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F-XX Knit Shoes review

Many footwear brands these days are starting to use knitted uppers to keep weight to the absolute minimum – and FLR is one of the latest to join the party. Its F-XX Knit shoes feature three layers of nylon XD-knit to keep the uppers very light and breathable for maximum ventilation.

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The potential downside of having a knitted nylon upper is that the shoes can prove quite tricky to clean, as dirt will find its way deep into the shoe through the weave of the knit, in a way that’s not possible with shoes with more solid uppers. I completely forgot about this one day and ended up walking through a field at a race HQ – the result was grass stains that took a lot of scrubbing to get clean.

To read more of ED Morgan review, please check: https://road.cc/content/review/flr-f-xx-knit-shoes-304345

As I said above, the F-XX Knits have the same R500 carbon sole as the race-proven F-XX(link is external) shoes that have been worn to Vuelta stage wins by the Australian pro Jay Vine. As you’d expect from a pro-level model, the soles feel very stiff, but given that you can easily pay north of £300 for a pair of premium road shoes, these actually represent very decent value.

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They’re available in black or white and I think both are classy, with an understated and minimalist look. There is a small FLR logo printed towards the back of the shoe, with the rest left free of any labelling.

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Another advantage of a knitted upper, in addition to the reduced weight and extra breathability, is that it offers more versatility when it comes to fit. The material isn’t as tight around your foot so it works well with wider feet. And to avoid the whole shoe feeling flimsy, the toe and heel are reinforced to maintain the shoe’s structure.

2023 FLR F-XX Knit shoes - inste[.jpg

The original F-XX shoes came with a pair of Atop micro-adjustable reel lacing system dials, while the F-XX Knit makes do with just the one. This reduces weight, but the resulting fit doesn’t feel quite as secure. With this dial located quite high up the shoe, the ball of your foot doesn’t get the same security as the heel.

2023 FLR F-XX Knit shoes - dial.jpg

FLR supplies some pretty basic insoles with the shoe, and I think most of us will get along with them. But I’ve been using Sidas(link is external) insoles for so long now that I now use them for every ride. I did try the FLR insoles but ultimately ended up switching back to my Sidas insoles.

Value

While £199.99 is still quite an investment, this is still a good deal less than you’d pay for a lot of other premium shoes.

For example, two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar is often seen wearing a pair of DMT KR SL(link is external) shoes. Stu described them as the ‘ultimate performance shoe’ and I think they have a very stylish look, but they now retail at £369.99. They’re 10g heavier than the FLRs at 492g a pair and feature laces rather than a dial closure.

The Shimano S-Phyre RC9(link is external) road shoes are also a little heavier than the F-XX Knits but are still well vented and ideal for winter trips to the sun or summer riding. Steve found them stiff, comfortable and secure and rated them very highly, but they’re £349.99.

If you’re looking for laces rather than an Atop, Boa or similar dial closure system you might want to check out Rapha’s Classic(link is external) shoes. At 681g per pair they’re not that light, but Mat found them stiff and comfortable and with a durable sole. And considering they’re Rapha, their £200 price is attractive too – as are the shoes themselves, of course.

Conclusion

FLR’s F-XX Knit is an option worth seriously considering if you ride a lot in warm conditions. The price is pretty reasonable for a pair of premium shoes, too, though the single-dial closure may not be ideal if you’re racing or often ride hard.

Verdict

Light and breathable shoes ideal for hot conditions, though the single-dial closure won’t suit all

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