Fi'zi:k R1B red

Spring 2017 Women’s Product Picks: Fi’zi:k, Giro, Mavic, Bontrager, Lumos and Topical Edge

by Anne-Marije Rook

May 4, 2017

It’s been a long and dreary winter and spring for many North Americans as the rainy months just kept going and going. But now that spring weather is finally here (kinda), Ella editor Anne-Marije Rook has been able to put in some outside miles and test some new and fun product.

She’s been rotating through various shoes, helmets and apparel while fighting off muscle fatigue with Topical Edge. A lifestyle cyclist first and foremost, Rook has been riding around the city in the dark hours to test the visibility of Bontrager’s safety apparel as well as the crowd-funded Aster commuter backpack.

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Fi'zi:k R1B red

Fi’zi:k’s Ruby Red Slippers

by VeloClub

Previously only offered in sizes 40 to 48, Fi’zi:k recently made their top-of-the-line R1B Uomo’s available for those with a smaller foot. Starting at size 37, women now have more options available to them as fi’zi:k’s women’s offering caps out at the R3B line.

In my experience, women would prefer to have more options rather than a limited amount of gender-specific products, and so the small size offerings is a welcome addition.

I, for one, had been eyeing these ruby red slippers as they are, simply put, a sexy looking shoe.

Italian in every which way, Fi’zi:k makes a strong visual impression with this shoe. There are no straps or bulky buckles, no loud branding or patterns –just clean lines for an overall elegant and classic look. The red version of the shoe is bold yet chic, and garners compliments on every ride.

Yet the understated classic design comes with plenty of highly technical features. A wraparound tongue is combined with a minimal two Boa cables and IP1 dials are entrusted to cinch the smooth microfiber uppers snug around your foot without creating any folds or hotspots.

Fi'zi:k R1B red

The wraparound tongue and quick release Boa reels also make getting in and out of the shoe a breeze.

The Mircotex synthetic upper is soft and pliable and easy to wipe clean while the laser-cut perforations up do a good job regulating temperature.  Finally, the lack of seams on the exterior and interior not only make for a clean look, it also prevents any chaffing issues.

Looks aside, when it came to the performance of the shoe, I found the R1B superbly comfortable and the carbon fibre sole provided amply stiffness. The outsole’s built-in ventilation for temperature control and improved aerodynamic is a nice touch as well. There is no doubt that this is a high performance shoe albeit it not quite as light as other shoes at this price point.

My main problem with the shoe, I found out over time, was that I was constantly reaching down to ratchet the Boa dials for a closer, more snug fit. The heel cup, while good, still allowed a little bit of lift, and despite being a more narrow shoe, there was some slight fore and aft wiggle room.

Fi'zi:k R1B red

Another minor issue is the heel thread. In my opinion, any shoe at this price point should have a replaceable pad for longterm use. And while the R1B does indeed have a replaceable pad, it’s made of a hard plastic that on smooth surfaces, like wood floors or steel stairs, becomes somewhat treacherous —just imagine tap shoes on ice. A softer, more grippy plastic would go a long way here.

Of course, these issues are highly subjective and doesn’t take away from the fact that the R1B’s are a beautiful performance shoe. With that said, at $400 we deserve to be a little critical.

Price: US$400 / AU$590 / £300 / €350