As part of our winter boot group test and our quest for the perfect cold and wet weather footwear, we’ve been trying out the Fizik Terra Artica X2 shoes.
There are actually two different MTB style boots on offer from Fizik: These Terra Artica X2 boots (£280) are designed for wet weather riding, whereas the Terra Clima X2 (£250) are perhaps better suited to the shoulder seasons and less harsh weather conditions. Both share the same X2 sole.
Materials and features
The main body of the Fizik Terra Artica X2 shoes is constructed from a durable ripstop fabric, which is backed by an eVent waterproof and breathable membrane, designed to repel both wet weather and water splashing up from the trail and puddles.
I found that this worked really well in 90% of cases, easily stopping drizzle or puddle splash from causing soggy socks. The one time that it really didn’t work for me was on a day-long wet gravel ride in November when I returned home absolutely sodden, including my socks. Pulling off the boots resulted in a small pond forming on the garage floor, and the boots subsequently took a week in front of the radiator to dry out.
I can only assume that it was the interface between the tongue and the shoe that let in the water here, and for that reason I’d highly recommend that they’re not submerged, in deep puddles for example.
I fear that getting a shoe to be 100% is a near impossible task (someone do tell me if you know differently), but there are a few crucial things you can do to help your chances. Make sure that any bib tights are placed over the cuff of the boot rather than under, as this would cause any wetness to run straight down into the shoes. I’ve seen some riders fashion gaiters out of old Velotoze boots to try and minimise cuff water ingress too!
As far as breathability goes, I didn’t have any problems at all with my feet feeling sweaty, so sounds like the eVent membrane has serving its purpose!
Internally, the Fizik Artica X2 shoes have a low profile insulated fleece liner to provide some insulation for colder temperatures. I really struggle with my circulation in the winter (Raynauds sufferers will relate) so I asked Eleanor for a second opinion here, as I struggle to differentiate between whether it’s the shoe or me at fault! Eleanor found the boots to be ‘toasty warm’ on colder days when paired with mid-weight merino socks.
Taking the harsh conditions and wear and tear of winter riding into account, these Fizik Artica boots have been designed to be robust and tough. The extended rubber from the sole over the lower areas of the shoe and extended over the heel and toe. This helps prevents damaging scuffs and I’ve found does a pretty good job of repelling dirt and stopping the mud sticking too.
X2 sole and tread
The X2 in the boots’ name refers to the outsole, which has been designed to balance the riders’ needs on and off the bike. The polymer EVA midsole and nylon shank give a Fizik stiffness index of 3/10, aiming to give some flexibility for hike-a-bike and enhanced comfort compared to ultra-stiff race shoes.
Eleanor found these really comfortable to walk in, but more of an issue on the pedals, with the great level of sole flex causing pins and needles in her feet. If you’re more accustomed to stiff-soled racing shoes, then these might not be the best for you.
The rubber tread comes courtesy of Vibram, named Megagrip, in the form of chunky lateral chevrons. For muddy winter riding this grip is crucial, although under the stickiest of conditions I found that these chevrons were prone to clogging up easily, or mud clagging up around the cleat.
There’s plenty of adjustability available in the cleat positioning, allowing more rowdy riders to slam their position back or riders with pedalling efficiency as a priority to find their position perfectly, as well as handy markings to help you get the cleats even on both shoes.
The boots are secured with a single BOA L6 dial and wire lace retention system over a lateral tongue, and then zipped up the extended neoprene cuff on the inside of the leg with a quality YKK waterproof zip.
I’ve always found BOA dials to work really well, and are probably my preferred shoe closure method, lasting much longer than laces and easier to secure and adjust. These were certainly no exception, and helped give a snug fit with just a few easy clicks: much appreciated with numb fingers!
Due to the long cuff and short waterproof zip opening, getting the Fizik Artica X2 shoes on and off was a real struggle. Once on, the EU size 40 shoes fitted just fine, but for the sake of ease I’d size up if I was going to buy these again. Having checked in with other riders of these shoes, I know that this is not an isolated case either, and I’m sure something that Fizik will look to address in future design iterations of these boots.
Width-wise, I have fairly averagely sized feet, and didn’t find the fit a problem here at all. Gone are the days when Fizik’s fitting was tailored to narrow feet only!
The boots are available in a wide range of sizes from EU 36 to 48, including half sizes from 37 to 47.
There’s little to comment on regarding the looks of the Fizik Artica X2 boots: they’re plain black which is practical for winter and will avoid staining, and minimal branding. Compared to some other boots with much louder logos, this is a great touch. Save your disco slippers for dry summer days, these are built to be practical and not showy.
Considering how rugged they are, the boots aren’t too bulky, and work well both with tights or trousers. The toes are more rounded than the Terra X5 shoes, which means there’s a little more space inside too.
The Fizik Terra Artica X2 verdict
Overall, we’ve been impressed by the winter performance of the Fizik Terra Artica X2 boots: rugged, comfortable and well constructed. Getting them on and off is a bit of a chore, but once your feet are in, they’re easy to secure with the BOA closure system.
The Artica boots really excel when the weather turns foul; splashing through puddles and repelling rain. In really extreme weather they’re compromised though, like most kit, and they can take a long time to dry out.
It’s hard to ignore the price tag; at £280 you’ll need to be a rider that really embraces winter riding and bad weather to get your money’s worth from this sizeable investment. Having said that, with a really robust construction I’d like to think that they should last for many winter seasons.
Fizik Terra Artica X2£280 €280 $299.99
- Prevents most water ingress from rain and puddles
- Rugged construction and soles
- Quality BOA closure system
- Getting on and off is tricky
- Pricey investment
- Flexy sole good for walking but not as comfortable on the pedals
Last modified: 9th February 2021