Race ready footwear with unbridled efficiency
The Fizik M3B Uomo sits near the top of the Italian company’s MTB shoe range. A carbon sole offers immense levels of performance and efficiency for racing.
For us mountain bikers Fizik are probably better known for their saddles than their shoes. Focussed completely on the clipless scene, Fizik currently make a range of seven shoes (including a women specific model). The Fizik M3B Uomo we have here on test sit one rung below the range topping Infinito X1.
Developed in conjunction with Fizik’s professional MTB racers; the M3B is unashamedly a shoe for going as fast as possible when at maximum heart rate. If cross country racing is where your heart lies then the M3B should be a perfect fit (pun intended).
Fizik has certainly endowed the M3B with a unique style, that half gloss/half matte finish make it easy to pick out of a lineup. The single BOA dial links to an asymmetric opening that, when closed gives the whole shoe a slippery, almost featureless outline.
Fizik M3B Uomo: Italian through and through
Slip your feet into the M3B and the first thing you notice is the shoe is built on an ‘Italian’ last. Effectively its a pretty long and narrow shape. Fortunately it’s not overly narrow though. Plus the malleable upper material stretches enough to accommodate my relatively wide and wonky metatarsal; so good news if you have bunions! What is less great is the pointed toe box. As most of us have slightly squared off feet this puts a bit of empty space around the toes. Whilst only a little niggle, this space can lead to feet creeping forward under certain riding conditions; leading to more heel lift than is normally acceptable.
Stiff as a very stiff thing
As with any shoe built around pedalling performance, it’s the sole that’s the heart and err… soul of the shoe. Fizik use a unidirectional carbon for the M3B that provides it with zero flex, there is literally no give whatsoever, zilch, nada… When you press down through the pedals you just know that not an ounce of effort is being wasted. But for anything other than shorter, one or two hour rides this stiffness can be just a little too relentless.
Breaking down just what is to blame actually identifies a relatively simple issue; foot support. Fizik ship the M3B with a very thinly padded and supported insole, and unless you have properly flat feet there just isn’t enough support to prevent your arch from collapsing. It’s simply the fact that it’s your feet have to conform rather than the shoe flexing to accommodate any foot movement.
Fit a custom insole, or one with a bit more support such as one from Specialized’s Body Geometry range and the added support increases comfort dramatically. It’s just a pity that this needs to be an added extra, rather than a supplied, tuneable insole like Giro do with their Empire VR90 shoe.
Get past this issue and the M3B performs well in adverse conditions. The rubber outsole has sufficient bite to give sure grip when walking or running off the bike. It also has a pretty stiff, reinforced toe to protect your toes when smashing through the undergrowth. I briefly mentioned the unusual style of the M3B, but it has to be said that the finish and enclosed lacing system helps it shrug off mud and water. Making it better for winter riding than a lot of lightweight race shoes.
It's plain to see that the Fizik M3B Uomo has been created for one purpose only, to go fast. If you need the stiffest, most efficient pedalling platform to be used on short rides only, then look no further. This is the shoe for you. It's just a pity that to extend the use of the M3B, most riders will need to invest in a better set of insoles.