SHIMANO’s Limited Edition RAGBRAI SPD Sandal
The story of the world’s first clipless-pedal compatible sandal begins twenty-five years ago when SHIMANO launched the SD50. It was originally conceived for the bicycle tourists and bike packers that flock to SHIMANO’s home country of Japan. The open design proves as breathable as it gets for cycling shoes, making the two-strap design perfect for the hot, humid, and often wet summers of the island nation.
The seemingly esoteric product quickly found a cult-like following across an ocean and half a continent away in the rolling hills of Iowa at the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, a ride commonly known as RAGBRAI. Here in America’s heartland, summers are also oppressively hot and humid, a combination that’s often broken by afternoon downpours from passing thunderstorms. Who knew that such a loyal bond would form between opposite sides of the world, secured by four velcro straps.
It’s a bond and commitment so strong, that SHIMANO has introduced the Special Edition RAGBRAI SPD Sandal to celebrate this monumental celebration of all things cycling. Meet the SD5R.
For the last 50 years RAGBRAI has drawn tens of thousands of cyclists to traverse the Hawkeye State from west to east during the midwestern summer doldrums. It is here in America’s heartland that the riders embraced the SPD sandal and helped it achieve its iconic status. The SPD sandal has taken such a hold there, that Facebook Fan Clubs have been dedicated to the design, and a regional group of open-toed, clipless faithful have been dubbed The Sandal People.
The design has been perfectly suited for the week-long ride, which has averaged 468 miles during its 50-year history. The SPD Sandal is a single piece of footwear that’s both supportive and comfortable enough to casually pedal all day. Secured by just two straps, it accommodates variations in foot size and shape (even odd ones), and it doesn’t require the longer break in period like the upper last on a normal shoe. And what’s more refreshing than feeling the wind in your hair, and the breeze betwixt your toes while pedaling all day? Well, hopping right off the bike at the end of said day and walking straight into the shower without even having to remove your cycling sandals.
Though the SD line went through several iterations over the years, the core concept has endured 27 years. In fact, the SPD Sandal is the longest running, fundamentally unchanged product in SHIMANO’s footwear lineup. The spirit of the footwear has stood the test of time. Open toes. Comfort and function. Unmistakable style. It’s a combination that’s kept people strapped firmly in and rolling along, year after year, across the globe.
This footwear phenomenon, perfect for its purpose from the outset and refined over the decades, has a special edition to celebrate 50 years of RAGBRAI The limited edition RAGBRAI collaboration draws on over two and a half decades of refinement, while embracing the look and style that made the original design an instant hit. It features the crowd pleasing, original two-strap design that comfortably secures the foot to a TPU-reinforced, EVA sole. The minimalist design stays true to the original spirit of the SD50, and the special edition has the same dark blue upper found on the original sandal.
To top it all off, the Sandal has a prominent RAGBRAI logo, a nod to the community that long embraced the SPD Sandal and gave this enigmatic footwear a very real home for the last decades.