Shimano SH-RC902W S-Phyre Womens Road Shoes
Shimano has not only refined their top of the line S-Phyre Road Shoes, but made some major changes and carried features into other models in the line-up, including the Women's version. The exciting aspect of the changes is that most are around comfort, fit, and enhancements that improve rider experience, rather than just straight out stiffness and perceived performance. With better foot support, improved stabilization, and a more controlled foot, shoe interface, the SH-RC902W represents very real improvement to an already great road cycling shoe, informed by rider feedback and new applications of material and construction technologies. Function-specific zones and scientifically optimized upper materials maximize fit and pedaling performance
The foundation of major improvement across several key areas is the 360º Surround Wrapping Upper, which surrounds the whole foot with a seamless piece of synthetic leather which creates a better overall fit with fewer gaps between shoe and foot which reduces potential wasted movement, adds support. In other words, the upper cups the foot more all the way to down to the midsole, where the internal transition to the insole is much more integrated. It is important to note that the foot is still well supported, and because there is much less opportunity for shoe-to-foot gaps, efficiency and power transfer is improved. As part of a well coordinated design process, adjustments were made to the proven Women's Dynalast system, with the most crucial being a wider arc to the toe box to accommodate pressure and more foot shapes. With the rest of the foot much more controlled and supported, the toes can be freer, more relaxed.
A third component of the upper design incorporates the heel and sole as well, with the addition of an Anti-Twist Stabilizer. It begins from the design of the external heel cup and comes forward, securing the optimal foot positioning for intense acceleration and high tempo cadences. The cup and upper have always held the heel in a vertically stabilized position so as you pulled up and pushed down there was little energy loss, but there was some lateral and rotational movement that the upper couldn't control. Now the anti-twist stabilization design serves to potentially eliminate that action, again increasing efficiency and reducing the fatigue the foot can endure over long hours on the bike.
Yet the story of the upper is not over, as the material has been improved and changed to match the new 360 Surround design. Reinforced mesh and Microfiber leather upper materials with perforated zones are arranged and layered in targeted performance zones to maximize fit, flexibility, rigidity and breathability. Some of those may seem contradictory, but are more complementary. The closure of the upper is still controlled by a dual BOA dial and wire system, now the Li2 version. You still get quick and precise micro adjustments, and the even draw of the wire from the anchor and mounting points, but with the new upper the feeling can be more specific to your foot, as opposed to the upper itself. That was one complaint for cyclists who loved the platform, weight, and power, but couldn't quite get the inner arch zone to feel supported, though the foot was generally secure. So with more refined support from the surround wrap and anti-twist heel concepts, the foot now feels cradled and the closure system just confirms that. Proper last and support fit for your foot shape and volume should always define your shoe choice, but now the RC902W S-Phyre is more adaptive for a more perfect fit for more women.
This is a shoe concept that has always been capable of great power transfer thanks to a good fit, effective heel cup, and super stiff carbon fiber sole design, but now it is going to be better for virtually all those who wear it. Shimano has also re-explored their cleat mounting system based on shoe size and arch length, developing a 2nd gen Brannock foot measuring device that accounts for both to inform cleat placement. That explains the much more detailed cleat alignment guide on the bottom of the shoe. It make take some time for dealers to both acquire and grasp this system, but bike fit experts will generally follow their own training in this regard. The 3-bolt Delta cleat mount design is still optimized for SPD-SL pedal and cleat systems, and will still work with all other 3-bolt options, with fore-aft adjustability. It remains to be seen how cyclists and fitters embrace Shimano's Brannock based set-up, but you should at least be aware of it, and recognize it is a tool available to you from Shimano shoe dealers that use the Shimano Brannock 2 device. It is designed to identify the true ball of the foot and allow for adjustment as desired, just as other methods already in use do.
The outsole carries a toe-tap and heel lug for walking safety, with the heel lug also integrated into the ventilation system. The forward vent allows air in to be circulated within the sole and insole system to keep you cooler and drier. The heel lug also faces forward, catching air and sending it right up under the heel, which usually gets limited fresh air. These details matter in all day rides and hot weather exertion.
Overall the SH-RC902W S-Phyre Road Shoes are very impressive and we see real benefit the changes and refinements. They exhibit a strong commitment to customer feedback and best represent he application of total system integration to their shoe design. Instead of just having all the best component pieces and some upper coordination with the shoe and last, the RC-902W seems to be developed as if a human foot was literally inside it throughout the process. Excel Sports has sold many S-Phyre road shoes, so we are in no way demeaning the previous two versions. We have many happy cyclists wearing them, but we are excited to see Shimano taking the process further and delivering real world enhancement to their premium Women's road shoe.
- Updated, and in some ways, newly realized, Women's S-Phyre road shoe that truly advances the concept
- Better fit, better upper and sole integration, increased support, power transfer and efficiency
- Refined Women's Dynalast profile superior fit for more riders, now with new, more generous toe zone shape
- Women's last has a narrower standard shape than the unisex version
- 360º Surround Wrapping Upper creates a supremely engineered fit for all riders
- Surrounds the whole foot with a seamless piece of synthetic leather which creates a better fit with fewer gaps between shoe and foot which reduces potential wasted movement, adds support
- Function-specific zones and scientifically optimized upper materials maximize fit and pedaling performance
- Dual low-profile BOA® Li2 dials allow quick and precise micro-adjustments
- Adjustable powerzone lace guide securely holds forefoot
- Integrated seamless midsole and upper construction set a new level of fit, stability and lightweight performance
- Heel cup with anti-twist stabilization secures optimal positioning for intense acceleration, high tempo cadences
- High density cup insole with adaptable arch pads, perforations for ventilation from below
- Ideally stiff (12/12) carbon sole with Dynalast shaping, ventilation, heel/toe taps
- Advanced SPD-SL cleat adjustment system for 3-bolt systems
- Note: the external heel cup can appear as black or silver depending on direct light
- Sizes: 36-44 generally available
- Colors: White
- Weight: 223 grams (per shoe, 40)