I love them. Truly, madly, deeply….is it wrong to love a cycling shoe?
For many years I relied on 2 pairs of expensive Bont road cycling shoes. You cook them in an oven to get a perfect fit… but for years I still had numb, aching and cramping feet. On long rides, I have cycled madly up hills to get a ½ hour in front of the guys so I could take them off, wiggle my toes and get blood back into my feet before getting back into the torture shoes and cycling with the boys again.
And then along came fizik… or fi’zi:k as they call themself. From the moment I saw the shoe box I was besotted by the fizik design ethos – the box itself is understated & gorgeous: matt black with subtle high gloss black print which says “HIGH PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING SHOES”. Swoon, yes, that’s exactly what I want.
Inside the beautiful box is a beautiful pair of glamorous shoes: slim, matt white with Aqua trims. It is love at first sight.
FOLLOW THE SIZE GUIDE I was told. Not everyone does it and I was a little anxious about whether they would fit as I really DID follow the fizik size guide. Measuring my foot, as recommended, size 38 shoes were matched as the best size for me. I usually wear a size 39 in every other brand of cycling shoe I have ever worn. I slip the R4’s cycling shoes on… and they fit like a glove.
fizik have three women’s cycling shoes beginning with the R5B, then the R4B and at the top, the R3B. The each have a different style, perforated Microtex for the uppers feature on all. The main technical difference is in the soles, the R5B has a Carbon Reinforced Nylon sole, the R4B, which I have tested, has injected Carbon with air vents and the R3B has a UniDirectional Carbon Fiber sole. The weight differences are negligible but the higher the model, the stiffer the sole.
After a month of riding in these shoes and enjoying every moment of them I can tell you they feel great. The fit for me is perfect, there seems to be more room around my toes. Although they look narrower than all of my previous shoes, there is no bulk around them. They have 2 dainty aerodynamic looking velcro straps at the front – not the big, ugly, flapping straps as on other shoes. The rear of the shoe hugs my heels even if I loosen off the Boa dial for the lacing.
I mounted my Speedplay cleats easily and the contact with the pedal feels better than any other shoe I have ever worn and the carbon reinforced sole is stiff yet very comfy. I feel as though I’m riding better & faster with this shoe, pedalling more efficiently. I have always wondered if a different shoe would resolve the numbness problem I get while using my other shoes. I can’t believe I’ve ridden in those other torturous shoes for years!
The extremely thin & simple BOA wire lacing system is remarkable. So easy to adjust, undo, tighten or loosen even while riding.
Cleaning: maybe not an issue for men? I do like clean cycling shoes and I have been able to easily clean off most of the dirt and grit – some of the grease has not cleaned off easily so I’ll invest in some protective spray for the matt ‘leather’ material and some white shoe cleaner.
To provide some context for readers, I have a narrow foot and class myself as an experienced cyclist. I ride every day on the road which is really my secret training for when I hit the trails for long distance mountain bike races or even a touch of cyclocross.
The verdict: It is not hard to tell that I have really fallen for these shoes, both because of their looks and how well they fit compared to my other cycling shoes. I guess I thought that with performance cycling shoes comfort was secondary, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If only I’d known how comfy a cycling shoe could be – I would have changed years ago.
The pedal contact I experienced with these shoes felt stiffer than I assumed was possible which is a revelation, it feels great and powerful pedalling.
Yes, I would recommend these and would buy this shoe again and again. The fizik RB4 cycling shoes have been incredible –no numbness, no pain, roomy and they look good too. As a mountain biker, I now have the fizik MTB shoes for women on my radar. I would love an entire wardrobe of these shoes……..one of each colour.
More details about the range of fizik cycling shoes is online at fizik.com and are available at bike stores across Australia. The shoes retail for $319.95 and are available in Australian in sizes 36 – 43.