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Rapha launches Explore Powerweave gravel shoe

Rapha Explore Powerweave all-terrain shoe
(Image credit: Rapha)

Rapha has added its Powerweave fabric to another of its popular products, the Explore gravel shoes, to create the Explore Powerweave. 

Demand for gravel, adventure and bikepacking accessories shows no sign of slowing and Rapha has responded by upgrading its Explore gravel shoes, adding its Powerweave technology, and aiming them squarely at becoming the best gravel bike shoes on the market. 

As the name suggests, the new shoes are targeting riders who explore way beyond the conventional tarmac route, often requiring a bit of hike-a-bike portaging or walking over uneven, loose terrain.

Rapha debuted its Powerweave material on the Pro Team shoe, which was added to the brand's product portfolio in early 2020 and, in our Rapha Pro Team Powerweave shoes review, we were impressed by their performance. 

However, the Explore uses an advanced version of Powerweave, where the base 3D woven polyester structure is intertwined with a thermoplastic polyurethane yarn. The result is smoother tactility, with the benefit of superior resistance to scuffing and abrasion damage, two important considerations with any all-terrain cycling shoe.

Providing the fit security are Boa’s Li2 specification dials, which have tension wires that are finished in the same colourway as the Powerweave upper.

Rapha gravel shoe

(Image credit: Rapha)

Turn the new Explore Powerweave shoes over and you’ll notice a two-bolt cleat box, clearly indicating its gravel and adventure biking purpose. 

The outsole design has also been shaped with huge traction lugs, to secure walking stability when exploring off-road routes – either crossing rivers or pushing over extremely technical terrain.

Despite the mountain bike type sole design, with its grippy rubber surface, Rapha has not diverged from the principle of efficiency. The Explore Powerweave has a carbon footplate in the shoe’s sole to ensure adequate stiffness and power transfer when pedalling.

Priced at £260, the Rapha Explore Powerweave is available in either black or navy.

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Lance Branquinho is a Namibian born media professional, with 15-years of experience in technology and engineering journalism covering anything with wheels. Being from Namibia, he knows a good gravel road when he sees one, and he has raced some of Africa’s best-known mountain bike stage races, such as Wines2Wales and Berg&Bush.