The Fizik Terra Artica X2 is an impressively waterproof, very warm and super comfortable winter mountain bike shoe – both on the bike and off – that is only let down by how hard they are to get on and off.
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The Terra Artica X2 is one of two winter riding shoes in Fizik’s Terra range. The Clima X2 is the lighter of the two shoes and is better for wet, rather than wet and cold conditions.
The Artica range is Fizik’s cheaper range of winter cycling shoes. This includes the Artica X5 and R5.
On paper, the Artica X2 offers good performance that doesn’t sacrifice too much in terms of comfort. But before you get to know said performance and comfort, you have to get the damn things on – and, as already mentioned, the shoes are incredibly difficult to get on and off.
The zip on the neoprene cuff doesn’t extend far enough down the shoe to make wiggling your feet in easy, and the outer of the shoe itself isn’t that flexible either.
Extending the zip further down the shoe would definitely help, but even adding a tab to the rear of the cuff would make things far, far easier. I can’t help but wonder why there isn’t a tab there in the first place. It seems like a fairly obvious omission.
However, once wrestled on, the shoes are very comfortable and suitably roomy for a winter boot. I wear size 42 shoes in most brands and have found Fizik’s shoes to fit true to this in the past.
These boots are no different, but are a touch roomier than a typical 42. This is to be expected, and is actually welcome, on a winter boot, where you want the option to stuff in chunky socks.
The neoprene cuff extends high enough up the shin to keep spray at bay and to stop ingress during off-bike puddle splashing excursions, but I do wish it came up another inch or so higher. Currently, it’s just ever so slightly too short to allow you to comfortably fit tights over the cuff without them constantly rolling up and exposing a sliver of your sock.
This, of course, won’t be an issue on tights with a foot loop, but for all others, it’s a touch frustrating.
When riding, the shoes are more than stiff enough for a fairly smashy effort. They’re definitely not some brutally-stiff watt slippers, but they don’t feel overly mushy either.
More importantly, when off the bike, the super-grippy Vibram sole and slightly flexible last is, almost, a pleasure to walk in. Even on extended hike-a-bikes during my epic Lord of the Loops ride, I got no hot spots or excessive rubbing from the neoprene cuff.
The soft sole does mean you can slightly feel the outline of a regular SPD pedal. If you really can’t stand feeling the pedal through a shoe, a pedal with a larger platform should suit these better.
On a similar note, my colleague, Joe Norledge, has also been testing these shoes. He’s a man with hips narrow enough that he runs the risk of falling between floorboards. As such, he found that even with the cleats positioned as far towards the outer edge of the shoe as possible – thus narrowing the q-factor – the q-factor was still relatively wide.
With this in mind, he cautions that, if you have very narrow hips, this could be a problem, which is well worth considering before spending £/$/€280 on a pair of winter shoes.
The waterproof eVent liner on the shoes is impressively impervious, and over two days of seriously wet riding and a powerful jet washing at the end of the ride, my tootsies remained toasty and dry.
The shoes also felt adequately breathable. I’m not someone that really suffers from sweaty feet, let alone in winter, but I can’t say I found these to be overly clammy.
At £280, the shoes do present a serious premium over the likes of the Northwave Raptor (£189), Shimano MW7 (£159.99) and even Fizik’s own Artica range (£189.99).
With that said, I do think the Terra Artica X2 looks a lot better than these options (why don’t brands realise some may like a subtle shoe with as few panels as possible?).
If you can handle the price, the shoes are very unlikely to leave you disappointed (if you can actually get them on).