The Fizik Terra Atlas represents an entry-level option in the growing best gravel bike shoes segment. While it blurs the line between cross-country and gravel use, they're not the cheapest option around and the overall performance is lacking in a number of areas. The sole is flexible, which may aid walking but certain other areas can't quite match the competition.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes | Fit and Sizing
The Terra Atlas has a slightly wider last (the mechanical form used to create the shoes) than the brand's standard road shoes, which are generally regarded as narrow. In terms of dimensions, it sits between the standard and wide-fit models with a generous toe box, giving plenty of wiggle room, not to mention space for thicker socks during the colder months.
The shoe is available in a wide range of sizes ranging from EU36 to 47, while also catering for half sizes from 38.5 to 46.5. This generous spread allows for a more precise fit - especially if you find yourself between sizes.
Fizik has a size guide online and this proved to be accurate. Compared to other brands, I found them to be slightly longer, so I'd suggest potential buyers check out the size guide before pulling the trigger on a new pair.
The Terra Atlas is available in four colours (including the stealth-black version pictured here) and utilise an offset Boa retention system which is sleek-looking and representative of the brand.
This pair, in size 41, weighed in at 710g without cleats. Considering many options in this highly competitive category weigh upwards of 800g, the Fizik Terra Atlas are reasonably light for a cross-country/gravel shoe.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes | Adjustments
The Atlas features a single Boa dial, which is the basic L6 version complete with incremental adjustment for tightening - there is no reverse adjustment. To decrease, or remove the shoe, the Boa needs to be pulled upwards which releases the tension. A single Boa is not uncommon with entry-level shoes but there are many brands that offer more adjustment at the same or lesser price point.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes | Sole shape and comfort
The first thing I noticed with the fitment was a pronounced ridge that is on the outer edge within the mid-foot area. While not uncommon for Fizik, there is no noticeable arch support and the insole is very basic with little padding and no profiling.
The sole is fabricated from nylon and is rated at 5 on the Fizik stiffness index scale which goes up to 10. To put this in context, it translates to a lot of flex and is particularly noticeable within the forefoot area. This may be of use in hike-a-bike scenarios but, for a shoe that will almost certainly be used with a dedicated clipless pedal, the lack stiffness is apparent and, in some instances, can make things very uncomfortable.
The heel area has several silicone gripper spots that aim to hold the heel in place, but they are nowhere near as effective as Shimano's cat-tongue-like fabric heel area. The Boa dials and area that fastens everything in place are positioned quite forward on the shoe, which at times, gives the sensation that your foot is slipping out.This is especially noticeable when pedalling out of the saddle and climbing steeper terrain. I simply found I was not able to pull upwards for tougher climbs or outwards through the shoe to maximise cornering speed.
Some areas of the fit may be personal but I found I needed to run the Boa quite loose while riding to ease discomfort on the ridged area towards the outside of the foot - something that might be exacerbated should you require third-party insoles or orthotics.
The shoes have threaded inserts for toe studs on the front, although are not included with the packaging - surprising given the price.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes | Cost
The Terra Atlas cost £155 and, while this makes them the cheapest in the Fizik range of off-road XC/gravel shoes, there are lots of other brands and models that are cheaper.
If sole stiffness is not a priority, the dhb Troika are £70. There are multiple options around the same price, including the Bont Riot+ MTB which are among my favourites and have a similar wide fit, but they are significantly stiffer which won't suit all. The Shimano XC7 and Gaerne Hurricane are both within £10 with Rachael and Jim rating them highly.
Fizik Terra Atlas shoes | Overall
Shoe fit is very personal and what might be perfect for one rider is simply uncomfortable for another. Even with that being said, the Fizik Terra Atlas have elements that don't match the price. Stiffness is poor and, while some flex can aid in hike-a-bike situations, other areas such as the basic and low-positioned Boa dial and retention, not to mention lack of heel support ultimately impacts the overall impression in a negative way.