Fizik Ferox Carbon shoes are aimed at all performance off-road riding whether it's XC, gravel, or cyclocross. Fizik has made a bit of a statement with the Ferox Carbon’s, giving them an eye-catching aesthetic that makes sure they stand out from the other best gravel bike shoes and mountain bike shoes. It's not just the vaporwave styling that makes them stand out though, the unconventional Powerstrap configuration locks the foot for superb pedaling security.
Design and specification
What makes Fizik’s Powerstrap configuration unusual is that Fizik has positioned the velcro strap above the Boa, relying on the Powerstrap to do the majority of the heavy work to secure the foot while the Boa handles mid-foot closure. The Powerstrap design is borrowed from Fizik’s Terra Powerstrap X4 but trades the lower velcro strap for a Li2 Boa Fit System which gives accurate tightening and loosening micro adjustments.
The upper is made from a polyurethane-laminated material combined with a translucent rip-stop mesh and additional protection and reinforcement sections in high-wear areas on the toe and heel box and inner foot section.
Underneath there is a carbon sole to offer a stiff pedaling base. Fizik rates the sole stiffness as a 10, which is the stiffest rating in Fizik’s range and the same as its performance road shoes. The carbon plate has been protected with an X1 rubber sole with large lugs, rubberized mid-foot, and fitments for CX spikes if required.
Fizik offers a broad range of sizes stretching between EU36 and EU48 with half sizes in all other than the largest and smallest sizes. I usually wear an EU43 and found the sizing to be marginally bigger than expected and I could have probably gone down half a size for a perfect fit.
My EU43 samples weighed in at 680g which isn’t going to trouble the lightest off-road clipless shoes like Shimano’s RX801 (510g claimed) or Specialized’s S-Works (560g claimed) but is on par with many other performance gravel shoes like Bont Vaypor G, Quoc Gran Tourer XC.
The shoes come in four colors, with the choice of Lilac / White, Red / Aquamarine (tested), Mud / Grape, or plain Black / Black if you are boring. Sure the aesthetic and color options might be a bit much for some, but I personally really like the look of my Red / Aquamarine review samples.
The security that Fizik’s Powerstrap offers is very impressive. The broad strap applies a very even pressure across the foot, locking my heel into the shoe to avoid any slippage. In fact, the velcro is so effective it's quite easy to overtighten the shoes, although readjustments are easy as it's just a case of releasing the velcro and resticking. The Boa compliments the fitment well by securely cinching down the front of the foot and again is easy to adjust thanks to the two-way micro-adjusting Li2 Boa dial. The flexible uppers conform to the foot well and I found them to offer good support when riding without any hotspots.
The carbon sole offers an excellent stiff-pedaling platform yet Fizik has managed to tune the shoe so they aren’t harsh or fatiguing over longer or rougher rides. Some ultra-stiff gravel shoes can feel a bit wooden, yet the Ferox Carbon’s are more dynamic in the way they transfer explosive power to the pedals which I prefer as it makes them feel a bit livelier on the pedals. The outer X1 sole is noticeably softer than many other gravel shoes which gives them good levels of grip if you find yourself hoofing your bike up a hill, yet they show little sign of wear yet. I particularly like the rubberized mid-foot which adds loads of grip when leaping over gates or fallen trees.
An often underratted feature of a shoe is how easy they are to put on and take off. By positioning the velcro at the top of the foot the Ferox Carbon’s are easy to open up wide to slip on at the start of a ride or quickly kick off after a muddy day out.
If like me you love the bright finish it's best to not get too attached to it. Once they got mucky the dirt seemed to get in between the two upper layers and dull the finish a bit. They still look great but the color doesn’t pop as much as they did when they were box fresh.
Most of the testing was performed during colder autumn days but breathability was still decent as the shoes feature perforations throughout the upper to let air circulate. Although they aren’t designed to keep water out they also do an impressive job of shaking off the odd puddle splash too, although water will find its way in on wetter rides. Minimal padding keeps water absorption down so they dry out quickly as well.
Fizik’s Ferox Carbon is an excellent performance gravel and XC shoe, with a lively yet direct ride feel for an excellent connection through the pedals. High levels of security and comfort from the Powerstrap and Boa combo means they are equally impressive on fast rides as they are on long days out too.
Compared to the competition at $299 / £300 / €299.99 they are against some stiff competition but I think they stand up against other performance shoes on the market. It's a large price tag but the Ferox Carbon’s are not only comparable in stiffness and weight with other top-performing shoes but bolster value due to the versatility between gravel and XC.
If the eye-catching vibe on the Fizik Ferox aren't doing it for you over on our New Year bike sale bargains article, you'll find a carefully selected choice of some of the best mountain bike shoes around including the Specialized Recon 1.0 with a half price discount. There are also great deals on bikes and a wide range of kit from the best mountain bike helmets to clothing and tech.
Tech specs: Fizik Ferox Carbon shoe
- Price: $299 / £300 / €299.99
- Color: Lilac / White, Red / Aquamarine (tested), Mud / Grape, Black / Black
- Retention: Velcro Powerstrap Boa Li2
- Weight: 680g (EU43)
- Sizes: EU36-48 (37 to 47 also in half sizes)