For a second winter now, I’ve been testing Fizik’s winter boot, the R5 Artica, which has been designed to keep feet toasty and dry whatever the weather.
Previously, I tested Shimano’s RW5 winter boot, and it proved to be one of my favourite pieces of gear, not only providing me with a highly water-resistant boot that fitted well and performed brilliantly, but one that was well priced too. Well, the R5 Artica might be Fizik’s first attempt at designing a similar product, but it appears that the shoe is pretty sorted.
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Fizik R5 Artica details
Underneath the stretchy, rubber-like outer skin, which seals thanks to a storm zip and Velcro-lined ankle closure, you’ll find a shoe based loosely on its standard R5.
The sole is carbon-reinforced nylon and the design is solid with no vents or holes to allow water in, which is good, but they don’t let water out either (more on that later).
The upper has the same offset opening as the R5, but instead of straps or dials, a laced cord is used with a sliding stopper for tensioning. It’s a little fiddly at first, but once you get used to it it’s just as adjustable as a standard shoe.
The R5 Artica’s sizing is a little more generous than standard Fizik shoes (to take into account you’ll be wearing thicker socks), so expect the fit to be about half a size bigger.
Fizik R5 Artica impressions
The storm zip’s closure is a bit stiff the first few times you use it and takes a bit of effort where it transitions from the shoe shape to the ankle, but after repeated use it’s become easier – whether that’s the zip freeing up or just getting used to it, I’m not sure.
When I’ve worn the R5 Articas on seriously cold and wet days they’ve impressed. It’s worth remembering, however, that like all winter boots these aren’t impervious to water because it will always run down off your tights and into the boot, no matter how close fitting.
The trick is to wear your bib tights (and I find those with zipped cuffs better for this) over the ankle closures, then the majority of the water will run onto the outside of the boot, keeping your feet dryer.
What I do love are the insoles. The foil-bottomed design may be a bit of a nod to survival wear, but it’s still a good idea, and the top side is covered in a soft, fleecy (almost Roubaix-like) fabric, which makes them super comfortable, warm and snug.
I wish Fizik offered these insoles aftermarket though, because I’d be putting them in plenty of my other shoes too.
The 433g weight per boot isn’t that heavy for the level of protection they provide and the sole is stiff enough but not race-shoe rigid, so you can still wiggle your feet a bit.
Fizik R5 Artica overall
I’m loving the R5s. They offer protection that’s up with the Shimano and look pretty cool for a bit of winter protection.