The Road Cycling Shoe: A Design Story

We don't just decide to create a new product.

Decathlon

The Road Cycling Shoe: A Design Story

The Road Cycling Shoe: A Design Story

Decathlon

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Instead, we decide to meet a particular need, by asking the right questions and by trying not to get stuck on existing solutions. 

A good cycling shoe must be lightweight and have a rigid sole in order to effectively transfer the pedalling energy provided by the cyclist. It must have a fastening system that is simple and reliable, to keep the rider safe. We could stop there, based on the idea that a cycling shoe is only made for pedalling. But when discovering new vistas on bike, stopping for a glass of water, or taking a break and looking around, it's not uncommon to get off the bike and walk. And so we decided to also take those moments into consideration when designing this new shoe. 

Our goal was clear: design a shoe that is effective when pedalling as well as comfortable when walking during breaks. 
Designed Through Observation

"The RC500 and RC520 shoes evolved from hours of observation and discussions with riders we met while cycling on the roads, in cafés, etc. We discovered that there are two types of cyclists: those who want performance and beating the clock, and those who want to take breaks from time to time, stop for a drink or to take a few photos, and who need to get off their bike and be able to walk around easily. It is for those users—road cyclists—that we designed this line of cycling shoes." - Eric, product manager.

Our design team set to work on a special sole, one fitted with lugs that create two wide and stable zones along the sides which allow the rider to confidently and comfortably step and walk on the ground. We opted for the SPD cleat system for clipping that is practical and easy. We kept the sole rigid to ensure good pedalling efficiency while also adding some flexibility at the front of the shoe to follow the movement of the foot while walking.
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Comfort: The SPD system allows the rider to walk comfortably thanks to better integration of the cleat into the sole.

Rigidity: The nylon sole is laced with fibreglass to deliver more pedalling efficiency.

Lightweight: The RC500 shoe weighs 306 g while the RC520 weighs 386 g. 

Durability: A stiffener was added to the heel and to the toe to avoid damaging it.

A No-Compromises Design

"When designing the RC500 and RC520 shoes, we've made no compromises when it comes to their performance and efficiency. We've added comfort through the use of materials that are soft, padded and sturdy, as well as through a sole that accommodates the natural movement of the foot while walking." - Pierre, product designer.

In terms of colours, we chose a neutral colour as the base along with complementary colours which together match well with the rest of the product range. The RC520 is also available in brown, a colour which emphasises the leather used on this model. 

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Genuine Leather: The outer upper of the RC520 is made of genuine leather, a natural material that is breathable and durable.

Lacing: The lacing is designed to ensure uniform distribution of pressure. On the RC520, the lacing is reinforced with a buckle.

Tested on the Roads
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The RC520 and RC500 shoes were tested by a dozen cyclists for over a year in different countries, including Spain, Italy, the U.K., Belgium and France, in different weather conditions. 

"I've been wearing the RC520 shoe while cycling for the last 2 months, and by the end of this week I will have spent 1200 km in them. Whether riding on paved roads or gravelly trails, this shoe has been great! It holds the foot firmly without crushing or restricting it, and it also allows me to walk a bit while on breaks without looking like a cowboy!" -

Sébastien, customer experience manager at Triban and long-distance road cyclist.

Since last December we have embarked on a tour of Europe by bike. We've used the occasion to test these shoes in extreme cycling conditions. We wear them every day and have already put 3265 km on them while cycling, plus an additional 90 km while walking. They have held true to their word: they're so comfortable, we hardly even notice they're there!" .

Rémi and Olivier, cycling triathletes.

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