The Fi’zi:k R5b Uomo are at the entry level of the Fi’zi:k range. Unlike the R1 and R3 which try to compete with the very best, this shoe is a more affordable alternative for every rider. Fi’zi:k describe themselves as a specialist in products that govern the interface between man and machine. Saddles, bar tape and shoes that work in harmony with you as you ride.
The R5B comes with an RRP of £129.99 and is currently retailing at £116.99, a definitely affordable budget for most cyclists. Whether it’s for Sportives, commuting or the Saturday social ride, this shoe could be for you.
Fi’zi:k will tell you that dedicated Italian craftsmen have breathed life into eclectic raw materials. The resulting shoe extols all the virtues associated with a superb fit: maximizing power transfer while boasting a sharp aesthetic to boot! And we’re inclined to agree.
Inheriting many of the features from the R1 and R3 models the shoes comes with a single BOA reel the offers infinite degrees of fine tuning. With the B in the name standing for Boa. But don’t let that deceive you. The fabric has to compliment this system for it to offer the maximum comfort.
The R5B comes with a carbon-reinforced outsole, stiff enough for most riders. It has to be said that some power is lost through the sole of the shoe, but if you’re not planning to ride the Tour de France any time soon, I think you’ll be ok.
The Laser-perforated Microtex upper is the same material that Fi’zi:k use through their saddles. This offers a lighter than leather material that’s very duable and good it wet conditions. It cleans up fairly well with only a few stains.
Out of the box:
First impressions of the shoe are fantastic. The sleek, black box with writing is definitely encapsulating. S imilar to the Californian marketing machine of Specialized, Fi’zi:k have thought about the full user experience. Not held back with the design of the packaging. It’s clear that these shoes have been hand made in Italy, not churned out in Taiwan.
The R5B‘s are only available in two colours. White and black. This is fairly common in shoes as they’re easy to produce in the materials best for functionality and performance. That being said. The Giro Empire SLX come in a variety of colours, and sit comfortably up there with the best shoes going. So we’d like to see Fi’zi:k and other companies having a go at competing with this. Rather than playing safe.
That being said, the shoes are aesthetically pleasing. The gentle combination of colours compliment each other well. The mix of fabrics along with a plethora of ventilation holes kept our in house photographer very happy. If it photos up good, it’s usually a good sign.
The result of having the Boa dial is definitely better than the original velcro strap. It’s good to see this being incorporated into the more affordable shoes. You can still buy the original R5, but that decision would definitely be a questionable one. The shoes are comfortable. Really comfortable. Despite being slightly thicker material than other shoes, and not quite hugging the foot the same, we would be happy to do some slightly longer rides in this pair. The thicker tongue on the shoe pads the shoe out with a meshed material.
Onto the Bike:
It’s clear that these shoes are some of the best affordable shoes on the market. Since branching out from saddles in 2012, Fi’zi:k have really had a go at optimizing performance. Functionality is evidently high on the agenda in Italy, and your feet will thank you for it.
Obviously the material is where the compromise is over the higher end shoes, but Fi’zi:k haven’t tried to hide this away from the consumer. You get what you pay for. The ventilation of the shoe is slightly below average. As is the power transfer. A slight flex in the sole can be felt. But we wouldn’t expect professional like response from an entry level shoe. And what is left really does the job well.
Once out on the bike the foot can experience hot spots on the side, as the comfort isn’t perfect. This would be due to the nature of material. The heel cup holds well despite a bit of slippage being detected. It’s not too major. The padded ankle cuff holds the foot in place. There’s no side twist through the side of shoe.
The R5b’s aren’t the lightest of shoes at just under 600g a pair. But comfort has been greatly improved as a result of the extra weight. And excessive parts of the shoe such as the reflective heel are a nice touch, complimenting the overall quality of this shoe.
These would make a fantastic winter training shoe. Comfy, cheap and with no gaps in the sole. Firm enough to ignore the power slip, but durable enough to survive the weather changes.
The R5B has a real touch of Italian elegance. If you prefer to look good than perform well. Without spraying a great deal of money, then this shoe is definitely worth a look. With half sizes available from 40 to 47 you should be able to locate a good fitting shoe. Fi’zi:k have thought about what they want to achieve from this shoe, and they’ve pulled it off well. They’re up there with some of the most comfortable shoes we’ve ever worn. Until they get warm!
Carbon-reinforced Nylon Outsole
Laser-perforated Microtex upper (as used on fi’zi:k saddle covers: lighter than leather very durable good in wet conditions breathable and cleans up well) with Reflective Inserts.
BOA IP1 closure system (tri-modal: tighten loosen and complete release)
Neutral fit to accommodate the majority of foot shapes
Fi’zi:k Cycling Insole