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review

Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 shoes

8
£209.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Very comfortable and secure shoes with chameleon-like colours, but watch the sizing – and prepare to pay
Weight: 
556g

The Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 shoes are moderately stiff, extremely comfortable and – in this iridescent colour option – look spectacular in sunlight, as the colour shifts between copper and a kind of rose gold/pink. They're also less racy – in a very usable way – than their looks suggest. Bear in mind that they come up at least half a size bigger than many, and if you want the most disco-fever feet on the road, there's a premium to pay over 'normal' Tempo Overcurve R4s.

  • Pros: Comfortable, secure footbed, standout looks
  • Cons: Size up large, not the stiffest, expensive

These shoes have a long name, but it mostly means something. The 'Overcurve' part is Fizik's shaping of the opening and closure, which is not symmetrical. Instead, the former closely follows your ankle bones, which aren't symmetrical either, while the latter curves inwards towards your big toes. The result is impressively comfortable and secure, even when cinched down hard. I say this with confidence, because these R4s were at least half a size too big, yet still proved so comfy and secure they've become my favourite shoes.

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> Buy these online here

About that sizing. Every other pair of shoes I've tested or own – road and off-road – fit me in EU45. But while I initially blamed Fizik for making these too large, a quick check of UK equivalents reveals that it's actually everyone else making shoes at least half a size too small. Weird. So while I can hardly criticise Fizik, bear that in mind and consider sizing down.

Even though I can get a finger down behind my heel, the heel cup – with silicone grips around the top – and single-Boa closure keep the R4 Tempo Overcurves firmly in place during even the hardest efforts. There's no strap or dial over the toes, but it's easy to tension that area hard enough to ripple the fabric there anyway. The long, curved closure spreads the pressure very evenly up your foot, and I found no hotspots or issues even on long, hard rides.

Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 Iridescent shoes - toe.jpg

This surprised me, as did the security of the footbed considering the sizing issue. I struggle with early numbness/discomfort in one foot (an old injury means my ankle points down too far), and expected those toes to slide down, pile up and go to sleep even quicker than normal. The roomy R4s were no worse than most shoes, however, and better than quite a few, as the shape seems to resist forward slippage very well.

The nylon sole is 15 per cent carbon for a stiffness rating of seven, and they really do feel very 'seven' – neither stiff nor flexy, but with just a hint of springiness under power to give a lively pedal feel.

Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 Iridescent shoes - sole toe.jpg

Two toe vents and a rear-facing midsole vent do a decent job, though the perforated upper, heavily pierced tongue (punk as well as disco? Cosmic!) and mesh inner heel arguably do more to keep you cool. I find it hard to comment definitively, as temperatures throughout the test were resolutely middling.

Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 Iridescent shoes - boa.jpg

Certainly that softer mesh helps protect your cranks against scuffing, and the hefty seam attaching it to the rest of the shoe is sensibly buried under the polyurethane (PU) laminate to protect both the stitching and your bike. Nice detail.

Raised and actually numbered alignment marks make cleat attachment easy, while the textured, rubbery plastic heel and toe sections are grippy enough for easy walking. The soles themselves have taken a few smeary gouges from stones, but it's clearly resilient to meaningful damage or cracking.

Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 Iridescent shoes - sole heel.jpg

If you like sparkly things but don't like copper that turns to pink, there's also a greenish-black pair that look like two sleek beetles. Or huge flies. Your choice. Both carry a £15 premium over the standard R4 Tempo Overcurve (black or white), which in itself is fairly pricey for a non-race-specific shoe. Fit, performance and quality all mean you're getting your money's worth, nonetheless.

If it's simply splendid looks you're after, also consider Rapha's £180 Classic shoes, with their old-school laces and simple, elegant colours. Alternatively, if the R4 Irridescent just isn't eye-catching enough, try Bontrager's brilliantly insane fluorescent yellow Ballista road shoes at £200, as they too offer excellent fit and a not-excessively-stiff sole.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best performance road cycling shoes

The R4 Tempo Overcurve Irridescents are a really strong choice, thanks to excellent comfort, great all-round performance, impressive build and those standout looks. Just watch the sizing – they've only gone and made it accurate...

Verdict

Very comfortable and secure shoes with chameleon-like colours, but watch the sizing – and prepare to pay

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Fizik Tempo Overcurve R4 shoes

Size tested: 45

Tell us what the product is for

Fizik says: "Tempo Overcurve R4 is a versatile performance road cycling shoe that's quick and easy to fit. It's designed to suit a wide range of riders and many types of ride."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Fizik lists these things:

- Outsole: R4 outsole – carbon injected nylon, stiffness index 7

- Overcurve: asymmetrical construction that ergonomically conforms to the foot's anatomy

- PU laminated mesh upper: enhanced ventilation with support where needed

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Beautifully built with perfect seams everywhere.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Middling stiffness, but comfortable over distance and feel great under power.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Accurate stitching and major seams buried to protect against crank rub bode well.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Comfortable and hold your feet very well.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

These were at least half a size bigger than expected – though it seems the majority of other shoes are too small, and these are actually accurate, so I can't criticise too much!

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Good and right on average for their all-rounder brief, if not outstanding for the price.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Secure fit and no hotspots.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Expensive, but you can see where the money went.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Plasticky uppers are easy to wipe down.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Comfortable, secure and a pleasure to wear.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfort; fancy shiny looks!

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Larger than every other size 45 shoe (on and off-road) I own; pricey.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

More than £200 for an all-round rather than race-specific shoe is reasonably unusual, and there are plenty of options worth looking at for considerably less – though their quality, performance and looks might not match these.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

They're excellent in every area, though arguably should be for the price, with nothing bar the sizing to cause issues. They're very good, and a really solid 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking

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