Trek's Bontrager brand has announced the launch of a new version of the Ballista shoe with a knitted upper.
Several other brands have released knitted-upper shoes over the past few years, such as Giro with its Empire E70 Knit road shoe and Fizik with its Infinito R1 Knit. Fans tend to praise the level of comfort on offer. This is the first time that Bontrager has entered this market.
"The Ballista Knit road shoe is extremely efficient, super breathable, and designed to wrap your foot in slipper-like comfort," says Bontrage. "The durable water repellent (DWR) coating and a rear-mounted Boa Fit System give you a high-performance advantage wherever your race course might be."
The fit is based on Bontrager's existing inForm Pro last that's designed for both men and women, while the lightweight upper is intended to adapt to the contours of your foot. The fibre is mostly polyester with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), nylon and polyurethane in the mix.
The Boa lace loops across the top of your foot and is controlled by a single Boa IP1 dial – fine-tuneable in both directions – that sits at the back of the heel. This is a design that Bontrager already uses on its standard Ballista shoes with nylon uppers.
"The Heel Reel draws your foot down and back to create a secure heel lock for a more efficient pedal stroke," says Bontrager.
The sole is 100% OCLV (optimum compaction low void) carbon which rates 12 out of 14 on Bontrager's in-house stiffness index (don't ask us why they decided on 14!), the idea being to provide efficient power transfer. It is compatible with three-bolt cleats such as SPD-SL and Look Kéo.
Although the upper has a DWR coating, the open knit finish means that it's far from waterproof. With that in mind, Bontrager supplies the Ballista Knit road shoe with a smooth, durable cover that's also said to offer an aero advantage.
The Bontrager Ballista Knit Road Cycling Shoes are available in black, white and yellow finishes, each of them in sizes EU 37-48. They're priced £269.99.
Get more details over at www.trekbikes.com
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.