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by James Huang
December 19, 2019
Photography by Fizik
Fizik’s first foray into knit cycling uppers — the R1 Infinito — was a somewhat tepid exploration of the technology, but the Italian company has now fully embraced the concept with the new Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave.
Fizik builds the new woven uppers using a mix of nylon and “thermoplastic” (the exact polymer isn’t named) fibers, creating a very visibly open mesh that will likely be a boon on hot days in the saddle. The resultant material is claimed to be extremely supple for comfort, but still very strong and highly supportive.
Holding all of that on your feet is the latest incarnation of Fizik’s Powerstrap closure concept, which promises the simplicity (and predictable durability) of traditional hook-and-loop straps, but the more even hold of more modern systems thanks to its criss-cross pattern, all while also providing a notably sleek appearance.
Down below is Fizik’s latest R2 carbon fiber outsole, which — as expected — supposedly improves upon the older R1 plate in terms of stiffness and remains vented to improve comfort in hot weather. Perhaps more importantly, however, Fizik has also finally provided more rearward cleat adjustability (a long-standing complaint of mine), and judging by appearances, may have also toned down the arch shape for a more accommodating fit.
Claimed weight is 410g for a pair of size 42.5 shoes, and retail price is US$400 / AU$TBC / £335 / €350. While they were first revealed at Eurobike, the Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave should be available for purchase now — but only in black — in sizes 36-48 (with half sizes from 37-47).
Fizik’s Aeroweave woven upper is clearly very, very airy. What’s a little less clear, however, is how these actually feel on your feet.
The Powerstrap concept is certainly intriguing, particularly given how hook-and-loop straps fell so dramatically out of favor with the advent of ratcheting buckles. Maybe it’s time for a comeback?
The straps themselves are very wide and quite thin, which bodes well for comfort.
It’s a little difficult to tell, but Fizik may have flattened out its outsole shape a bit, too, which would make the new shoes more agreeable for those with lower arches.
The new R2 carbon fiber outsole is said to be stiffer than the existing R1 plate, but what’s more interesting is the revised cleat hole configuration, which now finally offers a more reasonably rearward position.