Written by Duncan Moore.
Sensible priced road shoes that have a lot to offer new riders
What they say: The Shimano R088 SPD-SL is a full featured performance shoe, perfect for club racers and recreational riders. A snug, durable, breathable shoe which transfers power to the pedal.
What is it: Shimano’s R088 SPD-SL shoe sits in the lower to middle area of the company’s road range and provides a shoe that is an entry level option with higher priced looks and features.
The three straps that close the shoe are off-set, which helps to spread the load. The two lower ones are Velcro and continue to hold firm. The upper strap uses a low-profile micro-adjust buckle, which despite my ham-fisted attempts at inadvertently breaking, simply carries on working faultlessly.
If you’re riding in the R088 shoes in anything other than sunny weather the mesh panels in the synthetic leather upper can let too much air in. Nothing that a pair of overshoes won’t fix, but worth bearing in mind if you plan on using the shoes for commuting. However, the faux leather does clean up easily, which is good news given the white finish.
There’s also plenty of ventilation on offer in the Dynalast glass fibre reinforced-polyamide sole. While it may not have the flash looks and weight saving of the carbon fibre sole used on higher spec shoes, I’ve not noticed any discernible flex and in a road shoe you can’t really ask for much more than that. There’s also the option to go with a wide fitting in addition to the standard last. Thought perhaps more concerning is that I always need to go up a size when it comes to Shimano shoes, both road and mountain.
Who it’s good for: The R088 looks like it should be more expensive than it is. If you’re new to road riding and are looking for an affordable shoe that has the type features seen on shoes twice as expensive then these are a sensible choice. While they are too well ventilated for regular commuting use, they make a good Sunday ride with friends and occasional sportive shoe.