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Shimano S-Phyre RC9 Road Cycling Shoe Review

Literally the moment I slid the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 cycling shoes on my feet I said to my husband: “Yup. These are the shoes.” It took all of about 10 seconds for me to make the decision, slip them off, and bring them up to the register.

I didn’t care about the cost, I didn’t care they were white. And that’s saying something, because white things stay white for me for approximately as long as it takes to put them on.

All I care about is how wonderful they feel on my feet. They are just that awesome.

Interested? Intrigued about why a casual road cyclist went for a high end road cycling shoe? Read on for my in-depth review of one of the best road cycling shoes on the market today.

I know! That’s a bold claim.

It’s bold, but it’s true. When you combine the expertise of a seasoned company like Shimano and the creation of a high-end cycling product, the result is nothing short of exceptional.

Shimano Feature Image

Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • The S-Phyre RC9 is insanely comfortable even though it’s a racing shoe.
  • For a road shoe it is surprisingly comfortable to walk in.
  • This is a stiff shoe that provides incredible power transfer. It is a top of the line road shoe that has incredible performance.
  • The dual boa system allows for a very comfortable and customized fit.
  • There are 2 arch pad inserts with different heights which really helps cyclists with plantar fasciitis get the proper arch support.  
  • Shimano is one of the most trusted brands in the cycling industry and is known for quality components and gear.
  • There is a women’s specific version of the S-Phyre RC9.
  • The S-Phyre RC9 comes with a really handy drawstring shoe bag.

Cons:

  • The price for high end road cycling shoes is very high, and the Shimano  RC9 shoes are no exception.
  • These gorgeous white shoes stayed white for exactly half of one ride. I strongly suggest choosing a different color if possible if you like your cycling gear to remain pristine!
  • When I went to buy my shoes I could not get the women’s specific ones because they were not available in my size. The unisex/men’s ones work great for me though!

Price: $430


Why I Chose The Shimano S-Phyre RC9

When we first start cycling we tend to go to our local bike shop and grab the most reasonably priced/recommended shoe.

I had a great pair of grey and pink (yes! pink!) Shimano road cycling shoes that I purchased a few years ago. It was a good price for a very solid shoe, and, at first I had no complaints.

Over time, I noticed on longer rides that I was getting a hot spot on my right foot. When we ride long distances, just like walking/running long distances, our feet start to swell. This can cause additional pressure and a burning sensation which is NOT at all comfortable.

I decided next time around to go all-in on my cycling shoes. Given that I spend hours per week on the bike, it makes sense for me to choose a shoe that is a great fit and provides awesome support. I knew I was going to have to put out a few extra bucks for it, but I was truly OK with that.

I also chose a shoe that has a wide fit option so that I had a little more room. After I had my son my feet spread out a bit, and just didn’t ever go back!

When I went to the bike shop and explained my issues and what I was looking for they offered to order me a pair of Shimano RC9 Road Cycling Shoes to try. I loved them immediately.

left shimano insert

The S-Phyre RC9 is a High End Cycling Shoe That Lives Up to the Price Tag

shimano shoe bottom

No ifs, ands, or buts about it, this is a very expensive cycling shoe. If you are a casual cyclist who only rides every once in a while you might not be able to justify the price tag.

You can get a solid pair of cycling shoes that do a great job for half the price of the S-Phyre RC9, so why am I sitting here saying the price is worth it? Simply put, materials, comfort, performance, and customization make this a product well worth the price.

The materials of the S-Phyre RC9 are second to none. This is the highest end road cycling shoe that Shimano makes.

I will do anything, and I mean anything, to keep my feet comfortable. I am the girl who wears sneakers and dresses to work.

There is no reason to sacrifice comfort. Additionally, as a cyclist with plantar fasciitis I really need the arch support. I also have wider feet, and the wide version of the S-Phyre RC09 is the perfect width for my feet.

Will I ever race in these shoes? Probably not.

But will I see some small gains in performance? Absolutely. I am a casual cyclist, but even I could feel the difference right away.

The Shimano S-Phyre RC9 is Just SO Customizable and Comfortable

I always say I am the goldilocks of cycling temperatures, but I think it’s also fair to say that I am the goldilocks of all shoes, including cycling shoes. As I mentioned before, the comfort of my feet is more important than fashion (although the S-Phyre RC9 is pretty snazzy!).

