Finding the right cycling shoes can be a major hassle. Shoes are either too narrow, too wide, too hard or too soft. And then there’s the choice between ranges, from economical to downright dear. In short: enough choice. We put the Fizik Aria R3 to the test.

Italian style

The Fizik brand has a good reputation. And there’s a reason for that. Various World Tour professional cycling teams use their shoes and saddles made by this Italian firm. And those origins are clear to see. Even though Italian quality is not something which everyone gets enthusiastic about, they have certainly made good in the cycling community. And Fizik’s Aria R3 shoes don’t disappoint.

Fizik Aria R3

The shoes are built on a full carbon sole. This not only saves weight, but it’s also very functional: the extremely stiff carbon fibre brings the force from the foot to the pedal in the most efficient way possible. The shoes have quite a high rubber heel to protect the carbon. At the front your weight is borne by the shoe cleats. And this is an important point to take note of: these shoes are only suitable for shoe cleats which are mounted by using three screws: Shimano SPD, for example. But these shoes are not suitable for every pedal system: so wise to check first.

The uppers are made from a material called “Microtex”. This is effectively a plastic mesh which is 1.2mm thick, making it quite flexible. This does take some getting used to for those of us used to harder, stiffer shoes. There is very decent padding around the heel, and without you really noticing, makes the fit very sturdy and (sorry) sure-footed.
The double Boa IP1-B fastenersensure that the Microtex is tightene around your foot like a comfortable blanket. And because there’s no real tongue on these shoes, you’re unlikely to suffer from unwanted friction on your foot arches.

Many kilometers later…

The lack of tongue does make putting the shoes on a little tricky initially, but you soon get used to it after a couple of times. And once you’ve got them on, the Boa fasteners enable you to create an excellent fit. The sturdy knobs make it easy to tighten and loosen the shoes, even with heavy gloves on. There are ventilation holes in both the upper and the soles to aid ventilation. But you could ask yourself if that is sufficient for riding in high summer. In our opinion it’s not, and one’s feet did get rather too hot, too quickly.

Go or no go?

The Fizik Aria R3 is a good mid-range shoe. The weight (243 grams per shoe for size 42.5) is relatively light, the soles are stiff and the shoes fits a good range of foot widths. The Microtex is easy to clean, but despite the perforations, doesn’t ventilate sufficiently. These shoes are available in sizes 37-48 and in various colour combinations. With a recommended retail price of €275 these aren’t the cheapest shoes around, but they are really comfortable. Although those with particularly hot feet may want to think twice.