Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon Shoe review

FIZIK VENTO FEROX CARBON SHOE REVIEW

Review by Nic Hall | Photos by Drew Rohde

Fizik has been making some of the best saddles in the industry for as long as I have been in it, and lately they have been building up their offering of high-end road and mountain bike shoes. This spring they sent us the new Vento Ferox Carbon shoe, which is targeted at cross country mountain biking, gravel riding and cyclocross racing. While we definitely aren’t gravel racers, and probably don’t have the legs to hang in the local XC series anymore, it is nice to have an XC-specific kit for when it’s time to put the power down. If the Vento Ferox Carbon shoes were to perform as good as they look, we were in for a real treat.

Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon Shoe review

THE LAB

Fizik built the new Vento Ferox Carbon off their all-road platform, but with features to ensure they can handle trail conditions. The sole is their X1 Carbon outsole – a very stiff shank with a rating of ten (out of ten) – which is equipped with a molded rubber tread to offer grip in wet conditions, and traction cleats at the front which are optional. The pedal cleat mount can travel along a 1.5cm adjustment rail for the pickiest of pedal heads. The upper is made of a tear-resistant woven mesh, which is laminated with polyurethane to resist abrasions; and there’s a rubber overmold around the toe box for extra protection. The tongue offers full-length perforations for increased breathability.

Fit is dialed in by the new bi-directional Li2 BOA system, which allows for micro adjustment in both tightening and loosening the fit. A large elastic power strap is located at the top of the shoe to ensure a tight but flexible fit at all times. The Vento Ferox comes in lilac/white and black/black colorways for those looking for show or stealth, in sizes 36-48 including half-sizes, with a retail price of $299. Our size 43 shoes weighed in at 606g for the pair.

Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon Shoe review

THE DIRT

Since many of the trails around Bend, Oregon are XC oriented, we always keep an XC bike on tap for the spring as the upper trail systems are melting out. The Vento fits the bill perfectly for an aggressive XC shoe that you can wear all day when putting in the miles and could double as your gravel or cyclocross shoes in the off season.

A near perfect fit is achievable in Fizik’s Vento Ferox Carbon shoes with nearly any sock, thanks to the combination of the micro-adjustable BOA and the large elastic power strap. My shoe size is EU43 and these are true to size in a 43. You would not think a carbon soled race shoe could be comfortable, but the fit is impressive and allows your foot to naturally move in the shoe despite its stiffness. Speaking of stiffness, the sole is amazingly stiff, reminiscent of the days I used to train on road bikes. Power transfer is instant and trail feedback is detailed. The only downside is foot fatigue on sustained rougher descents, but that’s not typically in the remit of these disco slippers.

The pedal to sole interface is outstanding with SPDs, with no spacers needed and the cleat channel allowing for quick and easy engagement of the pedal. Crankbrothers pedals required a single spacer under the cleat to allow for good pedal clearance and float. The combination of stiff sole and fairly hard durometer rubber makes the shoe slippery on platform pedals such as the XT trail when not clipped in, but served the purpose in a pinch.

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Protection is at a minimum with the upper of the Vento, helping to keep the overall weight down in that 600g range. The rubber overmolding on the toe box provides some deflection for gravel and mud but won’t take a full-on rock strike as well as some dedicated trail shoes. The sole does offer great protection and grip when you find yourself pushing up a steep section or walking around the trailhead, however. Breathability is moderate: on hot summer days I could use more, but on more temperate days the shoe is just about the perfect temperature and avoids any excessive heat buildup. The durability has been good overall despite a few rock strikes and some gravel rash, where the Fizik shoes have avoided ripping or any hint of pulling away from the sole.

The Wolf’s Last Word

If you like to get some miles in on your XC bike or find yourself in a cyclocross ride and need a set of shoes to pull double duty, it would be hard to beat the Fizik Vento Ferox Carbon. They are comfortable enough for an all-day ride, yet stiff enough to get the power down to pass that next rider. If you have the skills and Vo2 to keep up with the bright colorway, the purple slippers are awesome, but we probably would stick with the all black version to lower your power expectations.

Price: $299
Weight: 606g (EU43, pair)
Website: Fizik.com

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We Dig

Stiff and lightweight
Personalized fit

We Don’t

Hot on warm days due to limited breathability

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