These FLR Defender Winter Shoes are incredibly effective at trapping heat but your trousers will need to cover the ankle section if you want to stay dry in wet weather. These are tough shoes that will survive the worst conditions, but the drawcord closure system isn’t the most secure.
If you’re out in really cold weather, then you’ll know the pain of frozen toes. The FLR Defenders are brilliant at stopping that cold air from reaching your feet and the multi-layer system means that no heat is escaping. Thankfully, I got hold of these before we had the annual dump of snow and some decently cold UK temperatures. Heading out in these was brilliant for casual trail rides in the snow and really cold weather.
The DryS-Tex water resistant membrane and Cordura upper combine to keep water from getting into the main part of the shoe. The neoprene collar that protects the ankle is good at stopping snow and cold air, but water does get underneath it, soaking socks and eventually your feet too. You can keep the water out by simply wearing waterproof trousers, so this isn’t a huge issue. The insulation layers also stop your feet from getting cold when wet, so even when they get soggy, at least you stay warm.
One of the highlights is the fleecy inner which is primarily designed to help trap heat. It works very well but the biggest benefit is the comfort and snugness that it offers. Pull the shoes on and it’s instant comfort.
While the shoes are comfortable, I felt that the closure system could be better. The drawcord, while quick to do up, doesn’t provide the most secure closure. Add that to the fact that there was a lot of excess cord once fastened down. It’s a bit of a faff to tuck this away and the time it takes would be better spent tying laces. This would give a more secure hold on the foot and be easier to tuck away. Once tightened down, the big velcro tabs held the top flap in place well.
The shoes are very robust with a chunky trim handling lots of rocks and roots while the underside is covered in grippy tread, making these very easy to walk in when popping into the pub. Two spots for studs can be found at the front of the shoes which is very useful if you know that you’ll be doing some walking on snow and ice.
Riding in the shoes is generally very nice. I’d say that they’re best suited to a relaxed form of riding as the amount of insulation can cause sweaty feet when climbing. But in general, these are a comfy pair of shoes, with plenty of room in the midfoot and toe box.
The price is certainly an investment and unless you really suffer from cold feet then I’d suggest looking at a good pair of overshoes before a full-on winter shoe. They’re a bit more flexible and are certainly much cheaper, though you don’t get the really low-temperature warmth or rugged build quality that the FLR Defender Winter Shoes provide.
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