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HomeCyclingShimano S-PHYRE RC903 Males's and Girls's Highway Footwear

Shimano S-PHYRE RC903 Males’s and Girls’s Highway Footwear


Worn and examined by a number of high professional riders, together with Mathieu van der Poel, Primož Roglič, Romain Bardet, and Lorena Wiebes, the S-PHYRE RC903 is the third incarnation of Shimano’s top-shelf highway racing shoe. Mild, stiff, and comfy are three apt adjectives. What else might you ask for in a pair of sneakers?


Sure … I do know … these are costly sneakers. However so are the top-of-the-line sneakers from each different shoe producer. In order for you what the professionals experience, it prices. So when you have the $$$ and need to look the half (whether or not you possibly can experience the half is between you and your bike), the brand new Shimano S-PHYRE RC903 is a type of sneakers to place in your purchasing record. To steal a phrase from the 90s used for a well-known basketball participant (arguably the GOAT), you will be like Mathieu.

As a substitute of being like Mike, you will be like Mathieu (attempt to not be like Caleb!)

The RC903 is the following era S-PHYRE. I beforehand reviewed the RC902 (which implies if you happen to’re a discount shopper, you might be able to discover the prior mannequin discounted). One of many issues I wrote about them was that they “could be essentially the most snug biking sneakers I’ve ever worn. Learn on for my tackle the RC903s.

S-PHYRE RC903 Males’s – $450


Options per Shimano:

  • Light-weight and breathable microfiber leather-based higher offers optimum match and superior consolation all through your experience
  • Premium-finish heel cup with anti-twist stabilization secures optimum foot positioning for intense acceleration
  • Glossy, low-profile crossover lacing sample elegantly secures forefoot
  • 360º encompass wrapping higher creates a supremely engineered match for all riders
  • Twin low-profile BOA Li2 dials permit fast and exact micro-adjustments
  • Built-in seamless midsole and higher building set a brand new degree of match, stability and light-weight efficiency

Males’s obtainable in 4 colours (white, blue, crimson, black), sizes 40-48 (half sizes obtainable 40-46.5), additionally huge sizes 40-46

NOTE: As with all sneakers, take note of the producer’s sizing charts/guides. Each producer is completely different. Simply since you put on a specific dimension in a single model shoe doesn’t imply that you simply’ll put on the identical dimension in one other model. There isn’t a such factor as “commonplace sizing” in terms of sneakers. There’s additionally a “misplaced in translation” issue to think about. I’m usually a US dimension 9 in terms of avenue or athletic sneakers, however the equal Euro sizing will be completely different between completely different producers (I’ve worn as small as Euro 42 and as massive as Euro 43.5 from completely different producers). Shimano specs Euro dimension 43 for my US dimension 9 toes and the match is spot on. As at all times, attempt before you purchase is at all times a good suggestion.


In a case of “don’t repair what ain’t broke,” the RC903 makes use of the identical microfiber leather-based higher and 360º encompass wrapping (assume “burrito”) in order that as you tighten the shoe, it pulls extra evenly from either side for higher match/consolation. The consequence is identical snug match with the RC903 match that I’ve with the RC902: I can’t let you know that it pulls evenly from either side, however I can let you know that the wrapping impact may be very snug. It feels just like the higher surrounds your foot with even strain as you tighten down the BOA dials.

The seam that joins the 2 halves of the higher collectively

One other side of the RC903’s 360º encompass design/building is that the carbon fiber sole isn’t totally uncovered like a number of different sneakers

With the insole eliminated, you possibly can see all of the black carbon fiber goodness

BOA dials are ubiquitous on highway race sneakers (the RC903 makes use of the BOA Li2 dials), however what’s completely different from many different sneakers is that the RC903’s BOA dials pull the laces throughout the shoe in reverse instructions. This design characteristic goes hand-in-hand with the burrito building, pulling the shoe closed from either side in order that the shoe wraps extra evenly/comfortably round your foot.


In case you’re new to BOA dials: push down to have interaction them, flip ahead (inexperienced arrow) to tighten (on both the left or proper shoe), flip backward (crimson arrow) to loosen, and pull as much as fast launch them

Additionally ubiquitous on highway race sneakers is 3-hole cleat mounting. Shimano really has a cleat setting system, however it requires a Brannock gadget (the factor shoe shops need to measure shoe dimension and I don’t have one) to measure the variations in heel-to-toe measurement and arch measurement to find out cleat placement. I used to be capable of get my foot positioned the place I prefer it (with the ball of my foot simply ever so barely ahead of the pedal axle) by mounting my cleats (Wahoo Speedplays) way back to attainable.

