Review: Fi’zi:k M3B Uomo Shoes

Sep 22, 2015
by Mike Levy  
The fashionably stealth M3B Uomos are intended to be used as pure cross-country shoes, which means that the Italian company has focused on their weight, sole rigidity and simplicity. You won't find much in the way of foot protection on the feathery Uomos, but you will find a supple Microtex leather upper that Fi’zi:k apparently used lasers to shoot vent holds in (''laser-perforated,'' is their wording. Pew pew!), and they also say that the same leather is scratch resistant. The toe and heel areas also get some added material to ward off pointy things from leaving any permanent damage.

Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
  Fizik's M3B Uomo shoes are designed for cross-country riding and employ a Boa Closure System rather than more traditional buckles or Velcro.

The bright red lugs are a bit of a contrast to the otherwise blacked out shoe, but I think it adds to their look - kinda like a Bentley with a subtle flame paint job. Those lugs are attached to unidirectional carbon soles that are all about transferring every bit of power you put out into the pedals - they are nearly impossible to flex by hand - and there are two threaded holes to add a set of toe spikes, should you find yourself in a cyclocross race for some reason.

The Uomo shoes employ Boa's lP1 closure system, which consists of a ratcheting dial used to control the tension of a thin steel lace that's routed through four nylon guides along the top of the shoe. Turning the dial to the right adds tension to the lace via a small ratchet wheel that rotates underneath it, while turning it to the left releases tension in small amounts per click. You can quickly remove all tension by pulling the Boa dial straight out, which disengages the internal ratchet and allows the lace to unspool freely. The Boa lP1 system can also be found on shoes from Louis Garneau, Scott, and Bontrager, and Boa's ratcheting lace design is used on everything from pads and motorbike knee braces to snowboard boots, and they've even ventured into the orthotic and prosthetic world, so it's hardly a new and unproven thing. It is very different than laces and Velcro, though, not to mention more complicated, although the ease of adjustment might just outweigh any other drawbacks. It's also worth noting that Boa is a rather large company in itself, and that they offer all the replacement parts for their Boa system, which is something that I found handy.

Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
The Boa lP1 Closure System uses a ratcheting dial that adds or subtracts the tension of a thin steel lace.
Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
One dial does it all, and it can be micro-adjusted or you can pull the dial out to instantly release all of the tension on the lace.

At $275 USD, the Uomos are not inexpensive shoes, not that you'd expect them to be given the "Handmade in Italy" status that they carry. A pair of size 43 Uomos weighs 350 grams, which is competitive but not class leading, and they're available in 39, 40 - 47 and 48 in European sizing.

Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
Nylon guides route the steel lace across the top of the foot.
Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
The thin leather uppers sport plenty of venting. That lower Velcro strap is useless, by the way.

Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
The toe box is quite narrow, so those with wider feet might feel a bit squeezed.
Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
These boots aren't made for walking. The red lugs, which are laid over a unidirectional carbon sole, are rock hard and quite slippery on hard surfaces.

Fizik shoes review test
Rock, one. Boa, zero. To be fair, the rather pointy rock looked like it could have downed the Titanic, and it would have destroyed any buckle or ratchet.
Fi zi k M3B Uomo Shoes
Months and months of use has the front of each shoe looking well used, but they're not close to falling apart yet.

Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesA lot of sporty cycling-related things come out of Italy, most of which are usually done up in bright, garish colours that would have my mom too embarrassed to be seen with me. The M3B Uomo shoes, however, are about as stealthy as pure cross-country shoes are going to get, and while appearance is as subjective as fit, I have to admit that I'm a fan of the black-on-black look. They don't scream, ''I'm faster than you,'' so loud that people are going to be expecting you to be good at anything, which is always nice, but they are a through and through racing shoe regardless.

The Boa IP1 lacing system is pretty nifty, and it's quite a bit quicker to adjust correctly than buckles or Velcro: simply push the dial in and then turn to the right to tighten. Too tight? Turn the dial to the left one click at a time to micro-adjust until you can feel your foot again. When it's time to take them off, all you do is pull the dial straight out and it will instantly release all tension. It's a slick setup that you can even adjust on the move, much like the ratchet system on the back of your helmet, but the design isn't perfect. My issue with it is that while the single Boa dial on each shoe obviously saves weight over a two-dial design like some others shoes employ, it also makes it harder to adjust lace tension across the top of the foot. What I mean by that is that if you just snug down the dial, you'll end up with it feeling tighter across the top of the foot than lower down, so I found myself tightening the dial and then tugging on the lace a bit to pull the slack out of the bottom section. Maybe I'm just being picky here, but I do know from using a two-dial Boa system for a few years that it takes an extra second to get the fit just right on the Uomos, even if I still prefer the single Boa dial to buckles or Velcro. And speaking of Velcro, Fizik should ditch that strap across the bottom, as it does about as much as nipples on a man.

