Shimano announces its fourth-generation S-Phyre shoes

Just a few fit-related tweaks to Shimano's top-tier road shoe.

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Shimano tells us that if we keep our eyes focused on the ground at the UCI Road World Championships this coming week, we’ll see some new kicks on the feet of Mathieu van der Poel, Lorena Wiebes, and Romain Bardet (to name a few). The RC903 is the latest iteration of the top-tier S-Phyre shoe range, and it offers a relatively modest tweak on the not-so-old RC902.

The stiff carbon sole – with its adjustable fore-aft cleat position and replaceable heel gripper – carries over without change. Similarly, the last (shape of the upper) is also said to remain the same. However, a change to a perforated premium microfibre synthetic leather is said to be more supple and elastic than the laminated mesh of the predecessor model. Meanwhile, a revised layout of the material pieces (pattern) is claimed to provide a more rounded and curved toe-box, too.

Shimano has replaced the previous “Power Zone” cable guides with a simpler cross-over lacing pattern for the Boa Li2 wires. It’s a change that was made due to reports of the small and rigid plastic pieces causing pressure points with some riders. Meanwhile, the heel cup is all new and offers a more integrated look along with what’s said to be an even more stable hold. 

The Boa cable guides have been fully revised to a more straightforward design.
The heel cup now offers a more integrated look and claims improved support.

Shimano quotes a pair of size EU42s as weighing 450 grams, a 20 g saving from the RC902. Specific size availability does vary based on region. Those in the USA will have access to a size range spanning from EU40 to EU48, with half sizes available from EU40.5-46.5. 

Shimano also offers all of these updates in the RC903W, a women’s-specific version of the shoe that is built around a lower-volume and narrower fit. And while the men’s version gets options of white, black, blue, or red, the women’s shoe is only available in pearl-like white. This women’s version is available in whole sizes ranging from EU36 to EU44. 

The modest changes are seemingly just about all done in the name of comfort and perhaps to be a little less polarising in the fit like James Huang noted in his review of the RC902. We’re yet to try this fresh shoe, but given the earlier S-Phyres (RC9 and RC901) were a favourite of some staff – myself included – there’s an eagerness to find out how the fourth generation feels.

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