R1 and R3 shoes
days. However, kangaroo leather can
be sliced incredibly thin while being
lighter and much stronger than cow
or goat leather.
Text > Ben Edwards Images > fi’zi:k
Italy is a country of cycling history. The riders, the
roads and even many of brands have been a part of
our sport since its inception. The thought that an
upstart company founded in the mid nineties would
hold a prized place among these seminal Italian
brands in 14 short years is hard to believe, yet that is
exactly what fi’zi:k did.
fi’zi:k uses a combination of
Kangaroo leather and microfiber for
the upper of the R3 shoe. Both shoes
use sailcloth for their three straps.
It is light, thin, malleable, stretch
proof, and essentially weather proof.
The two lower straps get zinc pull
taps while the upper uses a buckle.
Here again the two shoes part ways.
The R1 gets a carbon lever with an
aluminum and stainless ratchet. The
R3 uses an aluminum lever with a
plastic and stainless ratchet.
Founded in 1996, they truly stormed
the cycling world in 2003. Capitalizing
on a subtle change in the UCI’s saddle
rules, they created the longest saddle
on the market, a saddle Gilberto
Simoni used to crush the competition
at the Giro d’Italia. The saddle was
described as his secret weapon, even
hidden from cameras under a plastic
bag at stage starts. He could be seen
storming away from the peloton
perched on the nose of his long saddle,
then sliding back to set a blistering
tempo. The saddle was the Arione,
and fi’zi:k suddenly had the hottest
saddle on the market.
When a company like this turns its
attention to a new product, in this
case shoes, everyone in the cycling
industry should sit up and take notice.
Rather than simply going light, or stiff,
or customizable, fi’zi:k decided to do
what they did with the Arione, create a
racing shoe by thinking outside of the
box. The end result is a shoe line that
should do all of these things: be light,
be stiff, and be customizable.
The line is very simple, comprised
of two shoes, the R1 and the R3.
Both are premium level, with the R1
residing at the top of the food chain.
Where this thinking outside the box
becomes obvious is in materials. The
R1 one uses kangaroo leather for
the upper, which is more common in
soccer shoes than cycling shoes these
The R1 and R3 share a carbon
fiber base with serious sculpting, not
only for stiffness but to ensure your
foot stays positioned correctly and
comfortably. The edge of the outsole
curves upward with what fi’zi:k
calls the Mobius Rail helping wrap
the outsole itself around your foot,
keeping it stable. The rear of the shoe
is reinforced with Tepex to ensure
your heel does not lift during big
efforts or at high cadence.
fi’zi:k knew all of this engineering
was pointless if cyclists simply weren’t
comfortable in the shoes, so the same
degree of innovation and care lavished
on the upper and outsole was used to