Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave: The Best Cycling Shoes, Period
The best of the best road cycling shoes at any price point.
I wrote about the Bontrager Ballista Knit shoes recently and labeled then the best shoe for most people. They are an exceptional all-around shoe but what if you want the best of the best and money isn’t part of the consideration? In that case check out the Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave.
There’s obviously a bit of personal preference here and I acknowledge that. When I do reviews, I am almost always excited about the product, otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing it, but I try not to play favorites. There are some things that are truly my favorite though. The Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave is one of those products that is my personal favorite. For years my favorite shoes were the Giro Prolite Techlace but this offering from Fizik has taken the title.
The Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave presents a somewhat uncomplicated design. There are other road shoes that seem much more technical. Without many design details or materials, it cuts a simple silhouette but it’s misleading. It’s true that there are not a lot of materials used. The whole upper is a material called Aeroweave and it’s a high-tech masterpiece of design.
The Aeroweave material reminds me of the plastic thread kids use to make bracelets, but thinner. Instead of making a bracelet Fizik weaves it into a shoe. Interwoven into the plastic fibers there is a more traditional thread material, although it’s nylon and so still plastic. The magic of the whole system comes from the variation in interplay between the two fabrics.
In some places on the shoe the weave is tight. Near the heel it’s so tight that even without the fabric backing you wouldn’t be able to see through it. The fabric backing disappears as you move forward and without the backing there’s not much to stop airflow. Fizik opens up the weave in strategic areas to further increase ventilation.
Aeroweave doesn’t stretch much but any stretch that does exist is directional. The opposite direction the thermoplastic polymer threads run is the direction of stretch. It’s further controlled by the distribution of the nylon. The designers are able to exploit this controllability by switching the direction of the weave. By changing the density and direction of the weave how much stretch and in which direction is completely controllable. It’s the holy grail of materials design even if it looks simple.
At the bottom of the shoe you’ll find a carbon plate that, again, turns out to be more than it presents. Just looking at it the most obvious detail is the big heel pad. Much bigger than is typical and replaceable. The other thing that might catch your eye are a couple of generous vents on either side of the cleat area. Fizik does call out a more rearward cleat position on these shoes but it’s not visually noticeable to me.
I talked a lot about the Fizik Powerstrap closure system in my review of the Fizik Terra x4 gravel shoes and a lot of that is the same here. It consists of two large straps that thread across the shoe and secure with a hook and loop closure. It’s the best hook and loop system I’ve ever used.
It works for a couple of reasons. One thing that makes it comfortable is how wide the straps are. Couple that with the way that the straps seem to grab right from the sole and it’s a really easy, comfortable system. There’s no pressure points and your foot is as secure as you want to make it.
Along with the security of the closure the heel cup has grippy silicone dots for plenty of security there as well. It’s a small detail but it works better than most solutions on the market.
The story of the ride follows my thoughts on the closure and the heel grip. It’s easy and comfortable. The carbon sole rates as the stiffest that Fizik makes but it’s never uncomfortable. The upper is so malleable but also secure that it’s a complete pleasure. If you want to hammer in a zwift race the Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave can handle it. It also handles a long day in the saddle just as well. Instead of using two pairs of shoes I’ve downgraded to only this pair.
Fizik just released a new shoe and these shoes benefited from a price drop. At $399.99 the price isn’t a complete outlier but it’s still one of the more expensive shoes on the market. Fizik shoes in general can also be a bit hard to find in the US. Whatever you have to go through though, for me these are worth it.
My thoughts on value are often about the price and what you get but this time all I really have to say is how much I love these shoes. If you can afford them, get them.
Tons of air move through them and they are perfect on the hottest days. I find the toe box open and comfortable and the closure system is super comfortable. The only thing I’d love to see is some kind of protection on the toe to guard against toe rub. It’s something I’m always going to call out on shoes that lack it.
For anyone that likes a lightweight, open, and airy shoe these are the best on the market.