Shimano RP5 shoes - review - Road Cycling UK

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Shimano RP5 shoes – review

Very good mid-range shoes - comfortable, well-vented and smart

Shimano’s current footwear range is made up of seven pairs of shoes and the RP5s offer good mid-level performance, with a decent amount of stiffness, a comfortable fit, a good level of ventilation and a clean, understated look – a fine combination for a sub-£100 pair of shoes.

With a recommended retail price of £89.99, the RP5 shoes sit at a competitive price point, aimed at riders either looking to upgrade entry-level shoes or perhaps clipping in for the first time.

While Shimano’s new flagship RC7 shoes uses a Boa dial for the first time, most shoes in the range, including the RP5s, use a ratchet system. Unlike most other shoes, the ratchet is on the strap itself, and there are also a couple of mounting points for the strap, which offers a little more flexibility with the fit.

The RP5s combine a ratchet with two velcro straps
  • Specification

  • Price: £89.99
  • Sizes: 36-50
  • Size tested: 43
  • Website: Shimano
  • UK distributor: Madison

The shoes also utilises two velcro straps further down to help keep everything in place and together this setup works well to provide a secure fit. All things considered, the RP5s offer an excellent fit and have proved really comfortable over longer rides.

Flip the shoes over and the construction is fairly interesting, with the majority of the sole being made from a glass fibre reinforced nylon, but with a carbon plate underneath the cleat. The idea is to provide a stiffer area directly under the cleat to improve power transfer, without the associated cost of a full carbon sole. It’s a smart move, really, and provides a sensible balance between power transfer, comfort and price.

That being said, these aren’t the stiffest shoes out there due to the glass fibre construction across most of the sole. But it isn’t like wearing a pair of plimsolls by any means and Shimano rate the RP5s seven out of 11 for stiffness (why do they rate shoe stiffness out of 11? Big fans of Spinal Tap?), which is about right. They’re not as stiff as the more expensive Shimano R171 shoes £129.99 (reviewed in April), which are rated ten out of 11, so there is a small but noticeable difference. Still, the RP5s offer plenty of stiffness for most riders looking for a shoe like this, and you wouldn’t expect them to have the same rigidity as raceworthy shoes which sit further up the range.

The shoes are compatible with both SPD (two-bolt mountain bike cleats) and SPD-SL (three-bolt road cleats) setups, which is a nice touch, though sole the sole is flat, which no recess like a dedicated mountain bike shoe, so in reality they’re a little better suited to road use. The shoes also have a heel buffer which provides a fair amount of grip while also being durable and providing some protection for the sole. It’s not replaceable but is both big and robust so should last a long time.

The carbon/nylon hybrid sole is rated seven out of 11 on Shimano’s stiffness scale

Back to the top of the shoes and Shimano have used an easy to clean, robust material which is dimpled throughout like a golf ball. It’s easy to wipe down if you have ridden in particularly horrible conditions and there are also perforations throughout the top and a large ventilation area on the outside of the toe area. These, combined with two vents on the sole, create a good level of airflow through the shoes and despite riding in some hot conditions and the shoes being solid black, I never found my feet getting overly warm.

Finally, these aren’t the lightest shoes, coming in at a claimed 550g for the pair (size 42) but the weight is about right for the money.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about Shimano’s RP5 shoes. They offer good value for money, have some smart features not out of place on more expensive shoes and also look really good with a minimalist design.

Pros

  • Secure and comfortable fit
  • Smart, understated design
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Sole could be stiffer but not much to complain about for the money

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