Surely everyone likes shoes? I remember when I first got a pair of race-inspired cycling shoes, inspired both in tech and aesthetics, and I just felt fast, it almost felt like I should ride faster because I was wearing them, if truth be told, I did ride faster in them!
Well, with Le Tour looming Shimano have boshed out a limited edition colour scheme of their current R321B race shoe, in the company’s signature blue – stunning, but not for the faint-hearted!The original R321 has been a hit in the pro peloton this year with the likes of John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews, Vasily Kirienka all using it to power to victories in races such as Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, and two stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia. Now 40 riders from teams including Orica GreenEDGE, Giant-Alpecin, Team Sky, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM and Cannondale-Garmin are hoping to use the R321B shoe to take them to glory in this year’s Tour de France.
The re-worked version of the original R321 takes its inspiration from the company’s iconic blue colour scheme as well as yellow, a colour synonymous with the Tour de France, where the shoe will be officially unveiled.
The blue upper surround features a dimpled contour with aerodynamic styling, designed and engineered to provide a secure and comfortable glove-like fit, and an optimized balance of power transfer and all-day comfort.
The upper material is made from Teijin Avail 100 Ultra-fine fibre, which makes the shoes stretch-resistant, extremely durable and lightweight. It is the perfect choice for a custom-fit shoe, as the material adapts organically to the foot’s shape during the custom-fit process. In keeping with the customized theme, flashes of yellow across the Teijin Avail outer upper section form into the shoe’s name, the R321. Matching the blue upper, the durable toe cap has also received a blue makeover complete with striking yellow detailing.
Complementing the blue and yellow design are black air vents in the toe cap and exhaust ports, a black tongue, adjustable straps and the top portion of the double-pivot buckle fastening mechanism.
The R321B sits upon an ultra-rigid, lightweight, hollow channel, black, blue and yellow cross-carbon weave outsole with a 12/12 stiffness rating for maximum power transfer. The outsole also incorporates Shimano’s unique Dynalast shape, designed to enhance muscle efficiency and provide smoother riding performance. The sole construction offers 22 mm of adjustment, doubling the standard fore and aft range of the cleat setting to help you find the ideal shoe-to-pedal fit.
The external heel cup supports the heel from the outside and stabilizes pedaling by holding the heel snugly in place, while the new anti-slip heel lining also prevents unwanted heel lift. The insole, heel cup and upper all incorporate Shimano’s special thermo-moldable ‘Custom-Fit’ material. The unique heat treatment and vacuum-fitting processes available from dealers stocking Shimano´s top-of-the-range shoes promote a more stable pedaling platform, keeping the rider’s feet in a perfect position throughout the whole pedal stroke, taking comfort and foot support to a whole new level.
Much like shoes throughout Shimano’s road range, a 3-bolt fixing system and guide marks allow for accurate placing of cleats. Together with custom fit insoles, this allows the rider to adapt the shoe to his or her body, rather than the other way around, obtaining optimized alignment and the best fit possible.
The end result is an eye-catching shoe that fits like a glove, offers optimal power transfer and will almost certainly be the envy of any riding group.