Products like this intrigue me. They pique my interest and pull at my heartstrings. Oftentimes, I find the cycling industry’s apparel offerings to be too wrapped up in the supergraphic, the superhero, the loud, obnoxious, and ostentatiously-designed garb most of us are forced to wear due to brand simply one-upping, building off of and straight biting-off of other’s designs. Personally, I want my cycling gear to emulate my outdoor gear. I want my cycling shoes to look like boots and honestly, most of the time while I tour and bikepack, I wear just that.
Fizik’s Terra lineup – their dirt-focused shoes – has trapesed about the tundra that is earth tones and laces for some time now but it wasn’t until their Ergolace X2 model dropped earlier this year that I was intrigued enough to reach out to the brand to review a pair. So, aside from a rugged aesthetic, how do they really feel in person?
I’ll admit to no end that I care about aesthetics, yet I don’t solely base my opinion on such product vanity. I do however want the products I use to fit in with my preferred riding apparel which usually falls within the “casual” label. The Ergolace X2 has the market cornered as far as I’m concerned, meshing outdoor footwear design with cycling functionality. The materials used, the patterning, even the funky asymmetrical lacing design looks like something out of a European backpacking brand, rather than a cycling footwear catalog.
For those not feeling the earth tones of this particular design, there are three other color palettes to choose from: black, forest green, brick red, and cobalt.
The asymmetric lacing can take a little to get used to, but I found the tops of my feet don’t ache from lace-pinching mid-ride. The classic hiking aesthetic trickles down to the laces and lace loop and the tongue follows this asymmetric profile, hiding off on the side of your foot, avoiding chaffing.
Here’s where I’m still scratching my head. I initially thought, based on the product photos, that these shoes would be chunkier, bulkier, and beefier, making them an ideal candidate for mountain bike riding. Yet upon receiving the shoes, I was surprised at how lightweight they were, both visually, and physically (size 46 weighs a mere 900g including Look cleats.) These are not shoes for full-on trail riding, ATMO. Yet that’s not a bad thing. I oftentimes feel like the lace-up look of a Giro VR90 is a little too sporty for how I want to look and feel on a bike. If I’m going out on an all-day, all-road ride, where the pedaling is done so with intent I don’t mind it, but for a chill pedal up to the top of a mountain, I tend to dress it down a bit. I’ll ride my bigger-tire, wider bar bike and take my time. For those moments, I want a shoe that’s not quite a mountain shoe, nor as sporty as a lace-up ‘cross racing shoe. Something just like these…
Another thing about the Ergolace X2 is the sole stiffness. Fizik labels it as a stiffness index of 3, which I’m assuming is out of 5. It’s not as stiff or as rigid as a ‘cross racing shoe, yet you can walk around in them, scramble up a rock escarpment, and hike a bike in them comfortably. Yet, in an attempt to bend the shoe from heel to toe, good luck. That shank is not flexible. So how are they so comfortable? It’s due to the flexy outsole. These shoes have a durable nylon outsole, yet it is only 1-ply thick. This means they move when they need to without being too floppy. It’s this lack of padding on the outsole that makes me shy away from mountain biking in them.
The Vibram sole is plenty grippy and adds a nice toe and heel wrap up from the sole to add even more grip. That reinforced heel and toe cup holds the shoes together and provides a nice channel to wrap your feet in. I wear a size 12 US normally and the 46 fit perfectly.
Fizik labels the Ergolace X2 as an all-mountain shoe, yet I find it more at home with dirt road riding and meandering. It’s not as stiff and tight as a gravel racing shoe yet isn’t as bulky and bulbous as an all-mountain shoe. It’s somewhere in between. While it is light and practically disappears from your feet while riding, there are other “all-weather” models in the Terra lineup, more fitting to colder, alpine rides, and winter fatbiking.
At $129 USD, the Ergolace takes the double-track offshoot from the fire road, while other models in the lineup stick to gravel roads or chundery singletrack. Holler at your local dealer to see some in person and see more information at Fizik.