Reviewed - Rapha Grand Tour Shoes

Rapha Grand Tour

Many of you have sought out the so-called uber high-end road shoe. A pair so perfect that you would steal from your beloved grandma to purchase. Over the last few years, we have tried our best to define the ultimate---the true definition of snob. And until the Rapha Grand Tour came along, we realized all other attempts were simply a wasted effort.

Rapha's Grand Tour shoe was introduced in the Spring of 2012 and was hyped as the most expensive road shoe on the planet. In true Rapha form, the shoe's packaging, colors, and styling were front and center when the shoe's hit the street.
I can appreciate Rapha's attention to the finer points in styling, but I want to understand how the shoes can make me a better cyclist.
So let's break down the Grand Tours' features and see how the shoes stack-up.

The Good

First to use Yack leather, the Grand Tour uppers are super soft and are described by Rapha as, "…due to the Yak’s ability to survive in severe conditions, Yak leather delivers unique benefits including lightness, water resistance, breathability and superb tensile strength. I have hiked in the Himalaya's with Yak's and can tell you they are a creature that is built to withstand extreme conditions. Hard to image that these beasts could find their way onto a high-end roach shoe.

Additionally, the Grand Tour's borrow the same Easton EC90 Carbon for the soles as mounted on the Giro ProLight SLX which we reviewed here. We have 14 months on the ProLight's and can attest to the strength and durability they provide.

The Snob In Us

Unlike the Giro ProLights velco strap system, the Grand Tour's utilize an aluminum ratchet system for the over-arch strap attachment. We found this a weak point as the metal plate that joins the buckle to the shoe, would constantly rub and apply pressure to the outside of our insteps. We tried utilizing different arch support level inserts as supplied by Rapha, but nothing would abate the pain and discomfort.
We contacted Rapha in the US to work out a return and were denied due to the fact that the shoes had been worn.

Our Recommendation

Nice looking, stylistic, and super-soft Yak leather combined with the best Easton Carbon sole, unfortunately does not make up for the overall bloated weight and uncomfortable ratchet system found on the Rapha Grand Tour road shoe. Add-in the $450 hit on the pocketbook and we feel it is our duty to tell you to pass on the first generation road shoes from Rapha.

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