Shimano doesn’t make a Speedplay-specific shoe, so 3-holes means I wanted to make use of adapters for my 4-hole Speedplay cleats

Shimano says they used 3D information to higher perceive how riders apply strain all through the pedal stroke and optimized the brand new RC903 form and supplies to maximise energy switch whereas sustaining consolation. There’s no manner for me to research/assess this. Which means, I can’t say that energy switch is maximized relative to the RC902 or every other biking shoe. However I can say the RC903’s carbon sole is loads stiff for placing down energy and that doesn’t come on the expense of consolation.

Spinal Faucet could be proud that Shimano’s stiff carbon sole goes all the best way as much as twelve!

Shimano additionally says the brand new RC903’s higher building is extra inflexible towards the rear of the shoe to carry the foot securely in place, however extra versatile and elastic supplies are used up entrance to extend consolation. Once more, I’ve no approach to measure how inflexible the rear of the shoe is or versatile the entrance is and examine that to the RC902 or every other biking shoe. However I can say that my heel matches comfortably and securely (no slip or carry). My forefoot is held firmly, however comfortably, in place. And the toebox is roomy sufficient such that my toes aren’t squished collectively and have room to unfold out as I apply strain to the pedals, however not so roomy that my toes are swimming in it.

The heel cup is a brand new safe, anti-twist design/building

The replaceable heel pad is screwed in place from the within

One factor that’s noticeably completely different/new on the S-PHYRE RC903 is the forefoot lacing. Per my overview of the RC902: One fascinating characteristic of the BOA system on the S-PHYRE RC902s is the Powerzone lace information within the forefoot, which lets you primarily double the lace pull to create extra lace pull if you need a tighter match. Shimano selected to delete this characteristic within the RC903. As a substitute the lacing runs in a determine 8 sample and isn’t adjustable. Shimano claims the result’s improved flexibility of the shoe’s higher and lowered danger of scorching spots. If this alteration is meant to make the RC903 “higher” than the RC902, I actually can’t say that my toes felt any noticeable variations between the 2. Put one other manner: my toes have been simply as glad within the RC903s because the RC902s.

The RC903 does away with the RC902’s Powerzone lace information (inset)

Toe “bumpers” up entrance

I’m penning this within the useless of winter, however there’s no mistaking that the Shimano S-PHYRE RC903 is a heat/scorching climate shoe with all of its air flow options.

That’s a complete lotta holes!

The insole has air flow holes

Entrance consumption

Rear exhaust

As it’s winter, I’ve managed a couple of out of doors rides however most of my driving within the Shimano S-PHYRE RC903s has been indoors. However indoor driving is a reasonably good check of sneakers as a result of even quick stints on the good strainer contain fixed pedaling having to place down energy with no freewheeling. Any uncomfortable-ness goes to present itself early and infrequently. Not a difficulty for me with the RC903s.

The opposite factor that indoor driving makes identified fairly rapidly is what I name “carbon sole fatigue” (as a result of there’s by no means any let up on the pedals to beat the resistance load imposed by a wise coach). You desire a carbon sole must be stiff for environment friendly energy switch, but when it’s too stiff it will probably “push again” and trigger discomfort with strain factors or scorching spots on the underside of your foot. Once more, not a difficulty for me with the RC903s.

Strike a pose … vogue

The Shimano S-PHYRE RC903 is a full-on race shoe with all of the bells and whistles, however the phrases I maintain coming again to are “consolation” and “snug.” For me, having the ability to put down energy doesn’t do me a lot good if my toes aren’t snug in my sneakers to maintain pedaling (particularly on lengthy rides). So if you happen to’re keen/capable of drop 4 C-notes plus change on a brand new pair of biking sneakers, the Shimano S-PHYRE RC903 could be that pair of sneakers that finds that ever elusive candy spot that maximizes each consolation and stiffness.

Heat winter climate within the SC lowcountry

S-PHYRE RC903W Girls’s – $450

Girls’s in white, sizes 36-44 full sizes


That Shimano is providing a girls’s shoe on par with its greatest males’s shoe is necessary. There’s no cause girls shouldn’t have the identical high quality gear. Biking has been a male dominated sport, however the hole between female and male cyclists is narrowing:

  • Of the 103 million individuals who rode a motorcycle in 2020, 26% have been girls and about 39% have been males, based on a survey carried out by the PeopleforBikes Basis
  • 60% of bicycle homeowners between the ages of 17 and 28 are girls, based on an August 2013 report by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB)


Furthermore, in market estimated to develop to $34.6 billion by 2027, biking firms could be remiss to disregard the truth that girls management or affect 85% on shopper spending (US and worldwide) and buy over 50% of conventional male merchandise (within the US). And girls are an necessary a part of the sports activities and sporting items market. For instance, girls make 60 % of the purchases within the working market.


