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Fizik R1B Uomo road cycling shoes review

6 Apr 2017
Verdict:

Soft, slipper-like comfort – as long as your foot is the right shape

Price: 
£299.99

Fizik is best known for its saddles, but it has made a very successful foray into the world of road cycling shoes over the past few years, and sitting at the top of its current line-up is the Fizik R1B Uomo. It surpasses the original R1 which was made of a nylon mesh, fringed by kangaroo leather and held in place using straps made from sail cloth.

For the new shoe, no kangaroos or yachts were harmed, but that doesn’t mean it is short on fancy materials or innovation.

The main body of the Fizik R1B Uomo road cycling shoe is created from ‘laser perforated Microtex’, a material that feels like soft leather but is a manmade microfiber.

It’s light, flexible and hardwearing, and the hundreds of tiny diamond-shaped holes are designed to help with temperature management.

The sole is unidirectional carbon fibre, meaning it’s very light and very stiff, and it also comes with holes to allow for ventilation. The closure system has opted for Boa dials rather than the previous Velcro straps and ratchets, and they tighten a large flap over the top of the foot, thereby doing away with the need for a tongue in the shoe.

The Boa dials can be tightened or loosened in very small increments, or popped up to release all tension on the cables and release the foot from its captivity.

The first thing I noticed when I put on the Fizik R1B Uomo road cycling shoes is how immediately comfortable they are. They are almost like slippers, with a generous amount of space to slide into, and a soft, malleable upper that cradles the foot snuggly like a baby in a blanket.

Compared to other shoes (I’m thinking of the Specialized S-Works shoes) they require no breaking in at all, and I couldn’t detect any edges or seams rubbing against my feet.

That doesn’t mean they fit perfectly, however. For me, the shape of the shoe was quite wide (admittedly, I have very narrow feet), and I had to tighten the dials most of the way to get a snug closure over my fore foot, which then left my toes feeling a touch cramped.

An extra insole helped resolve the issue for me, but of course this will be different for everybody. As with all shoes, try them for fit before you part with your cash.

The Boa dials are by far the smartest solution for road shoes. Not only are they light and neat – no flappy straps or laces hanging about – but they are supremely simple to adjust on the fly, and the pop-up loosening system makes it quick to kick off your shoes at the end of a long ride.

I didn’t notice any undue pressure at any part of my foot, and after months of riding in them I haven’t had issues with hot spots or foot cramps.

I do find that they are not the most supportive of shoes. The soft material is flexible enough that, even though the sole is rock solid, I find my foot moving around a fair bit as I pedal.

If I were a WorldTour sprinter, this would be a significant problem. As it is, it’s not a big deal, but the flex may be leaching a few watts that would otherwise help me get up a hill quicker.

The holes in the upper and carbon sole do seem to help with ventilation – the Fizik R1B Uomo road cycling shoes certainly feel light and airy – but of course they also let in water when there is spray kicked up from your wheels.

That said, anyone who wears a pair of £300 shoes (especially white ones) when the weather is foul is probably as mushy in the brain as they are in the socks.

If you’ve got the right shaped foot, you’re unlikely to find a more comfortable shoe than the Fizik R1B Uomo, which makes it the perfect choice for long days out, when the sun is shining.

The kind of days we all look forward to.

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