OWN FR01 Modular Flat Pedal Boot Review
February 9th, 2017
Product Full Name | OWN FR01
Retail Price | €220
Available From | Only What’s Necessary
OWN FR01 – Possibly the best flat pedal shoe available
Only What’s Necessary make a single mountain bike product – the FR01.
This flat pedal specific boot is radically different from anything else available, and uses a unique modular system to cope with the different weather conditions that mountain bikers are faced with.
At €220 though, it’s not cheap. But read on to see just how good it is…
Although there are several mountain bike specific flat pedal shoes on the market, Only What’s Necessary owners Dan Hutchinson and Warren Bosomworth had never found the ideal tool for the job. So they put all the points down they needed to address and got stuck in designing the ultimate flat pedal shoe. (for the full back ground story, click here).
Based on a modular system, the FR01 shoe is made of three parts – an outer boot and the choice of two (included) liners – one for warmer conditions, one for cool and wet conditions. As well as the styling of the boot, the sizing has been addressed – you buy the shoes on a centimetre system, which offers the best fit possible. Check out the sizing information chart right here.
The outer boot is made from laminated film and reinforced Kevlar impact foam, with a strong and supportive TPU heel cup and decent toe bumpers. There are only two lines of stitching on the boot – one to hold the tongue in place and the other to join the single piece construction.
The sole itself is made from exclusively designed Vibram rubber, and unlike other flat pedal shoes out there is designed to offer traction on the pedal and off the bike when hiking on steep terrain. The sole uses dual rubber compounds – Duratreck for the main body, and toe/heel lugs for abrasion resistance, and Idrogrip for the flat area of the sole. Idrogrip is softer and sticker than Megagrip that is used by Shimano and Giro. It’s a very durable sole and will last the life of the boot – unlike softer, more aggressive options out there.
Unlike technical clipless shoes that usually feature Velcro straps, or lace flaps – the FR01 is simple and only uses laces. This means they are easy to secure comfortably – though a double knot is needed to ensure the laces don’t snag. You could question why there isn’t a lace flap on the shoes – but laces work great, are adjustable and easy to replace. Good enough for the military, good enough for you.
Besides, the lining boots add another dimension to the FR01 that other shoes and boots do not have.
The lining boots are reminiscent of wetsuit booties used for surfing and sailing, and have a close enveloping fit. The lighter of the two boots is a ventilated, wicking material; and the heavier is made from a water proof soft shell material which is fleece lined.
Both boots have the same snug cuff and double pull loops, and both use the same d30 padded sole for ultimate comfort on the bike.
Out On The Trail
The first thing you notice about the FR01 is the unusual look. Most folk that have noticed the shoes when we’ve been out riding have commented they look somewhere between a pair of Air Jordans and a set of Sparco driving boots. Whether you think this is a good thing or not – it’s totally irrelevant the second you slip them on.
The OWN FR01 boots are the most comfortable things I’ve ever put my feet in to (including my can’t-live-without North Face slippers).
The fit really is incredible. Very snug, but enough room to move your toes to avoid getting cold or numb. The FR01 is incredibly supportive, and whilst the sole feels thin enabling good pedal feel – the d30 inner sole dampens that feel which prevents fatigue.
Initially I rode them on my go-to DMR Vault pedals. They felt very grippy, but not quite as vice-like as a pair of Five Tens. And not quite right on the pedals – my size 300mm samples are quite wide and didn’t sit in to the pedal the way I like. I also tried Nukeproof Horizon pedals and found the same thing – but when I plugged Crank Brothers Stamp pedals on, they really came in to their own. Just like getting the size right, the FR01 needs the right pedal to get the best from it. It’s a high performance shoe and should be complimented with the right pedal – just like you would with a clipless shoe and pedal combo.
Over the last few months I’ve grown to absolutely love the feel of the FR01. Where Five Tens can feel a little clumsy and ‘dead’ from their padded and planted feel on the pedals, the FR01 enables you to move when you need to, but has all the grip you need on the pedal.
And off the bike they are excellent. The lugged toe and heel really do make scrambling up and down steep banks easy, and they are immensely comfortable at all times.
During the test period, I only used the ventilated liner once – and found them too cold. This bodes well for our typical clammier weather, but I relied on the winter liner and have grown to love it. On the first outing in sub-zero conditions I made the mistake of using thick socks – which made the liners too snug. So my feet froze as there was no movement in my toes – lesson learnt. With thinner Sock Guy socks, I never had that problem again.
The warm liner does a great job of keeping puddle splashes at bay – though like most waterproof shoes, water can creep in the top of the cuff filling the inner boot up. In this case, they end up working like a wet suit bootie – the snug fit holds a thin layer of water against your foot, and thanks to the snug and minimal outer boot there is no unnecessary padding to soak up more water.
The FR01 never gets water logged and heavy. They remain comfortable and warm all day long, even when your feet are soaked.
The OWN FR01 is the most advanced flat pedal shoe on the market right now. Yes, it’s expensive. But when you factor in the all-season use, and compare them to high end clipless shoes it’s not quite as bad.
They are also far more durable than other sticky rubber shoes on the market – and are a proper technical offering for serious pedalling. Enough support and protection for most riding, and all the comfort for long days out.
Once you get used to the looks, you will love the FR01. It’s one hell of a shoe.
Can we have a clipless version next guys?
We’d love to know what you think of the OWN FR01 – let us know in the comments below!