Price: €230.00 inc. shipping
The Only What’s Necessary FR-01 is a shoe like no other, totally original in design and build quality. Visually it’s funky looking, but does it perform?
Price: €230.00 inc. shipping
The more I’ve ridden it the more I’ve come to like the wetsuit-boot aesthetic. Inside, it’s built differently too, a modular system with an inner liner that fits snugly inside the outer Kevlar skin. In fact you get two inserts with the FR-01 — a breathable summer option and a warmer, water repellent fleecy option. The winter insert was perfect for subzero temperatures and I didn’t freeze or overheat during three months of foul weather testing. It’s a brilliant design because you effectively get two shoes, and pulling the inserts out means the whole thing dries in a matter of hours. With the liner removed you can see just how well made the shoe is, with flat double stitching and bonding to attach the sole to the upper — and after a winter’s abuse it’s showing no signs of wear or tear.
Sizing on the FR-01 is unusual, buyers have to carefully measure their longest foot’s length and pick a size in 10mm increments. A simple and brilliant innovation as you can’t get the sizing wrong. Once on, the FR-01 is the most comfortable and supportive shoe I’ve ever pedalled, or walked in. with a huge TPU heel moulding the overall protection is adequate but I’d like to see a little more rubber over the toe area to fend off rock strikes.
On rough ground the FR-01 is very effective at damping trail buzz coming through the pedals, making it a decent option if you routinely ride very rocky terrain. This is thanks to the 4mm of D3O foam attached to the bottom of each liner. Unfortunately this damping also takes away the feel you get through a good flat pedal shoe, removing some of the connection between rider and bike. My feeling is that the solid liner makes the shoe very stiff and stops you wrapping your foot around the pedal. Of course a stiff shoe can be a good thing for better power transfer, but I’d prefer a little more flex here.
And so we come to the sole, and the grip levels. The FR-01 has a Vibram sole, a softer compound section in the middle for the pedal to contact and harder, more durable compound at either end for walking traction. I’m sick of writing that a shoe doesn’t quite deliver as much grip at Five Ten’s superlative Stealth rubber, but alas that’s the case here too. The rubber is too hard and I skidded off the pedals a few times. There are no marks whatsoever in that rubber, meaning most of the grip comes from the pedal pins finding a home in the tread between the lugs rather than digging into the material itself. This doesn’t provide bad grip, it’s just not as good as Stealth at keeping your foot on the pedal. For a shoe this expensive perhaps OWN could offer a choice of compound on the next incarnation of the FR-01, just as some tyre makers do, letting riders choose how tacky they want their soles.
It’s the rubber that’s the deal breaker for me then — Five Tens wear more quickly, but you could buy two pairs for the price of
the FR-01 and I know which I’d rather ride in.