FLR's Rexston Active Touring/Trail Shoes are an ideal entry-level option. They offer a great combination of comfort, pedalling efficiency and off-bike grip, and ventilate well – yet stay fairly warm when it's cold too. They're not great in heavy rain or puddles, though, and the laces and straps wear quickly.
That understated appearance makes the Rexston ideal for inconspicuous, off-the-bike use – something tourers will love. Commuters wanting something discreet will surely appreciate it too.
That said, and to put it bluntly, the Rexston has the look and feel of a rather cheap trail running shoe. But – but – they have some noteworthy features and are decent performers both on and off the bike.
The AT200 sole, unique to the Rexston, incorporates a reinforced nylon plate and a supportive EVA midsole. I feel it offers power transfer above the level that might be expected from something at this price – okay, it's no carbon-soled road shoe, but for £70 it does a fine job.
For reference, they're a good bit stiffer than the Giro Rumbler VR, which are my go-to touring shoes since I do a lot of hiking while on the road.
The rubber tread provides good grip, traction and stability; I was confident walking off road in them. I'd say they have less shock absorbance than something like a Vibram sole, and while I felt supported during lengthy walks, I certainly didn't forget I was wearing cycling shoes.
FLR says they're compatible with all C-10 cleat series and all 2-bolt systems. I simply fitted a standard Shimano SPD cleat.
There are two options for mounting, depending on preference, encircled by a guard to prolong the life of the cleat. It works well but naturally doesn't completely eliminate the grating of a cleat when walking rocky terrain.
Of course the Rexston functions well without a cleat fitted, too. Leave the plate screwed in and you can convert to cleats when ready.
The synthetic upper features several mesh windows and tiny airholes for ventilation. The mesh is obviously an opening for water – it's not long before you have soggy feet if it's raining hard. However, if it's just road spray or light drizzle, it takes some time to fully penetrate; the windows are not as big as, for example, those on the Giro Gauge.
The airholes, meanwhile, spread down to the sides to the sole – deep puddles are a no-no if you're walking.
The heel is sturdy, though there's no mention of the tough reinforcement used at the toe.
The Rexstons have a classic lace-up closure over a breathable mesh tongue. A single Velcro strap adjusts the fit, and holds the laces securely out of harm's way.
I have quite a wide foot and the Rexston pinched for the first few rides, but settled down thereafter. I'd say you should stay true to size (and I always place orthotics under the inner sole, too). The Rexston's inner is very thin and offers nothing in the way of cushioning, but it does dry out quickly if you remove it.
Over hours of testing on mini-tours, one night wild-camps and trail/off-road outings (plus commutes and even delivery work), pedalling comfort was good and I never felt my feet were overheating, even on the warmest days. Equally, my feet stayed warm on chilly mornings of around six or seven degrees.
My only reservation is the durability of the laces and Velcro straps. The laces look rather worn after just four weeks regular use, and one strap is heavily frayed. The rest (the upper, sole, tongue and inner walls) look absolutely great; no sign of wear and tear.
The laces can ultimately be replaced and the loose threads trimmed – at this price it's not a deal-breaker.
For anyone venturing into the world of SPDs for touring, trail riding or even commuting, the Rexstons are a winner. You'll struggle to beat the price and get the efficiency and comfort these offer both on and off the bike.
Other options include the very similar Giro Gauge for a tenner more, which doesn't suffer fraying Velcro but lacks a way of securing loose laces. Mike really got on with Shimano's MT5 shoes earlier in the year, too, though they're £90.
If you want to do away with laces completely and risk the 'flimsy' Velcro straps, the Specialized Recon 1.0 is £90. It's leaning towards more trail and off-road riding than touring, however.
The FLR Rexston Active Touring/Trail Shoe is a mostly well-made shoe at an entry level price, and it lives up to its no-nonsense name perfectly. The weak laces and quick-fraying Velcro are a shame, but given the overall performance, they're easy to forgive.
Great entry-level shoes both on and off the bike – shame about the laces, though
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FLR Rexston Active Touring/Trail Shoe
Size tested: 8
Tell us what the product is for
FLR tells us, "The Rexston is ready for your next rugged adventure. Versatile and built for any terrain, the Rexston offers outstanding on and off-road performance with the affordability of an entry level shoe."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Velcro strap to secure laces and adjust fit.
-Breathable mesh tongue.
-Reinforced toe box.
-Footbed: molded EVA, breathable and removable.
-Upper: breathable, high-quality synthetic upper with mesh windows for ventilation.
-Cleat: compatible with C-10 cleat series and all 2-bolt systems.
Solidly made with quality on par for the price.
Sole is a great platform for power transfer and the grip is ideal for walking/hiking.
Laces and velcro straps will be the first to go here – thankfully you can replace the former and trim the later. The shoe itself is looking great still.
True to size, and though they can pinch when new, they soon bed in.
Perfectly acceptable for this price.
Good for long days once broken in.
Great value for an entry level shoe – offers decent performance and comfort.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Dirt brushes off the synthetic upper easily.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't really fault them for touring and trail shoe, and actually offer a stiffer sole for power transfer than you might assume.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Their versatility – I offroaded in them, toured, wild camped, walked and commuted.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The laces are weak.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are the cheapest ones we've had on test for some time: Giro's Gauge MTB come in at a tenner more, and Shimano's MT5 SPDs are £20 more.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are ideal for tourers or trail riders wanting to try SPDs for the first time – or simply anyone looking for a good, well-priced shoe. If the laces and Velcro straps were tougher they'd get a nine, but they're still very good and an eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…