Shimano Flint Hills Edition RX6 “Moonlight” Shoes: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
In our introductory post for the Shimano Flint Hills RX6 “Moonlight” special edition shoes I mentioned that this would be more of a comparison test between what you get with the Shimano RX801 gravel shoes and these RX6 variants. I have had the chance to ride several hundred miles of gravel with these shoes so far and I am now ready to give you all my thoughts on how the RX6 measures up.
So, let’s get to it. I will list the attributes that mattered to me most of the RX801 and then contrast those with the RX6. Then you can decide for yourself which attributes might make more sense for your riding. I know that I mentioned that visually there was little to distinguish the RX801’s from the RX6’s, but when ridden, differences pop out that are easily discernible.
RX801: The new update to these shoes gave them a fit and feel that is excellent. Plenty of room in the toe box and an upper that conforms much more closely with the foot means that hours in the saddle are a joy instead of a constant battle with foot comfort. Shimano improved the way these go on and off your feet as well, which was very welcome.
However; these are racing shoes for gravel, and as such they have a stiffer sole (carbon, natch) and that means walk-ability suffers. Also, the narrow space between the cleat/tread area and the heel tread has some exposed carbon behind a textured hard plastic plate. This can lead to tricky situations if you miss getting clicked in to your pedals.
RX6: The RX6 has what I would call a slightly relaxed feel overall in comparison to the RX801. The uppers feel a bit more forgiving. The soles are a bit less stiff. No wonder since Shimano rates the RX6 at an “8” on their scale of 1-12 for stiffness, 12 being the stiffest. The RX801’s rate a 10, by the way. This means that the RX6 feels better while walking and has a bit less stiff feel while standing on the pedals or when mashing hard in the saddle.
Ingress/egress into the shoes is on par with the RX801’s, but the BOA dial is different on the RX6. This BOA dial is not micro-adjustable on the fly. You have to pop it out, flex your foot, and then re-tighten to a desired feel. The RX801 is a simple twist on the dial, in either direction, to get the perfect feel. I did notice as well that the BOA string on the RX6 that is closest to the shoe opening can get loose enough that it wants to catch the upper when you begin to tighten it down, requiring a hand to guide it into its proper place. The RX801 has no such issue.
The soles, while better than the RX801 in armoring between the cleat and heel, is still hard and too narrow, so if you miss a click-in, it still is a dicey thing to try to pedal in that situation, just like the RX801. But there is a bit more attention to protection of the carbon reinforced outsole. The lugs on the RX6 are also larger in contact area, so walking feels a bit more stable than it does with the RX801’s.
At The Finish: I really enjoy pedaling in the Shimano RX6 shoes. They have very good ventilation, just like their RX801 siblings, and the feel is that of a shoe that could be forgotten about, it is that comfortable. I might only want a micro adjustable BOA, and these might then be the perfect all-around gravel riding shoes. The RX6 is pretty good to walk in, so stops for that convenience store goodie, or a walk down a unrideable section on your ride isn’t going to be made more difficult due to a too stiff shoe.
That said, if I were shooting for the PR, racing for a placing, or if I was just really concerned with having the lightest, stiffest option, these RX6’s are not those shoes. You may want the RX801’s, or another pair of shoes altogether for those purposes.
But for all-around gravel riding, the RX6 is a keeper. That these are a Flint Hills Edition makes them a bit more nice, in my opinion, but if you do not like the Moonlight livery, Shimano makes the RX6 in Black or a dark Green as well.
For more details on the Shimano RX6 gravel shoes se the US webpage for the RX6 here: https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/product/apparel-accessories/shimano-series-lsg-2022/SH-RX600.html
Note: Shimano sent over the RX6 Flint Hills Edition Moonlight shoes at no charge for test and review. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.