fi’zi:k have long married style, performance and expert manufacturing to create some very popular saddles for both road and mountain bikes. While their first foray into footwear was a little off the mark for some, their latest models have been receiving accolades.
Words: Mike Blewitt Photos: Lachlan Ryan
The M3B is focused on cross-country performance, which should be evident based not on just the styling, but the uncompromising rigidity of the unidirectional carbon mid sole, and fairly sparse tread. The ‘skid plate’ at the rear is removable and therefore replaceable, and there are ports for toe studs at the front of the shoe.
The upper is a combination of Microtex and perforated leather. In all black, I was surprised that they weren’t crazy hot. The single BOA closure is paired with a little Velcro strap near the toes, with some grippy material inside the heal to prevent slip.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Setting them up, it was clear that while the cleat position was a reasonable size, the drillings don’t quite allow for a position more rearward. If the M3 is made as more of an XCO and cyclocross shoe, that’s ok. A forward position with the cleat can aid in more punch, but precision bike setup should be done with a professional.
As an Italian fitting shoe, my wide peasant feet were a bit worried. But with a ride or two, they softened up nicely on the outer edge, and proved to be very comfortable. They are an outstandingly stiff shoe, and there is no sense of any power loss through it.
That outer sole seems to be a long way from rubber. While the grip did improve after knocking the shine off from enough rocks, they sit a long way apart from the grip achieved by recent Michelin soled models from Northwave and Shimano. It should last a long time though.
The single BOA does struggle a bit if you’re walking in the shoes – not so much if you’re running and digging your toes in. And I guess that’s due to the design of the shoe. These aren’t a classy looking shoe for trail riding, but a performance driven shoe for cross-country riding and racing.
Used in that sense, they’re great. I used them in a lap based endurance event in horrible mud, and in a hot Queensland cyclocross race (which also had mud), and they performed really well. They cleared mud easily, felt aggressive on the bike, and cleaned up well. Plus they still look close to new. If you’re after a snazzy set of kicks for on the bike performance, the f’iz:ik M3 might be for you.
|Stiff||Not a grippy outsole|
|RRP: $449||From: Monza Imports|