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Fizik R4 Tempo Overcurve cycling shoes review

7 May 2020

Stand-out sportive-ready shoes with all-day comfort, practical touches and racy looks

Cyclist Rating: 
Supportive • Good power transfer Easily adjusted • They look a million dollars
Expensive for a shoe that’s not utterly performance-focused

The colourful carapace of a beetle, the green-blue flash of a dragonfly over a pond, the oily glint of an indigo snake… iridescence is a powerful attribute in the animal kingdom, helping would-be dinner evade hungry predators.

The similarly iridescent Fizik R4 Tempo Overcurve cycling shoes I’ve been wearing for the last month might well be built to attract attention rather than bamboozle, but they are blessed with almost as much go as show, packing performance that will enable you to maintain a respectful distance between you and the next rider on the road.


Fit for purpose

The Fizik R4 Tempo Overcurve features an asymmetrical fit system to support the foot. A staggered collar, so says Fizik, 'traces the natural misalignment of the ankle’s two bony protrusions – the lateral and medial malleoli.' Aside from the fact that every pair of shoes I’ve ever worn leaves room for the balls of your ankle, the closure curves from the outside to the inside of the foot, which feels natural, and is devilishly simple to adjust.

Like the Specialized Torch 2.0 shoes I was doing most of my riding in at the start of the year (you’ll remember that time – it was when we could ride in groups…), the R4 Tempo Overcurve is fastened with a Boa IP1-B dial.

Buy the Fizik R4 Tempo shoes from ChainReactionCyclist for £185

The Boa IP1-B system uses a micro-adjustable click wheel for incremental tightening and loosening of the shoes’ wire laces. It’s simplicity itself, and because it stands proud of the shoe is easy to locate when riding while still keeping an eye on the road.

I did experience a little pressure on the first knuckle of my big toe in the first few weeks of testing, so if you’re very wide of foot, you’ll definitely need to venture to a shop – if they’re open again, many are – to be sure of the fit.


Summer loving

Around 300km into my time with the Fizik R4 Tempo Overcurve shoes, they became firm favourites. It’s not just that spring had sprung and the sunlight made them look twice as good; it’s also because they’re fit revealed itself to be up there with some of the best shoes I’ve worn.

Simple things like silicon grippers on the inside of the heel cup make a difference when it comes to consistent performance. Power through the pedals is also predictable: while these are far from what I’d call ‘performance shoes’, they do offer the potential for a summer of long, long rides in comfort.

Buy the Fizik R4 Tempo shoes from ChainReactionCyclist for £185

The Nylon sole has a 15% carbon content, which makes it moderately stiff, but nowhere close to ‘why do my feet feel like they’re on fire?’ stiff… In fact, the stiffness rating of 7/10 applied to the soles puts them slap-bang in the middle of the sportive sweetspot for me.

Given that we’re barreling headlong into summer, you’ll also be pleased to hear that the upper of these shoes is amply flexible to accommodate expanding feet in the heat of the hottest months, and that the punched fabric of the uppers offers very decent ventilation.

The sole, too, features a whopping air channel which ensures your feet are never in need of a breather.


But, is the price right?

What remains to be addressed is the price. The iridescent colours add £15 to the cost of the standard Fizik R4 Tempo Overcurve, and I’d say with confidence that it’s a premium worth paying.

Where I’d be less eager, however, is in the paying of just shy of £210 for a pair of shoes whose performance is on a par with that of the Specialized Torch 2.0.

They’ve a near-identical feel from the sole, the Specialized shoes are more instantly comfortable, and are also £60 cheaper. Do they look as special? That’s a totally different question…


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