The Fizik Artica R5 (road) and X5 (mtb) winter cycling shoes debuted in November, which is a late release for a winter shoe…which means they actually still have them in stock. We’ve been testing a pair of the X5 shoes for the past month and they’ve proven themselves on both mountain bike rides and cyclocross races in temps ranging from almost 50ºF to well, well below freezing…
DETAILS & ACTUAL WEIGHTS
The Fizik Artica X5 uses a waterproof construction with added insulation to keep your feet warm and dry in winter. The upper uses a Microtex material with bonded-on reinforcements running around the toe and down the sides. Above that is a waterproof cover with waterproof zipper that ends above the ankle. It’s topped off with a stretchy Neoprene cuff to keep warm air in and debris out.
Inside, they’re lined with a breathable synthetic woven material that adds some insulation and makes them easy to slide on and off. The insole has a fleece cover and is backed with aluminum to reflect and retain heat. There’s even a padded, insulating foam piece over the cleats.
The protective guard raises to protect the entire heel on the back, with a reflective patch above that. The cuff drops slightly in the back and is very flexible. I never felt any restricted mobility, pinching or discomfort…these move with my foot well whether pedaling or walking.
The sole is a carbon-infused nylon with nearly full rubber tread coverage. It’ll take studs/spikes if you want them.
Actual weights are 609g and 604g (47EU/13US tested), which is just a bit heavier than the Giro and Shimano winter MTB shoes I’ve tested in the past. Weirdly, they seemed lighter, and they’re definitely more streamlined in appearance…which is one of the things I like about them, they don’t feel like a big clunky winter boot. And they fit true to size, which wasn’t always the case with past winter shoes I’ve tested.
FIZIK ARTICA X5 REVIEW
Under the cover is a pull-to-tighten cord with a locking slide to keep them snug. The waterproof outer then zips tight…tight enough that I probably didn’t even need to use the speed lace. Narrower feet might find it useful, but for me, the zippered cover pulled the shoe tight enough to stay securely in place.
Fit is snug, which I expected from Fizik’s narrow Italian shaping. My past experience with their road shoes was similar, their last and the cut of the upper is narrower than, say, Shimano. Not so narrow as to be uncomfortable, but the issue here is that I’m typically wearing thicker socks in the winter, and there’s no accommodation for that. Even with Defeet’s relatively thin (compared to typical winter socks, anyway) Wooleators, they were snug.
With thicker socks (like Defeet Woolie Boolies), they started to restrict blood flow just enough to start putting the front half of my foot to sleep. So I stuck with thinner socks. I also have big feet. Size 13, and not narrow but not abnormally wide…so, um, normal? So make any comparisons to your own feet and potential fit. If you already like Fizik’s shoes, you’ll probably love these.
The outsole is stiff enough for long climbing and hard cyclocross efforts alike. That also provides a nice supportive platform for long descents. And the rubber grip worked well for hiking back up rock and root sections to re-ride them.
One surprise was how well they apparently vented moisture. Fizik says the materials are breathable. On one 90-minute ride with lots of climbing, the weather was admittedly warmer than these shoes were made for, so my feet were warm. But they didn’t get soaked in sweat. On colder days, moisture buildup was a non-issue.
And there were colder days. I raced them in two cyclocross races that hovered at or below 20ºF, and they kept my feet reasonably warm. Personally, at that temperature, for longer rides, I want something thicker and with a bit more room for blood to flow and toes to move. But for racing ‘cross, they’re perfect – they’re light, warm enough, stiff enough, and have good traction for run ups. And they’re waterproof, which could save the day on some courses! Their streamlined, almost aero fit and finish make them a solid choice for winter gravel bike riding, too.
Overall, I like them. I wish they had more room inside for thicker socks, but they’re comfortable and perform well. And warm enough for the 30º-50ºF temps I’m actually going to ride in anyway. Retail is $200, available in sizes 40-47 in half sizes plus 48.