This year Fi'zi:k updated their top-of-the-range R1 road shoe with a knit upper. Not only does it look great but Fi'zi:k claim that this makes for unrivalled comfort and superb ventilation. Wiggle rider Ben White put it to the test.
When I first heard about the I was eager to get hands-on with the shoe as this is the first time a knit material like this has been used on a cycling shoe. It’s certainly the first thing you notice as it provides a distinctive look and really adds to the premium feel which is consistent across the whole of the shoe.
With this being Fi'zi:k’s range topper, 'premium' really is the best word to describe the quality and finish as well as the materials that have been used. The materials technology in this shoe is impressive; Fi'zi:k spent a number of years developing the knit material and the way this can be incorporated into a cycling shoe.
The knitted upper is seamlessly bonded to the incredibly light and stuff unidirectional carbon sole with some reinforced bracing which provides additional support in key areas. The subtle red highlights on the uppers really finish off what’s undeniably a great looking shoe.
I often struggle with finding a cycling shoe that fits well. The knit material of feels like it 'hugs' the contours of my feet from the first wear. The fabric has been designed to be as breathable as possible and with this comes high levels of flexibility which provides a snug but very comfortable fit.
Any pressure points and hot-spots are spread over a wider area. I found that this, combined with Fizik’s Infinito closure system, provides a good level of adjustment to allow for a comfortable fit for most foot shapes. In addition there are rubber grippers which help to stop any heel-slip and enforce the feeling of a secure fit.
I tend to size-up in shoes due to width and this is something that I found I needed to do with the .
On The Bike
The has been designed for extreme ventilation and this is exactly what you get! The breeze through your toes is noticeable and I can only liken this to the difference between wearing a windproof jersey (normal shoes) versus a non-windproof jersey (knit).
When thinking of marginal gains and rider comfort I can see this making a big difference on hot summer days or on longer climbs when you’re putting in big efforts. It’s not only the knitted upper that contributes to the high levels of ventilation, the carbon sole has 3 large vents at the front which channel the air down the length of the shoe exiting at the mid-sole and through the cleverly designed heel skid plate.
The unidirectional carbon sole provides an extremely stiff and stable platform to allow for maximum power transfer when you stamp on the pedals.
The has the performance of a no-compromise race shoe with the comfort of an old pair of slippers. I’ve been testing this pair throughout Winter 2017/18 mostly with overshoes and I’ve been very impressed.
Granted these aren’t the conditions the shoes are designed for but despite that they’ve held-up well against the elements. I had some concerns about the durability of the knit material when using overshoes but I needn’t have worried at all. The knit is tougher than it looks and the uppers were not damaged or marked in any way after 1000 miles.
It’s not designed to be a 4-seasons shoe but it’s certainly tough enough to be used as one, just as long as you use some good socks and overshoes! I’m looking forward to getting the most out of the knit technology in the summer months.