“For the first time, Rapha has developed two new cycling shoe models entirely in-house for both road and adventure cyclists. Over two years from sketch to shoe box, the new Classic (road) and Explore (gravel) models mark a step change for Rapha. They have been tested over tens of thousands of kilometers, on everything from trans-European bike-packing trips to club rides and by professional WorldTour riders such as Lachlan Morton of EF Education First Pro Cycling.” – Rapha
Two new shoes, Explore and Classic – both of which were developed in tandem are designed to be the most comfortable cycling shoes. The Classic Shoe features a supremely durable anti-slip thermoplastic outsole and full-length carbon plate making it stiff and hard-wearing.
The Explore Shoe has a shortened carbon plate of approximately 3⁄4 of the sole length secured in a rubber outsole for walkable comfort and efficient power transfer. Both models incorporate a unique double-wall lacing system that delivers exceptional fit to the midfoot. They also incorporate adjustable arch supports and the last is shaped to provide ample toe box volume for tremendous comfort even after hours in the saddle.
After experimenting with an elastic pull closure system, lead designer Joël Salamin opted for traditional lace-ups instead. A traditional set up at first glance, our lacing works in tandem with a double-walled midfoot and delivers the vanguard of shoe design.
“The upper is made with a single piece of lightweight microfibre material. In the midfoot, the fabric is double layered and folded back on itself to create a ‘double wall.’ Securely anchored to the carbon sole at the base, the double wall creates a loop along the bridge of the foot, which serve as eyelets for the durable polyester laces. When lacing up the shoe, tensional force is distributed more evenly across the top of the foot, eliminating pinch points and creating a firm yet flexible fit for comfort throughout the pedal stroke. We created something that looks seamless and improves the overall strength of the shoe. It works so well that we chose to the same construction and fit on both shoes.” – Joël Salamin, Rapha Designer
Many off-road shoes are merely adaptations of an existing road model, but the new Explore Shoe has been purpose-built to stand up to the most demanding terrain and conditions. The shoe has been tested over 30,000km on bike-packing expeditions and ultra-endurance races, from Dolomite trails to the sands of the Sahara.
At the heart of the shoe’s lightweight and super stiff sole is a carbon plate worthy of any road shoe, with one key difference. The plate is cut at three centimeters from the heel and two centimeters from the toe to allow flex at the front and back of the foot for comfort when gradient or lack of grip means walking is the only option. It is then set into a rugged rubber tread that provides superb traction on any terrain with recessed cleats to reduce the chance of slipping.
Together the two components of the Explore shoe’s sole ensure pedaling power in the saddle as well as comfort and grip if you’re forced to walk or want to explore by foot.
Elsewhere, the Explore Shoe include some of the same features as the Classic Shoe. The sculpted heel cup secures the foot while a spacious toe box provides plenty of space, with a signature toe strap for micro which can also be used as an alternative way of securing the lace-ends. Adjustable arch support in the midsole accommodates a variety of foot shapes and the low-cut upper section avoids rubbing at the ankle. The unique double-wall lacing system is mirrored from the Classic Shoe, distributing tensional force equally, eliminating pinch points and creating a fit that is firm yet flexible.
The Explore Shoe is available in four colour-ways: Black, Black Pearl, Dark Green and High Vis Pink. Sizes range from 36-48 including half sizes.
Price $US 295.00
“Cycling is changing and people don’t just stay on the road. They shouldn’t avoid riding gravel and walking with their bike here and there for fear of damaging their shoes. The rubber outsole, just like a phone case, acts as a functional outer layer designed to protect the beautiful carbon plate at the heart of the shoe.” – Joël Salamin, Rapha Designer
- Signature reflective Rapha toe strap
- Lightweight carbon plate, cut shorter for flexibility at toe and heel
- Durable and grippy natural rubber tread
- Elastic loop keeps laces neatly away from your crank
- Lightweight anodized titanium D-ring
- Lightweight at 300g (size 42)
- 2-bolt compatible cleats
- Supple perforated, seamless one-piece microfiber upper
- Reflective heel for visibility at night
- Reinforced toe and heel for durability
- Upper: 100% microfibre
- Laces: 100% polyester
- Sole footplate: Carbon fibre
- Outsole cover: 100% rubber
- EVA insole with soft antimicrobial microfibre top layer
- Cleat bolts: 100% anodised titanium