have come out on the market as a high end ITALIAN made cycling shoe that is sure to please. The FIZIK R3 SL road bike shoe is pretty much the identical to the FIZIK R3 road bike shoe model just without the buckle latch giving it a lighter weight. This is the EUROPEAN style lightweight road shoe that everyone has been waiting for. The R3 model is extremely comfortable with a slightly higher arche than most other shoes on the market keeping your foot in place, reducing if not completely doing away with toe numbness and hot spots. Toe numbness can be caused by lack of blood flow in the foot. The FIZIK R3 SL model and the FIZIK R3 both have a slightly roomier toebox giving you more space in the front which also reduces foot pain and numbness. The FIZIK R1 shoe model has a standard width toebox and would be ideal for a narrow to standard foot. The material on the SL and standard R3 model is a very durable and cleanable microtex that looks like leather, it is very attractive. Ultimately the Fizik cycling shoes are definitely something to inquire of.
Made in Italy
Fizik’s shoes are a tight line of two high-end models: the $400 R1 and the $300 R3. They’re all made in Italy, and share the same carbon outsole, sailcloth straps, adjustable-length upper strap. The fit was described as roomier than a Sidi, but snugger than a Shimano.
Like most high-end shoes, Fizik’s outsole is made of carbon for stiffness and low weight. Fizik uses Toray’s T700 carbon, often found in bicycle frames. In the heel cup, a more forgiving composite, from Tepex, is used to provide support but reduce the chance for hot spots. Wrapping the outside edge of the outsole is a “Mobious Rail,” which is claimed to help wrap the shoe around the heel and foot for a more complete fit.
The upper strap on both the R1 and R3 is secured by a mechanical buckle. The R1’s lever is molded and machined carbon, with an aluminum release and stainless base; the R3’s lever is aluminum with a plastic release and stainless base. Fizik chose sailcloth for the straps because it is light, weather resistant, does not stretch but is supple enough to conform to the foot. The two lower straps have zinc end-tabs.
The primary difference between Fizik’s R3 and top-of-the-line R1 is the upper material. The R1’s upper is 100 percent kangaroo leather, a lightweight, durable and supple material that’s not used in cycling shoes as much as it used to be. Fizik says kangaroo leather is tough to get because Nike gobbles up a lot of the worldwide supply to make soccer shoes.
The R1’s are endowed with a Sidas insole specifically made for Fizik. Made of 40 percent recycled materials, it’s heat moldable—and may be remolded several times—with a thermoplastic support layer at the heel. A layer of slow-rebound foam along the entire length helps absorb road vibration. For further fit customization, the R1 has a unique tongue pocket: people with higher volume feet can use thinner inserts; if you have low volume feet, a thicker insert can be installed to help swallow extra volume. One color is offered, black, and branding is small and subtle.
While the R1 is full off luxury materials and features, the R3 steps it back a touch. The buckle is less extravgant, and the the R3’s upper is made from microfiber, with small panels of kangaroo leather at the toe and heel, instead of full kangaroo. Though durability, breathability and comfort are very similar to kangaroo leather, the microfiber upper does fit a little differently than the kangaroo leather at first, though once broken in the R1 and R3 should fit the same. The R3 also forgoes the R1's fancy insole for a more minimalist and simple option. Unlike the R1, the R3 is offered in both men’s and women’s specific fit. And, for you flashy footwear fans, the R3 is brighter: color options are white and black or a racing red (women get pure white or black and cream). The R3 is also slightly lighter than the R1: 258 grams versus 270 grams (1/2 pair, size 43). Much of the R1’s extra weight comes from the heat moldable insole.