As mentioned in a previous article, I have an irreparable addiction to high end cycling shoes. The groovier they look and the more tech features they posses, the worse the symptoms become.
So, when I happened upon the Fitter brand of road shoes, I simply had to have a pair.
After a few emails with the brand’s founder and owner, Espen Kateraas, he offered to send me a pair for review, which I accepted with almost shameless excitement. Better still, the shoes that he ended up sending me turned out to be the same bubblegum blue, Porsche-esque Mexico Blue color that initially caught my eye.
However, I hasten to say, while my addiction to snazzy cycling kicks might be pervasive at times, I’m by no means someone who easily speaks in superlatives. And, the Fitter shoes would be held to the same high standards as others, or else.
Upon unboxing the Fitter shoes, it became immediately apparent that they possessed more than just a striking color-way, with high quality materials, a full carbon sole and a premium closure system plotting them from stem to stern. And, while I didn’t have any specifics regarding weight, they felt as light as feathers.
On the issue of the closure system, Espen was keen to point out how he had worked closely with a South Korean company to design it.
The design works similar to the popular BOA system, but rather than pulling up on dials, all the rider needs to do is simply turn them counter clockwise to tighten the shoes, or one click clockwise to loosen them.
Sound simple? That’s because it is. Interestingly though, Espen hasn’t been willing to stop there.
Given his status as an active pro rider, he’s continued to refine the closure system, which will soon have dials that are slightly taller for even greater ease of adjustment while riding.
And, I thought that I was a perfectionist.
The Fitter shoe comprises a high quality polytex upper that cradles the foot in a way that’s both comfortable and snug, while a glossy surface makes for easy clean-up and keeps the shoes looking good well-beyond other types of finishes.
There’s plenty of ventilation as well, thanks to copious amounts of perforations along the toe and sides of the shoe including air channels molded into the sole.
The sole itself features a full-carbon construction with an impressive stiffness rating of 10/11 (12 being the highest) that’s compatible with all three-hole pedal systems, as well as Speedplay via an adapter. Moreover, cleat set-up and alignment is simple and precise, with convexity being a non-issue unlike some other shoes.
I would venture to say that sizing for the Fitter shoes falls upon the generous side, meaning there’s ample room to accommodate virtually any type of orthodontic without making the fit too tight, yet there’s really no reason to go down on size.
The inner part of the upper features soft, microfiber padding that’s extremely comfortable, while a single-directional strip of silver fabric allows the foot to slip in easily, at the same time prevents heel lift from occurring.
Fit is further enhanced by a minimalist foam footbed that follows the anatomical profile of the sole’s sculpted arches, offering the requisite amount of support.
How Did the Shoes Perform?
As mentioned, having reviewed an extensive number of high end cycling shoes over the years, I’m by no means someone who’s easily won-over. And, instead of a short jaunt along the promenade, or a fast loop along one of my favorite routes, every review has involved a few hundred miles of riding in order to fully vet each shoe, scrutinizing them every turn of the pedal along the way.
Having said that, after traversing the terrain of western Massachusetts during all sorts of weather conditions over the last few months, I’m pleased to report that everything that makes a road shoe great exists in the Fitter shoe.
Excellent comfort and optimal ventilation (including warmth), while conceding nothing in terms of structural support and power transfer, foremost describes the Fitter shoes.
If I had to sum up the feel of the Fitter shoes in one phrase, I would say they felt like “an iron foot in a velvet cycling shoe.”
Throw-in a retention system that’s simple and intuitive like the brand’s Free-Lock design, which in my opinion works more effectively when worn with overshoes because all one needs to do is turn the dial instead of trying to pull up against a tight fitting bootie, and you have a shoe that sits at the upper echelons of the leader board.
What’s equally impressive about the Fitter shoes is the astonishingly low price of $182, which in some cases is less than half the price of one shoe from the competition!
In conclusion, excellent comfort, performance and a flair for style at a phenomenal price makes the Fitter shoes “fit for a king, but affordable by a page”.
That’s a lustful combination of things for someone like me who has a fetish for this kind of cycling gear.
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