The Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave shoe is the lightest model in the company's line-up thanks to their woven construction, and pretty much the most breathable too, making them ideal for summer riding on those scorching hot days or on the turbo trainer throughout the year.
Aeroweave is a woven fabric that interlaces nylon fibres with filaments of thermoplastic polymer. The weave changes around the shoe to promote airflow and to fit the foot, but to put it basically, it's pretty much a see-through mesh throughout.
It has a slightly plastic feel to it, so I wasn't too sure how that was going to affect comfort compared with a more usual synthetic upper. In use, though, it wasn't an issue as it flexes well, allowing it to move with your feet as you go through the pedalling stroke.
Airflow is what these are all about, though, and this is where they work well. Wearing them for a few days through April, when the temperature was touching the mid-20s, the cool breeze was noticeable blowing through.
They aren't restricted to high temperatures either. I've worn them down to 16°C and I never found them overly cold, even when descending at speed. They work really well on the turbo in front of a fan too.
Most top-end shoes are using ratchets, Boa-style systems and even laces, but the Ventos keep things simple with a couple of straps.
As you can see from the photos, the lower one criss-crosses across the shoe and when pulled it wraps the material around the foot, while the upper one helps the shoe encase the top of the foot and seat the tongue.
It is a supportive fit and comfortable, too, although if you start the ride with them a bit tight there isn't much adjustment available on the fly.
Although the main part of the shoes is flexible, the toe box and heel section are much more rigid for protection and performance.
The heel also gets some dimples for grip to stop your heel lifting.
The Ventos also get a brand new outsole from which it gets its R2 name, made from carbon fibre and set up for all three-bolt cleat systems.
Shoe brands love a stiffness index for the soles and Fizik is no different. The R2 is rated 10 which is irrelevant for comparing them to anything other than Fizik's line-up, but Fizik says it's the stiffest that it offers.
They certainly feel up there with the stiffest I've ridden from Shimano, Giant and Northwave, and they manage to achieve it without being overly harsh or causing hot-spots on your soles.
The venting continues underneath the shoe as well, with a large scoop allowing cool air to flow through the cleat area.
To aid walking you get a plastic heel section and a similar smaller section at the front.
You can certainly spend less to get shoes with more technology going on such as fastening systems or mouldable insoles, but the Ventos offer very similar performance in terms of stiffness compared to shoes around the same money.
Something like the £339.99 Northwave Extreme Pro shoes, for example: very comfortable, very stiff, just like the Fiziks but without the cooling effects.
You can get some good knitted shoes for a lot less, mind, if you want your feet to breathe. The Bontrager Ballista Knit Road shoes are £269.99, but the R2 sole of the Fiziks win out when it comes to stiffness and performance.
Yes, the Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aerowaves are a lot of money, but the material works very well and the sole does a great job of providing stiffness without sacrificing overall comfort.
Excellent breathabilty for riding on hot days or the turbo, with sole stiffness to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave shoes
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
Fizik says, "Vento Powerstrap R2 Aeroweave is a pure racing shoe: the lightest and most breathable model in the fizik performance range, engineered with an innovative high tenacity net-like structure which is coupled with our stiffest carbon sole.
"The pursuit of reducing weight and increasing ventilation, while maintaining support and protection led our designers and engineers to the development of a new material used in the upper. Called Aeroweave, it's an advanced woven fabric that interlaces lightweight nylon fibers with filaments of thermoplastic polymer."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Aeroweave: extremely breathable, high tenacity net-like upper structure
Powerstrap: foot-wrapping Velcro closure designed for an enveloping fit
R2 carbon outsole: optimized cleat positioning, high stiffness and lightness tuned for power transfer
Sizes: 36 to 48
The Aeroweave fabric is very tough.
The sizing is correct to Fizik's chart. These 45s are equivalent to a UK10.5 and I'd say that is spot on, as they were just a little bit bigger than I would normally wear as a UK10.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent stiffness as a race shoe with the bonus of great breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You can't adjust the strap tension while riding like you can with a Boa or ratchet.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At the pricier end of the spectrum but compete well on performance when compared to the like of the Northwaves I mention in the review. Knitted shoes are available for less, like the Bontrager Ballistas, but the sole isn't as stiff for all-out performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Aeroweave material is clever, offering loads of breathability while still being very robust and hardwearing. It's a lot of money to spend on a pair of shoes that you can't use outside for some of the year, but the performance and comfort make up for that.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!