The Fizik Tempo Decos is a premium, high-mileage road cycling shoe that hasn’t come up short anywhere I’ve ridden.
The shoe fits into the higher end of the brand’s range, between the mid-level Tempo R5 Powerstrap and the top-tier Vento Infinito Carbon 2 and Infinito R1 Knit.
While the latter are designated race shoes worn by the likes of Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Fizik says the Tempo Decos is for day-to-day riders like you and me – discerning, yes. Professional, no.
However, the Tempo Decos retains some performance features of the higher-end shoes.
Compared to the cheaper Fizik Tempo R5 Powerstrap, you get a carbon instead of nylon composite sole for two and a half times the price.
The shoe is also pretty light and stylish, especially in white.
Dial me down
A single Li2 Boa dial tightens the Tempo Decos, as opposed to the Powerstrap’s Velcro buckle.
This certainly looks cleaner than a strap closure and even a dual Boa dial.
The solitary dial adjusts the tension of the shoe’s wire laces very evenly, to the point where I’m questioning whether the combination of one dial and a Velcro strap – as seen on my Fizik Terra X5 gravel shoes – is really necessary.
As a result, the Tempo Decos’ supple upper envelops the foot with no pinch points.
In contrast to the less yielding upper of the Specialized S-Works 7, which took me several hundred kilometres to break in, the Tempo Decos was immediately comfy.
The fit of the shoe is fairly narrow, which suits me perfectly. But I did size down from 46 to 45 after using Fizik’s foot measurement guide. A wide option is also available for those with broader feet.
The sole may be unforgiving, but the rest of the shoe is plush.
The Tempo Decos has a polyurethane-laminated upper that overlays mesh fabric.
Light, flexible and airy, I appreciated the ventilation the material offered on warm days.
Rapha’s Paris-Roubaix-themed A Day in Hell (107km with 10 per cent off-road and 1,600m elevation) was one such warm day (well, for Birmingham anyway) and my feet were still cool after five hours’ riding. No doubt the vents and channels in the sole played their part too.
If you favour a rearward cleat position, the bolt holes allow you to set the cleats back further than on most other road cycling shoes.
My middle-of-the-sole cleat placement doesn’t take advantage of this feature, but the option is handy to have, for example when comfort is paramount on long rides and bikepacking trips.
Fizik Tempo Decos performance
The shoe’s stripped-back style may explain its low weight – 86g lighter a pair than the Powerstrap, weighing 540g versus 626g in size 45.
This is less than the Fizik Vento Infinito Carbon 2 (567g in size 45) and the heftier Fizik Infinito R1 Knit (636g in the same size).
How much this matters is dubious, but it does suggest Fizik has made the Tempo Decos appealing for racing rats. The shoe’s aerodynamics are likely to be decent too, thanks to its uncluttered profile.
While both the Tempo Decos’ pricier brethren cost more than £300, the Tempo Decos uses the same R2 carbon sole, which is rated 10/10 on Fizik’s stiffness scale.
I can’t vouch that this makes me faster. However, the sole’s rigidity gives the impression of transferring power efficiently when I put in efforts – a welcome thought as a slope starts to sting.
I also donned the shoe for the Southwold Roubaix, a cobbled-classic inspired 117km sportive on the east Suffolk coast.
On its intended terrain – the flat road stretches – the shoe was flawless. The Tempo Decos still performed as I hammered along the off-road secteurs, comprising gravel, farm tracks and even singletrack.
Here, the shoe’s cosy toe box and secure heel cup provided stability as my bike juddered and bounced around.
My feet remained comfortable on the rough and occasionally technical surfaces, where I had thought the stiff sole could be inconvenient.
Fizik Tempo Decos bottom line
The Tempo Decos blends comfort, style and, as far as I can ascertain at my level of riding, performance.
But this impressive package comes at an eye-moistening price of £279 / $299.99 / €290. Yes, some sneaks cost more, but many of the best road cycling shoes are well under £100.
This leaves value as the only fault of the Fizik Tempo Decos, an excellent shoe for almost all aspects of road cycling.