Verdict from 16 experts and 19 user reviews

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 reason 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.

Tip: see the best cycling shoes.

Good to know

Banking on its predecessor's good feedback, the Shimano RC901 quickly rose to prominence and became one of the most consistent entries in numerous top-rated road bike shoe lists and reviews. The combination of its premium materials, optimum comfort, and ultimate power transmission have earned seasoned cyclists' praises.

In its second iteration, the RC901 maintains its first-rate features and efficiency for road time trial competitions and extensive training sessions.

The RC901 is also considered as Shimano’s most premium offering in its current entire footwear line-up for the following reasons:

  • Stiffest race-level outsole. The shoe’s full carbon outsole has a rating of 12 out of 12 in Shimano’s stiffness index chart. This means that every watt of energy exerted by the wearer in pedaling is used to propel them forward.
  • Accommodates most feet sizes. The exclusive S-Phyre technology is engineered to take in most foot sizes and shapes. It works together with the BOA dials to provide a comfortably snug fit, no matter the foot form.
  • Sleek style. Displaying a minimal yet elegant design, it appeals to both veteran and modern riders alike.

Released two years apart, the RC901 replaced the RC900 and brings with it a few updates. Below are the updates to help you decide if you need to upgrade to the latest:

  • 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 material 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.

Ultimately, these subtle updates are stemmed from the RC900’s feedback and are aimed to make the RC901 more comfortable and more supportive.


How Shimano RC901 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 49% road cycling shoes
All road cycling shoes
Top 20% Shimano cycling shoes
All Shimano cycling shoes
Bottom 45% replaceable sole guards cycling shoes
All replaceable sole guards cycling shoes


The current trend of Shimano RC901.
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