If you want pure bred race shoes and have the budget then these might not be for you. As an all-round shoe they are a good option, though with a slightly elevated RRP. Focusing on fit alone, Fizik has hit the nail on the head: other brands I’ve tried have not been bold enough with their wide fit, but these allow the kind of toe wiggle room I have previously only dreamt of.
Lack of stiffness
Single Boa fastening
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If you have wide feet (opens in new tab) you know just how excruciating the wrong cycling shoes (opens in new tab) can be, especially on a hot day, when swollen feet have seen me riding with shoes completely undone hoping for relief. An increasing number of brands are including wide fit in their line up, with these Fiziks launched in July.
Fizik’s R4s come at the top of the Tempo range, designed as a bridge between performance and comfort. According to the marketing bumf “the Overcurve construction design features a staggered collar that wraps around the ankle tracing the natural alignment of the ankle’s two bony protrusions.” This makes for an odd look, but not an odd feel, though more of that later.
Air flows freely through the mesh upper which is coated with a PU laminate which in our case is finished in iridescent copper, the colour making sock choice a complex consideration. However, there are colours for any taste, with the standard black and white, along with grey, blue and even an iridescent green called beetle.
Ventilation extends to the sole, which as two huge openings either side of the three cleat mount holes. The sole is made from carbon infused nylon - it's not intended to be super-stiff, with Fizik giving these a stiffness index of 7, compared to a score of 10 for their full-on race shoes.
Let’s start at the top, the ‘Overcurve collar’ sits off to the side of the ankle and might look uncomfortable but is completely unobtrusive. After rigorous testing, if I'm honest, I’m still uncertain what benefit these feature gives, but it wasn't a detraction at all.
The mesh construction means these are already pretty well ventilated, though the holes in the laminate coating add to this, making for the best-ventilated shoes I have tried, though wearing these I’ll be using overshoes earlier than most this autumn.
The mesh upper moulds to your feet, so it is possible to do them up too tight and they’ll ease - not stretch - as you go along. The toe box is plenty wide enough for my fat feet, and though I’m normally an inveterate fiddler with shoes, I rarely touched these once riding.
However, that is perhaps just as well as they are secured by only one Boa IP1 dial, two might provide a greater level of adjustment and would be preferable.
The sole is not super stiff but this certainly aids comfort, to make these among the most comfortable shoes I have worn. Whilst not all that firm, these shoes still helped me to some of the fastest rides of the summer - adding weight to the argument that sometimes the benefits of comfort via a little flex can outweigh the optimal power transfer of greater stiffness. (opens in new tab)
These Fiziks come at two price points, with the standard colours at £194.99 and the iridescent finishes at £209.99.
The shoes' versatility marks this out as reasonable in my eyes, you can pootle around or even race in these, and the iridescent colours add a touch of bling more commonly seen at higher price points.
However, there are better value choices out there. Those looking for a race shoe could get a full carbon sole for £179.99 in the Shimano RC7 shoes (opens in new tab), whilst the carbon-reinforced nylon RC5 model (opens in new tab) - which shares similarities to these Fizik's - comes in at just £139.99 - marking Fizik's offering as a little overpriced vs the competition.
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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