Lightweight carbon fiber cycling shoes are typically limited to higher-end collections of shoe manufacturers. This unfortunately means if your counting grams and you want stiff cycling shoes you have to shell out hundreds of dollars. The FLR F-XX II shoes are an exception to that trend, and feature stiff R500 carbon soles and impressive light weight (406 grams for our EUR 40) at a retail price of only $249. The shoes also feature a dual ATOP dial closure system to equally distribute tension in fine increments.
The stiff carbon fiber sole and light weight make the F-XX II shoes an ideal choice for riders looking for speed and comfort.
As the name implies, the F-XX II shoes have been updated by FLR to have a sleeker profile and more rigid sole. The overall design matches those of more expensive shoes with subtle graphics and a soft seamless upper. Ventilation is achieved through numerous perforations on the tongue and upper, as well as five large mesh inserts to ensure your feet stay cool even on the hottest days. Although these shoes are more affordable than other high-end shoes, they still cost nearly double the price of FLR’s own F-11 shoes. Is the dual dial design and lighter weight worth the higher price? Let’s break down the design and comfort to answer that question.
|Category||Cycling Shoes (Road)|
|Rating||Design: A- |
|Measured Weight (in g)||406 (EUR 40)|
|Likes|| + Dual ATOP dials |
+ Light weight
+ Stiff carbon soles
|Dislikes||– Pressure at top of tongue |
– Lack of color options
– Limited distribution network
|Where to Buy (US)||FLR|
The F-XX II shoes come in a standard shoe box with FLR logo on the top and front in a metallic finish. We reviewed the Men’s EUR 40 size shoes with the road outsole (standard 3-bolt compatibility). Note FLR doesn’t currently offer a Women’s version of this shoe but if you are a woman, you can get a smaller men’s version. In our case, a Men’s US size that was half a size lower than the Women’s size worked well (i.e. for a Woman who wears a US 8 shoe, this Men’s US 7.5 size fit well).
Inside the packaging you’ll find:
- F-XX II Shoes
The shoes only come with a simple tag with information about FLR.
The FLR F-XX II is constructed around a stiff carbon fiber sole, which FLR refers to as their R500 sole. The R500 sole has a stiffness index of 14 (be careful not to compare that across brands as it isn’t a standard measure) and provides direct power transfer with no flex. A toe and heel rubber bumpers are strategically placed to avoid damaging the aesthetic carbon finish. These bumpers aren’t replaceable like more expensive shoes though. A ventilation hole on the sole near the toe also funnels air underneath your feet for increased cooling.
The uppers are constructed from what FLR describes as seamless microfiber and has a premium appearance without multiple panels. Additionally, a multitude of perforations can be found along the sides of the shoe as well as 5 meshed vent holes on the top. Design wise, the shoes have reflective stripes running down the sides and center of the shoes. Two color variations are available for the FLR F-XX II, a sleek white version and a subtle all black version. The black version uses charcoal as the primary color and glossy black elements in place of the reflective elements on the white shoes. The FLR logo is on the outer sides of the shoes and printed on the bottom of the sole to minimize the branding.
The F-XX II shoes are the highest end model FLR offers, and as such has one of their best closures systems. Rather than using bulky ratchets or clumsy velcro straps, the F-XX II features dual ATOP dials. The upper dial controls the tension on the top of your foot, while the lower dial controls the lower two-thirds. With this system, it’s easy to adjust and customize the tension with simple rotations of the dial. The ATOP dials are similar to BOA dials as they can adjust the tension in small increments, but they only release the tension when rotated the other direction. Also, if you’re used to BOA dials you’ll need to remember not to pull up on the ATOP dials as they aren’t designed for that type of movement.
The soft flexible seamless microfiber upper design and wide tongue also mean the tension from the laces is well distributed on the F-XX II. This results in a very comfortable overall fit, even if you have wider feet. As with their other shoes, we’d describe them as narrow and would recommend sizing up if you need more space in the toe box. However the upper design does have enough flexibility to conform around you instead of putting pressure points on your feet. With the light weight of the shoes, the F-XX are easy to walk around with when off the bike. However, you’ll want to avoid doing too much walking to avoid scratching the beautiful carbon sole.
During our rides we did find that the tongue on the shoes did cause a pressure point on the top of the ankle which translated along the tongue down to the base of the toes where the tongue is attached to the upper. This likely varies rider to rider though, as the top of the tongue is well padded to avoid digging into your ankles (unlike some cycling shoes we’ve owned which have a hard lip). It’s also worth pointing out that FLR has incorporated grippy material on the insides of the heel to prevent the heel from lifting which is a nice touch.
Overall, the FLR F-XX II offers impressive comfort and stiffness. The sleek understated design and seamless microfiber upper give the shoes a premium look with enough ventilation for the hottest day. In particular, we found the dual ATOP dial system to offer great adjustability to really dial the fit in. As with other FLR shoes, we do wish they offered more color variations and were available in stores in the US to better compete with other shoes on the market. If you’re thinking if these are worth the premium over FLR’s own F-11 shoes? That’s be a Yes if you’re looking for speed and comfort. The stiff carbon fiber sole, lightweight and dual dial system make the F-XX II shoes an ideal for breaking those PRs or conquering steep climbs.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by FLR. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.