This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
Unreleased cycling shoes from Rapha have been spotted at the Tour Down Under. The white lace-up shoes feature dot perforations on either side of the upper for ventilation and a Velcro strap over the toe section of the shoe for additional fastening.
Worn with pink socks, the sock material is clearly visible through the perforations suggesting a thin and lightweight construction. Lace-up shoes have also traditionally been one of the lightest fastening systems as opposed to Boa dials or other ratchet systems.
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In classic Rapha styling, the Velcro strap over the toe is in a contrasting black while a black tab on the heel of the shoe features a reflective logo. A black stripe pattern also features on the tongue of the shoe.
The shoes were spotted on EF Pro Cycling's Lachlan Morton as Tour Down Under riders headed out for a training ride a few days ahead of the race begins.
Unlike other lace-up cycling shoes on the market such as the Giro Empire SLX that have an elastic strap on the tongue, the shoes from Rapha don't appear to have any way of securing the loops of the laces. Morton opts to wrap the laces around the sole and secure the loops under the Velcro strap on the toe.
Morton also opts to make an incision on the outside edge of the shoe to relieve pressure on the foot. This isn't particularly unusual and is seen frequently in the WorldTour on a number of different shoe brands.
It is possible the shoes are early prototypes with refinements of the shoe to come if they do come to market in the future.
Australian Lachlan Morton signed for EF Education First Pro Cycling for the 2019 season after spending two years with Dimension Data. Morton began his professional career with the team in 2012, then Garmin Sharp, and for 2019 the team will also wear kit made by the British brand.
Morton has had a long-standing relationship with Rapha and wore Rapha Climbing shoes in the 2015 season when the Australian rode for the US Pro Continental team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis. Morton has continued to race and train in Rapha shoes since his return to the WorldTour with Dimension Data in 2017.
Lachlan Morton's brother Gus Morton — a former professional himself — also works for the brand producing travel films.
Since the brand's inception, Rapha has produced two different cycling shoes. The two models were the Climbing shoes featuring three Velcro straps and worn by Morton, alongside the GT (Grand Tour) shoes, which had uppers constructed from yak leather and a combination of Velcro and ratchet fastening system for a secure fit. The new shoes seen at the Tour Down Under are the first lace up offerings from the brand.
Rapha has also previously produced a cyclocross shoe in collaboration with Giro.
Neither of the previous models of shoes are currently listed for purchase on the brand's website and so a new model offering would make sense in the near future.