Before you say anything, we know, okay? We’ve already pointed out that a gravel shoe seems a little unnecessary, as we’ve got by just fine with MTB clipless shoes until now. Right, that’s that out of the way. Fizik (as well as Shimano, and we are sure others will follow soon) has decided that there’s a small niche out there that can be filled, and wanted to make the perfect shoe for gravel riding. Putting any cynicism aside for a while, we are always interested to see companies thinking about the needs of gravel riders… and if you are looking for a new set of shoes for the groad, why not?
As you’ve probably guessed, the Powerstrap X4 is Fizik’s “all-new off-road shoe purpose built for today’s gravel-orientated adventure cyclists”.
According to the company’s release, it is a versatile gravel-focused shoe, created for comfort, high performance and a close fit when drop bar riders adventures pass the limits of traditional paved roads. It’s part of fizik’s Terra off-road series.
Visually, the most striking thing about the shoe is the “Powerstrap” velcro closure. Fizik claims this delivers an enveloping fit. The idea is that while most traditional velcro closures just pull together two sides of the shoe’s upper, the Powerstrap’s configuration features a ribbon that wraps around the foot, providing secure containment. To further keep your foot secure, both the instep and the midfoot are separately adjustable for customised fit and compression.
On the outside, the Powerstrap X4 features the new X4 outsole, designed specifically for the shoe. The sole is nylon, rather than carbon. Fizik claims the shoe has targeted stiffness. It has an overall stiffness index of 6, apparently. We have no idea what the scale is, but assuming it’s along the lines of most other companies, we’d guess that this means not fully race stiff, and capable of a bit of walking around in.
The grip looks more than adequate for most conditions, but we’ll be interested to see how it stands up to full UK winters. At a guess the “gravel design” doesn’t extend to knee deep mud.
While we are on mud, it is one of the colours offered for the shoe: Black/Black, Anthracite/Grape and Mud/Caramel.
Terra Powerstrap X4 is available now from dealers worldwide and from fizik.com priced €149, $149 and £149.99.