The R3 sits below Fizik’s top-of-the-range all-Kangaroo-leather R1. While the R3 only gets Kangaroo leather on the toe and heel, the rest being made from Microtex imitation leather, it does share the same innovative sole design.
Most road shoes have a flat, minimally shaped sole to which the upper is attached, but the Fizik design is much more contoured, flowing from a deep, carbon-reinforced heel cup to a highly structured arch and fore foot. It feels like a sole that your foot fits ‘into’ rather than upon.
The outer edge of the shoe shares a similar deeply curved section and the upper is very highly structured, enclosing the foot comfortably while providing a good, supportive fit. What sets the R3s apart from other shoes at this price is the quality and attention to detail.
While the upper seems simple compared to its multi-panelled, multi-material equivalents, it’s as supple and form fitting as more complex designs. The quality is apparent throughout, from the stitching joins between sole and upper to the carbon detailing. We also like touches like the Italian flag lining of the super supple tongue.
The carbon section within the sole is wide up front and extends fully to the edges of your foot, narrowing to a ridged section at the mid-sole point. The sole is very stiff, but the narrowness of the rear carbon section does allow for a little movement laterally, which takes some time to get used to. That, along with the curvy structured upper, makes the R3 very distinct from the competition.
Most who tried them found the fit very comfortable, but for some of our testers the shape was a little too narrow and cramped, exacerbated by the very high arch. At 330g (size 45) the R3s are a good, light pair of shoes and we’d highly recommend them, with one proviso: they have such a different and distinct fit, you have to try before you buy.