Fizik Terra Atlas gravel bike shoes review - a great option at the entry level
A great shoe that will tick all the boxes for most people’s general riding
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The Fizik Terra Atlas shoes are better suited to those with slightly wider feet than the more race-oriented options in the brand’s range - and succeed in being highly comfortable for longer rides. The lug design and rubber coated outsole also greatly improve the grip in muddy conditions and on hard, slippery surfaces. The fit would be even better with a second Boa dial, but for the price point, these are a great set of shoes.
Easy to wipe down
Fairly roomy fit
Only one dial
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The Fizik Terra Atlas is an entry level gravel shoe that benefits from a single Boa dial retention system and a rubber coated sole for extra off-the-bike grip - whether that’s any hike-a-bike trail sections or nipping into a cafe, supermarket or restaurant on a bikepacking trip.
Although the Terra Atlas still doesn’t rank amongst the very cheapest gravel shoes, Fizik describes the Terra Atlas as the most versatile in its range - and if it can perform across disciplines and riding styles, it will go a long way to justifying its price and situating itself amongst the very best gravel shoes.
Fizik Terra Atlas: construction
Starting with the sole, the Terra Atlas benefits from a reformulation of Fizik’s venerable X5 design. Now, there are more lugs and with directional spacing to provide more grip when both climbing and descending soft, muddy banks.
The soles also benefit from a rubber outsole, which is much grippier on hard surfaces (such as rocks and wood) than the plain plastic that was used before.
The stated stiffness comes in at five out of 10 on Fizik’s own scale, which isn’t particularly stiff - but as these shoes are designed for a broader spectrum of riding and wandering than an all-out race shoe, that is about the level we’d expect.
Coming now to the upper, the fit around the forefoot of the Terra Atlas is rather more generous than Fizik’s shoes- typically are, especially its performance race-shoes. This is combined with a fairly generous padding, which makes the shoes more comfortable still, if a little warmer than a more minimalist model.
That said, there are still perforations to help with breathability and these are designed as a three-season shoe, rather than a model for cooler and more inclement weathers.
There are plenty of neat touches to the Terra Atlas shoes, including the silicone dots on the heel cup to help keep your feet locked in place during more concerted efforts and a heel loop at the back to assist with pulling the shoes on. The cleat fixing position has been moved further back, for those following the latest trend to place their cleats in more of a midfoot position (a ball of your foot cleat position is still well accommodated, too) - find out about setting the ideal cleat position in our guide here.
Finally, a Boa L6 dial controls the lace tension, allowing for millimetre tightening, but only ‘macro’ release, so you can’t just back it off slightly if you’ve done them up a little too tight. The shoes are available from EU36 to 47, with half sizes from 38.5 to 46.5.
Fizik Terra Atlas: the ride
On the whole, the Terra Atlas gravel shoes were really great in many ways. They still have their limitations in certain areas, but as an entry level shoe that was always going to be the case - even the majority of top-end shoes don’t manage to hit everything off perfectly.
So it’s worth being aware of what the compromises are and whether any are deal breakers that would tip you towards going up a price point or with a different model. But for the most part, and for most people, the Terra Atlas do a fabulous job at what they’re intended for.
Their standout quality is the comfort. The shape of the upper, the cushioning liner and the not-too-stiff soles make for a shoe that’s well suited to big days out on the bike - long meandering gravel epics or multiday bikepacking trips.
The one caveat is the single Boa dial, which makes it hard sometimes to get exactly the right tension across the foot - particularly balancing the tightness across the top of the foot with that lower down. The shoes are still very comfy, but they would be comfier still with either two dials or with a combination of a Velcro strap at the bottom.
Similarly, the new sole is much better than before, providing better grip in muddy sections and with a much tackier rubber - which has been particularly good on the rockier trails of Wales.
That said, the lugs could be more widely spaced than they are to provide even better grip - and although the soles are reasonably forgiving, they are not in the same league as the Specialized Recon 2.0 shoes which are incredibly easy to walk in.
In all, though, they were a comfortable set of shoes that I was still happy putting an effort in with, whether that’s racing to the crest of a hill or a long Zone 2 endurance ride.
Fizik Terra Atlas: value and conclusion
Priced at $160.00 / £154.99, the Fizik Terra Atlas are quite expensive for single Boa-dialled off-road shoes. You can get two Boas for not too much more, for example Shimano’s XC7 cost $230.00 / £189.99.
If you are adventurous on your gravel bike rides and could do with shoes that are reasonably ‘walkable’ off the bike, then the Terra Atlas will cover you nicely for this. Overall, the quality is high.
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I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track.
But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet - with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.
I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.
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