Summary

We spent 10.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what cyclers think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Almost all of the owners rave at how comfortable the Shimano RC901 is.
  • A lot of expert testers commend the effective heel retention of this cycling shoe.
  • Plenty of cyclists appreciate the footwear’s uber stiff soles.
  • According to several wearers, the RC901 is super lightweight.
  • A good number of consumers express fondness over the pair’s aesthetic.
  • Some users acknowledge this road bike shoe’s effective and easy-to-use BOA dials.
  • A few riders like that the upper is easy to clean.
  • This footwear has an excellent selection of colorways, according to a couple of shoppers.

1 reasons not to buy

  • It is one of the most expensive shoes, affirms a good number of purchasers.

Bottom line

The S-Phyre RC901 from Shimano is one of the brand’s first-class pro-level race footwear. Its main strengths include amazing fit, impeccable comfort, efficient power transfer, and stability with every pedal.

However, its superbly stiff soles might not appeal to beginner and casual cyclists. Also, the shoe’s expensive price tag might pose as a barrier to some riders. It is most suitable for seasoned or competitive road riders with the extra budget.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated Road cycling shoe
A popular pick

Expert Reviews

97 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 100 / 100 | Contender Bicycles | | Level 1 expert

    Good looks, excellent quality, fits my wide feet perfectly, plenty stiff, and durable.

  • 94 / 100 | Chris Miller Cycling | | Level 1 expert

    Stylishly sleek design, exchangeable arch pads is a plus, and stiff soles. Fit is kind of narrower than previous shoes I tried, but take into account that it is also a new shoe. Hence it could maybe loosen a bit.

  • First look | The Ride |

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Become an expert

Who is it for? The S-Phyre RC901’s full-carbon soles are engineered for competitive races. Hence it is recommended for serious athletes or seasoned cyclists who want to surpass their personal previous best. 

The shoe’s S-Phyre construction, along with its retention system, can accommodate all types of feet shapes and sizes.

What is it good for? Due to the pair’s uber stiff outsoles, this Shimano road shoe can only be used on long road rides that don’t involve too much time off the bike.

Race-level rigidity. The RC901’s full carbon outsoles have a rating of 12 out of 12 in Shimano’s stiffness index chart. With the stiffest possible build that Shimano is offering, this shoe doesn’t waste any watt of energy exerted by the wearer.

Pedal feel and control.  The shoe’s sole has a stack that measures as low as 4.7 mm. It lets the foot closer to the pedal, providing excellent pedal feel and control.

Renewable traction. Equipped with replaceable heel pads, this pair’s grip can be refreshed, and therefore the shoe can be used for a longer time.

Breathable. Hollow channels in the sole serve a dual purpose: for excellent airflow and drainage during heavy rainfall. Both purposes aim to keep the foot comfortable throughout a long ride.

The Shimano RC901 has a three-bolt cleat system. Pedals that are suitable for the shoe are the Shimano PD-R9100, Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12, and Time Xpresso 15.

Markings are printed on the sole to aid in precise and consistent cleat positioning.

Shimano also provided added cleat adjustment space for riders who want to find their optimal cleat positioning.

Lockdown. BOA dials with adjustable powerzone wire guides govern this pair’s secure fit. The BOA IP1 dials allow quick and precise micro-adjustment to help you achieve optimal fit even while on the go.

Moreover, an external heel cup prevents heel slippage during dynamic pedaling or, at times, walking.

Comfort. The shoe’s upper is crafted from a one-piece Teijin Avail microfiber synthetic leather. It offers a pleasant fit void of pressure points and rubbing.

The Shimano RC901 features a construction that integrates the sole and upper together. This build promotes stability, direct connection to the bike, and lightweight fit.

This shoe also employs the brand’s Dynalast technology. This innovation is designed with an optimized toe-spring section that creates less tension to the foot and allows a smoother and more energy-efficient upstroke pedaling.

This cycling shoe employs high-density cup insoles with adaptable arch pads. It offers excellent arch support for superior comfort and fit. 

The insoles are treated with Silvadur technology, which helps keep bacteria and odor at bay to keep your pair fresh and feeling new.

Simply put, Shimano’s S-Phyre is a technology used on a shoe’s construction. The models that feature this innovation omit the traditional build of the upper and sole being just glued together. Instead, they take the microfiber upper and wrap it directly around the carbon fiber sole.

According to the brand, the result of this construction is reduced weight and lowered stack height.

The second-generation in the RC9 lineage was released in 2019. Dubbed as the RC901, this newer version features a number of subtle updates that are aimed to make the shoe more comfortable and more supportive.

Smoother textile. From the RC900’s dimpled fabric that almost resembled a golf ball, the RC901 now features a smooth one-piece Teijin Avail material. This newer textile also employs more perforations for enhanced airflow and less retention of moisture as well.

Improved toe box. The mesh panel in the toe area of the original RC900 has been eliminated as it was a common complaint that it caused creasing. Shimano says that the smoother toe box provides better aerodynamics.

Better heel fit. On the rear end of the shoe, the external heel cup of the RC901 has been modified to accommodate a wider variety of foot shapes without sacrificing security and lockdown.

Socks no longer added. The RC900 came with a pair of S-Phyre socks, which is said to be the perfect companion to the shoes. Although Shimano still offers these socks, a sample pair is no longer included with a Shimano RC901 purchase.

The two shoes’ similarities are as follows: BOA IP1 dials, wrap-like upper construction, rubber sole pads, replaceable heel pad, vent holes, stiffest carbon soles, and more extensive cleat adjustments.