It’s approaching that time of year when everybody's getting sick of wrapping up in multiple layers and pulling on over-shoes to fend off the cold. We're starting to look forward to the fresh spring sunshine and the light and breezy feeling of a summer jersey, bib shorts and a fresh new pair of cycling shoes. Fi'zi:k have updated their best-selling Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe for the 2018 season and Wiggle staff rider James Massey has been trying it out. James tells us how he got on...
I was immediately impressed with the finish and overall look of the Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe. I am not a fan of loud, brightly coloured road shoes, so black on black is a winner in my book. Other colours are available for the more adventurous, including black with neon pink and yellow, but I love the classic combination of matt and gloss black that gives the Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe a premium look and feel. The subtle air holes on the side of the shoes strike the right balance between design and function.
It doesn’t matter how expensive, attractive or lightweight the cycle shoes are. Without a doubt the most important consideration for footwear is fit. There is nothing worse than your shoes nipping or rubbing when you're half-way into your ride. I often spend hours reading product reviews and checking brand size charts to minimize the risk of getting it wrong. Generally it is common to take one or two sizes higher than your regular shoe size when buying cycle shoes.
I am normally a size 10 or 11 in trainers depending on the brand. The Fi'zi:k size chart recommended I would need an 11 and this turned out to be the perfect fit. It was a big relief to get it right first time as sometimes it takes a couple of attempts. Fi'zi:k claim that the 'Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe will fit any road riders foot thanks to the enhanced volume control which uses the two micro-adjustable Boa dials.' I was certainly impressed by the easy adjustability and range of volume.
On the bike
It's important that your feet are comfortable and stable since they are one of only three points of contact with the bike. I have worn several road shoes in the past that feel like they bend or flex under the pressure of pedalling. The Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe benefits from a uni-directional carbon outsole and this provides enough stiffness to allow me to put the power down without discomfort. The small silicone grippers inside the heel of the shoe keep the foot stable throughout the pedalling motion.
Although the Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoes are not ideal in colder weather, I couldn't wait to wear them and they actually stood up to the British winter pretty well. Since they look so good, I wanted to show them off to my riding buddies so I was reluctant to cover them up with overshoes. Thankfully, the positioning of the ventilation holes meant my feet never felt too cold as the front has enough solid coverage to block the wind.
The Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe shares a lot of design features with the top-of-the-range Fizik R1 Infinito Road Shoe and, at this price-point, delivers great value. Fi'zi:k are proud of their design program and key sponsorships with leading professional racing cyclists. It's clear that even the mid-range Fizik R3 Aria Road Shoe has been constructed with performance cycling in mind. The adjustability makes a massive difference and you really feel like you can totally customise the fit to your individual foot shape. I have thoroughly enjoyed testing these shoes and I am looking forward to many more miles in the saddle with these on my feet.