Fizik Terra Ergolace X2 Flat Review: All Terrain Bikepacking Shoes
When searching for a versatile flat-pedal shoe for a two-month bikepacking trip in Australia, Miles and Emily turned to the Fizik Terra Ergolace X2 Flat shoes. After three weeks and more than 1,000 kilometers of riding from the coast to the continent’s tallest mountain, they’re starting to look very promising as a mixed-terrain bikepacking shoe. Read the review here…
May 2023 Update: The delaminating mentioned in the review below has since been addressed by Fizik, although there are likely a run of shoes that will have this issue.
Having had such a positive experience with the Fizik Terra Clima X2 shoes I reviewed a few years back, it was easy to turn to Fizik again when on the hunt for some footwear for the six-week trip to Australia that Emily and I are currently on. Unlike most of my bikepacking trips, we’re spending most of the time living off of our bikes. This means I’m hauling around more gear than I’m used to and packing some personal and work items for time off the bike. We’re touring, bikepacking, and working all at once.
Knowing I’d want to test out some shoes for the trip, I figured it would be a good opportunity to get Emily to try something new as well. We’re both riding flats to make walking, hiking, and living more comfortable, and I wanted something that weighed less and wasn’t as stiff as our current shoes. We’re carrying some sandals capable of decent-sized walks and time at camp but have otherwise spent most of the last three weeks living in the Fizik Tera Ergolace X2 Flat shoes.
We’ve ridden nearly 1,000km as of today, following a yet-to-be-released route from Dan Hunt, creator of the Hunt 1000, and the beginning of the Munda Biddi trail in Western Australia. We started in Sydney, skirting the coast south before climbing up into the mountains southeast of Canberra, eventually making our way down to Kosciuszko National Park and the tallest mountain in Australia. During that time, we’ve ridden pavement, coastal paths, urban bike routes, sand, gravel, and doubletrack. We’ve had our fair share of hike-a-bikes and a surprising amount of rain, so we’ve already been able to put them through their paces.
The Terra Ergolace X2 Flat shoes are a part of Fizik’s Terra X2 mountain bike shoe range, which, according to Fizik, delivers “efficiency, comfort, and control both on and off the pedals.” There are four models within the lineup: the weatherproof Terra Clima X2 I already reviewed, the Terra Artica X2 for cold weather riding, the clipless Ergolace X2, and the Ergolace X2 Flat version reviewed here. I see the Ergolace X2 Flat as a low-profile, all-terrain flat pedal shoe, and it seems that’s pretty much how Fizik describes them.
Fit and Form
As far as fit goes, Emily and I both had to exchange the original sizes we ordered for larger ones because we found them to fit quite narrow, especially toward the front of the shoe, owing to its tapered shape. I normally wear a size 45 (11.5 US) but ordered a 44.5 since the size 45 Clima X2 felt big, but I eventually moved up a full size to 45.5. Emily followed suit and has been rocking a size 37 (5 1/4 US) but normally wears a size 36 (6 US) in other brands, partly due to the unisex sizing. When it comes to fit, the narrow toe box might be a deal breaker for some folks. We have average-sized feet and still had to size up to accommodate the shape of the shoe.
Another aspect of the shoe that took some getting used to is the shallow heel cup. Although this hasn’t proven to be an issue for either of us, my good friend and occasional contributor Skyler Des Roches has been wearing the shoes that didn’t fit me, and he immediately noticed the lack of retention in the heel of the shoe. Depending on how the rest of the shoe fits, this could result in movement and/or rubbing on long hike-a-bikes. Thankfully, after a combined 300+ hours of riding, Emily and I haven’t had any issues.
Otherwise, the Fizik Ergolace X2 Flat fits and feels like a lightweight trail running shoe. At just over 300 grams per shoe, they’re lightweight, sporty (but not too sporty to look out of place walking around town), and the lace-up closure is classic and makes it easy to dial in the fit. I’ve come to appreciate well-designed lace-up cycling shoes, and I’ve been impressed by what Fizik calls the “ergonomic lace-up closure,” which curves down toward the outside of the foot.
Sydney to Mt. Kosciuszko
After the last two weeks of riding, I have a pretty good idea of what the Ergolace X2 Flat shoes do best. If you’re looking for a lightweight flat cycling shoe that will remind you of a sneaker rather than a stiff mountain bike shoe, these are for you. In fact, I think this is their biggest selling point. The exterior of the shoe is fairly thin and dries out quickly when wet, which has been essential on a few big rain days. Perhaps one of my favorite features is the lace-up closure and detached tongue, allowing the shoe to be opened wide for airing out. This also makes taking the shoes on and off that much easier, which is handy for when we switch to sandals or run to the outhouse in the middle of the night.
