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The FLR F-XX Knit is a high-end performance cycling shoe that has the same sole as its F-XX sibling but with a knitted upper for greater ventilation. The R500 carbon outsole provides plenty of stiffness to help transfer your power efficiently, but that knitted upper will provide a challenge when it comes to keeping your shoes clean.
Our best road cycling shoes buyer's guide picks out our favourite shoes from £40 to over £300.
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.
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.
As I said above, the F-XX Knits have the same R500 carbon sole as the race-proven F-XX 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
Light and breathable shoes ideal for hot conditions, though the single-dial closure won't suit all
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FLR F-XX Knit shoes
Size tested: EU 43
Tell us what the product is for
FLR says: We've taken our lightest, World-Tour winner shoe and made it even better.
We remastered our superior racing shoe with premium performance, stiff power transfer, exceptional comfort and made it the most breathable shoe yet.
If your feet get sweaty as you ride, but you don't want to compromise power – the F-XX-Knit is for you. Our pro-tour riders all say the same thing 'it is the most breathable shoe they've raced with'.
The F-XX Knit sports a similar profile to the F-XX II and features the elite R500 carbon fiber outsole for maximum power transfer.
The footbed is sculpted with a supportive hazel that helps to increase blood flow, reduce hot spots on your foot and ensure that your power is going directly into the pedal for maximum performance.
The new upper uses a triple layer of extra strong nylon yarn of our development XD-Knit that is super breathable and will keep any riders foot cool on those hot, long rides.
The new XX-Knit is durable, will keep riders feet in place and won't stretch.
This seamless upper has a sleek look that is complete with single new dial to optimize closure on a critical foot zone."
I found them a premium shoe and the knitted upper allowed for better ventilation.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Winner of 2X stages at La Vuelta Espana Grand Tour and US Road Championship
Pro Tour last and fit
R500 Road Carbon Outsole
3 Layers of nylon yarn XD-Knit
Performance cushion insole
They're extremely light and keep your feet cool, though the single-dial closure doesn’t give as secure a feeling as some shoes.
The knitted upper does mean the shoes will discolour quite quickly if you're not careful.
Length is spot on, toe box is a bit wide.
Knitted upper does mean they are lighter than other shoes.
I found the tongue dug in slightly when the shoes were tightly done up.
A price of £200 isn't cheap, but you can easily pay more than £300 for some of the main brands' high-end shoes.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I have given the shoes a good scrub but I did found it hard to get grass stains out.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I found the shoes very breathable, thanks to their knitted design, which was perfect for harder rides. The sole feels suitably stiff too. The single dial means you feel the tightening of the shoe more towards the back of your foot.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How breathable they were.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The knitted does make them harder to clean than shoes with a smoother, wipeable surface.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They cost a fair bit less than other brands' top-of-the-line shoes.
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
They perform really well and are very breathable thanks to their knitted upper, but while that helps with their breathability, it does make them a pain to clean – and these white ones do get dirty quite quickly. They also only have one Atop dial to tighten which is located towards the back of the shoe, making the ball of the foot feel less secure than shoes I've worn with two dials.
About the tester
I usually ride: Dolan Rebus My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, Always love some off-road with some mates.