We have to make tradeoffs to keep up our riding when the winter comes around. Whether it’s in the comfort department — adding bulky apparel to stay warm — or putting off work for a little bit to get out while there’s daylight, it’s never quite as easy as throwing on a T-shirt or jersey after work and pedaling away from the trailhead.
Products like the Fizik Terra Artica X2 help riders hungry for winter miles accomplish their goals, with a few tradeoffs of course.
Fizik released the Terra series of shoes in the fall of 2019 with the idea that each shoe should transcend disciplines. In a way the Artica X2 does, and in others, it doesn’t.
The Artica X2 is dubbed an all-mountain shoe and is made with a waterproof, yet breathable membrane to suit nasty, winter riding conditions. The toecap, heel, and sides are reinforced with a thermo-laminated polyurethane, wrapping all the way around and increasing puddle-stepping confidence.
The Artica X2 has a single Boa-closure, for simple donning of the shoe, and a zippered ankle cuff to seal the top of the ankle. On the bottom is a sticky Vibram outsole, with a deep, directional lug pattern, resembling a heavy-duty work boot.
For such a heavy-duty winter riding shoe, the Terra Artica X2s are pretty light. The size 41s (8.25US) I tested weighed 478g per shoe, including an SPD cleat. They also cut a pretty low profile, making it an easy choice for anyone who’s worried about strapping up some of the other moon-boot-esque options out there.
My first ride out in the Artica X2s was during an on-and-off snowstorm, with temperatures between 20-30°F. On that ride I chose to wear a normal pair of MTB socks to see how warm the shoes would keep my feet. Toward the end of the ride, my toes were a little chilly. This could easily be remedied by putting on a pair of thicker, wool socks. I can almost hear my mom in my ear barking this at me from my middle school days when I’d walk to the bus stop. The shoes are insulated, but on sub-25° days, I’d just put some sock insurance on with the shoe.
With a stiffness index of 3, the Terra Artica X2s are not the best shoe if you’re looking for something solely for pounding out winter base miles. They are flexy and soft in the sole, and that’s where the brand’s hike-a-bike claims come in. Personally, I would have traded less hike-a-bike ability for a slightly stiffer sole, but it does come in handy trudging over mucky sections of trails, where the rugged sole helps too.
My biggest gripe about the shoe is that there isn’t a tab on the backside. With the high-zippered cuff and tight fit around the ankle, it can be a little hellish putting the Artica X2 on while trying to pinch the neoprene cuff as hard as possible. With my foot inserted though, it was easy to get a proper fit with the single Boa dial, and the shoes have been very comfortable on my feet.
The Fizik Terra Artica X2s aren’t a perfect shoe, but they’re a quality winter mountain bike shoe. The Articas are comfortable, will keep you feet warm and dry, and have a rugged demeanor. At $280, they are pricey, but for anyone who gets the itch to ride even when a storm’s brewing, the Artica X2s will help make it happen.