Custom-Fit, the Shimano shoe technology designed to offer a closer, more efficient fit between shoe and foot introduced last year on the top of the range R300 road shoe, is now also found on two less expensive models, the R220 and R160.
The Custom-Fit system has to be carried out by trained operators and is available in the UK through a number of accredited Shimano dealers. It involves first heating the insole alone to a predetermined temperature (around 70-75degC) in an oven. Once the insole is placed in the shoe, the rider steps into it, tightens the closures to obtain a snug fit and stands so that body weight compresses the insole to the shape of the underside of the foot as it cools.
The insole is then removed and the shoe placed in the oven to heat up as required. With the shaped insole replaced and the foot inside the shoe, the whole is wrapped in an airtight bag containing a tube that allows air to be sucked out. The pressure on the outside of the bag presses the shoe upper against the foot, shaping the softened thermoplastic heel cup as it cools and hardens into a close fit around the heel.
Where the R300 has a mouldable insole and further sections in much of the shoe upper, the two new models employ a simpler system of insole and heel cup only. Both feature a carbon-fibre sole, moulded toe box to give ample toe room and combined mesh/synthetic leather upper, with the more expensive R220 boasting a ratcheted micro-adjust buckle and twin Velcro straps in place of the three Velcro straps of the R160.
Sizes for both shoes run from 39 to 48 in whole sizes, with the R220 offering a further five wide-fitting sizes from 42 to 46. Prices are £139.99 and £119.99 for the R220 and R160 respectively.