Fizik Vento Infinito Carbon 2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Very stiff, light and lean, improved adjustability, natural fit, good-looking
Cons: High cost, runs narrow, strict return policy
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Fizik Vento Infinito Carbon 2
|Price||Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$299.84 at Amazon|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$185 List||$85 List|
$85.00 at REI
|Pros||Very stiff, light and lean, improved adjustability, natural fit, good-looking||Super low weight, very stable, unbeatable power transfer, great adjustability||Lightweight, stiff, affordable, simple||Natural fit, extra padding, very light, available in wide sizes||Surprisingly light, good comfort, quality strap design, affordable|
|Cons||High cost, runs narrow, strict return policy||Less comfort than earlier versions, upper material susceptible to wear, can feel too rigid||Limited comfort, one fastener, mid-range power transfer||Could be stiffer, tongue rubs, upper can fold, tongue might slip down||Limited stiffness, low breathability, upper can crinkle|
|Bottom Line||A beautiful, premium road bike shoe that over-delivers across all our performance measures||A pro peloton reimagining of one of the most popular shoes on the road||Sturdy and simple, this is the right shoe for serious road riders on a budget||A super light, top-range choice for those looking to maximize performance within a reasonable budget||This is your standard quality road bike shoe — nothing fancy, but enough to get you on the bike and spinning in a reasonable degree of comfort and efficiency|
|Rating Categories||Fizik Vento Infinit...||Shimano SH-RC9 S-Phyre||Fizik Tempo Overcur...||Bontrager Velocis||Bontrager Solstice|
|Power Transfer (25%)|
|Specs||Fizik Vento Infinit...||Shimano SH-RC9 S-Phyre||Fizik Tempo Overcur...||Bontrager Velocis||Bontrager Solstice|
|Measured Weight (Pair)||19.5 oz||18.8 oz||20.8 oz||16.4 oz||20.0 oz|
|Outsole||R2 Carbon||Carbon fiber||Carbon reinforced nylon||Silver series carbon/fiberglass||PowerTruss|
|Upper Material||Microtex||Synthetic||PU laminate, mesh||Synthetic||Synthetic|
|Closure||2 BOA Li2 B dials||Dual Boa Li2 dials||BOA and hook and loop strap||BOA IP1 dial||2 hook loop velcro straps|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We go into detail about the specific design attributes that make the Vento Infinito Carbon 2 such an awesome shoe, but the short answer is that it has exceptional power transfer while maintaining comfort and flawless fit. It’s also a pretty attractive-looking shoe, so far as cyclists’ fashion sense goes.
When it comes to comfort, the Fizik Infinito Carbon 2 uses a superior design to earn its spot near the front of the pack. To get it there, Fizik uses a combination of fine fabric, ergonomic fastening, internal support, and a form-fitting shape.
Many of the best cycling shoes, like some of the best running shoes, will use a thicker inner lining or padding to force its comfort, but Fizik produced one of the best road bike shoes by working on improving the overall fit. It fits something like a second skin, which means it requires less padding and improves performance. The Vento Infinito Carbon 2 is yet a further refinement in pursuit of that design mission. The lining it does have is pretty minimal, but it does its job by adding a functional layer of cushion and softness to reduce friction and cushion just enough. There’s also a mesh footbed insole that allows better ventilation and seems to reduce the hotspots that can develop under the forefoot
The updated Infinito closure system uses two BOA® Li2 dials that allow a finer degree of two-way micro-adjustment over previous versions. It operates on the same scale as the hot/cold balance in a hotel shower now. The dials control the steel-coated nylon wires along the forefoot and toes of the upper in a unique infinite configuration that improves fit compared to standard cycling shoes.
The material being pulled over the foot in this scenario is a firm 1.2-millimeter Laser Perforated Microtex upper with very little stitching. Its firmness translates into superior energy transfer, but its cut and closure system help it fit like a glove so the stiffness doesn’t cause undue friction or discomfort. This can be problematic for wider feet as the line runs a bit on the narrow side.
The design of the Volume Control System allows the lower dial to better control the volume of the upper while the upper dial controls the fit and supportive feel using Dynamic Arch Support structure. This comes in handy when you’re approaching a long climb and you’re ready to stand and hit it hard.
The Carbon 2 comes in at 19.5 ounces for a pair of men’s Euro Size 44. That’s about 14 grams or half an ounce lower than the previous version, making this one of the lighter models out there. This isn't the featheriest on the market, but it's light enough that it makes a difference. The tradeoff here is that the heavier design allows better energy transfer and comfort. The approach was to use their stiffest outsole, the R2 full-carbon unidirectional outsole, that is both lighter and stiffer than previous versions and marks the top of their range in road racing shoes.
There are two major areas that save this road shoe weight and put it up near the top of the pack. The first area that helps the Infinito save on weight is the Microtex upper. It’s just 1.2 millimeters thick and uses Laser Perforated ventilation to improve airflow. The upper also uses only modest padding, which both saves on weight and keeps the shoe cool in hot weather and dry in wet weather. That’s one of the big advantages to having a second-skin upper design. There’s comfort in the fit without having to throw in all sorts of padding and cushion. It’s also worth mentioning that the new Li2 BOA dials are lighter and sleeker than the IP1-B dials of the Infinito R1.
The second is the R2 full-carbon unidirectional outsole. We go into a little more detail under the Power Transfer section below, but briefly, fibers are laid in the same direction, which makes the end material extremely resistant to forces applied against those directions. This process allows manufacturers to use considerably less material and therefore save a good deal of weight.
