Shimano's cult cycling sandals are being revived and selling fast

The SD50 SPD is the stuff of legend in the lycra-clad community. A quarter-century after they debuted and achieved surprising fame, Shimano's making them again.

While brands like Nike are looking to the future of footwear, others are turning to the past. A pair of discontinued sandals from Japanese bicycle company Shimano is making a comeback to much fanfare within the cycling crowd. If that's the sort of thing that sounds like a bunch of, say, Iowa dads freaking out — well, it kinda is.

The Shimano SD50 SPD is a clipless cycling sandal from Japan that won over participants in Ragbrai, an annual bicycle race that stretches across the entire state of Iowa. When the SPD debuted 25 years ago, it was the first sandal without clips that was still compatible with pedals. And even though it's been long since discontinued, adoration hasn't died down. Shimano says there are Facebook groups dedicated to the SPD, and a mint condition pair that appeared on eBay sold for more than $900.


An anniversary revival — To celebrate the 25th anniversary, Shimano has brought back the SD50 SPD with its original two-strap design and dark blue upper, as well as the circa-1995 logo. An outline of Iowa is featured on the padded heel cop as a nod to its devotees in the Midwestern state.

Originally, the open-toed design was made with tourists who flocked to Japan in mind because of the hot, humid summers. Iowa may have anywhere near the same sites as Japan, but as the sixth most humid state in America, it was a natural home for the SPD.


It's already selling out — If you're a cycling gentile, you still may not understand how big of a deal these sandals are. But to give you an idea, pre-orders through Shimano's site have already sold out. Tracking down a pair still isn't hopeless, though, as they've shipped out to Shimano retailers across the country. Retail for them is set at $130. So you won't even need to use a proxy service to get them.

Whether you're a cyclist ready to secure the crown jewel or just an outsider who's into the look, head to Shimano's dealer locater to find where you can purchase. That is if SPD fans haven't beaten you to the punch and snatched them all up already to resell on eBay in another 25 years' time.