When you find the perfect shoe it’s easy to be afraid of forking out on a different brand when it’s time for some new ones. When I’d worn my old faithful shoes to death, with the stitching coming apart and the leather peeling off from more than my share of crashes, I was reluctant to try another brand.
However, when the time came to write off the old shoes, I looked to Shimano, and their top-level Elite Road Competition model. Shimano have been developing their SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) and related footwear since 1988 and they have many pro riders and teams on their books, so they know a thing or two about what needs to go into a performance shoe.
The new Elite Road Competition shoes from Shimano are super light and super stiff for ultimate power transfer and thanks to the stiff carbon graphite sole this was really noticeable on first impressions. Shimano do a women’s specific shoe (down to a size 36) but as my feet are a 39 I could get away with wearing the men’s shoe, rather than Shimano’s Women’s specific model. The advantage is that the men’s shoe offers a higher level of features, particularly the ratchet system, which the women’s design lacks. With a carbon graphite sole and secure fit from the ratchet closure and two straps, the shoes not only look great but have all the ultimate features needed for high performance use.
These shoes are first and foremost, designed for racing and the stiffness does give added confidence during sprinting and acceleration. It is worth noting that after some significant time in the saddle some riders may find they need a more flexible sole. If you try to flex the sole you’ll have a job and when you pull and push on the pedal you feel the power going through the entire foot and not just the area local to the cleat.
Shimano have really bought into the custom sole programme too and we noticed at Eurobike that the new R300 shoe features a custom moulded footbed to get the perfect fit, these will retail at £180 and they need microwaving and fitting by a professional fitter, interesting new development though – we hope for a test pair very soon.
The Elite’s are available in a wider “E” width fitting which gives you a ‘roomier’ toe box. The standard width fitting doesn’t come up as narrow as a lot of standard designs on the market and are generally quite roomy on the whole.
The air vent under the foot helps to keep feet cool and the design features a sponge deep heel cup for extra comfort. The silver and blue understated look is simple but rather impressive. The shoes are compatible with SPD-SL, SPD-R/SPD (with adaptor SM-SH85) and Look pedals.
For those on a budget these probably aren’t the best option but they are well worth the spend if it’s race performance you’re after and these really are a no-compromise shoe.