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The Fizik Vento Ferox shoes not only look great, they're very comfortable. Aimed at off-road riding, cyclocross and gravel, they combine the sturdiness and flexibility needed for tackling rough surfaces with stiffness for riding fast.
Their eye-catching lilac and luminous green colour is also consistent with the less traditional designs found across the off-road market. Somewhat surprisingly, I really liked it.
The design of the Vento Ferox shoes closely mirrors many of the touches seen in Fizik's popular road shoe range.
Firstly, the bi-directional Li2 Boa on the forefoot offers on-the-go adjustability. This is combined with Fizik's Powerstrap, which offers a really strong bind to the foot, removing any unwanted movement in the shoe.
I've used shoes vith Boa dials loads and these Li2s really are the gold standard, allowing tightening and loosening very easily while riding. I'd not tried the Powerstrap before, though, and was pleasantly surprised by how tight I was able to fasten the shoe, with no unwanted flapping of the strap as it's Velcro all the way along.
The upper part of the shoe is constructed with a woven laminated mesh fabric, clearly designed to be flexible and light but also able to withstand damage from kicked up stones or branches while riding off-road, with extra protection around the toe, side and heel sections. This works really well – when you have to jump off the bike it's not uncommon to knock your shoes against the tyres or scuff the toes on the ground, and here the extra lamination means you can just wipe away any dirt, and there's no visible scuffing.
I didn't have a great deal of time testing these in wet conditions, but the fabric is reasonably water resistant. I rode in the shoes a few times in light rain and my feet didn't get wet, but Fizik makes no claims about water resistance and I wouldn't expect my feet to stay dry if I rode for any length of time in wet conditions.
The X1 sole is designed with high-performance riding in mind and rated as 10/10 in Fizik's stiffness scale. It feels exactly that... super stiff! I really couldn't detect any give when putting my most powerful efforts in. As more of a roadie, I really value this, particularly when pushing to kick up a short, sharp hill on a cyclocross course.
The surface of the sole is designed with cyclocross or gravel in mind, with wide tread for grip on loose or muddy surfaces, and you could install a full-on pair of cyclocross studs for particularly slippy surfaces.
With all these features in mind, I'm really looking forward to putting these shoes into action in some proper cyclocross racing conditions. My one reservation is how they're going to deal with good old-fashioned deep mud. The lilac upper copes with light rain or dust really well, but I'm not sure how easy they'll be to clean after riding in deep mud, particularly the Velcro Powerstrap. My experience of Velcro is that it doesn't maintain its grip quite as well once muddy. The light beige of the sole is unlikely to remain the same colour either.
The shoes do also come in black, which might allay some of my concerns, but the fabric choices might mean they don't perform quite so well in these conditions. I'll let you know.
I primarily tested these shoes on my cyclocross bike, for off-road forest and park style riding. But I also was able to use them when commuting, fully on road. Many people elect to use shoes with mountain bike style cleats for commuting because of how easy clipping in and out is, and it's convenient to be able to walk in cycling shoes! This feature shouldn't be discounted, as the super stiff soles and lightweight design mean these shoes are candidates to be genuinely used on all types of bikes.
I'm usually size 9 in UK men's shoes and found that these 43.5s fitted nicely. I would certainly recommend a close look at Fizik's size chart, as cycling shoe sizing can be somewhat haphazard.
Weight is becoming an important factor in off-road shoes, and 665g for the 43.5s is pretty good for a sturdy design, though you can get lighter – the [url= https://road.cc/content/review/specialized-s-works-vent-evo-gravel-shoes... Vent Evos[/url] (614g in a size 43) and [url= https://road.cc/content/review/bontrager-xxx-mountain-bike-shoes-272393]Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes[/url] (654g, size 43), for example.
Although £299.99 is a lot of money, if we take a look at the competition we see similar or higher prices. Those S-Works Vent Evos are £385, the Bonty XXXs £344.99 and DMT's KM0s are £354.99, though Rapha's Explore Powerweaves are actually a little cheaper at 'just' £280.
Despite my preconceptions about a pair of purple off-road shoes, I really liked wearing these Fiziks. Their stiffness makes them feel really efficient, while the upper is light and flexible, and the dual fastening gives close but comfortable attachment to the feet. I'm slightly concerned about how these will fare once we hit winter and some proper muddy conditions, but I look forward to finding out!
Good looking, comfortable and stiff shoes ready for gravel, mountain biking, cyclocross and more
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon Shoe
Size tested: 43.5
Tell us what the product is for
These shoes are designed for off-road, but with speed in mind. Their lightweight and stiff construction lends them towards use in cyclocross, gravel or mountain bike racing.
"The new face of fast, Ferox is a lightweight, breathable off-road racing shoe with a carbon outsole that takes on gravel roads, MTB trails and CX courses with trail-blazing speed.
Whether it's a technical XC trail, a speedy cyclocross race, or an all-day gravel event, the Vento Ferox Carbon is at ease when high performance, foot stability and long-lasting comfort are needed most.
With a dual closure system, the instep and forefoot are separately adjustable for a customized and secure fit. At the instep, Powerstrap provides an exceptional foot containment at high cadence, particularly common when pedaling off-road, while, at the same time, providing a crash-proof system that will take you safely to every finish line. A premium bi-directional Li2 BOA® Fit System is located at the forefoot, ensuring a micro-adjustable precision fit with even pressure distribution."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Durable and tear-resistant, woven mesh over a PU laminated upper
Li2 BOA® Fit System
X1 Carbon outsole – with rubber tread, stiffness index 10
Sizes: 36-48 (37 to 47 also in half sizes)
The construction is clearly of very high quality, a top of the range Boa dial is used, plus a high-performance upper fabric is paired with a super stiff carbon sole.
The performance was great, the shoes were comfortable to ride in and the stiffness allowed me put the power down.
More heavyweight upper fabrics could last longer, but I've seen no deterioration. The extra lamination on toe, side and heel is a good touch to prevent scuffs and minor damage.
The fastening system provides enough adjustability to allow a good fit.
As a UK size 9.5 I opted for size 43.5 (which technically is size 9 1/4), and these shoes were exactly the right size for me.
You can get lighter off-road shoes, but 665g really is very good.
You could certainly get cheaper shoes that perform almost as well, but £300 for these is quite reasonable when compared to the competition.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The fabric can be washed with a damp sponge. They look really similar to how they arrived, despite having dealt with a bit of dust and minor mud.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They performed really well. The upper is flexible so not uncomfortable when going over rough surfaces, while the stiff sole really makes for a responsive ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really – though I doubt they'll deal with heavy mud very well, especially the Velcro strap and light coloured soles.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At first glance £299.99 is rather expensive, but if we take a look at the competition we see similar or higher prices. The S-Works Vent Evos are £385, the Bontrager's XXXs are £344.99 and DMT's KM0s are £354.99, though Rapha's Explore Powerweaves are actually a little cheaper at 'just' £280.
You can get very good shoes for less – we rated the DMT GK1 shoes 8/10, and they only cost £189 – but I think the extra value here is that you get a genuine multi-use cycling shoe.
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
Overall, I think these shoes are very good, mostly because of how comfortable they are to ride in. I also like the eye-catching design, and though £300 is a lot of money, that's around the same as some competitors – and a lot less than a few.
About the tester
I usually ride: S-Works Tarmac My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, club rides, Gravel on a CX bike