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Fizik Vento Ferox review

Shoes designed for cross-country and gravel

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £299.00 RRP | USD $299.00 | EUR €299.00
Fizik Vento Ferox shoes on a rock

Our review

An excellent pair of shoes for rides under three hours, but unfortunately nothing longer
Pros: Agreeable fit; excellent closure philosophy; good ventilation properties
Cons: Long time to break in; uncomfortable on rides over three hours; hard to keep clean
Skip to view product specifications

The Fizik Vento Ferox shoes are designed for both cross-country and gravel riding.

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The shoes fit into the brand’s Vento racing series, its premium line. Fizik says the Ferox is at home on “technical XC descents, speedy cyclocross races or all-day gravel events”.

That’s quite a broad spectrum of riding disciplines and it would be impressive if Fizik had made a comfortable, yet stiff all-rounder.

The result? While these shoes are great for rides of less than three hours, they unfortunately proved uncomfortable on longer durations.

Fizik Vento Ferox shoes spec details

The shoes close via a Boa Li2 dial and a Velcro strap.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

The Ferox uses a polyurethane laminated upper supported with a tear-resistant woven mesh, which the brand says is lightweight and breathable. There is cat’s tongue material on the inside of the shoe, which is effective in preventing any heel lift.

The shoe closes via a single Boa Li2 dial on the forefoot, with a large Velcro strap securing the top portion of the shoe (Fizik says this is not a PowerStrap, which wraps around the foot rather than just pulling together two sides of the shoe’s upper, as it uses on some of its other shoes).

The Ferox utilises Fizik’s X1 carbon outsole with a non-replaceable rubber tread that’s rated at the maximum of 10 in its arbitrary stiffness index rating, in line with the brand’s Infinito road shoes.

Despite the maximum stiffness rating, the brand interestingly claims the Ferox performs best when “high performance, foot stability and long-lasting comfort are needed most”.

The Vento Ferox’s sole isn’t lacking in stiffness.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

Given the tread is non-replaceable, I asked Fizik if it had incorporated any features to ensure long-term durability.

Fizik replied that, because the Ferox is designed as a race shoe, low weight and greater sole stiffness are bigger priorities. However, the brand was keen to point out that the tread had been designed “to last a long time”.

The shoes on test are the lilac and white colourway. This version is quite loud and if, like me, you don’t own suitably coloured kit or a bike to match, a more muted black-on-black option is also available. A post-launch ‘Mud / Grape’ colourway has recently been announced.

Fizik says the shoe weighs 297g in a size 42. I weighed my size 45 sample in at 383g, including Shimano SPD cleats.

Fizik Vento Ferox shoes test conditions

The shoes were tested with a variety of bikes and conditions.
Markus Gerber / Canyon

I tested the Fizik Vento Ferox shoes in a variety of conditions on a variety of bikes.

The shoes were tested predominantly on a Niner RLT 9 RDO gravel bike on a mix of shorter evening rides, through to four-hour plus escapades and one seven-hour epic.

They were also tested on the Canyon Lux World Cup cross-country bike launch over two days in Germany.

I thought I’d push the limits of these shoes and try them on a trail mountain bike ride in the Surrey Hills as well.

Conditions ranged from a scorching 31 degrees in Germany to the aforementioned trail ride in Surrey, which was predictably rainy, and contained trails such as ‘Yoghurt Pots’ and ‘Otter’s Pocket’, both of which more than lived up to the promises of their names.

The shoes were tested with Shimano XT M8000 pedals.

Fizik Vento Ferox shoes fit

Gone are the super-narrow Fizik shoes of old.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

My feet are reasonably wide and I tend to take a size 45 in most brands, up-sizing to a 45.5/46 for Sidi.

This is my first time riding in Fizik shoes and I was initially a little sceptical because older models I’d tried on were too narrow for me.

After consulting with Fizik, I settled for a size 45. The Ferox offers a far better fit for my feet than Fizik’s shoes of old because they are much wider. The toe box is particularly roomy with a narrower heel cup to lock your feet in place.

Fizik offers a specific Wide fit in some shoes, but not the Ferox.

Unlike Stan Portus’ experience when reviewing the Terra Atlas, I didn’t experience any heel slip with the cat’s tongue material and felt the sizing was spot-on.

As with all cycling shoes, sizing and fit will, to a certain extent, come down to the shape of your feet and personal preference. Because of this, trying shoes on for size before you commit to a purchase can be very useful.

Fizik Vento Ferox shoes performance

The upper was nice and breathable.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

The Vento Ferox was a mixed bag overall in its performance.

I initially tried to replicate as closely as possible the cleat position from my other off-road shoes and got the left side spot-on, but had issues with hot spots on my right foot during the first couple of rides.

I slowly moved the cleats rearward on the right shoe and after a couple of rides, got it to a sweet spot where the issue was alleviated. However, the consequence of this was some toe overlap on the Niner, which I haven’t experienced using other shoes.

The shoes also took a good five or six rides to break in, but even after that, I continued to find they started to get uncomfortable on rides longer than three hours.

That said, with the exception of the toe-overlap issue, the shoes were excellent on rides under three hours. They were surprisingly comfortable on a trail mountain bike ride, where you’d typically opt for a more flexible sole given the additional vibrations being transmitted through the pedals as you negotiate technical terrain.

On the plus side, ventilation is excellent, even in temperatures above thirty degrees. The closure system is also well-considered and I like that the Velcro strap sits above the Boa dial because it spreads the pressure on your foot more evenly.

The Vento Ferox is expensive, albeit in line with its rivals at £299. The Rapha Explore Powerweave shoe comes in at £280, but the Specialized S-Works Recon retails for £370 and the Sidi Jarin £360.

The finish on my sample is showing some wear.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

One final gripe is the lilac / white colourway is very hard to keep clean and shows dirt easily.

The fact it’s a matt finish doesn’t help, so if you want them to continue to look box-fresh, you’re best using these shoes exclusively in dry conditions. It’s arguable whether that’s practical for an off-road shoe though.

Fizik Vento Ferox shoes bottom line

The Vento Ferox shoes felt uncomfortable on longer rides.
Steve Sayers / Our Media

The Fizik Vento Ferox shoes offer a mostly comfortable fit and are excellent for rides shorter than three hours.

However, I regularly ride long distances off-road and take part in bikepacking events. These shoes would not be my first pick for my style of riding because they became uncomfortable on rides over three hours.

I’ve yet to find a high-stiffness shoe that doesn’t compromise on performance but is also luxuriously comfortable in cross-country and gravel race scenarios and all-day epics. In my opinion, it’s one or the other.

Would the Ferox be better marketed as a cross-country shoe? In my view, no, because it doesn’t feel as extremely stiff as some premium XC-specific shoes on the market, such as the Specialized S-Works Recon.

As a race-oriented shoe, the Vento Ferox is an excellent option, but it falls short on the all-day riding aspect.

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However, as always, it’s important to caveat that cycling shoes are an incredibly personal choice and what works for one person may not work for another.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €299.00GBP £299.00USD $299.00
Weight 383g (45)
Year 2022
Brand Fi'zi:k

Features

Cleat fitting 2 bolt
Shoe closure Dial and velcro
Sole X1 Carbon outsole – with rubber tread, stiffness index 10
Triathlon/TT-specific no
Winter-specific no