The light and minimal design continues into the sole, which is thinner and more flexible than most cycling-specific shoes I’ve worn. This makes walking around town, hike-a-bike, and general off-bike duties comfortable, but they take some getting used to. Emily and I just finished up a few long days with lots of climbing and chunky descents, and our feet are feeling it. I think large platform pedals to help distribute the weight are essential. I’m still using the Tectonic Components Altar Pedals I reviewed, and find I’m coping with the thin soles just fine.
As far as grip, the rubber isn’t particularly sticky on the pedals. Skyler and Emily’s findings echoed this too. Compared to Five Tens, or any other flat shoe I’ve used in recent memory, the Ergolace X2 Flat doesn’t come close. I find myself shifting and repositioning my foot regularly throughout the day and haven’t experienced that satisfying “stick” that a great flat shoe should offer. So, if technical riding and singletrack are in your future, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. The design of the tread does a good job at capturing pedal pins, providing more of a mechanical fit than a sticky rubber adhesion. For less involved riding on dirt touring trips, they fit the bill. While hiking, the outsole feels adequate but can sometimes slip on loose surfaces. The tread isn’t as aggressive as I’d want for serious backcountry hike-a-bikes, but it’s well-suited to what Emily and I have been doing here in Australia.
Although it’s a little early to speak on long-term durability, they’ve been holding up great so far. We’ve ridden through a wide range of conditions, including some early spring mountain biking back in British Columbia, as well as the heat, rain, and rugged mountains of Australia. I have yet to see any premature wear or issues with my shoes, but Emily’s PU-laminated toecap has started to delaminate from one shoe, which could just be a random case. We’ve already heard back from Fizik and their designers are looking into it.
Otherwise, the materials and construction seem to be solid. The ripstop upper is breathable on hot days, dries quickly, and there is a little lace-keeper to keep things tidy. While the sole might not be that grippy, it does seem to absorb shocks fairly well, and the stiffness hits a sweet spot for equal parts riding and exploring by foot. The tread itself has also been holding up great, showing no signs of early wear despite us running fairly aggressive flat pedals with burly pins. My only other concern would be that the upper’s construction, being quite thin, offers minimal protection from rocks and sticks. I find myself veering around trail debris that normally doesn’t bother me. Depending on your riding style and the terrain you normally encounter, this might not be an issue.
- Lightweight and comfortable on and off the bike
- Minimal design, lace-up closure, and open tongue dries quickly
- Flexible enough to walk and hike yet stiff enough to ride all day
- Reasonably priced at $129
- Durability seems promising
- Narrow toe box and shallow heel cup make for an odd fit
- Not grippy enough for proper mountain biking
- Thin sole can be hard on the feet
- Lightweight fabrics provide little protection
- Material: Vibram tread, Ripstop Upper
- Weight: 303 grams (size 42.5 pair)
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $129 or $80 at Backcountry
- Manufacturer’s Details: Fizik.com
Miles: Although they might not be exactly what I imagined, I’ve grown to like the Fizik Terra Ergolace X2 Flat shoes. I love being able to hop between on and off the bike, grab some groceries, explore trails by foot, and never really worry about the shoes I’m wearing or if they’re up for the task. For pure mountain biking, they wouldn’t be my first choice due to their lack of pedal grip, but for less aggressive bikepacking trips, commuting, or daily life, they hit the mark. I can’t think of a shoe I’d rather be wearing for this trip, and I look forward to continuing putting them through their paces as we make our way down the Munda Biddi.
Emily: My bike shoe experience is, admittedly, limited. I biked around in my old, trusty Merrells for a few years before reluctantly switching over the sturdier flats. Though I feel more confident on chunkier terrain in my go-to mountain bike shoes, I was dreading the thought of those being my only option for our Australia trip. Sure, they’re sturdy and reliable, but they’re also hot, stiff, slow-drying, and clunky.
I’ve been enjoying my time in the Fizik shoes. They’re light, easy to get on and off, breathable, and quick to dry out (who knew it rained so much in Australia!?). An unexpected favorite feature is the easy-to-open-wide tongue, as I can see right into the toe box and check for critters before blindly sticking a foot inside. They wouldn’t be my first choice for wearing off the bike, but they are a comfortable and easy option as an all-round shoe when packing space is limited. I still dream of throwing on a colored lace to spice it up a bit, but that’s for another day.
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