Last year the folks at Fizik changed my perception of XC specific MTB shoes with the M6B Uomo MTB shoes. A pairing of utility and performance, the utilitarian model is set at a reasonable price point. More importantly, they were light, durable and comfortable, transferring power through the entire foot as opposed to through one area.
During the initial release at Sea Otter Classic, the Fizik were excited to show us the flagship model: the M3B Uomo. Billed as high performance plus all-mountain tough, the M3B Uomo weighs in at just 350 grams. The murdered out shoe also happens to be damn sleek looking.
- Materials: Microtex Laser Perforated/Anti-scratch Leather
- Outsole: Carbon Fiber/Removable Skid Plate
- Closure system: Boa IP1-A
- Insole: fi’zi:k Cycling Insole
- Weight: 356 g (size 42,5)
- Sizes: 39, 40-47 and 48
On the Trail
I have had challenges attempting to get on with stiff shoes due to a foot injury while riding years ago, so I tend to avoid high end XC shoes. My right foot is all sorts of messed up, and some shoes just don’t play well with the scar tissue weirdness I have going.
Although the M3B shoes look super sweet, I kept finding myself grabbing the Fizik M6B shoes I reviewed last year as my daily driver. They don’t look as sexy, but I reasoned I’d save the M3B for fast paced rides when I needed the additional performance. Plus the light weight, stiffer shoe wasn’t as comfortable as the M6B, which set quite a high bar to follow.
That’s right, somewhere along the line I became a “comfort over performance” kind of guy. (I must be getting old)
Long story short, it’s taken me some time to get on with these shoes; the material is thinner than the M6 and I could feel the Boa dial on the top right of my foot pressing in a sensitive spot. One day though, I went for a ride with M3B and happened to have a pair of my wool Showers Pass socks on; on the ride something clicked. Thicker socks were a catalyst that made the previous discomfort disappear, and the M3B was bumped up to my go-to shoe whenever I rode my cross bike, commuter or XC hardtails.
The unidirectional carbon sole distributes power through the shoe evenly, and I’ve never experienced a hot spot, even with thin, minimal socks.
There is a lot to like about the M3B shoe. I’m 100% sold on the Boa closure system which makes fit adjustments in seconds; the implementation is a big upgrade from the middle range M6B. You simply twist a single Boa dial and the shoe snugs up evenly long the entire foot. To loosen them you simply pull the dial and it releases the adjustment. I like to start riding with the adjustment a bit relaxed, then give it a few clicks after things settle in.
The tread material that makes up the lugs is a far cry from the old plastic lugs used on XC shoes back in the day. They’re adequately durable, but most importantly, they provide actual traction when you need to walk on hard surfaces, whether its carrying your bike on a commute or a hike a bike section of trail.
Fizik positions the M3B shoes as suitable for all forms of MTB riding. I prefer them for less technical rides as they don’t feature the ankle protection found in my go-to shoes for technical jump trails, bike park and shuttle rides. For fast paced trail rides or any of the urban to dirt riding I often find myself doing in the Portland area, they’re a top level performer.
The M3B shoe has been replaced with the Vento Overcurve X3; a new shoe, the Infinito X1, has taken over as the flagship model. The nice thing is that means you can now find them at a discounted price. We’ve found them on sale for $220, (they list at $275) That said, they’re definitely an investment. As I didn’t do any short track, XC or CX races this year, it would be hard to justify as the new Terra X5 features trickling down and replacing the M6B at the $150 price point.
Check Fizik’s MTB shoe collection at Fizik.com