Two Reasons to Love the Fizik R1 Road Shoe (and one not to)
The ultra-light, carbon-soled shoe with classic styling has proven a favourite with the well-heeled pro peloton.
Italian brand Fizik know a thing or two about comfort. They are, after all, one of the most popular saddle makers in the world. Their extensive saddle range is handmade in-house in Italy, too. It was a surprise when Fizik's first foray into road shoes was only moderately successful.
Five years on, Fizik have put their top-of-the-line R1 shoe on a considerable diet, shaving 150g off of each foot, as well as adjusting the arch support to be much flatter.
The weight loss is not the only reason to love a shoe, is it? So here are two more...
Quick release dials
Currently, Fizik are the only road shoe maker using a Boa dial with quick release, known as the IP-1. Pull up the dial and the cable tension is completely released. Push down to engage and tighten or loosen to dial-in (excuse the pun) the fit.
The new pop-up quick release is perfect if you have freezing fingers or irritable tired feet. Pull up the dial and your foot is out in no time.
The major plus is that—unlike the traditional Boa dials found on shoes like the Specialized S-Works—instead of using a twin-wire setup, Fizik use a single wire, which offers a more consistent pull with less friction. The quick release reduces tension and twisting on the cable, which eventually causes the protective outer sheath on traditional dials to fray and jam.
The new dial is a hex shape—an upgrade from the circular shape of old, providing better grip if the dial is wet or you've got sweaty hands.
Luxurious two-piece upper
Philippe Gilbert and Geraint Thomas are fans, along with JLT Condor's super sprinter, Brenton Jones, and Olympian, Ed Clancy, who have also been using the shoes in races.
The upper, constructed from perforated supple leather, needs a few rides to break in. It wouldn't be good quality leather if it didn't. Once that's done you've got a shoe moulded to your foot shape.
The best bit? Tighten the offset dial and the two piece upper slides across the top of your foot, reducing the volume of the shoe and wrapping around your foot. There's no pressure directly over the bones on the top of your feet, and the supple leather enables flexibility, whilst keeping everything snug and in position.
The downside: the price, but we've got a solution
The Fizik R1B Uomo shoes are exquisite and stunningly beautiful shoes that are very comfortable, stiff and light. There is so much tech in the new R1 and rightly so, your feet are the contact point with the bike.
However, compared with the Giro's Empire SLX and Specialized S-Works they are more expensive and that's down to their made in Italy philosophy.
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