I was riding on a mid-price pair of five year old Shimano road shoes that had seen better days. I kept looking at this R321 shoe and while yes, it is pricey, the specs and reviews on it were up my alley. So I bit the bullet and bought a pair. Before doing so, I researched what bike dealer has the Shimano oven for these shoes and finally found ONE shop in Georgia that has the oven (I live in Alabama). So the shoe arrives and I drive to Georgia the next day to get the shoe custom fitted using the Shimano shoe oven. First did the insole and then did the shoe in the oven. It definitely gets pliable in the oven and you put the shoe on right out of the oven and it is then vacuum bagged so it shrinks down to your foot. I then stood in them for a while for them to completely cool. I took them off, drove back to Alabama, and didn't put them back on until the next day. It was at that moment when I put them on I told my wife, I swear these are the most awesome shoes I have EVER put on my feet, no matter what type, dress, casual, cycling, etc. This shoes fit my fit about as perfect as I could ask. They feel truly custom because they are! So yesterday I went on a short 20 mile ride to test out the shoes and do some cleat adjustments along the way.
Wow, the soles are stiff on this shoe. My feet just don't move around the inside of this shoe in any way. No energy is wasted. My heel is firmly planted in the shoe. The transmission of power with this shoe feels so direct. While it was only 20 miles I had zero hot spot issues. The "front grill" on this shoe really does vent well which being from the deep South, that is very much an appreciated feature. I could really tell a difference on my feet feeling cooler. Now come winter, I can see where booties or toe covers would go on earlier than most other shoes. I may just buy the Shimano R171 for winter since it does not vent nearly as well (and one southern reviewer says that shoe is too darn hot). The R321 is golden I tell you.