Over the Giro d’Italia, we spotted these sweet customized kicks from Italian shoe company FLR being worn by Julien Bérard of AG2R. Although the one-off geometric pattern isn’t a retail option (check out how they were hand painted below the fold), FLR’s F-XX II road shoes are fairly unique in offering what seems like top-tier carbon sole stiffness & reasonable weight at a price level a lot lower than what we’ve come to expect for pro-level road shoes. That stiff performance value carries over to their off-road shoes as well, even with a sizable price drop for their second-tier carbon sole versions too. Color options are for the most part black or white, so you might have to customize the synthetic uppers with your own brush and palette though…
FLR’s top level F-XX road shoe has recently been updated for a second generation with their new stiffer R500 carbon sole, and it’s these shoes that Bérard both helped refine and is now racing.
The Asian-made shoes use a one-piece seamless synthetic microfiber upper with laser cut perforations and nylon mesh vent openings that FLR says the optimized with aerodynamics in mind in CFD analysis.
With a claimed weight of under 600g for the pair, they aren’t quite on the same lightweight level as some of the recent road shoes we’ve seen from the likes of Fizik, Giro, Shimano, or Specialized. But at the same time a retail price of just $250 makes them a lot more attain able than any of those (that each retail for $400+.)
One way they keep costs down is through a cheaper retention setup from Taiwanese company Atop. But even those dials get a usability update this season, and with an asymmetric vented tongue & a pair of A-A17 dials the F-XX IIs promise excellent fit adjustability.
The top shoes come in simple black or white and a fairly limited 40-47 size range.
One step down to the F-22 II and you get the previous generation’s R350 carbon sole and an even lower pricetag of just $160. Otherwise the construction & tech is very similar, but with a single dial & one strap.
On the mountain bike, FLR has a similar lineup with the top level F-95X II getting the stiffest carbon sole designed for XC racing. Dubbed the M550 carbon outsole, it claims road-level stiffness with the addition of soft, replaceable tread blocks.
At $290 it is FLR’s most advanced & expensive shoe getting the same upper design as the F-XX with the addition of reinforced toe & heel sections to handle off-road use.
The second-tier mountain F-75 II again drops down to just $160 with similar construction and its own carbon sole – the M350 – that sticks with non-replaceable tread lugs.
There are plenty of other affordable options available for road, tri & trail, plus a women-specific range at the lower end.