We have been publishing a storm of shoe news lately, between all of the new models and our recent in-depth podcast on MTB kicks. Today Fizik has a pair of new pairs to share with their Versor model and racier Tensor models, either of which can be had with clipless or flat soles. The brand says these are fully gravity oriented, tested with enduro and DH athletes and amateurs alike. I’ve been riding in the Versor for a while now, and I’m stoked to report that the Italian brand has filled out their Gravita lineup nicely with these foot protectors.
Not long ago Fizik released the Terra Ergolace shoe that’s intended for adventure riding with some hiking mixed in. The new Versor model fills the gravity gap in their lineup with a tough and lightweight lace-up that adds 67g of protection and stiffness to the Terra model’s 373g weight. The toe box and heel cup both feel sturdier and better protected on the Versor, and the long mid-foot cleat channel is certainly better supported and stiffer. In fact, the sole platform in these shoes is one of the initial things riders will notice when clipping in, as the under-foot protection is solid enough that you can’t really tell where the pedal is while pushing on it.
This trend in mid-foot cleat-channel placement is a positive one, situating riders’ feet in a similar place to that of a flat pedal while keeping dropped heels a little further from the stones below. It also can reportedly reduce muscular effort since the further back the cleat is the less of your foot has to remain stiff and activated. Finally, the rearward cleat placement means the toe can have a little added flex for hiking.
In addition to solid protection and well-thought-out cleat placement, the new Versor is super cozy to ride in all day. The size 43 shoe I have fits the same as any other size 43 MTB shoe I own, so ordering your usual cut makes sense. The laces manage to get the shoe tight enough around my narrow feet to feel good and stay put, and the toe box leaves a little wiggle room for air to pass through. The shoes feel plenty secure while sprinting or pulling up hard on a climb, and I haven’t had issues with the laces stretching or needing to be adjusted.
Speaking of airflow, these are not the coolest or most breathable shoes I have tested. My feet have stayed fairly warm in them on our hotter winter days of around 17°C and during the summer they may be a little toasty. Warmth isn’t uncommon with protection-focused shoes, but it is always an element worth considering.
The one place these shoes don’t get along well with my feet is up any hike-a-bike. The heel slips too much and isn’t high or tight enough for long walks up the mountain. There is ample toe and heel traction on the sole, but nothing to keep it from sliding off your foot. For comparison, the recently released Crankbrothers gravity shoes have a nearly identical fit, but the designers added silicone-like grippers to the inner heel so that the shoe doesn’t slide off as you climb. While this may not be an issue for wider-footed riders or folks who don’t get into backcountry bike carrying situations, it’s a critical point for those of us who do.
The new Tensor shoes retail for €$129 with flat soles and €/$139 clipless.
The two new models are differentiated by their level of race-focus, with the Versor being the lighter and less protected option, and the Tensor taking the head seat at the gravity table.
The Tensor model adds a thick injection-molded piece of plastic to the toe box to save the little piggies, a super high inner heel protection flange to keep the crank arms from bashing bones, and a strap over the laces for on-the-fly adjustment. That inner heel protection alone makes these shoes worth checking out, and we hope to get a set in for test soon.
Both of these new models come with a Vibram sole, and the flats use an interlocking technique with pedal pins to create grip rather than a gummy sole that the pins dig into and can quickly wear out. I use clipless pedals with pins, and on countless occasions, I have had to place the midfoot of the Versor on the pedal when I couldn’t clip back in fast enough. The interlocking sole pattern managed to grip those few pins admirably, saving me from a new pink shin tattoo.
The new Versor shoes retail for €/$169 flat and €$179 clipless. Click over to Fizik for further details.