Rapha has launched a new road bike shoes called Rapha Pro Team. And it has already been actively used since the beginning of this season by the Education First team.
Rapha Pro Team Shoes complements the Classic Shoes and Explore Shoes, introduced last year and developed in-house. If you remember the Grand Tour and Climber boots as the brainchild of Rapha, then we hasten to disappoint you – this is the development of the Giro, produced under the British brand .. Pro Team is built to provide high performance. Classic is versatile and Explore is for gravel applications.
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Rapha Pro Team Shoes
Cycling shoes with fabric uppers are nothing new in the cycling industry. Back in 2017, Giro launched Empire Knit, followed by DMT, Fizik and Bontrager.
It starts to seem that Rapha just wanted to stay in trend, but this is not entirely true. The manufacturer emphasizes that the main difference from the above brands is the use of woven polyester, not knitted fabric.
A new material was developed in collaboration with Avery Dennison and was named Powerweave, and according to Rapha itself, this jacquard fabric is becoming “the new benchmark for cycling shoes”. Strong statement. Time will tell.
The Powerweave fabric creates the Pro Team’s one-piece woven upper. The tongue is microfiber, a plastic cup reinforces the heel, and inside is a footbed with adjustable arch height. Two Boa dials take care of the closure.
The sole is carbon, of course, and employs a “trapezoidal cross-section inspired by box-girder bridges,” says Rapha. But unlike most high end shoes, the Pro Team’s sole has no vent/drain holes.
There’s also a replaceable TPU pad on the heel, a TPU toe bumper, and titanium cleat mounting nuts (fixed, not slotted or adjustable).
What is the difference between knitwear and fabric?
Knitwear is made from a single thread that creates many weaves. As an example, just look at a knitted sweater, where the same technology is used. The woven fabric contains many individual strands that cross each other at right angles.
If this is translated into a more understandable language, the knitwear is quite stretched, especially in width. The fabric is less susceptible to this effect, allowing you to provide the required level of rigidity while maintaining an acceptable level of comfort.
According to Rapha, this solution, along with the low profile of the sole, allows them to achieve the effect of tight-fitting gloves, and the dense weave of the fabric should not be a problem on hot days; the shoes are well ventilated.
The new material is distinct from the uniform stretch of a knit upper. By weaving polyester threads with different levels of stiffness, Rapha designers created an upper that is stiff in areas crucial to power output, with give in others to fit comfortably and move with the foot as you pedal.
It’s similar to the way bike manufacturers tune carbon bikes by stiffening the layup in certain areas and adding flex in others.
In addition, the shoe is water-repellent, although its performance is questionable, as the fabric is still breathable.
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Rapha Pro Team Shoes Veredict
The Pro Team Road Upper is interesting for its unconventional approach, but that’s not the whole shoe. As strange as it may seem in 2020, this pair of boots was the first Rapha to implement with BOA fasteners.
Previously, the company used laces and Velcro. And here it is not very clear either there were no fresh developments for so long, or the company could not, for some other reason, use fashionable twists, because such fasteners have been available for a long time even on shoes that are far from professional.
These shoes look rad and feel great, especially if you have a narrow foot. The Boas are well-placed and easy to adjust, and the padded tongue is a nice comfort touch. I love the stable heel cup and the ventilation from the woven upper. In other words, there’s a lot to love about the Pro Team Road Shoes.
In any case, the transition to a new type of lacing from BOA came in very handy, because the system allows you to adjust the tightening without the need to unstitch from the foot pedals , just turn the regulator in one direction or the other.
The outsole is, as you would expect, made of carbon. The Rapha is inspired by bridge beam designs, so the outsole has a trapezoidal cross-section, which means a high level of rigidity.
It is not possible to objectively assess this stiffness, because each manufacturer comes up with its own stiffness rating, in which the shoes produced by him are the toughest.
Be that as it may, it was not in vain that the boots were developed for two years, and, for sure, respected people in the sports community were involved in this event, so let’s take Rapha’s word for it.
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I admit: purple wouldn’t have been my first choice, but these Pro Team Road Shoes from Rapha pull it off nicely. With an all-black kit, the color contrast on the single-piece woven uppers adds just the right amount of flair.
Looks aside, though, the Pro Team Road Shoes have a lot of race-oriented features to get excited about. Most notably, the woven upper offers an incredibly comfortable fit.
Equipped with a sole and bumpers on the toes and heels to protect the shoe when walking or lowering your feet at an intersection. The rear bumper looks like it’s replaceable by releasing a screw somewhere in the outsole, but that’s not certain.
Insole. There is nothing special about it, except for impregnation with a special antibacterial coating, if it can be considered a feature at all. Removing the insoles reveals the arch pillows.
There are as many as three of them in the set (for each shoe), so that you can choose the most convenient option for yourself.
The new Pro Team weighs 220 grams in size 42 (one boot), and at 43 it will already weigh 267 grams. A very strange runaway, provided that the size has changed by only one unit.
The color scheme is very attractive, because in addition to the classic black, light gray and black-purple colors are offered. The latter is especially effective.
If you’re looking for the stiffest race shoes out there, these aren’t what you’re looking for, nor are they exceptionally light. But if the confluence of style, comfort, and performance matters more, then the Pro Team Road Shoes are worth your time.
The Rapha Pro Team is priced at €310,00
By: Berthy Perez