Looking to eke out every last bit of speed and power during your next bike race? Rapha has a shoe for you. The famed cycling apparel company has launched the Rapha Pro Team Shoe, its first cycling shoe designed specifically for racing. According to Rapha, the shoe is the product of over two years of development and more than 20,000 kilometers of testing, and it’s built from the ground up to handle high-intensity riding in all conditions. Early responses from pro racers suggests the company really nailed it.
“I generally hate new shoes for a month but loved these straight out of the box,” Lachlan Morton, a racer with the Education First Pro Cycling team, said in a press release. “They were an instant favorite.”
Rapha focused on improving the fit and increasing power transfer from foot to pedal in the Pro Team Shoe, and several innovations help the new kicks stand out. Starting from the top, the shoe features a new upper material called Powerweave. After testing out a number of different fabric options, Rapha decided to create its own textile in partnership with the American materials science company Avery Dennison.
The result is a new jacquard woven fabric. Powerweave is stronger and less stretchy than other materials, so it can deliver a snug fit, but it’s also flexible enough to closely map the contours of the foot. In addition, Powerweave is designed to breathe well on hot rides, and it’s given a hydrophobic treatment to ward off precipitation on cold and rainy days. With Powerweave, Rapha aimed to create a shoe that hugs the foot and also keeps you comfortable through a wide range of conditions—a major benefit for riders who race in all seasons. Plus, a BOA closure system on the upper helps you dial in the fit even more precisely.
But a good fit alone won’t win you any races. Rapha also spent considerable resources on the Pro Team’s sole, too. It’s made from carbon fiber shaped into a trapezoidal cross-section inspired by the design of bridges—and like any good bridge, these shoes don’t sag under pressure. They’re designed to be super stiff to maximize the amount of force from your feet that’s transmitted to the pedals. Top that off with an external TPU heel cup to keep your feet locked in place, and you’ve got a recipe for serious power.
All of this comes in a featherlight package—just 7.76 oz for a size 9. And, like the rest of Rapha’s offerings, these shoes are big on style, too. They’re available in three different colorways, although we think the purple version is particularly striking. Of course, the key factor here is how well they perform on the bike. According to the riders who’ve had a chance to test the Pro Team out, this shoe is the real deal.
“After the first ride, I already knew I wanted them for the race,” Neilson Powless said in the Rapha press release. “Comfort and stiffness are hard to balance, but Rapha has done it beautifully with these shoes.”
Looking to grab your own pair? Rapha states that sizing and widths with the Pro Team are similar to the company’s Explore and Classic shoe lines. They’re on sale now for Rapha Cycling Club members, and will be available to the rest of us on Feb. 27.
[$355; rapha.cc]Get it
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