review

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes

9
£299.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Light and comfortable but expensive performance shoes for maximum power transfer
Light
Brilliant power transfer
Comfortable
Expensive
Not much tread/grip for walking
Weight: 
654g

The Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes are incredibly comfortable and supportive, stiff enough for efficient pedalling – even on the road they don't kill your feet on long rides – and their durable TPU upper means they should stay looking like new for ages.​

The XXX Mountain Bike shoes share the same top half as their XXX Road Shoe siblings; this makes them impressively lightweight but not to the detriment of robustness or durability. After a month of soggy trails, they're looking almost identical to when they came out of the box.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy these online here

A lack of mesh sections means they're less likely to stain, and the TPU upper is impressively resistant to scuffing and easily cleaned with a blast of the hosepipe or a quick wipe. The integrated 'GnarGuard' on the toes protects particularly vulnerable areas yet is flexible enough that you don't notice it while riding.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - side.jpg

The upper manages to not only be durable but also feel supple, conforming to the foot while providing support. These are impressively comfortable shoes for anything from road riding to all-day gravel rides and sprinting along trails.

> Buyer’s Guide: Gravel & mountain bike shoes

Two Boas on each shoe mean tension can be evenly distributed across the foot and micro-adjusted even when moving and caked in dirt. The Boas have coped well with the mud so far, and replacements are available if the worst comes to the worst.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - BOA dials.jpg

The asymmetric/sideways tongue design minimises seams and therefore pressure points and areas that could rub; I never felt any discomfort while using the shoes even in the thinnest of socks. (That was a mistake at this time of year.)

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - heels.jpg

The fit is not especially narrow or wide, and the size 43 tested were perfect for my size 43 feet. The toe-box feels roomy and balances support while leaving room for thicker socks.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - toe.jpg

The rear of the shoe holds the heel in place well and is more padded than some lightweight shoes, adding to the comfort. This snug fit is particularly useful for out-of-the-saddle sprints where your foot is held securely in place for maximum confidence and power transfer.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - rear.jpg

Breathability comes from perforated holes in the TPU upper, predominantly on the toe-box and side gloss panels. Breathability wasn't an issue – hardly surprising given the not-so-ideal conditions during the testing period – but one small niggle was that once wet they do take a little while to dry.

Sole

Underneath the shoe you'll find a 100% OCLV sole which ranks 14 out of 14 on Bontrager's own stiffness index. It certainly felt stiff and provided great power transfer during sharp accelerations.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - sole heel.jpg

As the XXXs are made for racing it's unlikely you'd be doing much walking in them, but there are holes at the front for two standard studs, and a small amount of tread that's enough to cope with most situations.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes - sole toe.jpg

Weight and value

At 654g in this size 43, the Bontragers are feathery enough to mix with some of the lightest cross-country shoes on the market, while still being supremely comfortable. And although they are nowhere near cheap, they still stack up well against some.

For example, the very similar Fizik Infinito X1 SPDs, which got a glowing review from Dave, are lighter at a claimed 588g (size 42.5) but have a higher RRP of £325, while the range-topping S-Works Recons are also lighter – a claimed 616g for size 43 – but are also more expensive at £340.

> Buyer’s Guide: How to choose the best cycling shoes for you

There are, of course, cheaper options: the Giro Empire VR90s are £100 less and a similar weight, although having used both I've found the Bontragers a better fit and the Boas more practical than laces.

Even cheaper are Shimano's XC7s, which compromise very little in terms of weight and performance for almost half the price.

Conclusion

Overall, the Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike shoes are impressively light yet comfortable with a racing pedigree. They’re not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but they compare favourably with some.

Verdict

Light and comfortable but expensive performance shoes for maximum power transfer

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes

Size tested: 43

Tell us what the product is for

Bontrager says: "For the off-road racer who wants the absolute best in comfort, performance and style.

"Simply our fastest, most advanced mountain shoe ever. The XXX mountain bike shoe was designed for those that demand the most of themselves and their equipment. It's the exceedingly light, stiff, zero-compromises trail shoe for XC and CX racers that value efficiency, minimal weight and maximum stiffness."

After a month of testing, I've been impressed with the mile after mile comfort and versatility of the shoes, as they're brilliant whether on technical trails, road sections or everything in between. They're lightweight without this being detrimental to the durability or function of the shoes, and other louder colours are available if these are too understated.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Bontrager:

inForm Pro last delivers an ergonomically optimised, high-performance fit

100% OCLV carbon sole is extremely lightweight and stiff for efficient power transfer

Dual, independent Boa IP1 dials for precise, zone-specific fit adjustments

Lightweight and luxurious TPU upper material for supportive comfort and perfect perforation pattern for breathability

Stiffness index 14 of 14

Asymmetrical design and superior lace routing system reduces top-of-foot pressure while providing a more secure fit

External heel cups and no-slip heel lining prevent slippage and chafing while reacting to your movements more quickly

Durable GnardGuard outer material protects against abrasion and fights debris

Weight: 654g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Super-stiff for maximum power transfer but not like walking on planks as some super-stiff racing shoes can be.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The TPU upper feels really robust and the extra "Gnarguard" on the toes will further prevent scuffing.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

Pretty light.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Really impressive.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Yes, they're expensive, but there are pricier top-end shoes. For your money, you get high-quality materials and a shoe that should last.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Really easy to wipe clean or hose down to keep them looking box fresh.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

An uncompromising light, stiff and yet comfortable performance cross-country shoe for riding fast – but don't buy if you want to do lots of walking.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great power transfer, easy to clean.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They're not cheap but you can pay more: the very similar Fizik X1 SPD has an RRP 40 quid higher; the S-Works Recons are £340, and Bont's Vaypor Gs are £359.99. There are cheaper alternatives, though, such as Shimano's XC7 SPD shoes at £170.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Great shoes that are well built and high quality. They're super-comfortable to wear while still being stiff and racy. They performed brilliantly off-road as well as on it and for me were pretty much perfect – other than the price.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Latest Comments