Say goodbye to cold toes! FLR Defender Winter Cycling Shoe Review

Say goodbye to cold toes! FLR Defender Winter Cycling Shoe Review


Thanks for tuning in this is The Sweet Cyclists, today we’re going to be reviewing the FLR Defender winter cycling shoes. Here we have the FLR Defender in its original packaging, I want to thank FLR for providing this shoe to be reviewed. This is a winter shoes and this is designed to keep you warm even in colder climates. As you can see from the packaging it’s taken a little bit of a beating just from shipping, however has a standard shoe box designed with the FLR logo on top. The size we are going to be reviewing today is the 44 euro size and the intention in these shoes are to provide you a waterproof and insulated cycling shoe to really keep you warm during winter. If you’ve ever used toe covers or shoe covers you’ll find they’re usually inadequate especially at colder climates. If we go over the specs while I take it out of the packaging. You’ll see that these are extremely affordable, they’re $139 and they’ve been updated for 2019 as well they have an easier to use velcro strap as well as the upgraded R250 sole. They’re available both in the road cleat version with the three bolt compatibility as well as a mountain bike cleat version which is really great to see. Typically winter cycling shoes are always limited to mountain bikers. It’s both waterproof and insulated using a multi-layer design on the inside, you have a fake fur footbed and then you’re surrounded by a fleece insulation as well as a synthetic leather on the outer surface. If we open it up for it, you have a nylon lace closure system here to tighten and then the velcro to secure it on the outside. In terms of what comes in the packaging, it is pretty basic. You get a you get some informational cards on the shoe that tell you a little about FLR and the Defender shoes. It also shows off their multi-layer design and additionally you get the Look Memory Eyelet which is that fourth hole in the middle. I’ll link a video to how to use that and what’s interesting is you get the bolts but you don’t get the washers for them. You also get the tag for the Thinsulate 3m, which is odd I don’t know why it’s not attached to the shoe. Now let’s take a look at the weight of the Defender shoes, being winter shoes they’re gonna be much heavier than your typical lightweight cycling shoe. The left shoe is 364 grams and then the right shoe here is 370 grams so quite a bit heavier. Combined that’s almost 800 grams. Now let’s take a look at the fit and finish of the FLR Defender cycling shoes. They’re a really affordable way to stay warm and dry during bad weather cycling. On the outside we have a synthetic leather surface that really feels durable and robust. You have a multi panel design with this heel area, and the FLR logo on the back with reflective elements on the side which is a great touch. It’s also very flexible still, you can see it conforms to you rather than being very stiff. It’s quite a bit wider than your normal shoe, I would still describe the fit similar to like a SIDI shoe it has a narrow toe bed. However due to the multi-layer design the overall width of this is quite large, I actually found this to rub against my cranks so you have to be very careful about where you place the cleat. You have this nice waterproof cover here, this velcro which has been updated for 2019 and additional reflective elements on the back. This is the neoprene cuff here and you can adjust that by the separate little velcro portion to make sure it’s tight. If you are riding the rain I highly recommend using waterproof pants that extend below the shoe or waterproof socks otherwise your socks are an really easy way to get wet even if the shoe is waterproof. Also note the ventilation hole here does not appear to actually be open which would be pretty terrible for waterproof reasons. Now if we open up the outer velcro surface you can see the fake fur in here, it feels really nice and cozy and it’s on the foot bed as well which makes it really comfortable to wear. You get this nylon lace fixture system that’s not as nice as a dial system and I found this to be a little loose. It reminds me of more of a snowboarding boot where we have the inner layer liner which you can adjust. Overall tension wise I found I couldn’t really get a really tight fit, I felt like I was still moving around a little bit but otherwise really easy to use and you just tuck it underneath on the inside. Again you have that furry footbed and it’s very warm with multiple layers of inflation having ridden this in the low 40 degree weather I found every really rewarding to have nice warm feet. It’s also very comfortable, similar to their other shoes with their seamless uppers this multi-layer design is really soft and really conforms to your feet. As someone with wider feet, even though this has a more narrow kind of SIDI like fit to it, by going 1/2 size up I found this to be extremely comfortable. Now let’s take the FLR Defenders out on the road you can see here footage of me riding on a local climb I was wearing out on day that’s a little bit warmer than you might want to wear these in. This was a low 40s day, nevertheless I found it to be breathable enough that I wasn’t really drenched in sweat while I was doing high-intensity climbs and on the faster descends with the wind chill I found my feet to be nice and warm and cozy even though the tongue on the defenders tends to bunch up a bit as you tighten the laces I still found and be pretty comfortable. One thing to notice the shoes are a little bit wider due to the multiple layers insulation, I actually found that I had to keep adjusting the cleats a bit to avoid rubbing against the crank arm so something to note if you’re using the rode cleat version. [Music] Now let’s compare the FLR Defender versus the FLR F-11 Pro which is their more budget-friendly $100 cycling shoe. These shoes both share the same R250 nylon sole, these aren’t quite as stiff as a carbon sole but provide pretty good transfer and you can see overall design why it’s very similar form factor. However with the Defender they’ve really added quite a few layers of insulation and waterproofing to make it more pleasant during winter cycling. All the vents and perforations you see with the F-11 are gone and instead you have this nice synthetic leather exterior. You get the same comfortable feel it’s nice flex to it again, feels all like a knitted shoe it conform to you instead of having a multi panel design. Fit wise I found these to be very similar, they’re more narrow similar to like a SIDI shoe and as someone with wider feet what I’ve done is I’ve just sized up by half a size and found that to be very comfortable. They have a similar overall arch and design but with the Defender they’ve really added quite a few layers of inflation as a result it’s a wider shoe and quite a bit bulkier. This is about 280 grams while this one is almost 400 grams but overall the they use a very similar approach. It’s very subtle design, you don’t have a bunch of graphics everywhere and at least with the Defender you get a lot more reflective elements. Now let’s give the FLR Defenders a final rating in terms of design I would give it an A-. The multi-layer design gives you the insulation and warmth you need as well as the weather proofing for those wet weather days. The closures I would give it a B+, I’m not a fan of the lacing system and the velcro straps are a little bit cumbersome even though they’ve been improved for 2019. Also the tongue tends to bunch up a little bit so you do have to be careful when you’re leasing it up. Comfort wise I’ve given an A- it’s very comfortable, there’s no pressure points or any interfaces on the inside with that furry foot bed but again due to the closure is not being quite as tight so I can’t give it a A overall though. In terms of value I definitely give this an A, at $139 it’s pretty hard to beat. You can spend almost as much with just shoe covers to get something that gave you waterproof and insulation. Thanks for watching the review, if you enjoyed this review please consider subscribing to support the channel. You can follow us on Instagram at @thesweetcyclists as well as our website at thesweetcyclists.com for additional content. This is The Sweet Cyclists reminding you to enjoy the ride! [Music]

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