We loved the Artica Terra X2 shoes
Riding bikes through the winter months can be challenging, especially when the conditions are cold and wet. Thankfully, equipment like the Fizik Artica GTX clipless shoes are built to deal with the elements using a Gore-Tex membrane and fuzzy insulation inside to keep your feet warm and dry.
This GTX version is tailored in a slimmer package and geared toward the folks that want climate security for their feet without all of the extra bulk. I had to double check that these weren't road cycling shoes because they are much lighter and streamlined compared to the X2's. The GTXs have a much rounder toe box and narrower footprint, but still use a mud-busting BOA dial.
Artica GTX Details
• Gore-Tex and ripstop upper
• Fleece lined fabric inside/insole
• X2 rubber sole
• BOA dial and velcro strap closures
• Sizes: 36-48 (half sizes through 37-46)
• Weight: 432 grams (single shoe, size 43)
• MSRP: $259.99 USD
from the Italian brand for their function and features to lock out weather. Even though the GTX shoe is aimed at a slightly different market, it's worth referencing the fit and function against the X2s.Tech
The Artica GTX shoes are deceivingly light for their durable, shell-like appearance. At 432 grams, they are nearly 100g less than the Terra X2s. Inside the Artica GTXs, a soft fleece lining adds insulation while a Gore-Tex Koala membrane repels water and pulls moisture out. That magic combo makes them waterproof and breathable.
On the outer surface is a high-density PU finish with a Ripstop fabric in the center to allow the BOA to cinch the shoe closed. That looped system runs 75% of the way up the shoe with the dial tucked inboard slightly and still placed far enough away from the fibula bone. At the top, a velcro strap allows for variable tension to fine tune the pressure of the shoes’ fitment. There’s also a finger loop at the top of the heel to make them easier to pull on.
Underneath, Fizik calls on their X5 rubber compound using sharp lugs that are spread out to critical areas. The center for the sole is void of these blocks which are placed inboard of the sole’s outline. Price
Premium construction with features like a BOA dial and Gore-Tex membrane are reflective of a steep price - $259 USD, but you can’t put a price on warm, dry feet. If the John Fluevog-esque maroon and purple colorway doesn’t meet your fashion requirements, a plain black version is available too.
Although they've been caked in mud and hosed down with cleaners multiple times, the stitched and molded rubber seams show no signs of letting go. It's still too early to comment on really long term durability, but neither myself or Mike Kazimer, who also tried a pair in similar foul conditions, have had any issues so far. Fizik do back their footwear products with a two-year warranty when purchased through their webstore, however, there is a dealer network to help you out as well.Fit
Fizik offers the Artica GTX shoes in sizes 36 through to 48, with half sizes available between 37 and 46. Judging by the streamlined shape of the Artica GTX shoes, it’s easy to tell that they have a narrow, rounded toe box, but I decided to roll with the same size I tested the Terra X2s in - size 42.
Even with a thin wool sock, there was no way I could fit in the GTX version and so I jumped up a half size. Both the length and width are tighter than normal, at least for my feet. Mike Kazimer didn't need to size up for the size 45 pair he tested - as with most apparel, trying before buying is always the best bet. Whether it’s gloves or shoes, leaving some wiggle room for extremities will keep them the warmest and that’s true for the Artica GTXs. I wouldn’t be afraid to go up a full size to fit a thicker sock if you’re riding in sub-zero temperatures frequently.Ride Impressions
The main attraction to the Artica GTX shoes is their weatherproof qualities and weight. My first impressions of the GTX left me curious about stability on the pedals, but totally satisfied when rides took me through rain and snow. If pedalling grueling hours in the rain and snow is part of your training regime, these should be near the top of your candidates list, however there are a few areas of the shoes that may not suit your needs.
Outside, the Gore-Tex label tells all. A solid barrier sheds off all of the puddles while effectively pulling moisture out of the shoe and the toe box is surprisingly armored, although narrow in width. Behind the BOA lace, the flexible tongue is continuous to repel water and flexible enough to remain comfortable throughout the day. The fleece lined inside keeps your toes toasty - just remember to size up.
One feature I missed on the GTX versus the Terra X2s was the tight, zippered cuff that rides high to layer up against water intrusion. Although it applies to all shoes and should go without saying, you’ll need pants that are long enough to overlap with the top of the shoe to keep water from trickling in. The GTX’s cuffs are high, but not to the same extent as the Terra X2s.
I did notice that the backside of the cuff quickly created a hot spot on my Achilles tendon while pedalling. Ideally, I’d prefer the cuff to be less angled forward and the velcro strap to incorporate an eyelet to tighten up the closure. That would allow for a wider range of motion without friction and then you could really clamp down without compromising ankle support.
Underfoot, the Artica GTX’s are rated with a stiffness level of 5, which lines up with most of Shimano’s XC shoes for reference. Luckily, the cleat mounts have miles of adjustment and can be positioned well behind the ball of the foot. That will add some stability so you’re not totally perched on your toes while descending.
When paired with a medium size clipless platform, like the Time Speciale 12 pedals, there is no contact with the pedal platform. If you’re used to standing purely on the cleat, then this will feel normal, but the GTXs sway from the enduro and downhill shoes I typically ride.
Off the bike, there isn’t much surface area and tapered profile of the rubber sole means that you have to watch your step unless you’re on a graded surface. That stiff, curved sole doesn't conform on slippery rocks when crossing creeks or other obstacles, although the grip of the rubber itself is decent - it's a little softer than the hard rubber often found on summer XC shoes.
All in all, the Artica GTXs are a svelte shoe that still offers plenty of protection from winter's elements, at least when it comes to winter in the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures hover around or a bit above freezing. Riders in more frigid climates will likely want something with even more warmth, although the Artica's do a very good job in the 27 - 45° F / -3 - 7° C range. There's a focus on putting down watts over control while descending due to the stiff sole and minimal contact with the pedal platform.
Excellent at resisting winter weather without compromising breathability+
Quality construction and materials+
Plenty of range to position cleats
Lack of contact with pedal platform compared to shoes with a flatter sole. -
Curved, slim sole and isn't ideal for walking on wet rocks and logs -
Back of cuff could be a friction point for some riders