At A Glance
Are you a #enduro rider? Do you believe flat pedals win medals? Have you recently found yourself in the market for a new pair of riding shoes? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, Fi’z:k would like to speak to you.Buy Shoes on
With good reason too. Their Gravitas shoes are a solid entry into the gravity shoe market from a brand better known for road and xc oriented footwear. The four shoe range consists of flat and clip pedal versions of both the simpler, lighter Versor shoe and the more performance focussed Tensor tested here. Each shoe’s available in a variety of subtle to not so subtle colours and the flat pedal Tensor comes in at €169 and an actual 375g in size 44 against a quoted 310g in 42.5
About The Brand
Fi’z:k in case you were wondering, is the phonetic spelling of ‘physique’. Born from the Selle Royal mother company, they’ve been in the business of making sophisticated, beautiful looking products for cyclists since 1996. Based out of their Italian HQ they are working hard on world domination. Their products come with a 2 year warranty, and their website does not mention any specific environmental goals.
So what of the stuff you can’t learn from the Fi’z:k website?
The first thing you notice as you pull these shoes on is just that, you need to pull them on. The ankle gaiter is pretty snug to get over the foot, but once on holds nicely round the ankle with a good feel at the forefoot. Fit is a personal thing so your mileage may vary, but the size 44 (or 9¾ uk / 10¾ us / 283.5mm depending on your size chart of preference) pair felt true to size compared to my usual Five Ten or Shimano shoes. There's a firm feel to the heel cup, and an even firmer feel to the reinforced toe box, but the supple ripstop fabric that makes the majority of the uppers construction, coupled to the offset lacing, nicely conforms to the foot. Or to my foot at least.
That snug-all-over feel meant there were no hot spots or pressure points and the shoe quickly went unnoticed on the foot. Actually, I could probably finish the review here; the shoe feels so natural on the foot you forget you’re wearing it.
I guess you want a bit more detail.
Out On The Trail
That ankle gaiter also seals nicely around the leg and keeps out most of the loam, mud, twigs and other assorted trail detritus that invariably finds its way into my shoes every ride. Whilst the shoes definitely aren’t waterproof they do a reasonable job of shedding dirt and the clean lines and low friction materials helps deal with ‘those’ wetter rides better than many competitors. The lighter construction doesn’t absorb much moisture either so the shoes dry out fairly quickly too. The flip side to the snug fit is it’s much harder to kick the shoes off at the front door when you’re trying to not trail mud through the house on return from ‘those’ rides. You can’t win ‘em all.
On the bike the dot patterned Vibram Megagrip sole grips well to the pedal, perhaps not quite as tenaciously as the stickiest Five Ten soles, but not far off and I never found myself wanting for more pedal grip when coupled with either DMR Vault or plastic Nukeproof Electron pedals. The soft mid sole allows excellent feedback on what’s happening under your feet whilst still providing plenty of support to push the bike into trail features as needed. A slightly stiffer midsole would make the Tensor feel better for long pedals, it’s a comfortable shoe to pedal but that midsole flex makes it a little more tiring for the foot over a big ride. Fizik could argue you don’t need to pedal much on a day lapping the chairlift for DH riding but they market the Gravitas range for DH and Enduro riders, so there should be some consideration for the 50km day loops of the EWS too. Using a stiffer aftermarket insole helps this and, combined with weighing in at 375g on my scales, helps make the shoe a good choice for big days out in the hills on technical trails. And just to repeat, that softer midsole does feel reeeaaally good on the downs.
Talking of big days out in the hills, bike shoes need to work for walking in too. Out of the box there’s a bit of a fold to the shoe when you walk that pushes in against the top of the foot near the flex point of the big toe but this seems to have mellowed over use and there’ve been no issues for me on longer pushes up hills. The Vibram Megagrip sole that grips mega well to pedals doesn’t do quite so well when you’re trying to scramble back up steep trail features to give them another go, but that’s common with every flat pedal shoe on the market so it’s hard to mark the Tensor down on that count.
Perhaps the only area these shoes aren’t mixing with the best in class is in environmental impact. Where several of their competitors are now offering shoes constructed with recycled materials or using less environmentally damaging construction chains, Fizik are only able to point to the shoes not being constructed with any animal products. The most environmentally friendly shoe is to keep using the pair you have rather than buy new and after a couple of months of testing the Tensors aren’t showing any real sign of wear so they definitely have that going for them. Still, a ‘could try harder’ for the score card.
Overall then? Unless something is going wrong, your hands and feet are the only four points where you contact the bike riding downhill. If your shoes aren’t comfortable or don’t let you feel and control the bike, then you’re not going to be having as much fun as you could. The Tensor Is probably not going to be sole-ly responsible for you winning any medals, but they do the job of making you feel connected to the bike so well you don’t notice they’re there and can get on with enjoying yourself, which is the bet accolade for any bit of MTB kit.
Overall then? Unless something is going wrong, your hands and feet are the only four points where you contact the bike riding downhill. If your shoes aren’t comfortable or don’t let you feel and control the bike, then you’re not going to be having as much fun as you could. The Tensor Is probably not going to be sole-ly responsible for you winning any medals, but they do the job of making you feel connected to the bike so well you don’t notice they’re there and can get on with enjoying yourself, which is the bet accolade for any bit of MTB kit.Buy Shoes on
This review was in Issue 66 of IMB.For more information visit Fizik
By Jarno HooglandJarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.