Vittoria have added two key features for the latest version of their top-end Premium Carbon road shoe – new padding for the main strap plus a redesigned carbon sole with an increased lateral cleat adjustment range and ample ventilation holes.
The Air Cushion padding does a good job of alleviating pressure from the main strap, even when cinched down tight and after several hours of riding. The fit is snug in combination with the two forefoot Velcro straps and fairly stiff synthetic leather around the rear, and there is little unwanted movement when pedaling hard.
Though the heel cup looks unusually wide – and is more prone to crankarm rub as a result – it is suitably narrow inside and provides good hold. Vittoria accommodates different foot sizes with a three-position buckle anchor.
The company claims its ribbed 'Ultralight Carbon' sole is more rigid than before but any improvement from last year is nearly impossible to detect. Regardless, overall stiffness is what one would expect from a high-end full-carbon plate – very good – and the lightweight plate helps keep the Premium Carbon to a competitive 632g for our size 43 testers.
Whether or not the sole’s four new air vents help keep the foot's underside dry and cool is questionable. As with all sole vents, they don't face forwards so air isn’t forced in very well. Any incoming air also has to pass through the outermost mesh and felt-like shoe bed. It is conceivable that the vents allow some heat to escape. Either way, it was not noticeable.
Thankfully, the airy upper largely makes up for this with its ample open nylon mesh up front and thin mesh tongue. Perforated sole or not, overall breathability was still very good even on hot summer days.
Small issues aside, the Vittoria Premium Carbon provides a snug fit, good overall breathability, true Italian construction quality and styling, plus a stiff carbon plate.