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Bontrager unveils GR2 gravel-specific shoe

New model comes with laces and is designed with durability in mind

Bontrager has released a gravel-specific bike shoe called the GR2 that features a synthetic leather upper, laces, and a chunky outsole.

GR2 Gravel Shoe_Black.jpg

The GR2 uses the brand's existing inForm Race last that "offers a slightly roomier, high-performance fit". The nylon composite sole has a stiffness level of 6 out of 14 on Bontrager's scale (we couldn't tell you why the scale tops out at 14), indicating that walking isn't going to be a problem and, as you'd expect, it takes a 2-bolt cleat so is compatible with Shimano's SPD system, for example. The outsole is made from Tachyon rubber.  

GR2 Gravel Shoe_Black_bottom

"The GR2 can easily scramble through rough terrain thanks to the outsole’s unmatched grip and traction allowing you to stay stable on a variety of surfaces," says Bontrager. 

Bontrager_GR2_Gravel_Shoes 10.jpg

The upper has a rubberised coating on the toe and heel – Bontrager calls it GnarGuard and it's already found in its Foray mountain shoe, designed to protect against abrasions and debris and add durability.

Bontrager_GR2_Gravel_Shoes 9.jpg

There are ever more products out there marketed as gravel-specific – everything from shorts to handlebar tape – including shoes from the likes of Shimano and Fizik.  

Check out our latest gravel and adventure bike reviews

GR2 Gravel Shoe_Old Style Gold_side.jpg

Bontrager says that the GR2 is "purpose-built for gravel but perfect for a multitude of off-road surfaces", and we can imagine these being useful for touring and even urban use.

GR2 Gravel Shoe_Old Style Gold_inner.jpg

The Bontrager GR2 gravel shoes are available in black and gold options, and in EU sizes 37-48. They're priced £129.99.

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 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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kil0ran | 2914 posts | 3 years ago


They don't get it. What you need for gravel is a durable, stiff flat pedal shoe, preferably with decent waterproofing. Literally no-one is making this because they think gravel riders are converted roadies who want to clip in. 

ktache replied to kil0ran | 5909 posts | 3 years ago

I think it's because "Gravel" is a north american sort of thing, and with mountainbiking as I understand it, they don't go out in the rain, or really do the mud thing.  I cannot think why else the new Shimano GRX rear cage is so long, better gear range maybe, but dragging the lower jockey through the filth is never the greatest thing.

mdavidford | 3804 posts | 3 years ago
1 like


we couldn't tell you why the scale tops out at 14

Presumably to avoid having to rate these a 4.286

Municipal Waste | 329 posts | 3 years ago

Looks like a mountain bike shoe to me.

gbzpto replied to Municipal Waste | 147 posts | 3 years ago

Was about to say the same thing....

Drinfinity | 503 posts | 3 years ago

The gravel will get stuck in the grooves, hence the gravel shoe moniker.

And who doesn't love the ripe banana look? 🍌 

Sriracha | 4078 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

What is this shoe like in the rain? Does road spray come up through the sole? Does the rain pour through the uppers?

contender replied to Sriracha | 33 posts | 3 years ago

This is key. If we are going to watch the gravel bike industry rediscover the mountain bike technologies of the 1990s, can they skip the "SPD shoes which get wet, stay wet and aren't any better the next day (or when you want to cycle home from work)

Otherwise-they are summer only shoes

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