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Shimano’s limited edition R321B: may the best shoe win

Shimano is introducing a mouth-watering limited edition version of its flagship R321 performance shoe at the Tour de France this year: the R321B. The ‘B’, by the way, stands unambiguously for blue. As in, this kind of shoe comes along once in a blue moon. Or, only true blue Shimano fans will manage to snag one of these shoes. Did I mention it’s a limited edition?

Riders like John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews and Vasily Kirienka have already been using the original R321 to power to victory in races such as Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, and two stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia. So it already has an impeccable race pedigree. But now, 40 riders from teams including Orica GreenEDGE, Giant-Alpecin, Team Sky, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM and Cannondale-Garmin are waiting to put the R321B to the test in this year’s Tour de France. We’re tempted to say, may the best shoe win.

Shimano R321B: no ordinary shoe

So what’s the hype? Well, plenty actually. This is no ordinary shoe. To begin with – because let’s face it, that’s what everyone notices first – it looks fabulous. The colour choice is in our signature Shimano blue. But it also has sleek yellow accents down the side and front, suggesting sheer speed. And of course the yellow is undeniably a nod to the Tour’s best man, the maillot jaune.

More importantly, the R321 is a technological marvel. The shoe’s upper material is made from Teijin Avail, which in plain English means that the shoes are stretch-resistant, durable and light. In fact, the R321’s material can be heat-moulded to your feet for what’s basically the best fit you could possibly hope for.

The upper sits on a cross-carbon weave outsole with a 12/12 stiffness rating. To you and me, that means the shoe is designed for maximum power transfer. The outsole also incorporates our unique Dynalast shape, designed to enhance muscle efficiency for a smoother riding performance. The sole construction offers 22 mm of adjustment, which is twice the standard fore and aft range of the cleat to help you find the ideal shoe-to-pedal fit.

The external heel cup stabilizes pedaling by holding the heel snugly in place, while the new anti-slip heel lining also prevents unwanted heel lift. To top it off, a 3-bolt fixing system and guide marks mean you can place your cleats with absolute precision. The R321 keeps the rider’s feet in a perfect position throughout the whole pedal stroke, taking comfort and foot support to a whole new level. In fact, if it were up to us, we’d coin a new expression: fits like a shoe.