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SHIMANO SH-R320 Top-of-the-Line Road Cycling Shoe

 

 

OVERVIEW

I have been wearing Shimano cycling shoes for almost a dozen years now. I have tried others, but, always went back to Shimano since they seemed to fit me the best. Shimano’s cycling shoes vary from year to year, and

Custom Fit SH-R320

Custom Fit SH-R320

with the past several pairs, I have noticed that they seem to be getting a little tighter in the toe box height. My last pair, SH-R220, have been rubbing the top of my toes causing small calluses to appear. I had been sticking to their ‘200’ series line since they seemed to have more air vents than their ‘300’ series line. They weren’t heat formable and were a little less money. Since my R220’s are about worn out, I was looking to go with the latest and greatest, the R320’s.

Opening the box, you can tell something is different with these shoes. They are incredibly light and well thought out, incredibly well built and comfortable. The R320’s are a brand new design, not a “re-do” of the R315.

What first got my attention were the new custom moldable insoles, with 2 additional arch supports each that can be placed into a built-in pocket of the insoles.

This shoe is also feature packed with several other new technologies such as a new Dynalast, 11mm more of cleat adjustment, a new external ergonomic heel cup design offering better heel hold and stability, anti-slip heel lining which prevents heel lift when pedaling, generous amounts of open mesh for cooling and breathability, Rovenica®- a stronger lighter synthetic leather upper, and of course, heat molding for a custom fit.

What is Dynalast? As drivetrains have become more efficient, one area that has been overlooked is having a

Arch Pressure Map

Arch Pressure Map

mechanism for a better and more efficient power transfer from the feet to the pedals. Shimano has studies this in depth, and this is one reason that they went back to the drawing board for a new shoe. Dynalast is Shimano’s footwear optimized for ultimate power transfer and built on a platform specifically for road cycling. While other companies build their shoes based on hiking boots or ski boots, etc., Shimano’s shoes are specifically built for road cycling. Shimano optimizes 3 areas of the shoe that supports the foot.

1)       Arch: Imagine the foot as a bridge. The arch spans two separate sections of the foot; the toes and the heel. The arch needs to be well supported and secured from moving. Shimano includes 2 removable arch supports giving the cyclist 4 arch height options (none, yellow, red, yellow + red) ensuring you have a secure fit.

2)       Toe-spring: defined as how high the toes curl upwards in a shoe. Originally designed for heel-strike type running shoes, Shimano has optimized the toe-spring section of the shoe so that it promotes a smoother and more efficient upstroke. This reduces energy loss especially on long rides.

3)       Monocoque heel cup: Shimano optimized the shape of the heel cup so that it increases the level of stability as well as increases the shoes hold on the heel of the foot thereby preventing your heel from slipping around in the shoe. Shimano has also reinforced the standard nylon heel cup with carbon fiber which decreases weight and increases strength and rigidity.

Other noticeable areas of improvements to the shoe include:

R320's, the BEST shoes I have ever worn!

R320’s, the BEST shoes I have ever worn!

a)       Hollow-channeled carbon outsole – decreasing the shoes weight and increasing the surface area thereby increasing rigidity
b)       11mm more cleat adjustment
c)       Offset straps that relieve tension at the highest point of the foot where pressure tends to be the greatest.
d)       Quick dry mesh that control temperature and wick away moisture
e)       Custom fit materials hold the foot more securely allowing more efficient ‘lift’, ‘drive’, and ‘pull’ phases of the pedal stroke.

These design changes result in a claimed 5.23% savings in braking loss (the unwanted loss of power that occurs between the crank angles of 200° and 360° in the backspin direction of a pedal stroke), which equates to a 0.56% increase in  pedaling efficiency by placing less tension on the hamstrings, calves and the foot’s plantar.

HOW DID THEY PERFORM?

First, let me state that these insoles are the best insoles that have ever been included with any off-the-shelf production shoe including cycling, running and hiking shoes. In fact, these insoles verge on being actual orthotics!

I have experimented with other orthotics, ones that have even higher arch supports and, even when using these, there is still enough strap length to be able to cinch down the buckles and straps. The huge cooling vents flow massive amounts of air, keeping warm feet cool. The hollow channel is light and stiff and I experienced no flex in the shoes even when kicking out 1000 watts on short hill sprints.

Tested

Yes, they really do get tested and used!!!!

Everything that Shimano claims is true. The shoes are lighter, stiffer, they hug the heel, AND, the biggest difference is that there is more room in the toe box than any other Shimano shoe I have used. The design of the shoe really does prevent your foot from sliding around. With the off set straps, there is no pinching or constricting of the top of the foot. My heel was held in the shoe like it was glued, and with the wider cleat adjustment, I was able to move the cleats just a few mm further back to give me the perfect position. Talking about cleats, I highly recommend that you use the blue cleats for this shoe, they tighten up any remaining play in the system.

NOTE:

In fact, these insoles are so good that I recommend that you purchase them for all of your other cycling shoes. For your convenience, I have included all of the information needed to order below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY

Shimano was able to combine both rigidity and comfort with this shoe! It’s also a great looking shoe!

Note: Heat molding must be done at a Shimano Custom Fit authorized dealer.

I highly recommend the R320’s!

 

 

 


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