I did manage to completely destroy one of the Boa dials during a ride, which then meant that I lost all lace tension and it felt like I was wearing a slipper on one foot. To be fair, I'm lucky that the rock on the side of the trail that sheared the dial off didn't also shear my foot off at the same time, and I have no doubt that it would have destroyed any other buckle or dial system. It did gave me a chance to re-lace the shoe and replace the Boa IP1 dial, which isn't exactly a walk in the park. I'm sure the person who assembles these in Europe is able to do a dozen in thirty minutes, but I barely got one done in that time. Regardless, it is nice that all of the parts are available, should you need them.

Their fit is the first thing that gives the Uomo's sporty intentions away - these aren't the shoes for you flat footed riders out there. They're on the narrow side of the spectrum for most of their length, that is until you get up to the toe box area where they narrow up even more like a pair of pointy high heels. I have wide-ish, flat feet and I found that the outside edges of each toe box cramped my little piggies a bit more than is ideal, but not enough for me to call them uncomfortable. That's a good thing because I've been wearing the Uomos for months on end now, with them having seen everything from freezing, icy rides that made me question my sanity, to big days in 100 degree heat that also had me questioning my sanity. Being light and airy, the Uomos are best suited to the later, and I'd suggest some warm socks if you plan on wearing these kicks through any cold winters. But, if you regularly ride in warm temps and want a shoe that's going to let the breeze through, these are them.

If you clip-in but spend time riding the bike park or re-doing lines and jumps on your local trails, then look elsewhere because Fizik's M3B Uomo shoes aren't for you. However, here are plenty of riders who race cross-country or simply prefer to wear a pair of light, efficient shoes, and that's the crowd that the Uomos are aimed at. Keep in mind that these shoes are all about performance cross-country riding, though, which means that their mega-stiff soles don't provide much traction on rock or hard surfaces, and that flex-free and very efficient design can also cause some heel lift when you're walking up climbs. Then again, the Uomos are for riders who aren't going to be walking up anything that often. - Mike Levy

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  • 34 1
 That's just about the longest "Pinkbike's Take" that I've ever seen.
  • 3 2
 haha. Mike Levy is a good writer...
  • 29 1
 What are thooooose
  • 25 2
 Peter Pan's kicks.
  • 7 1
 Bowling shoes
  • 5 1
 300 dollar bowling shoes that last roughly 3 to 4 months and aren't comfortable.
  • 4 0
 fuck I came here to say this. Have your upvote
  • 10 3
 Let's see...narrow soles, front of the toe boxes worn out in a few months, heel lift when walking, not much traction on rocks, lower velcro useless, not suitable for cold weather, not class leading weight.

I get it about XC race shoes and I own a pair of S-Works (BOA's are great) but these really seem like too many misses, especially the toe box wear.
  • 3 2
 So, you are telling me the specialized are not falling apart? Lol
  • 5 0
 They look way too worn for the period of use. I'd be VERY disappointed if my 275$ shoes looked like that so soon.

My Sidi Giau's (their former cheepest model) are 8 years old, handmade in Italy, got them for 80€ locally (120 on CRC) and the uppers still look close to new. I don't baby them and I regularly ride on pretty rocky trails. Plus the fit is perfect for me. Three velcro straps is really more than enough and straps don't break when hitting rocks. The sole is super stiff an the heel cup is very secure. They suck for walking on pavement or rocks but the lugs offer usefull traction on softer ground. Thay can also accept a pair of spikes at the front.

I don't really care for the disco slipper look sidi are famous for, but their quality and durability has impressed me. For XC type shoes I don't think I'll ever look anywhere else.
  • 1 0
 Sidis are legendary! I got a pair of Sidis that must be at least 10 years old (maybe even more, I have no idea) and compared to my shimanos and Fivetens they are by far the most comfortable and durable pair of shoes. Although they are no hiking boots, they definitely hold up to walking and grip surprisingly well for an all out XC shoe.
Only downside is that I do look a bit like Disco Stu when I wear them...
  • 3 0
 My 8 year old D2s are in better shape than those shoes and I have well over 20,000 miles on them. I use them year round both Mtn and Road. Grippy Vibram soles and 3 Velcro straps. Full custom fit. As comfortable as a very stiff shoe can be. They have lasted way longer than any other shoe I have ever owned, and I've worn them more than any other shoe I've owned. Yes they are expensive, but I think I can get another couple years out of them at least. You don't want to walk far in them either. But at least you won't bust your ass when you have to.
  • 1 0
 @Bikethrasher I have a pair of D2's with the Vibram soles they by far the best for mt. that Don came up with. They have the threaded inserts the for baseball cleats in the front of the toe box. One ripped out they so kinda got retired. My two other pairs of mt. shoes from D2 aren't quite a hardy, but then again cyclocross in particular destroys just about any shoes so one has to be reasonable with what can be expected of the shoe to withstand. If I know a trail has tons of unridable sections (like 45 % + inclines over rocks or roots) I'll just wear flats and use platform pedals.

