If Rapha’s first house-made cycling shoes, released last year, aimed to match the brand’s classic cycling style, its just-released Pro Team Shoe strives for performance. “Elite racing exacts extreme and often contradictory demands on cycling shoes,” Rapha’s site reads. A high-grade shoe has to be comfortable and lightweight yet stiff and durable over miles.
Rapha spent the past two years balancing these scales. It worked with a fabric engineer to create the Pro Team Shoe’s woven upper and logged over 30,000 kilometers of pavement during testing. The final production model includes dual Boa fastening dials and a stiff carbon sole as well as the semi-flexible upper with its weather-resistant DWR treatment and external heel cup.
Professional riders, including Neilson Powless and Hannah Barnes, have already adopted the Pro Team Shoe for their racing needs, as has one of Gear Patrol‘s testers, who has been training in the new shoe for the past few weeks. He praises the construction for its comfort — one of Rapha’s principal development goals — noting that the inclusion of a free-floating tongue and arch support inserts aid in fine-tuning fit. “I’m surprised by how stiff the toe box is,” he adds. “This could be something that breaks in over time, but only longer testing would reveal that.” Judging the shoe’s longevity also requires time in the saddle.
“They’re stiff, lightweight and everything a high-end road bike shoe should be,” he concludes. “If the last Rapha built them on fits your foot, go for it — they’re a great option. Here’s hoping they come in black.” (They do.)
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