by Gus Alexandropoulos
Road shoes are an important piece of equipment: they connect your legs to the bike allowing you to transfer power. The perfect shoe for everyone is out there, but you might have to go through a few duds to find it. You’ll know you’ve found the right cycling shoe when you don’t think about your feet at all during a ride.
Here are our picks for some 2021 road shoes that address cyclists’ shoe concerns and innovate in new and creative ways.
Giro Regime ($350)
The Giro Regime‘s upper is made from Synchwire, which feels quite space-age, while giving you timeless comfort and durability. Also, on the wiry theme, the Boa system uses strong steel laces that run through soft lace guides to dial in the fit. The shoes are well-ventilated, which you’ll appreciate during long, spirited rides in the summer. When you have to up the pace, the carbon-composite plate that’s part of the sole will direct your power to the pedals completely. A pair in size 39 weighs 250 g. Read more.
RELATED: Review: Giro Regime road shoes
Specialized S-Works Ares ($585)
The new S-Works Ares shoes, launched in January, were created to deliver maximum power output without com- promising the comfort required during long rides. To achieve these properties, Specialized employs a new closure system (with Boa dials) that locks the foot in place securely without creating the pressure commonly experienced with more conventional systems. For maximum power transfer, Specialized specs its stiffest and lightest carbon outsole. Finally, a metatarsal button helps to keep hot spots at bay by protecting the right nerves and arteries in the foot. It all adds up to stability and the locked-in fit required during full-out sprints. Read more.
Garneau Chrome II ($150)
With an accessible price point, the Chrome II road shoes are ideal for new riders seeking improved performance. Even with the shoes’ lower cost, they still hold a surprising number of features usually reserved for more expensive offerings. For example, the Chrome II shoes come with Garneau’s X-Comfort zone technology. This feature allows the shoe’s upper to yield at the shoe’s edges, reducing numbness during long rides. Throw in a supportive injection-moulded nylon/fibreglass outsole and a secure three hook-and-loop closure system, and it’s hard to overlook the value offered by these shoes.
Shimano S-Phyre RC902 ($600)
The S-Phyre RC902, Shimano’s top-of-the-line road racing shoe, is understandably packed with leading-edge materials and construction details. Starting with a seamless one-piece upper, Shimano strategically adds overlays for increased protection, durability and power transfer without compromising a foot-hugging fit. The company has made a few changes: if you found the previous version of the S-Phyre put a little too much of a squeeze on your toes, you’ll notice more room at the front of the new shoe. The S-Phyre RC902 gets a rigid and responsive carbon-fibre midsole that offers excellent power transfer during long rides. It’s this combination of features (as well as too many others to list in this short review) and performance that makes the S-Phyre RC902 a top choice for riders seeking a no-compromise road racing shoe. Read more.
RELAED: New Shimano S-Phyre RC902 shoes hit the road
Bontrager Circuit ($185)
Bontrager’s unisex Circuit road shoes are single-Boa shoe is made for riders who “want to tackle a variety of road rides without making their feet pay for it.” Designed with Bontrager’s inForm Race last shape, the shoe is a bit roomier than the company’s inForm Pro models. The shoes are compatible with three-bolt and two-bolt SPD-style cleats, so a little light off-road action is an option. A synthetic mesh and TPU upper provides some breathability (and makes the shoe look crisp) while underneath the nylon composite sole, Bontrager’s “Bronze Series” design, is classified as a 7 out of 14 on the brand’s stiffness index. Read more.
RELATED: Review: The new Bontrager Circuit road shoes emphasize comfort, performance and cost