From a technical standpoint, the ladies’s model of the RC903 is identical as the lads’s. Meaning the identical artificial leather-based higher, 360° “burrito” building, stiff carbon fiber sole, and BOA Li2 micro-click 2-way adjustable dials. In different phrases, all of the necessary stuff that makes the RC903 a top-shelf shoe.

Similar carbon fiber sole, wrap round building, and BOA Li2 dials as the lads’s RC903

There are two main variations between the ladies’s RC903W and the lads’s RC903. The primary is visible. The lads’s white RC903 is mainly all white (with black S-PHYRE graphics). The ladies’s shoe can be white (and is just obtainable in white) however transitions to a pearlescent/iridescent-like silver sample behind the shoe (and the S-PHYRE graphics are silver). As an apart, IMHO it’s refreshing to see a producer not resorting to pink to distinguish a girls’s product.

The white to pearlescent/iridescent fade on the ladies’s RC903W (backside) units it other than the extra “plain” males’s RC903 (high)

Completely flash

The second distinction is invisible: the RC903W girls’s mannequin final form is designed particularly for ladies with a decrease quantity and narrower match. In fact, sneakers match everybody’s toes in another way (as a result of everybody’s toes are completely different) so attempt before you purchase is at all times really helpful.



Match-wise, when my spouse first tried on the RC903W she discovered the heel cup held her heel firmly with no slip and the higher was snug round her midfoot with the BOA dials cinched up snugly, however the toebox was a little bit tight. My spouse has a comparatively excessive arch and that was with the usual yellow arch helps. After swapping out the yellow for the crimson (larger arch) helps, her toes match fantastic all the best way round. Simply an instance that particulars matter and one more reason why attempt before you purchase is at all times a good suggestion.

You probably have a better arch, you’ll in all probability need the crimson arch helps

Consolation-wise, my spouse discovered the S-PHYRE RC903Ws to be very snug. In her phrases, “a shoe that feels such as you don’t have it on.” That’s excessive reward, certainly. However for full disclosure: not as snug as her beloved Carnacs from the 90s.

Experience-wise, my spouse’s RC903Ws did what they’re presupposed to do, i.e., switch energy on to the pedals. And pedaling was snug (there’s that phrase once more) for her — no strain factors or scorching spots.

NOTE: My spouse did have one “criticism.” She loves my blue S-PHYRE RC902s and needs Shimano made the ladies’s RC903Ws in blue.


After I reviewed the Shimano S-PHYRE RC902s, I wrote: “if all you’re doing is shorter distance rides, it could be onerous to justify the price.” However my spouse’s expertise with the RC903W has me re-thinking that. She doesn’t experience as many miles or as critically as she used to (there was a time after I was coming again to biking after a 15 yr hiatus off the bike that she was driving extra miles than me and there have been occasions after I needed to work to remain on her wheel). Her driving now isn’t about efficiency per se and tends to be extra “informal” (usually espresso rides with me), however when she does experience she needs technical equipment that’s trendy and comfy. Whereas the RC903W is definitely a efficiency shoe, it’s additionally (for my spouse) a really snug shoe (and keep in mind what I wrote in regards to the prior era RC902: “could be essentially the most snug biking sneakers I’ve ever worn. ) So even if you happen to’re not driving a ton of miles, consolation continues to be necessary and at a premium — and that could be price the price (plus some added incentive/motivation to experience). Meals for thought.

My spouse wished blue, however Shimano solely makes the RC903W in white

You don’t need to be as quick as Lorena Wiebes (the present European Highway Race champion) to experience the Shimano S-PHYRE RC903W. You simply need to need to experience in a pair of very snug (and classy IMHO) sneakers.

All within the household

I do know this can be too cute, however …

Hubby-wifey completely matchy-matchy

• Discover a seller close to you on the Shimano web site right here.

Observe: You probably have different experiences with gear or one thing so as to add, drop us a line. We don’t declare to know all the things (we simply indicate it at occasions). Give us a pat on the again if you happen to just like the opinions or a slap within the head if you happen to really feel the necessity!

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