The new R3 from Fizik looks great, blending traditional materials with cutting edge closures and a unidirectional carbon sole.
The Microtex upper features laser-cut perforations on the flanks and the rigid heel cup has a high back and textured lining for grip. Despite the looks it feels airy to wear, the floating mesh tongue and perforations helping. The smooth, solid carbon sole doesn’t have vents, which is a good thing considering how much time we spend riding in rain or on damp roads. The sole is slightly bathtub-shaped so you push your feet into these shoes, rather than slipping them on.
Performance-wise the sole is one of the best around – unmoving and flex free. Combined with the solidly shaped yet supple upper the shoe is stiff enough for racing duties yet comfortable on very long rides.
The Boa IP1 dial handles closure adjustment (first seen on the cheaper R5B). The IP1 has the same familiar Boa rotate-to-tighten design, but now the ratchet is two-way to micro adjust the fit. It retains the dial pop out for fast release. We like that the dials are side specific so both left and right shoe you turn the dial forwards to tighten, back to release, rather than clockwise/anti-clockwise (so reversing the direction). It makes adjusting simple. A small strap closure at the foot of the tongue (made from sail cloth and Velcro) enables you to cinch up the fore foot easily and loosen mid-ride without touching the Boa.
We love the understated and classy looks, and the 281g weight (each, size 45) is light enough. They do have a small niggle – the etched markers on the sole for cleat position are tiny, and black-on-black carbon is all but impossible to see. Every time we’ve replaced or adjusted cleats we’ve needed a torch to read the numbers to align them properly.