Issue #012 Review

Rapha Classic road shoes in review

In the “The Lab” we present the latest products and put them through their paces for you. Some undergo long-term tests, while we check others out only briefly. This time we reveal how the Rapha Classic road shoes fared.

The Rapha Classic road shoes were designed with the aim of combining maximum comfort with practical features. The result is an elegant and timeless pair of shoes available in sizes between 36 and 47 with half-sizes from 40 to 46. There are also five different finishes ranging from subtle to loud and for our test we chose the disco-worthy Black/Black Pearl option. Along with black, the shoes also come with neon pink laces and high-quality insoles which allow you to adjust the arch support to fit your foot. The carbon sole is covered in rubber apart from the cleat area, which should make walking into the coffee shop or carrying your bike down to the cellar that much easier and make the lactate-flooded “walk of shame” a little easier. A simple elastic loop holds your laces away from the chainring when tied and makes for a tidy overall look.

The Rapha Classic road shoe insoles are high-quality and ergonomically designed. However, if you want custom insoles, you can easily swap them out.
A rubberised carbon sole: more than stiff enough for the traffic light spring and also usable for walking to the coffee shop.
The seamless, well-ventilated upper gets many admiring glances. However, on hot days the ventilation does reach its limits.

The Rapha shoes are true to size, so you won’t have to calculate in a compensation factor. The last is roomy, so riders with high-volume or wide feet will be happy! The toe box, in particular, offers a lot of room and won’t squeeze those with wider feet. At the same time, the defined heel cup offers excellent retention and prevents your heel from lifting. However, riders with narrow feet may struggle to get the fit they want with these shoes. That’s primarily because the velcro closure at the front doesn’t provide much adjustment range to cinch the shoes down. The seamless microfibre upper gently embraces your feet from day one without any pressure points at all. Of course, every foot is different, but for us, both the fit and comfort were absolutely perfect! Likewise, heat sensitivity a personal thing, but we found that the solid carbon sole offered significantly less ventilation than some other similar models. That meant that on hot days our feet got pretty warm, despite the perforations in the upper. The laces tie up securely and don’t slip, and the lack of stretch in the upper means you won’t have to retie them, as they stay adjusted how you want them.

The Rapha Classic road shoes are an unashamedly good looking and exceptionally comfortable alternative for all the fans of laces shoes who’s feet are too wide for the Giro Empire SLX. It’s important to note that this shoe is the “Classic” model and not the “Pro Team” one. For long rides and journeys, where its all about enjoying the experience, they are the perfect choice. However, if you’re looking for maximum performance and ventilation, you’ll find better options elsewhere.


  • high-quality finishing
  • rubber-clad sole
  • roomy toe box
  • very comfortable
  • stylish


  • limited ventilation
  • velcro adjustment range is too small for narrow feet

Tester Ben
Duration 3 months

Price € 215
Weight 671 g (size 46 without cleats)
More info

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #012

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