It was a strange moment when we found ourselves in the Shimano booth at Eurobike last year and felt as if we’d dropped into an outdoor clothing company’s booth instead. The reality is that Shimano is not just a derailleur and shifter company. As well known as Shimano is as one of the go-to component brands, over the years they have also carved out a tidy business with an ever-expanding catalog of accessories that can complement and enhance your entire ride experience. From apparel and eyewear to a full line of footwear, Shimano has you covered.
Owing to the popularity of their pedals (and apart from their purchase of Pearl Izumi), it makes sense that Shimano would also have a stake in the shoe business as well.
Shimano’s RC7 is positioned as the second tier in the Road Competition line that has gotten a bit of a facelift this season with the addition of Boa. As opposed to its high-end RC-9 sibling ($400) that uses two Boa closures, the RC7 uses a single Boa IP1 dial in combination with a toe-box Velcro strap. The IP1 dial is adjustable in both directions for quick and easy micro-adjustments. The Boa wire has a single cross with three offset wire guides that are all offset to the outside, which allows the upper to wrap over the top of the foot, letting the perforated, synthetic leather upper to naturally mold over the foot.
The upper is then partnered with a carbon fiber composite sole that is lightweight and stiff. Shimano rates their sole stiffness on a scale of 1–12 with 12 being the stiffest available. The RC7 has a rating of 10; this puts it third in the current lineup for sole stiffness. Shimano also touts its own Dynalast design, which provides an optimized toe-spring section that allows for a more energy-efficient upstroke to reduce energy loss. Beyond the usual range of sizes (38–48) and half-sizes (38–47), the RC-7 is also available in wide sizes in the 40–48 size range.
With just a light pull on the Boa dial, the shoe opens up wide and is incredibly easy to put on. The tongue of the shoe is centered over the top of the foot, while the opening is slightly offset to the outside. The combination of the low-profile pad that is on the tongue with the outer shell wrapping over the top of the foot offers a secure feel that is also very comfy. With the wire running along the top side of the foot, it’s not cutting into your foot but rather just holding the shoe securely closed. Shimano has always done a good job with their Velcro straps (placement and length), and this one follows in line. We found a comfortable tension for the toe box and hasn’t needed any adjustment since.
Even though the carbon sole doesn’t rate at the top of Shimano’s stiffness scale, it was still stiff enough to impress during hard pedal efforts. There is a molded toe and heel pad that is bonded to the shoe and onto part of the upper. It allows great traction in case you make a coffee stop but are not replaceable. The three-bolt mounting holes are surrounded by lots of helpful alignment markings, which allow you to match and pinpoint cleat position.
The RC7 also has a small red bumper that is holding the mounting plate centered in slotted openings. When it’s removed, it offers 11mm of additional fore-and-aft cleat adjustment over what the cleat itself offers.
Although the RC7 is missing some of the bells and whistles that the top-tier Shimano shoes have, like choice of colors, moldable uppers and insoles, all in all, this is a great shoe that impressed us with its comfort, stiffness and overall performance.
- So much shoe for the price
- Toe and heel pads are not replaceable
- Great fit that doesn’t hinder easy in and out
Weight: 230 grams