When it comes to cycling shoes, there are three main things to look for: stiffness, weight, and comfort. It’s also one of the reasons many high-end carbon fiber cycling shoes have moved toward knit-upper designs. That includes FLR’s top-of-the-line F-XX cycling shoes which are now offered in a F-XX Knit variation. Utilizing FLR’s new XD-Knit, a triple layer nylon material, the FLR F-XX Knit cycling shoes combine a stiff R500 carbon fiber sole with a flexible and ventilated knit upper. Rather than charging a premium for the F-XX Knit shoes, FLR offers them at the same $219.99 retail price as the standard F-XX shoes. With the knit construction, the shoes utilize a single ATOP dial closure system and heel and toe guards.
The FLR F-XX Knit shoes combine a stiff carbon fiber outsole with flexible and ventilated uppers at a competitive price point.
|Measured Weight (in g)||378 (EUR 40)|
|Likes|| + Competitively price |
+ Flexible and ventilated knit design
+ Stiff carbon fiber R500 sole
|Dislikes||– ATOP dial only offers micro tightening|
– Lack of color options
– Limited distribution network
|Where to Buy (US)||FLR|
The shoes are packed in a simple black cardboard shoe box with FLR logos on the lid and sides. Inside the box you’ll find the F-XX Knit shoes with a simple FLR tag attached to it. Unlike other premium shoes, there is no fabric storage bag included with the shoes to store or travel with.
FIT AND FINISH
Even though we can’t pinpoint the exact reason why knit cycling shoes are more visually attractive, it’s hard to deny their appeal. The F-XX Knit shoes simply look more premium and handcrafted with the textured XD-Knit upper construction. These shoes have a minimalist design and are offered in only solid black or white colors. There is very little branding with only a small FLR logo near the heels and on the sole of the shoes for a very clean look. Perforations can be found all over the upper and tongue for additional ventilation. Compared to the micro fiber uppers of the standard F-XX shoes, the F-XX Knit are softer and more pliable to the touch. To add a bit of structure, the heel and toe areas are reinforced.
One of the other selling points of the F-XX Knit shoes are the stiff R500 carbon fiber soles. With a stiffness index of 14, it’s one of the stiffest soles FLR currently offers. As we’ve mentioned before, the stiffness index shouldn’t be compared across brands as each brand measures it differently. However, compared to other carbon fiber shoes like the Bont Helix shoes, the soles on the F-XX Knit feels similar and cost nearly half the price. The R500 soles aren’t heat moldable like Bont Cycling but have a glossy exposed carbon fiber finish that’s beautiful to look at and almost too nice to walk on but thanks to the toe and heel bumpers, the soles are well protected from scratches. We do wish the bumpers were replaceable as long term use does wear the rubber down.
Visually, the F-XX Knit shares the same upper knit construction and single ATOP design as the FLR F-11 Knit shoes. That’s a slight downgrade from the standard F-XX shoes which feature a dual ATOP dial system. We found that the single dial made it difficult to evenly distribute the tension. That said, the closure system still works well and provides a secure fit even during high effort sprints or climbs. As with the standard F-XX shoes, the ATOP dial only has micro-adjustments when tightening and does a full release when rotated the other direction. This can be a bit confusing if you’re more familiar operating BOA dials as you’ll have to remember to not pull up on these.
Designed for professional cyclists, the carbon fiber R500 soles make the F-XX Knit a stiff cycling shoe. We found the shoes transmitted power very well to the pedals and distributed the pressure from the cleats (one weak point of the nylon soled FLR F-11 Knit shoes). Compared to more expensive shoes like the Shimano S-PHYRE, the included insoles with the F-XX Knit shoes are basic but worked well for us. The biggest difference we found between the F-XX Knit shoes and the standard F-XX shoes is that the knit construction is more flexible and ventilated. That means the already more roomy toe box design can expand to accommodate wide feet (FLR doesn’t currently offer wide variations) which makes the shoes even more comfortable than the standard version.
Overall, we found the FLR F-XX Knit shoes to be stiff and highly competitive cycling shoes. Despite their relatively affordable price point, the F-XX Knit shoes combine the comfort and flexibility of a knit upper construction with a stiff carbon fiber sole. Compared to the standard F-XX shoes we’ve extensively ridden with, the F-XX Knit are more breathable and can expand to accommodate wider feet or swelling during long rides. Although we would have preferred a dual ATOP dial closure system, the single ATOP dial design and knit construction weighed nearly 28 grams lighter for a EUR 40 size. It’s also quite impressive that FLR doesn’t charge a premium for the F-XX Knit version which means cyclists can choose the version they prefer. For us, the knit construction is an excellent upgrade to the already well designed F-XX shoes.
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.