This is an area where the Carbon 2 really stood out. It's exceptionally stiff and has great power transfer. It feels like everything you’re putting out makes it down into the pedals. If you’re newer to the sport, it might even be a little too stiff for you, but if you’re after that pro-level performance, you’ll find that here. The new Vento Infinito Carbon 2 model has taken up the recent design trend of moving the cleats back closer to the center of the foot to improve power transfer. This seems to achieve its aim of reducing tension on the knee and improving transfer, though some bike geometries might not have as much clearance between the toe of the shoe and the tire on tighter turns when the toe’s at 3 o’clock, so be careful, especially with longer cranks.
What makes this one of the best cycling shoes is that it doesn’t sacrifice comfort to get power performance up near the top. A lot of times, the stiffest road shoes end up creating hotspots or squeezing your feet to death. This shoe uses its ergonomic Microtex upper design and Infinito closure system to better envelop and shape to your foot.
What really sets the Carbon 2 apart from the competition, including its previous version, is the R2 full-carbon unidirectional outsole. The fiber is laid in a single direction instead of the common latticed design. This makes it extremely strong when forces are applied against those directions, but is less strong against forces from other directions. If that sounds a little scary in your road bike shoes, don’t worry, this process is used for everything from rockets to race cars and all sorts of interesting applications in between. If you’re still interested in how unidirectional carbon fiber works, you can read more at the Fibre Glast Learning Center.
When it comes to adjustment, it’s hard to go wrong with two micro-adjustable double BOA® Li2 dials, which is what Fizik uses for its new Infinito closure system. The dials allow for bi-directional tightening and loosening so you can lock it in to the perfect fit to suit your ride. Each dial also has a convenient quick release that works by just popping it out and it completely loosens so you can take the shoe off without also removing your epidermis.
This makes it a lot easier to reach down and tighten up ahead of a big sprint or climb and then you can either micro-loosen or pop the dial to release and quickly dial it back to a normal tightness. That’s the best way to get a good, natural fit after you get rolling.
The Infinito does a better job of designing the cut and closure system than most cycling shoes. It's among the best road bike shoes at marrying the dial design to the upper closure. One small caveat here in the updated Infinito Carbon 2 version is that the redesigned upper catches on the opposite side when trying to close. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it’s a slight inconvenience that causes you to have to use your finger to poke the other side inside the flap before you can close sometimes.
The cool thing about this setup is that the lower dial controls the overall volume of the upper, so it’s not a situation where you squeeze off circulation and your toes ache when you try to tighten the shoe. It’s a full-foot hug. The upper dial, meanwhile, provides a secure fit that works in hand with the Dynamic Arch Support structure to improve fit, energy transfer, and comfort. The only area where they could improve is by adding something to the heel cup to allow a little more finesse in how the foot is grasped by the shoe.
For the most part, the Infinito Carbon 2 is a tough shoe you can expect to take a lot of abuse and still be rolling in a few years without much issue. It incorporates premium materials with good design to minimize the areas that can break down and buffer the areas that need fortification. Its use of replaceable parts is another aspect that sets it apart and helps it move up near the top of the ranking.
There’s good reason for such a high ranking. Its 1.2-millimeter Laser Perforated Microtex upper is strong enough to take a good deal of abuse without tearing or being pierced. The cut also minimizes seams and stitching, so there are fewer areas spots vulnerable to catastrophic deterioration. The only limitation is that the material can scuff and the tip of the toe can wear down. To that end, be sure you’ve tried the shoe out on the carpet before you take them out on the road and really try hard to pretend you’re out on the road because Fizik has a strict no return policy if you’ve ridden in the shoes.
The outsole is well protected. The unidirectional full-carbon outsole is constructed so that it’s stronger against the forces to which it’s typically subjected (lateral forces). That should result in generally improved durability, though it also means that if some intense pressure is applied from another direction, there could be a problem - theoretically, anyway.
Another aspect that we really like is that the high-wear areas have some replaceability. The BOA® Li2 dials can be replaced, which is a huge deal. A lot of other road bike shoes have fasteners that can’t be replaced if, for example, you have a bit of a crash and your foot gets dragged across something and comes back up with more blood and less buckle attached than it did just a moment ago. There’s no consolation prize for a crash quite like needing to replace an entire pair of road shoes because of a missing fastener.
The heel pad is also replaceable. That’s a huge relief, especially to urban riders (lots of stoplights), walkers, and cafe riders. And to show their added attention to detail, they use a hex bolt instead of the usual Phillips head, so there’s less chance it’ll be stripped out and it’ll still be reachable, even if you’ve worn out the pad and eaten some of the fastener (bolt) off. It can be pretty difficult to get a bite on an old Phillips head that’s been ground down over 18 or 24 months.
The only real complaint we had was that the toe is missing a replaceable pad. This is an area that sees a lot of abuse since you tend to use your toe to push off from stops and maybe to fiddle with your pedal when you’re trying to clip in. There are bumpers, but they’re not too prominent, so there will be unavoidable and progressive damage to the carbon and microtex as time goes on. Still, if you’re careful, you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
So far as high-end road bike shoes go, these are up there, but at a slight discount compared to some of the full carbon models. If you’re in the premium market, these are a solid deal. You get a really light cycling shoe with stiffness and comfort of a much heavier shoe. Plus it’s a good looking shoe that will stand out in the peloton if you’re the exhibitionist type.
We put in hundreds of miles in the Infinito Carbon 2 and came to understand why it's so prominent in the pro peloton. These shoes obviously look awesome, but they kick out the top-end performance too, which is why they earned our Editor’s Choice Award. They consistently dominated across performance measures, so there was no sacrifice or tradeoff of one excellent quality for another. Most notably, they were able to deliver exceptional power transfer and stiffness without making the shoe inhospitable to the foot.
— Ryan Baham
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