Anyone reading this, if you have foot problems or excessively wide feet (like myself) a pair custom shoes are the way to go not matter what the cost.
  • 2 0
 I spent a lot of money and wasted a lot of time trying to find a pair of shoes that didn't kill my feet or fall apart or both. Full customs are my only option. I get a lot of shit for paying what I paid for my D2s but all my friends who ride a lot are going through at least one pair of shoes a season. Either they don't fit well or they fall apart. To be honest I don't ride in mud unless I get caught in a storm. Colorado Mud isn't really rideable and due to the sensitive nature of our trails and access issues. I strongly encourage others to Not ride when it's muddy here. I do spent a lot of time riding in the snow though. The first year I had my D2s I logged over 5000 miles from from January -June. Lots of century rides that winter a couple doubles as well.
  • 2 0
 @Bikethrasher, I also get mt. of shit or dumbfound looks, and these are from people who have carbon cranks, carbon rails on seats, multiple pair of Zipps, Reynolds, Enve etc. None of those components mean a thing once the arch fails from fatigue and pedaling to reduce to the ankle doing the majority of work. There also a tangible increase in power from applying force evenly though entire surface area of the foot which only professional/medical grade orthotic can do. Heatable inserts don't compress evenly and in the end put too much pressure on arch (As Don or Dan explained to me years ago). A lot people don't release the most pro road racers (and assuming XC racers too), have their shoes custom made even if they look more or less stock. Velonews more then a decade ago did feature how DMT and Sidi made the majority of shoes for most racers if they sponsored by Nike or Adidas. Vittoria, Carnac, Sidi and Gaerne all did in house production and custom for their riders, but consumers don't have access to that division of the company. Of course riders with really normal feet can get away with stock shoe and custom orthotic. They've also reduced overuse injuries in knees and back so more then just not having my feet feel like they are in vice 15 minutes of riding. I agree other then Sidi's most people shoes on mt. side of things come apart pretty fast.
  • 1 0
 I have the previous model of the same shoe for about 6 months now. My shoes have little wear on them. The soles are hard and not the greatest for walking on rocks but if you stay on your pedals the whole time you won't have problems. If there is a lot of hike a bike on a particular trail I go for my five ten clip ins
  • 2 0
 These sound pretty good depending on fit. Not sure why you wore them when it was freezing though. I used to have problems with heel lift on rigid carbon soles until I realized these boots just ain't made for walking.
  • 1 0
 For sure, hard to fault them for not being good to walk in. I wore them in cold weather because, like a lot of riders, I only had a single pair of shoes on the go at that time. Warm socks were a must.
  • 2 0
 Looks like my Scott Mtb elite boa

only 130$, over 3000km with, and not used like theses ones
  • 2 1
 and there I am with my 15€ Mtb shoes from the supermaket, about 5-6 years old and they look nothing like this and they got abused way more than these 275$ shoes! and the best thing is you can walk in them.
  • 1 0
 I do like the look of these, but I'm out because I have a very wide foot. For those of you with wide feet that need a high-performance XC shoe, may I suggest the Shimano XC 90 in 'Wide' (SH-XC-90-E).
  • 1 0
 Those are hideous. At least with normal slightly more "cycling looking" shoes it doesn't look like you're trying (and failing tremendously) to cover up the fact that they aren't casual shoes.
  • 2 0
 I can buy 9 pairs of Teva Link flats on STP for that price. This equates to it taking 9 years based on todays dollar. Haha, never Fiziks.
  • 2 0
 uomo = man (in italian). Odd name for a pair of shoes. Check out my new MAN shoes.
  • 1 0
 Hey now...the gf has found a use for my male da kines. Nice review. Had thought about these but now I'll pass.
  • 5 7
 Grammar - when it is spoken it rarely bothers me, perhaps because I hear it so often. But when I read it I wonder why. "...and there's two threaded holes..." What is wrong with this sentence? The verb "to be", expressed in the third person singular, is referring to a plural hole, or holes. Therefore, it should read "There are..." or using the far less common abbreviation "There're...". Sorry about that. I couldn't help myself. Alls I know is that the sentence sounded funny and was written funny. I seen this before.
  • 8 0
 Are you the same person that posted this same type of comment a couple articles back? If so this is the second time you have said "I seen". Somebody pointed out to you last time and you apparently still don't get it. It's either " I have seen" or "I saw". Not "I seen"
Now do you have anything to say about the shoes?
  • 2 2
 Yes I am aware of the correct grammatical construction of the verb to see. You apparently missed my pluralization of the predeterminer All. I don't even take my own comments on grammar that seriously. I just go a little mental when I read 'There's' referring to a plural noun. But I still really like Mike's reviews and his writing style. Now about the shoes. They looked blue to me in the pictures.
  • 1 0
 They looked blue to me as well.
  • 1 0
 It's too expensive. Love fizik but this is way too much for shoes.
  • 1 0
 Did you go play soccer with these?
  • 1 0
 Another good review Mike! Especially like your comments on fitment.
  • 1 0
 More stupid ballerina shoes.
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