Cyclocross

Simple, Stiff, and Comfortable: Fizik’s Vento Overcurve X3 – Bicycling

The Takeaway: Fizik’s Vento Overcurve X3 is a versatile off-road shoe that shines on gravel, cyclocross, and XC rides.

  • Microtex upper breaks in and conforms to foot after a few rides
  • Asymmetric construction mimics foot shape
  • Outsole lugs provide traction on soft and hard surfaces

    Price: $250
    Weight: 310g (42)


    The Fizik Vento Overcurve X3 is a fully capable off road shoe ready to tackle an XC or CX course or your next gravel adventure. For a reasonable price, you get a durable shoe with a single BOA dial and a stiff, yet comfortable, carbon sole. That the shoes are available in white may be a little ignorant for off-road riding but the style is appreciated nonetheless.

    Sleek Looks

    For cycling shoes, I tend to prefer functional simplicity over super-technical options. For better or worse, many shoes have all sorts of mesh paneling and different materials that comprise the upper. I’ve found that this causes an excess of seams to break and places for dirt to embed itself. Fizik opts for a one piece upper with laminated reinforcement over the toe. The lack of seams adds durability, comfort, and certainly makes cleaning up after a race easier. Everyone knows white shoes are fast but only if they stay white, so Fizik kindly offers these shoes in all black and a black/red option; those colorways come in handy if you don’t feel like cleaning them after every ride. That said, the upper on these shoes cleans up quite nicely with the use of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

    Technical, But Not Too Technical

    The single BOA dial does its job well but can be a little more tedious to get the tension right as compared to a double dial shoe. However, the advantage to just one BOA is less of an opportunity to break something out on the course. The carbon sole is stiff enough for a solid feel yet not too stiff for off-bike running or hiking (more on that later). The lugs on the sole bite in to soft soil well but retain a bit of softness that allows for confidence on hard surfaces as well. The upper also does a good job of keeping the elements out, which is especially nice as the temperatures drop during the fall months—no silly quick-release cables or Velcro to ruin a no nonsense shoe.

    Comfort

    A big talking point of the Vento Overcurve X3 is in the name, “Overcurve.” The upper of the shoe is cut asymmetrically and designed to fit the natural shape of the foot; it does, they aren’t lying. The Microtex upper breaks in nicely after a few rides and adds to the comfort and overall fit of the shoes. Throughout the short break-in period, I didn’t experience any discomfort. However, I did once get a hotspot on the top of my one of my feet, but it was relieved by just loosening and re-fastening the BOA dial.

    I have medium to wide feet and these shoes didn’t feel too narrow, especially after I broke them in. Another win is the solid the interface with my pedals. Paired with the Shimano XT pedals I use, the shoes offer an amazingly stable platform with very little play, perhaps the most comfortable shoe-pedal combo I’ve ridden to date.

    Compared to other XC-style shoes I’ve ridden, these strike a nice balance of not being painfully stiff and maintaining a efficient pedaling platform. Other shoes, such as the Northwave Extreme Pro and Mavic Crossmax SL Ultimate, have exceptional stiffness to the detriment of overall comfort and versatility. If I were racing pure XC, I would gravitate toward the stiffer shoe. But I’m also using these for cyclocross, so the added comfort and slightly softer sole is appreciated, especially during long stints off the bike. I will say the only time I really feel like I notice the added stiffness of the aforementioned race shoes is when I am off the bike running, not while powering up a climb or sprinting out of the saddle.

    If you are looking for a straight-up XC shoe, the Vento Overcurve X3 is worth a look. With classic looks but high performance features, it checks all the boxes I look for in a race-worthy shoe. It kept my feet comfortable on long training rides and during all out race efforts, preventing me from having to think about my footwear. Added bonus points for including a white option; time will tell how long they will stay white but for now they look great.

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