The Fizik R5B Donna women’s road cycling shoes are a top of the range pair of cycling slippers for women seeking comfort and excellent power transfer. At this price, you might expect full carbon soles - but Fizik have opted for carbon reinforced nylon, which can be a little less stiff (though perhaps more comfortable). They have however also provided a quality Microtex upper and top end Boa closure system.
Category 2 racer and Norwood Paragon development rider Rosie Lethbridge put them to the test….
Your shoes are arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment, second only to your saddle, when it comes to comfort on the bike. The Fizik R5B Donna shoes come in at £119.99 and claim to be one of the finest pairs of shoes at this price range.
The R5B shoes are specifically designed for women – Fizik have put a special focus on the upper panel which has been specially shaped for the female foot, as well as creating a narrower heel cup and lower forefoot to allow for greater comfort whilst allowing for optimum performance. With the growth of women’s cycling and the genuine and proven differences in male and female feet this can only be a good thing.
Aesthetically the shoes are simple, clean and professional looking - using two differing colours: a base of dark matte grey with a complimenting pink on the Fizik logo, undershoe and on the internal lining. As well as being an attractive looking shoe, these also feature reflective inserts which increase visibility on your rides in dark and foggy weather conditions. That’s another reason to ride through the impending winter!
Performance features include a carbon-reinforced nylon outsole which allows the shoe to be lightweight whilst incredibly stiff. I decided to immediately put these shoes through their paces whizzing around the Surrey Hills as well as incorporating longer and more relaxed rides.
Straight away I noticed an impressive transfer of power through the pedals which was instantly apparent. After using these shoes for a few hundred miles, on longer rides and testing them up steep inclines (Ditchling Beacon and WhiteDown Lane to name a couple) the stiffness and reliability of the design and comfort was unwavering, I never felt the shoe was holding me back or digging in to my foot and causing any discomfort.
Fizik have opted to use the Boa IP1 mechanism with this shoe, which allows for a superior fit to the foot and once locked in place the tightness remains that way for the duration of the ride. This system works very well, and my foot felt secure and remained so throughout even longer rides. The adjustment placement is well located avoiding the lower area of the ankle and the pressure point meaning no soreness at any point of your ride - always a bonus, especially over inclines where foot angles are constantly changing! It is easy to tighten the boa once on the bike too if you feel you need to increase the tension, equally you can release any pressure by twisting the adjustor anti-clockwise.
The upper construct of the shoe boasts laser perforated Microtex (the same material as many of Fizik’s saddle covers) and Fizik claim that this provides the shoe with a reduction in weight – the material is lighter than leather. It’s also claimed that the material is more durable - specifically in harsh and wet weather conditions. This is still to be confirmed as the British summer has been good to us so I cannot comment… just yet. What I can confirm is that these shoes are super light, and the upper sole uses minimum material providing a glove/sock like fit without any extra bulk that can often accompany road shoes.
I did found the outer area of the shoe was initially quite tight and hard on the external foot. It took a little breaking in until true comfort became apparent but the shoes did adapt quickly and with ease.
The R5B shoes each weigh 215g based on a UK size 5 and Fizik have done a good job in creating a shoe that not only provides impressive comfort for longer riding but one that also has the ability to effectively transition power through the pedals for high intensity riding and provide high end performances. The shoe runs true to size, I wore a 5 ½ while I’m normally a 6 and found the shoe slightly tight on the toes initially, but the shoes adapted to my feet and I no longer get sore toes whilst riding. If you’re looking for a shoe that not only looks attractive but can also keep up with your demands whilst out riding you won’t be disappointed with the Fizik R5B.
High quality shoes with a comfortable fit and excellent power transfer. Reflective details and durable material make for shoes that will last the winter months, whilst being perfectly adequate for the intensity of summer racing.
Interested? See them here.