The FLR F-XX Strawweight shoes are a reasonably lightweight performance option providing plenty of comfort and simple on-the-fly adjustment.
First things first, if you're not familiar with FLR, it's an Israeli brand that makes a full range of road and mountain bike shoes. The top-of-the-line F-XX shoes have what are called R500 carbon-fibre outsoles. As I seem to find myself saying about a lot of high-end shoes, the soles just don't flex while cycling, not even when you stick your bike in a big gear and pound on the pedals for all you're worth. Manufacturers know how to make solid soles these days, it's as simple as that.
The three-bolt soles feature markings to help you get your cleats positioned identically from one foot to the other and to make replacing cleats easier, and you get non-slip treads at the heel and toe. I've not had any trouble when walking in these or dabbing a foot down at junctions. The treads aren't replaceable but I've been using these for about five rides a week over the past couple of months and, although showing signs of wear, you can tell they're going to last ages.
The carbon fibre itself looks in good shape too. The surface treatment has chipped a little from walking on gravel, as it always does, but structurally they're absolutely fine.
The uppers are made from non-stretch microfibre with a middling amount of mesh panelling and more ventilation down the centre of the tongue. I found this, along with a small vent in the sole, to be sufficient to keep my feet feeling cool and relatively sweat-free even in very hot conditions. It's possible that people who tend to get hot feet will want more ventilation but I didn't find it to be an issue.
Two Atop dials take care of closure, acting on wire laces. The rubber-edged dials make tightening very simple while you're riding, an audible click telling you that you've hit the spot. Loosening is a little more vague – the dials don't click in the same way – but it's still very easy. You just turn the dial in the opposite direction.
The tongue is lightly padded so you don't feel any pressure from those laces, and there's ample padding around the heel too. The heel counter is firm enough to offer support and stiffness, although you will find more rigid designs out there, and you get some reflective material on the back there for a bit of added safety.
On the downside, some dye from the black shoes got onto my lovely white socks while riding and it hasn't come out in the wash. At least, not all of it has come out. It's not a massive problem. If you don't like the sound of that, these shoes are also available in white. The microfibre is very easy to keep clean. Just give it a wipe with a damp cloth and it's as good as new. It takes seconds.
Something else to be aware of is that our test shoes (size 46) are larger than usual. I've no idea if that applies across the board but I could have gone down a size without any trouble.
In terms of width, I'd say these are about average. The uppers are extremely supple and you get loads of lace here so they'll conform to a whole range of different foot shapes.
Although £179.99 is a lot to spend on a pair of cycling shoes, a lot of high end options out there are considerably more expensive than these. You're getting a lot of performance for your money here.
Very good race/performance shoes that offer easy adjustment
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FLR F-XX Strawweight Road Race Full Carbon Sole Shoe
Size tested: Size 11
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a high-end race/performance road shoe.
FLR says, "The FLR F-XX shoe was designed in close cooperation with Julien Bérard [of AG2R-La Mondiale]. His expertise has influenced the development of the shoe, to create the world's greatest cycling shoe.
Upper: Lightweight microfibre leather with strong ventilated nylon mesh
Fastener: 2 x A-A14 Reel Knob
Footbed: Performance cushion insole
Cleat Compatibility: Compatible with FLR C-20, C-30 cleats and all major 3-bolt clipless pedal systems
Vented tongue for breathability
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FLR gives this technical information:
Road competition carbon fibre sole gives a rigid, powerful and efficient pedal stroke, while being extremely light and vented! Sole is equipped with two non-slip treads for safe walking.
Breathable lightweight microfibre leather with small vent holes, covers large areas to provide fantastic ventilation and breathability.
High visibility reflective inserts for safety on the road.
Red absorbed cushion layer provides maximum cushioning and shock absorption.
Easy to use lacing system for maximum super strong lace.
The shoes are quite a standard width, I'd say. A supple upper and loads of lacing makes for a good fit on a variety of different foot shapes.
I found my usual size too big.
They're not mega-light but they're a reasonable weight for the size.
I've found them very comfortable throughout testing, without any tightness or annoyances.
I know £179.99 is a lot to pay for bike shoes but it's only fair to compare these to high-end shoes from other brands. In that company, the price stacks up well.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The microfibre is very easy to clean. You just wipe it over with a damp cloth. Mud and dust can get into the mesh panels, but, again, you can clean it relatively easily.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These shoes perform really well. They're comfortable, easy to adjust, and relatively light (for the size I have).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The easy adjustability of the Atop dials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Black dye came off on my socks, and the sizing is too large.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Certainly wouldn't rule it out.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
I'd say that these are a clear 8. There's nothing particularly innovative that would warrant a 9, although a reasonable price certainly adds to the appeal.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.