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Fizik R4B Donna Women's road shoes



Stylish and well-performing shoes with long ride comfort at a competitive price

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Fizik R4B Donna sits somewhere between mid and high performance among women's cycling shoes, and is, in fact, the mid-range women's shoe from the brand. And very good it is too.

Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes - sole.jpg

The range of female specific road shoes has grown steadily in recent years, a nod towards the ever increasing popularity of the sport with both genders. The majority of women's shoes still sit within the entry level or mid-range bracket but more manufacturers are venturing into higher performance models too.

When you're spending this sort of money on a pair of cycling shoes, you're inclined to start being quite picky about build quality, weight, comfort, performance AND looks. As with most of Fizik's shoes, the R4B Donna have nailed it on the looks side of the equation, provided you like white shoes.

Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes - velcro.jpg

The lines are sleek and the shiny turquoise patent effect tongue and turquoise heel lining, toe and heel grips contrast nicely with the stark matt white microfiber upper.

The shoe fastens with two Velcro straps and a Boa IP1-A closure, all of which, along with the toe and heel grips, are replaceable as accessories from Fizik. Both the upper and the tongue are heavily perforated for ventilation. The outsole is carbon fiber injected and designed to take three point road style cleats.

Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes - boa.jpg

The fit of the shoes is slightly generous for the stated size, but not overly so and those with a somewhat broader or higher volume foot may well want to consider them as an option. The straps and Boa system tighten and adjust easily and effectively, and the foot is kept good and secure, once adjusted.

Out on the bike, the shoes are light and stiff, giving good power transfer successfully coupled with long ride comfort. Responsive enough for racing, but comfortable enough for the longest of sportives, these shoes are even pretty reasonable to walk in.

Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes - logo.jpg

The perforations mean that feet overheat less than in many shoes, but they do mean that those whose feet run cold might want to consider toe covers or oversocks, which seems a shame with such pretty shoes. That said, the matt white finish does very quickly get dirty in wear and is quite hard to clean effectively.

At £40 more expensive than the bottom of the range R5B Donna, they weigh 10g per shoe less, so it's worth working out how much that weight saving is worth to you as a buyer. At this price point, they come out a shade lighter than most equivalent women's shoes, enough to consider anyway.

Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes - lining.jpg


Stylish and well-performing shoes with long ride comfort at a competitive price

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Make and model: Fizik R4B Donna Womens road shoes

Size tested: 39

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Designed for female road orders and racers.

Fizik say:

"R4B Donna: fi'zi:k's range of road cycling shoes is developed in collaboration with leading professional cyclists and used to great effect by WorldTour, Olympic and World Championship riders. The best technologies, materials, R&D, testing and manufacture techniques are used to deliver you the best shoes for road riding and racing, and trickle down throughout the range. As with all fi'zi:k Women's shoes, the cut, sizing and styling are made specifically for female riders."

Definitely high performance and built and styled for women.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Material: Microtex laser perforated

Outsole: Injected Carbon Vented

Closure system: Boa IP1-A and Micro Straps

Insole: fi'zi:k cycling Insole

R4B Donna offers a carefully crafted blend of comfort and light weight, fit, power transfer and aerodynamic efficiency.

R4B Donna's single Boa IP1-A closure control is light, fast, secure, aerodynamic and comfortable – and is complemented by a pair of light, neatly adjustable micro-straps.

The R4B Donna's injected carbon fiber outsole is stiff for power transfer and sculpted to aid aerodynamics. It combines with the proven supportive and comfortable fi'zi:k Cycling Insole with sculpted footbeds and supportive heel to ensure that every precious watt goes straight into your pedals.

The R4B Donna's Microfiber upper is hard-wearing, light, and resilient with enough flexibility to ensure comfort for every woman rider's foot, but strong enough to withstand the demands of racing – without any weight penalty. The diamond-shaped laser-cut perforations help temperature management.

Available in sizes EU37-43 with half sizes

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very well made and top notch components

Rate the product for performance:

Performed very well indeed

Rate the product for durability:

The ability to buy replacement bits and pieces means these will last a lot longer than many cheaper road shoes. The matt white finish attracts dirt and isn't easy to clean so cosmetically they age quite quickly but remain functional.

Rate the product for fit:

Well shaped but best suited to an average to slightly broader foot and heel

Rate the product for sizing:

Sizing can be slightly unusual, varying both ways, so definitely worth trying on before purchase.

Rate the product for weight:

Good and light, especially at this price.

Rate the product for comfort:

Very comfortable indeed, no matter the length of ride and even when walking.

Rate the product for value:

This is a performance shoe and the price reflects that. It's marginally cheaper than many equivalents, considering its weight and the option of replacement bits make it better value too.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Once dirty, which happens quickly, it's tricky to get the matt white upper clean

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Exceptionally comfortable and very stiff and allowed good power transfer.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Style, comfort

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Matt white finish invites dirt, slightly tricky sizing

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Probably. Definitely in the sales.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Use this box to explain your score

These are performance women's shoes offering a good balance of comfort and stiffness at a price comparable to the competition. They look good too.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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