Live Science Verdict
The Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoes are a clean-cut, stylish, and understated cycling shoe designed to fit narrow-footed cyclists like a glove, but the higher price and tight fit won’t suit everyone.
Efficient strap design
Less breathable than its competitors
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When cycling shoes carry a premium price tag, we want to know that the shoe is an equally premium product; in this case, we think the Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoes certainly are – and that’s why these shoes fit firmly into our round-up of best shoes for Peloton.
These shoes are one of the most expensive pair we tested, but we were surprised that they technically sit within the mid-range market. That said, the shoes look and feel like they could easily be well over $200, so perhaps they are a steal after all. The tight and narrow fit will divide cyclists, so if you know you need a wider design, this might not be the shoe for you.
Available colors: Matte Black, Black/ Pink Fluo, Black/ Yellow Fluo, Metallic Gun Mental/ Black, White/Black
Clip compatibility: Look Delta, SPD-SL
These shoes carry the timeless Italian class of the Fizik brand, with an understated clean look and a range of stunning color combinations like matte black and metallic gunmetal. The micro-adjustable BOA dial provides a gentle tightening around the foot to secure (rather than suffocate) your foot, and Fizik has just about struck the right balance between suppleness and rigidity.
We tested the white Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoes from the range (which have a much less subtle look), but they paired well with our Peloton bike — one of the best exercise bikes currently available.
If you’re on the market for a new pair of cycling kicks and we’ve already piqued your interest, read on for our full Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoes review.
Price and availability
The MSRP for this shoe is $159.99/ £140 from the Fizik website. This is the second most expensive shoe in our round-up (luckily, there’s nothing cheap about the Italian design), but we found deals elsewhere for a lot less – around the cost of the Shimano RC1 cycling shoe. It’s worth shopping around before you buy direct, as cleats are sold separately.
Design and features
- Design and features score: 4.0/5
The Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5s are made from a plush seam-free Microtex upper and carbon fiber reinforced nylon composite sole. Carbon fiber tends to be the choice material for premium range cycling shoes (like the Rapha Classic cycling shoe) because it vastly improves cycling efficiency and power output, and it’s great to find Fizik within those same ranks. However, these shoes weren’t as stiff as brands sporting a carbon footplate.
We tested the white pair of R5s, which are near identical to the Rapha cycling shoe, but also have the look of a ’90s bowling shoe. That said, there’s nothing else outdated about the design.
The cycling brand has said they aim to balance comfort and pedaling efficiency using their choice of sole and strap system. The sole provides little give but also doesn’t feel too rigid, and the BOA-dial system seamlessly tightens the shoe around your foot, allowing for the smallest of micro-adjustments. There’s also a small velcro strap to secure your forefoot, but the dial is a feature we’ve consistently praised throughout testing and can also be found on more affordable shoes, like the Santic Jian1 cycling shoe.
Perhaps the key feature of these cycling shoes is the overcurve (as mentioned in the name). If you’re as puzzled as we were, this refers to the construction. The staggered collar wraps the ankle to “trace the natural misalignment of your ankle’s two bony protrusions,” according to Fizik. “The result is an asymmetrical shape, with the throat of the shoe curving over the foot from its outside to its inner side.” In short, it’s an ergonomic decision that helps the shoe conform to your natural foot shape. It’s an intelligent design consideration and a nod to the brand's reimagining of conventional road shoe features.
However, the perforations throughout the shoe stop around the toe area, and there’s no inbuilt vent on the bottom of the shoe. We can’t speak for other cyclists, but this could cause breathability issues during the summer months.
- Comfort score: 3.5/5
The upper feels durable and sturdy, but unfortunately, there’s virtually no wiggle room for wider-footed wearers. This is great news if you’re desperately seeking a shoe to hug narrow feet, but other cyclists might require sizing up or going elsewhere.
We found these shoes too narrow for our user to comfortably tackle an endurance ride, and the toe box felt like a squeeze, too. If you already know this would be a problem for you, Santic cycling shoes are designed for wider feet and could well be your answer.
If we put the oh-so snug fit aside for just a moment, the shoe is well-padded with just about enough rigidity required for powerful sprints. We have found the dial system the most compliant compared with laces or straps, and it’s a brilliant way to make tiny adjustments to tightness.
- Performance score: 3.5/5
Compared to a shoe like the Peloton cycling shoe, which is literally designed for the bike, this shoe can’t compete. That said (aside from our issues with fit), we were impressed with the stability and key features of the Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 cycling shoes.
We didn’t experience any pinch points – most likely down to the sophisticated strap system – and there wasn’t any slippage on the heel, either. The toe box began to squeeze during uphill resistance climbs, but this was less of a problem when seated, and again, is down to fit. We also loved how the raised heel and toe bumpers help protect the sole from damage, and the cleats were super simple to attach before testing began.
If you’re new to clipping in and out, we recommend swatting up on how cycling shoes work to save you time and patience before you get spinning.
Value for money
- Value for money score: 3.5/5
Considering the hefty $159.99/ £140 MSRP, we highly recommend that you try-before-you-buy if you’re unsure about key factors like your arch height or foot width.
If you're already clued up and sure these shoes could be your perfect fit, then they’re a sound investment in our books, but it's worth venturing elsewhere for a decent deal. Cleats aren't included, so remember to purchase these elsewhere.
As we mentioned, the Fizik Tempo Overcurve R5 is too narrow for our taste, but this doesn’t take away from the shoe as a hard-wearing, durable, and thoughtfully designed addition to the cycling apparel world.
You wouldn’t expect less from a well-respected Italian footwear brand, and the fine-tuned details like the ergonomic tongue, dial strap system, perforated upper, and nylon composite sole all culminate into a premium product that we think warrants its price.
Peloton cycling shoes were our favorite amongst the eight pairs we tested. They’re affordable, supremely stylish, and offer comfortable cushioning to see you through those testier rides.
If the price doesn’t panic you, the Rapha Classic cycling shoe is probably the closest match to the Fizik shoe for design and style. They’re Look Delta compatible and also come with high-arch pads.
How we tested
We tested the Fizik cycling shoes in our purpose-built testing center and scored them from 1-5 across the following criteria:
- Design and features
- Value for money
For all models, we tackled a fast-paced HIIT class and an active recovery session to ensure each shoe could power through and deliver – regardless of the user’s workout preferences.
We then gave the shoes an overall rating out of five with a final verdict summarizing each model's strengths and weaknesses, and whether we reckon they’re ride-ready.
Amazon rates these shoes 4.6 out of 5, with 80% of the reviews being 5 stars. Users loved the aesthetics, which they said were clean and beautiful, and how comfortable the shoe felt. Negative reviews mention the lack of breathability and how easily they scruff.
Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and resident fitness writer at Future PLC. Having trained to work with both the mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and aims to bring mental wellbeing to the forefront of fitness. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and how we can build more sustainable training methods. You’ll find her writing about the importance of habit-building, nutrition, sleep, recovery, and workouts.