Shimano Boa

The S-Phyre has a dual lock boa system which allows you get just the right amount of tightness on your feet. These shoes fit like a glove, and it feels like they are simply hugging your feet. The Boa even turns BOTH ways on these shoes so that if they are too tight you can adjust them to make them looser click by click.

Most cycling shoes stop with the Boa closure in terms of customizable fit, but the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 also has an adjustable insert. I was so excited to see that I could customize the arch height for a more comfortable fit.

shimano inserts

Additionally, I absolutely love it when cycling shoes come in wide widths. I don’t always need a wide shoe, but my feet swell so much during exercise that it made my previous road shoes very uncomfortable for longer and more intense rides.

I have had no pain whatsoever with these shoes, and even find walking in them to be very easy compared to other road shoes. This may be due to an additional (and removable) heal cap on the shoe.

The Shimano S-Phyre RC9 Has a Women’s Specific Style

I have a special place in my heart for any company that consistently remembers that women’s bodies are different from men’s. Instead of simply creating one shoe that is unisex, the S-Phyre RC9 comes in women’s specific sizing. Sadly, my size in the Women’s shoe was not available, even for ordering, so I went with the men’s shoe.

It worked out great for me since my feet trend towards the larger side, but if you have smaller feet to begin with a women’s specific shoe is really great. Women generally have a more narrow heel, and women’s shoes start in smaller sizes as well.

If you have a smaller or a more narrow foot, I would definitely look at the women’s specific Shimano S-Phyre RC9.

The Performance of the S-Phyre RC9 is Absolutely Incredible

I cannot get over how comfortable this shoe is for a road cycling specific shoe, but the fact remains its performance is why many people will purchase it. There are few shoes out there that are going to give you the same power transfer as the Shimano S-Phyre RC9.

Shimano Boa

The shoes soles are incredibly stiff while still allowing your feet to be comfortable, so you are not likely going to feel any kind of unnecessary movement in the shoe. The heel cup of the S-Phyre RC9 really keeps your heel in place too, so you are possibly seeing a little bit of a performance boost there as well.

If you either race bikes or just want to go as fast as possible and get the most performance out of your bike and your gear, the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 is absolutely the best shoe for you.

Even the PACKAGING is Nice!

This may seem like a little thing, but I really liked the S-Phyre RC9 packaging. As I mentioned before, there are multiple arch inserts. Additionally, it even comes with a shoe bag!

Shimano in Box

The shoe bag is something I honestly never considered, and never thought I needed, but am now SO grateful to have it. In fact, I can actually fit my shoes in the outer pockets, and put a change of clothes in the main pocket.

Also, if I want to have everything in one place and squeeze my helmet into the bag instead of a change of clothes? I can just barely do that as well!

shoe bag

Granted you are paying a premium for these shoes. Throwing in a shoe bag is hardly a big deal for Shimano, but it adds to the whole experience of feeling like you get what you pay for.

Bottom Line: Cycling Shoes That Are Worth The Price

At the end of the day I spent a lot of money on these shoes, and I would absolutely do it again. I feel some people make think this level of investment for a casual cyclist who doesn’t race just doesn’t make sense.

However, when you think about your contact points with your bike, your touching the bike your saddle, your handlebars, and your shoes.

You want these contact points to be as comfortable and pain free as possible, especially as a cyclist who rides long distances. If I have pain and injuries and can’t ride, I am going to be frustrated and wish I spent more on my gear to prevent this.

The investment in a high-end, customizable cycling shoe will continue to deliver comfort and performance for all of your hours on the bike. The Shimano S-Phyre RC9 Cycling shoe is a high end product that delivers on its promise, and is truly worth the price tag.

More Shoe Options & Other Gear For Women

About The Reviewer

stacy smith

Stacy Ann Smith is a New England-based cyclist who strives to stay upright on her bike.  She is the founder of Sascy Cycling, and her mission is to encourage women to love their body and focus on what it can do, not what it looks like.  When Stacy’s not cycling she is teaching high school history and eating pizza with her husband and son. For awesome women’s cycling tips and to learn more about Stacy, visit Sascy Cycling at www.sascy.com

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