The entry-level FLR F-35.III Road Shoes offer a decent amount of comfort and good stiffness for a non-carbon sole. They come up a little on the small side, though, and can take a while to bed in.
The shape and therefore fit of the F-35s works well for me on the whole. There is enough width even with thicker socks on, and the heel cup fits snuggly, stopping your foot from rising during the pedal stroke.
They do size up a little small, though. These are a EUR45 which FLR says equates to a UK10.5; I'm a UK10 and had no spare wriggle room at the end for my toes. While you want cycling shoes to be a closer fit than everyday shoes, I'd say you are definitely going to want to go up a EUR size. They come in a wide range of sizes, from 36-49, and six colours: black, black/neon yellow, neon yellow, white/black, neon pink/black and neon pink.
The synthetic upper moulds nicely around the shape of the feet, although at the beginning of the test period they could feel a little restrictive as my feet swelled on warmer days. I stuck with them though and now, about six weeks on, they have become more supple and comfortable.
Foot retention is taken care of by three Velcro straps, with the top one angled to provide effective heel support according to FLR. They do a good job of keeping your foot in the right place, but do lack the adjustment capabilities of a ratchet or Boa system to get the pressure just right.
Another thing to take into account is the thickness of the tongue. Most cycling shoes have barely any depth here, but the F-35s have a neoprene insert at the top which is a good 4mm to 5mm thick. When the shoes were new the pressure at the top of my foot was noticeable, especially as it rotated through the pedalling motion. As with the upper, though, as the materials have started to give this is less of an issue.
The R250 Road outsole is made from injected fibreglass and I got on well with the shape – the arch is supportive without being overly high.
I spend most of my riding time wearing shoes with carbon fibre soles, and in comparison I'd say this sole shows decent levels of stiffness. Hard efforts in or out of the saddle do show some flex but it's well within acceptable limits.
You get decent thickness toe and heel bumpers which will stop the soles getting trashed if you need to do a bit of walking.
Cleat-wise, they'll take any three-bolt system, so pretty much any road option. You get about 7.5mm of fore and aft adjustment, and there are some markings to the side of the sole to get them in the right position, but there is nothing to indicate side-to-side travel.
Priced at £64.99, this is a decent shoe for the money I'd say, all things considered. There are a couple of little niggles but most of them disappeared once bedded in.
For comparison, Giro's Techne shoes come with a similar design and build but will set you back £89.99.
dhb's Troika Road shoes are also similar to the FLRs, with a non-carbon sole and three Velcro straps, and they have an rrp of £80.
The F35.III is a good quality entry-level shoe that will suit recreational riders and roadie commuters thanks to the fit and durability. I suffered a couple of early niggles with them, but time and plenty of miles have rectified most of that.
Well-made entry-level road shoes that offer decent levels of comfort and stiffness once bedded in
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FLR F-35.III Road Shoe
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
FLR says, "Setting a higher standard for entry level footwear, our newly redesigned F-35 III sports a minimalist design and a classic & clean look, with a stretch resistant upper that hugs your foot like a second skin.
'The F-35 III upper rests on the lightweight R250 outsole, providing a perfect synthesis of stiffness with compliance and is secured with three low-profile straps. The main velcro strap is angled to provide effective heel support; the middle velcro strap allows for customized volume adjustment and the smallest strap near the toes secures the forefoot. Mesh inserts help keep feet dry and fresh.
'The F-35 III: a great entry level shoe that delivers high performance for the passionate rider."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-R250 Road Outsole features new injected fiberglass
–Strong & secure buckle
–Molded EVA, breathable and removable insole.
-Sizes: EUR 36 to 49
The shape of the upper and sole give a very good fit once everything has bedded in.
Compared to FLR's size guide I'd say they come up about one EUR size small.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Once bedded in, the FLRs offer decent levels of comfort and performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A good quality build.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The thick tongue can cause pressure points when new.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are well priced compared to many that offer a synthetic upper and Velcro straps, such as the £80 dhbs or £89.99 Giros mentioned in the review.
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
The F35.IIIs offer a good all-round package for the money; initial comfort and fit issues soon resolved themselves with a bit of bedding in.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!