For those riders looking for the best in the market.
Fi’zi:k are growing their range, and while their footwear isn’t entirely new, the Italian company are branching out to just about every contact point. From saddles and shoes, to bibshorts, bars, bartape and grips.
Last year, I tested the previous version of the fi’zi:k M3B Uomo mountain bike shoe, and was impressed with the fit and comfort, but let down by the cleat location and outer sole material. The Italians have now reworked the M3B, their top cross-country focused shoe, and the latest version is nothing short of fantastic.
Much remains from the older model, with a single BOA dial cinching your foot into the grippy heel cup, with no extra velcro strap at the toes. The upper feels a little thinner, and while it doesn’t boast a huge amount of ventilation, that hasn’t resulted in issues of ‘hot foot’ or pressure points. The fit is OK for my very wide foot. Perhaps it’s the suppleness of the anti-scratch leather which, as the name suggests, has proven to be very durable. The outer has reinforcements around the toes, the heel cup and the instep for extra strength. This is perfect given the fact that when you’re off the bike it’s usually not flat underfoot.
To that end, the sole is unrecognisable from the last model. The lugs grip, they’re deep and open and dig in to soft surfaces, or find an edge on hard surfaces. You can fit toe studs if you ride in the mud a lot, and the cleat pocket is long and deep and easy to locate when clipping in quickly. Best of all, the drilled slots are in a better position to suit just about any mountain biker.
The unidirectional carbon sole is light and stiff, and the shoe reminded me a lot of the Bontrager XXX mountain bike shoe I tested in 2015 - in terms of fit, sole stiffness and sole. The single BOA closure is a little simpler, making for a very svelte shoe and appearance that will suit any cycling aesthete. While a weight of 350g per shoe is claimed by fi’zi:k, one EU44 shoe with a Shimano cleat attached is 408g confirmed. That’s not bad.
There are still some issues – the single BOA closure can need some tugs on the laces to keep your foot perfectly snug, and black might not be your thing. BOA systems do require some maintenance but as so many shoes on the market use them this shouldn’t be a surprise or a problem. The inner soles are very thin and flat, and there are no alternatives in the box. Shimano and Specialized do come equipped (or can be equipped via a dealer) for appropriate inner soles. If you need different arch support, you could easily use a Specialized inner sole – or see a podiatrist.
Compared to the last version, fi’zi:k have changed the M3B Uomo into a top-level shoe to compete with the Specialized S-Works, Bontrager XXX and Shimano S-Phyre XC9. They are lightweight, they dry quickly, and stick to your foot on and off the bike and have a durable outer sole and outer. They aren’t priced for the masses, but for riders looking for a high-performance cross-country shoe. And if you want that with some subtle Italian style then you should look no further.
Words and photos: Mike Blewitt
- Fit and comfort
- Only come in black
- Exceptional power transfer
- No footbed options
|- Improved off bike grip|