We’ve spotted Mathieu van der Poel wearing what appears to be the fourth iteration of Shimano’s S-Phyre road shoes.
In a video posted to his Instagram, van der Poel is seen getting ready for a ride where he trades pool slides for a pair of Shimano shoes that appear to have a number of differences when compared to Shimano’s S-Phyre RC902 road shoes – the current version of the brand’s top-end road shoe.
Firstly, the heel cup of van der Poel’s shoe is white. No current shoe in the RC902 range has a white heel cup. Instead, the heel cup on the currently available RC902s is silver.
There also appears to be a different lacing setup, with van der Poel’s shoes having what look like fabric lace loops rather than plastic clips on the toe box.
The branding is subtly different, too, with no splashy ‘S-Phyre’ logo alongside the outside edge of the Alpecin-Fenix rider’s kicks.
Granted, details in van der Poel’s Instagram video are hard to make out, but given the RC902 was released in September 2020, and we have only seen a Dura-Ace limited edition since then, the possibility of a new flagship road cycling shoe from Shimano seems likely.
The fact the shoes spotted on van der Poel’s Instagram don’t appear to be too visually different from the current version of the shoes might not be that surprising either.
If Shimano has listened to the people wearing the current S-Phyre, it will know the shoe has been commonly criticised, with some finding it narrower than its predecessor.
So, really, the new version might primarily be an alteration to the build and fit of the shoe rather than a drastic overhaul.