Winter riding is the worst time of year for many people. Cold fingers, cold toes, wet gear & not much light, we can see why it’s not the most appealing time to get out and ride. It’s that time of year when the 2018 shoe ranges get leaked out into our computer screens & hopefully our wardrobe. Some we like, some we love, some just haven’t changed from 2017. As Fizik move closer towards keeping up with one of their main competitors – Specialized they’ve released the R5 Artica cycling boot to rival the defroster.
To match the top end race shoes, Fizik have also provided a shoe to get you through the depths of winter, without having to wear 2 pairs of socks as well as doubling up on overshoes. The new Artica comes in both a road and MTB version and both share a lot of the same features and technologies. Although currently retailing at £169.99 they’re certainly not cheap.
Using a lightweight carbon composite sole this is joined to a heavy weight upper that has clearly spent a lot of time in the engineering lab. An internal speed lacing system is surrounded by a microtex reinfored shell while a breathable membrane offers airflow. The waterproof zip keeps out the worst of the weather & a winter edition insole keeps the warmth in from the bottom. This features a cosy fleece upper and an aluminium foil underside to really keep your foot wrapped up.
The off-road comes with many of the same features. The same sole & upper however the sole is bonded to a large heel section & textured tread. A toe section with stud mounts offers grip at the front of the boot.
Out of the Box:
The first impression of the winter boots are that they’re not as chunky as many other winter boots. They certainly look the part and we’re glad they’re black so that maintenance & cleaning can be kept to a minimum. Highlighted with areas of red on the shoe, they certainly look smart.
An elastic fasten system keeps the boot close to the foot with an exterior zip to seal the boot from the weather. A velcro clasp at the top allows you stop any water getting down into the boot though they may not be completely waterproof! Foot beds can be put into the shoe to optimize your riding position if you pronate when you ride.
As you’d expect there is minimal ventilation on the shoe to maximize keeping the warmth in and the water out. This means your feet may sweat slightly but that’s the price you’ll have to pay to keep the toes warm.
On to the Bike:
We wore the R5 Artica Boots with a set of winter socks and they felt great out on the roads. They kept the feet very warm through a winter commute – even when the fingers got cold the boots did their job well. It was a frosty morning although it absolutely didn’t penetrate the warm exterior.
The power transfer through the boots felt great – and while they’re not an all out performance shoe it’s still been considered well. The carbon injected mid sole felt still and transferred a lot of power through the pedals. They were very easily to clean after the ride when they were dirty from the beautiful British roads – completely negating the need for overshoes as you’d hope.
The R5 Artica is very durable – the materials have been well chosen as you’d expect for a £189.99 shoe. Being completely sealed means they’re unlikely to be full of grit in a hurry and any small bumps/grazes certainly won’t damage the shoe.
There are a great choice of winter boot for any rider. Keeping your feet warm and dry in harsh conditions whilst remaining easy to clean and durable. The R5 Artica also look the part, with the simple aesthetics not being too showy. It’s clear Fizik have designed a boot with functionality at the top of the menu, and they haven’t got it wrong!