Super light flat pedal shoes from Fizik that boast enough grip to rival Five Ten and manage to undercut their rivals.
The distinctive looking Gravita Tensor flat shoe is part of Fizik’s new MTB range, which includes both flat and clipless shoes. The name and the fact that the Gravita Tensor does have a bit of inner ankle protection suggests it’s a gravity focused shoe, but it’s really designed for trail riding.
To cut weight, Fizik is using a rip-stop material for the upper, but this is also pretty soft so the shoe is incredibly easy to pull on. It also dries really quickly.
A unique feature of the Gravita Tensor is the offset laces – these are positioned on the outside of the shoe away from the crank arms, so they’re less likely to catch in the ring or wind round a pedal spindle. And the thin Velcro strap offers extra security against lace mishaps.
On the front of the shoe there is a PU-laminated toecap which extends partially down the sides. There’s no bumper at the heel, but round the whole back of the shoe is a rubberized strip to protect against tyre and crank wear.
The ankle protection is formed into a neoprene sock that sits inside the body of the shoe. It’s thin, so offers a lot more clearance at the crank. Internally there’s a quality insole with a decent amount of arch support.
Built quality is pretty good and the Gravita Tensor is comfortable, but let’s assess the bit that’s important – the rubber sole. Fizik uses a Vibram Megagrip rubber compound (this is the softest available) with a zonal lug pattern. Megagrip is soft if not quite as tacky as Five Ten’s Stealth rubber, but the Fizik does have a decent amount of grip because it’s more flexible. This allowed me to curl my foot on the platform more easily and hence keep it in place when climbing and descending. The extra flex also lets the shoe absorb some of those impacts that would generally have your feet bouncing off the pedals.
The zonal tread reminds me of the Specialized 2FO shoe with deeper lugs at the toe and heel for grip and shallower ones over the centre to increase the mechanical grip – what Fizik is talking about here are the pins interlocking with the recesses in the sole.
So, while the rubber isn’t quite as tacky, the Gravita Tensor is a viable alternative to my favourite Five Ten Freerider Pro. It’s more comfortable, lower profile and nicer to ride end and currently less than £120 from the Fizik website. The other advantage with marginally harder rubber is it will also last longer. That’s something I’ve heard a lot of flat shoe makers talk about, but this could be the first example where it makes sense; by accident or design Fizik seems to have got the balance just right.