust options than normal and the sole has plenty of markings on it so if you have a couple of pairs of Shimano shoes, you can be sure that your cleats will be in the right position. The one-piece carbon sole is wrapped in a plastic guard to assist with walking and has an external carbon heel cup to improve the shoe’s stiffness without adding extra weight.
Dozens of breathable perforations are lasered into the synthetic leather upper and there are a few ventilation/drainage holes on the sole keep the foot comfortable in hot conditions and as dry as possible when it’s raining.
Shimano really has thought of everything with the S-Phyre RC9 and any rider would be happy to have a shoe like this. They are vibrant, light, stiff, comfortable and even come with a free pair of socks! $450 is no longer ‘expensive’ when it comes to cycling shoes and these are worth every cent.
Weight: 502g (size 43)
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