Fine Italian kicks designed for comfort, stiffness and speed. The Fi'zi:k Terra X5!
Words and Photos: Mike Blewitt
Fi'zi:k are purveyors of fine Italian items – most notably saddles and shoes in the mountain bike arena. Their range is continuiing to expand, with many features trickling down from the eye-watering upper reaches of their range to the middle of the footwear range available by the Italian artisans.
Over the past 3 years I have tested a few pairs of shoes from fi'zi:k. All have been adorned with BOA closures, thing carbon fibre soles as stiff as a hardwood railway sleeper, and sleek design. In many aspects, the new Terra X5 is not different. The look is far more XC than trail and the single BOA closure and velcro strap mix fast and easy fit and removal with a secure and precise fit.
The upper is 'Laser Perforated Microtex' which means it's a synthetic leather with lots of tiny holes. There are generous protective sections around the toes, and the whole upper is very supple. Most riders will associate Italian shoes with a narrow fit. The fi'zi:k Terra X5 are no dress shoe though, and my very wide feet have found all models I have tested to fit really well, and always a true to size EU44, as I am in other shoes from Shimano and Specialized.
Unlike some pure racing shoes, the tread depth on the Terra X5s is quite open and deep, especially on the heel. There are ports for toe studs as well, and the section around the cleat is generous. This all means you have something to dig in with on anything steep to climb or descend on foot, and a really stable platform on your pedals. I'd like to see more shoes offer replacement sole sections around the cleat as it's usually a high wear area that really changes your stability in the pedal. Fi'zi:k have added a nicely padded tongue to assist with comfort and trail debris – I didn't encounter any logs flying at my feet during testing but it's a nice touch and they were very comfortable.
The midsole is not full blown carbon fibre, but a composite carbon fibre. What you might notice is it's a little thicker, but it's no heavier, and good luck noticing a difference in stiffness. It does dramatically reduce the price compared to the top level Infinito X1 though!
On the trail
Blind testing, I would not be able to pick the difference between the Terra X5 and the M3B Uomo I tested a couple of years back. While they cost a couple of hundred dollars less, the Terra X5 have an upper that is easier to get in and out of, with a cut that doesn't bunch up. While fi'zi:k claim they offer more confidence on the bike and off, they are still a stiff soled cycling shoe and a session of hike-a-bike is never awesome in a dedicated cycling shoe, no matter what brand or model. They're built well and I suspect they will last some time.
With the prices of top mountain bike shoes sky rocketing over the past few years, with shoes hitting $500 and above, the fact is that over $200 is still a lot of money to spend on a mountain bike shoe. It's really only good for one thing – mountain biking. I have spent a lot of money on mountain bike shoes over the past 20 years, and I have no reservations in saying that by spending more than the $270 that it costs for the Terra X5, you're not getting huge returns. If you ride and race a whole lot, you'll wear out whatever shoe you get. The Terra X5 is stiff, durable and light, and is likely to suit the needs of many XC riders and trail riders after a breathable, light performance shoe. If you're after something with a different aesthetic look elsewhere. But if XC is your game then these shoes are made for you.
From: Advance Traders
– Great fit and good adjustment
– Stiff and supportive
– BOA lacing is fast!
– They're still only suited to the XC crowd