At first glance the new OWN ( Only What’s Necessary ) FR-01 flat pedal shoe looks a lot like one of those waterproof winter boots XC riders wear, but apparently it’s designed for DH/Freeride/Gravity use. That’s because OWN thinks it’s about time enduro and downhill riders got the same level of comfort.
The FR-01 is a modular system with inner and outer components. The shell is made from cut-resistant Kevlar and gets a moulded TPU heel cup to improve the comfort and fit. On the top is a tight-fitting gaiter to stop dirt ingress, but it’s also stretchy to allow free ankle movement.
To stop the laces cutting off circulation, memory foam is used in the tongue. That’s the only place you’ll find it, though, because foam absorbs water, adding weight and drying time.
Vibram supplies the rubber sole, using a mix of the Mega Grip and super-tacky Hydro Grip compounds for ultimate grip.
The tread at the pedal contact area has a criss-cross design with narrow channels that are just the right size for pedal pins, while taller lugs on the toe and heel are siped (split) and splay (just like the knobs on a tyre) for off-the-bike traction.
Two inner boots are included — a waterproof version with fully taped seams and a lighter, more breathable option. Both feature a D30 insert, which reduces vibration and increases impact resistance — soft rubber is all well and good but only if your feet stay on the pedals.
A £160 price tag is not to be sniffed at, but the FR-01 has some unique features and uses technology previously unseen in mountain bike footwear. We can’t wait to try them. Available spring 2016.
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