Interbike 2010: Hands On with Fizik’s New Kangaroo Leather Cycling Shoes

Debuting at Eurobike, Fizik’s new cycling shoes are quite luxurious when seen first hand. The kangaroo leather uppers of the R1 (black, left) feel super buttery soft, and the sailcloth straps, microfiber bits and attention to detail should make them the high end fetish item for shoe buffs.

Shown above are the mens’ colors, which sadly doesn’t have the all-white version like the ladies, but gets the solid red (which should match nicely with Ritchey’s new Wet Red components). The all-black shoe is the R1 with carbon buckle with stainless steel base, the red and white ones are the R3 with aluminum buckles and release levers. The shoes also differ in upper construction, with the R1 getting a ventilated wrap around toe with no center strip, and the R3′s getting a solid toe piece that runs up the center to the tongue. The women’s get their own design, not just a shrinking-and-pinking of the men’s shoes.

Check out all the details and features the original press release didn’t mention or show after the break…

The women’s white shoe is all white, and the black gets a white racing stripe in the middle of the toe box and heel. The women’s shoes are available in R3 trim only.

The sailcloth straps will likely never break or stretch, but the nifty velcro design on the top strap lets you adjust its length without adding hardware on the inside of the shoe…which means it shouldn’t scratch or rub your cranks, which is particularly important if you have carbon fiber crank arms. Aluminum tabs on the ends of the two lower straps add polish.

The aluminum buckle of the men’s and women’s R3 shoes.

Shown above is the standard R3 insole.

For the R1, Fizik wanted to create something that eliminated hotspots by distributing the pressure equally across the bottom of the foot. So, the R1 insoles were designed in partnership with French orthopedic brand SIDAS and are moldable to create a custom footbed. Depending on the level of arch support you need, you’ll heat and mold the insole up to three times. After heating, the insole is placed into a form and the customer steps into it to mold it to their foot. More severe arch shapes may require several heat and mold steps to achieve the best fit. Presumably, any dealer that sells these shoes will be outfitted with the fitting system.

The carbon fiber soles include a carbon mobius rail that wraps around the upper part of the heel to keep your foot securely in place, along with a padded nylon heel cup and side plates made from Tepex. The result is a sort of “ball and socket” fit, with your heel being the ball, and the goal is to remove any wasted foot movement.

Fit should be somewhere between Specialized’s middle of the road sizing and Sidi’s narrow Italian fit. The Kangaroo leather shouldn’t stretch but will mold to your foot over time.

This is one feature that may not make it to production shoes. The overlapping mesh tongue cover would allow you to swap out the padding, presumably for a lighter summer pad or solid winter padding, but Fizik says it adds considerable cost to the manufacturing process.

Speaking of the manufacturing process, all of the Fizik shoes will be hand made in Italy, and the tricolore inside the tongue is a shout out to its heritage.  Fashion is a close second to function on the R1 and R3, and each of the colors are designed to match their saddles and bar tape perfectly. Would you expect anything less?

U.S. pricing isn’t set yet, but expect it to reflect the craftsmanship and materials selection. European pricing is €340 for the R1 and €240 for the R3 (mens and womens). Weights are claimed at 270g (R1), 274g (R3) and 218g (R3 women’s, size 38.5).

www.fizik.com

Comments

6mt - 10/19/10 - 1:29pm

i wish they will improve the velcro strap a bit more, the nice black surface (or any other color surface) does not go well with messy looking strap. I understand it’s a high tech super-strong material, but it just looks very messy.

tyler - 10/19/10 - 10:42pm

the fizik shoes are ugly. they wont make it.

uglyyeti - 10/20/10 - 9:00am

Seems like an odd use of kangaroo to me. I have a few pair of kangaroo leather soccer shoes (very common use), and the big pluses are they’re super supple, flexible, and waterproof. Since Fizik’s are perforated, they aren’t waterproof, and I don’t know that supple and flexi are what I want in a cycling shoe.

jamal - 04/08/11 - 1:15am

This shoe is f*ing beautiful..but I agree, supple and flexible may not be the best. I love the shape of the shoe and the contrast of the tech strap….aesthetically an a+

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