When putting on the shoes the first thing you notice is the snugness of the fit and immediate comfort they offer – and that continues out on the road. This comes partly from Bontrager’s inForm foot beds, which I found to be extremely comfortable compared to many others I’ve used in the past.
In terms of fit, the shoes utilise three straps: two velcro and one ratchet strap at the top. In the past we’ve generally found BOA dials (like those used on the top-end XXX shoes) to offer the most secure and adjustable fit, but the setup on these shoes works really well to hold your feet in place securely and comfortably, and the ratchet is easily adjustable with a low-profile design.
The uppers are made from a synthetic material but there’s also significant mesh venting throughout. This venting sits on the toes, between the straps and along the lower left and right of the foot. It works very well by creating an impressive level of airflow through the shoes, making them an excellent option from warm, dry summer rides. However, I also wore them in the rain and water went straight through the mesh, so they’re certainly better suited to mild, dry rides or paired with good overshoes.
All of that venting also helps to keep their weight down, too, with our scales showing 261g per shoe, which is impressively light for shoes in this mid-range price range.
The sole is a carbon fibre and fibreglass mix which provides a good level of stiffness. Bontrager rate the sole as 10 out of 14 for stiffness, and while that’s a random scale, it seems a fair position. The sole doesn’t offer too much flex when pushing really hard sprinting or climbing, which is exactly what you want from a mid-range shoe. On the sole you’ll also find heel and toe bumpers to provide some protection when off the bike, and the rear heel bumper is replaceable.
The high-viz colourway gives the shoes a strong look (Bontrager also offer the RL Road in black and white options) and certainly improves visibility out on the road, with your feet spinning round on the pedals. Continuing the theme, there’s also a reflective strip across the heel on both shoes. However, I did find that after a couple of heel rubs on the cranks, some of the graphics on the shoes began to smudge away quite quickly.
There’s a lot to like about these shoes – they offer good value for a light, stiff, comfortable shoe in a competitive price bracket. While they’re best for dry summer conditions, the ventilation is fantastic and they look good to round it off.
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