|A 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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