While the Shimano S-PHYRE RC9 shoes may get the most media coverage, their high price makes them inaccessible for most cyclists. This is where the Shimano RC300 shoes come in with high-performance features and construction at a mid-level price point. These slot above the RC1 shoes which have Velcro straps, but below the RC7 and RC5 shoe variations. For this review, we have the $125 Shimano RC300 cycling shoes which feature a single BOA L6 dial. Shimano offers these in both a women’s specific version, shown in this review, and a men’s version with slightly different color options. The RC300 shoes feature a fiberglass-reinforced nylon outsole with an integrated midsole and outsole construction for optimal fit. These shoes are compatible with 3-bolt cleats such as Shimano SPD-SL or Look Keo with adjustable forward and aft placement.
The Shimano RC3 cycling shoes combine a high performance design with an affordable price point and single BOA dial closure system.
|Measured Weight (in g)||485 (EUR 40 Women’s)|
|Likes||+ Affordable price|
+ Integrated midsole and upper construction with wide toe box
+ Centered dial allows quick and easy adjustments
|Dislikes||– Limited color options|
– Difficult to put on and take off with single BOA dial system
|Where to Buy (US)||Shimano|
The Shimano RC300 comes in a branded cardboard shoe box. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Shimano RC300 shoes
- BOA tags
- Safety and cleat installation instructions
Despite the budget price, the packaging and contents are nearly identical to the top-of-the-line RC9 shoes with simple eco-friendly materials.
FIT & FINISH
The Shimano RC300 shoes are the most affordable BOA dial equipped shoes in Shimano’s shoe lineup. Shimano only offers the RC300 in black for the men’s version while the women’s version gets two color options: black with tan accents, and the pale green version shown here with black accents. It’s a shame that Shimano doesn’t offer the pale green option on more shoes as it’s an attractive and unique color. Aside from the color differences, the women’s specific variation has a slightly more narrow toe box than Shimano’s men’s version but are otherwise visually identical. Branding is limited to Shimano printed on the rear and the RC300 model name on the top.
The RC300 shoes are constructed from a breathable synthetic leather upper with perforations on the toe box for ventilation. As with other Shimano shoes, these have a wraparound construction that eliminates pressure points and contours around your feet which is similar to the Shimano S-PHYRE RC9 and allows the shoes to uniformly compress as you tighten the single BOA L6 dial. Unlike the higher-end BOA Li2 dials, the L6 dial only provides micro-tightening and has to be pulled up to fully release the tension. The shoes have a unique looking lacing pattern that places the BOA dial in the center with a cross over pattern that pulls the upper together. While this centered design eliminates the need for a bottom Velcro strap, typically found on more budget shoes such as the Van Rysel RoadR 520, it still allows the toe box and ankle fit to be adjusted.
To achieve the affordable price point, the RC300 uses a fiberglass-reinforced nylon outsole. This design lacks the stiffness of a full carbon sole but has a low stack height and integrated midsole and upper design to provide optimal power transfer. It’s an affordable setup that’s comfortable on long rides outdoors or if you’re riding indoors as the flexibility relieves pressure. These are setup for 3-bolt cleats and work with Shimano SPD-SL or LOOK Keo cleats and even have fore-aft adjustment. Embossed line markings on the sole help you position the cleats but can be difficult to see as they are fairly shallow with no coloring. For ventilation there is also a front vent that helps air come through the shoes. Unlike the higher-end shoes, the RC3 has molded-in non-replaceable heel and toe pads to make it easier to walk in.
ON THE ROAD
For these women’s specific variations our tester who normally rides with US size 8 women’s shoes chose the EU 39 size. She found the shoes to be comfortable and surprisingly wide in the toe box. That was a surprise as the women’s version is more narrow than the men’s variations. Nevertheless, the shoes fit wider than the same size FLR F-XX II and F-XX Knit shoes she previously wore. While the shoes fit well, the wraparound design and single BOA dial made the shoes a bit cumbersome to put on or take off. The lack of a traditional tongue and centered BOA location limited the amount of space the shoe opens up to. Otherwise, the BOA setup worked well and didn’t have any pressure points even on longer rides. The flex on the nylon soles is noticeable on harder efforts but doesn’t detract from the general performance and connected feel they offer.
Overall, we found the Shimano RC3 to be a well priced and designed road cycling shoe. The single BOA L6 dial and nylon sole provide a good compromise between affordability and performance. While they aren’t nearly as stiff as higher end carbon shoes, they still perform well on the road and are comfortable on longer rides. We were impressed with the generously sized toe box and integrated midsole and upper design. The shoe has good ventilation and adjustability with its centered lacing pattern. As far as negatives, we would have liked to see a few more color options and a larger opening to make it easier to put or take off the shoes. That said, if you’re in search of good looking, budget friendly cycling shoes, the Shimano RC300 shoes are a solid option.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Shimano. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.