Whenever and wherever possible, pedaling, balancing, pumping, and coasting are among the primary physical activities of any good mountain bike ride. Folks who live in mountainous areas know that hiking also plays an important role in reaching some of the best alpine tracks. With a filthy downtube across your shoulders and a crank arm and fork stanchion in either clenched hand, slipping on a steep hillside means banging your knees or head on the slope in front of you. A cozy pair of shoes with tar-like grip can make those hike-a-bike climbs far more pleasant.
Fizik’s new Terra Ergolace X2 kicks have a lugged Vibram gum-sole that holds solidly to anything your tires would. The soft outsole’s tread is deep enough for jump sessions in the mud when you need ample traction to get back up the hill. I made numerous hike-a-bike ascents in these shoes and was happy to hit those peaks without slipping or rubbing sores into my feet. I have narrow heals that often slip out of my shoes while hiking, but the heal cups on these shoes held fast on several hour-long climbs.
The ripstop uppers are flexy enough that they don’t wear the skin off your foot while hiking. I pushed the limit on fit with these shoes, ordering a half-size smaller than I typically wear for a more snug fit, and the fabric wrapped my foot comfortably. I prefer to tie my bike shoes fairly tight, and the broad tongue in the Terra Ergolace kicks distributed the lace pressure well, keeping my toes from going numb.
- Price: $129 (€119)
- Actual weight: 373g each (size 43.5)
- Sizes: 36-48
- Colorways: black, anthracite/grape, olive/caramel (pictured), and teal blue/black
The Terra Ergolace X2 cleat channel is long and decidedly midfoot. I had to slide my cleats about 5mm further forward than I typically would to achieve a fit similar to my other shoes. Folks who are into the current midfoot cleat trend will be stoked on this feature. Fizik gives these shoes a stiffness index of 3. If their Infinito X1 carbon-soled shoes are a 10 on that scale, I think a 3 is appropriate for these far flexier kicks.
You can feel the plate that the cleat bolts into while stamping hard on the pedals. The rest of the shoe seems to squish around the harder plate under pressure, which doesn’t feel like the best power transfer when you are trying to sprint hard out of a turn. This more flexible sole gives the shoe its fantastic hiking and general comfort characteristics, but if you are hunting for a shoe you can race in you may want to find something with a stiffer sole.
The rubber midsole wraps upward for a bit of protection from errant sticks and stones, while the ripstop woven fabric is thin and breathable. If you don’t dig the bubbly-look of modern mountain bike shoes, the Terra Ergolace X2’s thinner upper might have a shape closer to you liking. For gravity racing and more aggressive riding, I would prefer a thicker and more protective shoe. Kicking rocks is über painful.
The Terra Ergolace X2 shoes are a fantastic choice for adventures deep in the forest and should work well for bikepacking and camping trips. They are relatively lightweight given their burly traction patch and should last through several seasons of carrying bikes uphill in search of higher lakes or longer descents.
Thanks to fizik for providing these shoes for review.