You've dutifully logged your miles in nylon soles, and by the state of your shoes, you've earned an upgrade this season. If you're going to make the investment in a fresh new pair of kicks, Shimano's SH RP9 Cycling Shoes occupy the same space many of us do between pro and mid range with a carbon composite sole and a new, impressively clean design. Though they're ready to race, they're also happy to log weekend centuries and early season base miles. Described as the brand's flagship road shoe for its versatility, the carbon sole of the new SH RP9 earns a rating of 11 out of 12 on Shimano's stiffness scale. The shoe also features a heat moldable EVA foam insole with a shaped heel cup and the option of two types of arch support that can be added to the midsole, so you can pick the one that works best with your foot shape. The soft synthetic leather upper achieves many of the same characteristics as leather, with a contoured fit courtesy of two hook and loop straps and a top ratcheting buckle that you can reposition higher on the body of the shoe for a more secure fit on slimmer feet. To keep you cool and comfortable, Shimano adds a mesh vent along the toe as well as perforations in the sole to keep air moving throughout the shoes.