CYCLING SHOE REVIEWS
- Beautiful aesthetics.
- Fits variable foot depths due to unique wrapping design.
- Its curved last with a pointed toe box might only suit a few foot types
- The high plastic tip of the upper can stick into the front crease of the ankle joint
- Cleat holes positioned quite far forward even with +/- 5mm fore/aft adjustment
- Lake 332
- Shimano S-Phyre RC9
Fizik’s high-end performance shoe, the Infinito R1, has been on the market for a few years now and has some incredible qualities including a very well-fitting upper. However, the shape of its last and the slightly forward placement of the cleat holes might limit the success of this shoe as you almost need to have a very specific foot type to get the most out of this aesthetically beautiful shoe.
This shoe is built around a curved last with a pointed, narrow toe box. Whilst it’s by no means the only shoe on the market with this design profile, it’s marketed specifically towards high-end consumers and professional riders and as such, carries very high expectations.
For Fizik to develop a shoe around this last is an interesting choice simply because there are such few feet in the world that are shaped like this. As such, it’s inevitable that some cyclists will find the toe box both limiting and somewhat intrusive, particularly on the lesser toes. Remember, curved lasts in cycling are certainly not uncommon, but the R1’s toe box also tapers down (shallow-out) somewhat and if your feet don’t match this profile, it could come back to bite you down the track when you can no longer return the shoes.
What I really like about this shoe is its upper. The shoe upper wraps around the dorsum of the foot almost like a burrito and the result is one that ensures your feet feel secure. The lower of the two Boa’s controls the wrap-around feature whilst the upper dial ensures your foot rearfoot is held securely in place. What’s surprising is just how well this shoe caters for varying levels of foot depths, as it fits equally well for shallower foot types as it does for feet with much higher forefoot volumes.
As for breathability, rest assured this shoe performs well. However, if you’re prone to getting super hot and sweaty feet, Fizik has also developed a knitted version to make that spring/summer riding experience a little more aerated.
Another aspect of this shoe is its overall stiffness. Whilst Fizik confirms that it’s their stiffest carbon-fibre shoe cycling shoe, there’s still an ever so slight amount of flex. Yes, we’re simply testing it with by hand and yes, we are ratcheting the shoe very tightly to achieve this, but nonetheless it’s something to take note of, particularly when comparing it to Bont’s Vaypor series for example which is easily the gold standard for sole stiffness. On a positive note, however, it does dampen the vibrations of the road particularly well and as a result, the R1 has a friendly and comfortable ride.
Finally, the cleat holes. This is harder to gauge but yes, I’m frequently adjusting cleats to the lowest possible level when to achieve adequate distance behind the 1st metatarsal head. Whilst the eventual cleat positions do typically work well but if I’m consistently working with the cleats at the lowest point, it suggests the holes, despite having almost 5mm of fore/aft adjustment, could be positioned more appropriately.
This shoe is a working progress. Its design, particularly the knitted versions, is beautiful and the fitting mechanism of the upper is thoughtful and practical. What must be improved before it competes effectively and consistently with other shoes in a similar market is its last. It’s this change that will take it from a 3.5 to a 4.5 overnight.