Fizik’s previous Artica winter boot – the R5 – was one of my favourites and I still use those zippered warm wonders daily on cold and damp days.
With the announcement of a new updated version of the Artica, I was looking forward to my feet staying warm and dry throughout another winter.
My testing has shown the updated shoe remains brilliant at keeping feet warm, but the design tweaks mean water ingress is an unwanted issue.
Fizik Artica GTX Tempo shoe specifications and details
The new Artica design now looks much more like a traditional road bike shoe, at least below the ankle.
It has a PU (synthetic leather) upper that incorporates a Boa L6 dial for closure, rather than the more fiddly ripcord-and-zip closure of the previous Artica R5.
Inside the shoe is a fleece lining that’s intended to keep your feet warm and cosy.
Between the lining and the PU outer is a sandwiched Gore-Tex Koala membrane, designed to keep water out.
The ankle features an updated ripstop material for the ankle section, combined with a slender Velcro strap to create a seal from the elements.
Underneath the foot, an R5 nylon outsole provides the platform for pedalling. It measures 6/10 on Fizik’s own stiffness scale.
Fizik Artica GTX Tempo shoe performance
The biggest change in the design comes at the shoe’s ankle. It does its job admirably well, up to a point.
On the older Artica, a similar construction combined with an above-the-ankle section. This was made from a mixture of neoprene and ripstop fabrics, complete with a deep Velcro closure.
This ensured you could get a close, tight fit next to your skin. In theory, the new design should offer the same level of protection.
However, the problem is the ankle piece is neither as tall as the older version, nor as pliable. That means you can never quite get the ankle section to cinch up around your leg.
As you pedal, the mouth of the shoe has gaps at the front and back of your ankle joint as your legs turn.
This is fine if it’s cold and dry. With the fleece lining, in dry weather the Articas kept my feet warm and cosy in ambient temperatures and wind chills dropping below freezing.
The Gore-Tex Koala membrane is extremely thin and is made to prevent water and wind from penetrating, but at the same time allows water vapour (in the form of sweat) to escape.
This kept my feet drier, and therefore warmer, for longer.
However, when it rains heavily, the design of the shoe compromises the protection because water leaks off your bib tights and down into the shoe.
This fills the shoe gradually with water, which then stays inside because the membrane doesn’t let water through.
For obvious reasons, fleece doesn’t function as well when it’s wet, so your feet aren’t just soggy – they’re chilly too.
If the ankle piece was extended further up the lower leg, or perhaps wasn’t quite as thick, you would be able to get the closure tighter and keep more water out.
I originally became a fan of wearing winter boots because it meant I didn’t need to use separate overshoes, which got stretched, ripped and damaged quickly from being taken on and off on a near-daily basis.
I’ve found winter boots to be a boon with the amount of winter riding I do, and the new Articas are certainly tough enough for the task.
However, on wet days, I found myself having to resort to overshoes on top of the Articas to keep my feet dry.
The R5 nylon outsole is a great choice for cold-weather riding. The little bit of flex in it, compared to Fizik’s carbon soles, means you can flex your feet a little more, promoting blood flow to help them keep warm when it’s particularly chilly.
At 496.2g per boot (size EU45), the Artica is heavier than the previous version (433g, size 45) – this is surprising given the lower ankle cut.
Regardless, weight is far from the most important factor in a set of winter boots.
Fizik Artica GTX Tempo shoe bottom line
Overall, the worth of the new Fizik Artica GTX tempo depends strongly on where you live and your riding habits.
If your winter rides are very cold and dry, these are among the most comfortable and warmest winter road boots you’ll find.
If, however, you live somewhere with wet weather throughout winter, the Artica GTX Tempos are a backward step from the boots they replace.