Friday, March 21, 2014

Shimano SH R260 road shoes

It's no secret that over time your feet widen and lengthen especially if you’re a runner or cyclist. Mine are no exception, the constant pressure applied to my feet after years of endurance sports and gym time have no doubt changed my paws. High end cycling shoes that I purchased just over a year ago are now causing some numbness and hot spots due to metatarsal compression. The slight widening of my forefoot eventually pushes my toes against the sides of the shoe and it's only a matter of time before the pain and numbness set in.  I've been researching as many shoes as I possibly can for a replacement and decided to go the Shimano route. The new upper end Shimano road shoes now have a slightly larger toe box compared to their previous models. The top of the line R320 is only available in white in the US and I'm not a white shoe kind of guy, cool looking but not my preference. New for 2014 is the R260 just below the R320 and come in black and are almost identical except for a few minor items. The adjustable features with these Shimano’s is what attracted me. The soles are heat moldable with a selection of 3 arch pad configurations. First, you can use no arch insert or a mid (yellow) arch insert and lastly a (red) high arch insert. The inserts slip into a pocket in the sole, very simple. With the correct arch insert you can custom tune the bottom of your foot to have more contact area resulting in even pressure along the whole sole lessening "hot spots". If there's a space under your arch and then it flattens as you apply pressure, the ball of your foot and heal will have excess pressure placed upon them leading to issues. On the underside of the sole there is a metatarsal button that you can leave on or off depending on your feel. All in all there are five different elements of adjustment just on the soles alone.

The shoes themselves are heat moldable. They're placed in a shimano oven then placed on your feet. A vacuum bag is placed over the shoes causing the shoes to mold to the exact shape of your foot. The vacuum unit is also a shimano product so a shimano dealer with the oven needs to do the shoe molding if it's needed. I haven't done any heat molding as the shoes feel comfortable as is but that being said I've only been on the trainer as of yet. I will say these are the most comfortable shoes I've ever used to this point but it's still early. I did go with the wide version in size 44. The standard width fit well but I like a little extra in the toe box, just a personal preference. And when trying on shoes remember your feet are going to expand when riding especially in the heat. If they feel perfect in the store you might want to size up a half size. The best cycling shoes are the ones you never think about.

One of the differences with the R320 is that it has a silicon anti-slip heel-gripping liner while the 260 uses a standard cloth heel liner but I can't detect any slipping at all. Heel retention is excellent. Both shoes utilize the new +11mm longer cleat-adjustment range that allows more optimum foot, pedal, and shoe area of adjustment. Nice feature as I do run my cleats back a little further which takes pressure off the Achilles and calf muscle and places a higher level on the quadriceps. The R260's use Shimano’s new offset strap system that's designed to eliminate pressure points at the highest point of your foot where pressure tends to be the highest. Non-offset straps will sometimes ‘pinch’ the top of the foot which restricts the blood flow to the forefoot and pinches the nerves at the top of the foot. The Shimano offset straps cinch-down to the left and right of this sensitive area. The cooling vents are massive, the front vents look like air intakes on a jet aircraft. There is also plenty of vented material included in various parts of the shoe so if you use these in colder weather you'll really need shoe covers.

Both shoes have full carbon soles and the R260's are approx $80 less than the R320's. They weigh in at (size 40 per shimano website) 496 grams for the R260's and 470 for the R320's. Right now the shoes feel great but I’ll post an update after I put them through boot camp.
Good looking shoes and from my count 6 adjustable features, plus
you can heat mold the shoes and soles up to 3 times.

Arch inserts slip into a pocket or you can leave them out.
Yellow is mid and red is for a high arch.
Sole is heat moldable also.

Air intakes are monsterous

Full carbon sole. You have an additional 11 mm of cleat
adjustment if you need it. Great feature.

To loosen the ratchet just press the black tab

The optional Metatarsal pad sticks on.


  1. Hi there! I see you have similar fit issues to me in cycling shoes. Might I ask what type/size/width running shoe you wear? Thanks and thanks for the review.

    1. Hi Cornelius, With running shoes I'm generally a 10.5 to 11 depending what brand of shoe. The width is standard with running shoes. With cycling shoes your feet expand an little more due to the solid stiffness of the shoe so I prefer a wide width cycling shoe. I hope this helps.