Fi'zi:k R3 Uomo $299
Upper: Kangaroo leather on the heel and toe, nylon mesh on the sides; sailcloth straps; aluminum buckle.
Outsole: Carbon fiber
Weight: 253 grams
The skinny: The only noticeable differences between the R3 and the more expensive R1 are the use of kangaroo leather, which is used sparingly on the R3, and the carbon buckle that's replaced with an aluminum version. These differences don't take away from the quality of the shoe, which I found to be the best fitting and most comfortable for long hours in the saddle. The curve of the carbon sole has a way of contouring to the shape of your foot that isn't present in other models. The heel cup, arch and forefoot fit my foot much better than the flatter outsoles that are more of the norm, providing plenty of support. The mesh on the sides instead of the full kangaroo leather of the R1 made the shoe more breathable during the summer months, though mesh is harder to clean when dirty. The sailcloth straps were a nice touch too—extremely lightweight and more durable than the other models. Overall this is a shoe that will sacrifice a little in the weight department in favor of comfort, which makes the perfect option for long rides and races.
SCOTT Road Premium Shoe $400
Upper: Lightweight microfiber; 3D Nylon airmesh; BOA lacing system
Outsole: HMX carbon; stiffness index 10
Weight: 290 grams
The skinny: The new Premium from SCOTT is about as good as a racing shoe is going to get. The BOA lacing system provided the best overall adjustment, with two dials to customize the midfoot and upper separately. The forefoot bed was just wide enough to be roomy without feeling like it didn't fit. The microfiber material used was similar to the Giro Factor ACC, but the combination of the airmesh made the shoe more breathable on hot days. The HMX carbon outsole was the stiffest of all the shoes tested, and the power transfer to the pedals was noticeable. This model was the heaviest of the three, but it didn't feel that way on the bike. From an overall comfort and performance standpoint, this model was the best of both worlds.
Ready to ride? Search for a cycling event.