Fizik Aria R3 Shoe
  • Total rating
4

Summary

Beautifully designed Italian road cycling shoes featuring top-notch materials, a comfortable fit and a wide range of adjustment options thanks to a double BOA® closure system.

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Pros

  • Extremely comfortable for a performance road shoe.
  • Top-notch highly durable materials.
  • Tasteful design with a variety of colour options.
  • A highly adaptable fit system with 2 BOA® IP1-B dials.

Cons

  • High price tag.
  • Limited cleat adjustment positions.
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User Review
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Fizik’s Italian heritage is responsible for the utmost care put into the design and aesthetics of every product in their range. However, as a brand solely focused on bicycle contact points (saddles, shoes, and handlebars), comfort and performance are always at the core of their creations.

This is indeed the case with the Aria R3 road shoe, an exquisite and tasteful model built with premium performance parts and a comfortable fit with great adaptability. Despite not being Fizik’s top of the range road shoe model, they certainly have a premium look with superior features such as the UD carbon sole and the double BOA® dials.

Their claimed weight is even lighter than the superior R1 model, and the only main differences are less ventilation and marginally less stiffness.

Fit System

I’ve tested these shoes on a size 41 and they felt like a glove since the first ride. They have just enough room for the toes to wiggle slightly but still offer a snug fit around the vamp and heel. The ingenious BOA® dials allow for really fast and precise micro-adjustments on the go. They can be quickly tightened right before powering up a short uphill drag and untightened during long steady climbs to get more comfortable on the bike.

These dials are positioned strategically on the side of the shoe vamp to offer a wide range of fit adjustment options. Fizik calls this feature “Volume Control System”. I’ve got no particularly wide feet but in my case, it feels like the R3 shoe could easily fit a centimetre wider foot.

The heel angle is optimal to put on the shoes quickly but it feels it could be a bit more snug-fitting when riding. Nonetheless, it features silicone grip dots on the inside that solve this issue.

Sole & Cleats

One of the main leaps forward from the lower R4 model is the full unidirectional carbon sole that increases the stiffness and power transmission to the pedals. It features a removable heel skid plate that is efficient enough to walk off the bike but not excessively bulky. It also has small ventilation openings at the front and at the heel that won’t give you a breezy sensation on a hot day but will help to evacuate the moisture.

The sole comes with the standard 3-bolt positioning system for road cleats in the expected placement right in the centre of the sole. It offers 12 centimetres of play to bring the cleats position front and back, which works fine for most riders. Personally, I wish this play was a bit more generous since I prefer to have my cleats as further back on the sole as possible for better power transmission.

Off-bike the Aria offers decent walkability (I’ve used it with Look cleats) but the shiny carbon sole is very prone to unaesthetic scratches if taken out of smooth tarmac surfaces.

Upper

The upper is made of just 2 pieces of Microtext material resulting in a minimal amount of seams and a high level of comfort. The main piece has a classy matt finish with laser micro-perforations on both sides of the vamp for added ventilation, while the smaller piece on the side closer to the bike it’s finished with a glossy look, presumably to protect against dirt and grime coming off the drivetrain.

Color Options

One of Fizik’s signature brand characteristics is the wide variety of colour options across all their product ranges. At the time of writing this review, there are 5 colourways available: black and white, black and red, black and fluoro yellow, navy and white, and full black. On top of these, they often come up with special-edition colourways that are quite refreshing.

Durability

 

Having tested the Aria R3 shoes for over 6 months under South East Asia’s humid and hot conditions, I can tell that the materials are holding up pretty well.

The upper is extremely easy to clean with a damp cloth and will look like new in seconds. After some use, the worst looking part of the shoe would be the sole, relatively easy to scratch just by walking on gravel.

The BOA® dials steel-coated nylon laces are pretty robust and lasted for 3 years on my previous pair of Fizik shoes. Fortunately, they can be replaced as well as the heel skid plate extending the life span of the R3 shoes.

On The Road

Usability and comfort start from the very moment you want to put on the shoes. The BOA® dials can be pulled out quickly releasing the cable tension and making enough room to insert your feet swiftly. Then, turning the dials clockwise you can tighten the shoes in really small increments to suit your needs accurately at every moment.

The ultra-stiff sole will allow you for an efficient power transfer but it can give you numb toes after a while when pushing the pedals hard with the shoes tightened excessively. In long rides, releasing the tension on the dials when riding at a steady pace will guarantee a comfortable feel for many hours.

Verdict

The Fizik Aria R3 is an all-rounder road shoe capable of the highest levels of performance and comfort whether you use it on long training rides or short explosive bike races.

If you are on the lookout for a pair of road shoes capable of all and don’t mind splashing some cash, the Aria R3 model is well worth it.

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