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Bontrager XXX Road Shoe

We are daily witness to the damage that bad saddles, chamois’, shoes and gloves can cause. There is an entire industry comprised of anti-friction creams. There are companies that only manufacture insoles for cyclists. In fact, it’s pretty easy to tumble down the rabbit of niche cycling related products designed solely to make you comfortable when riding. Contact points are something cyclists obsess over.

This obsession is evident when looking at cycling shoe manufacturers and their challenge to create a lightweight, well-fitting and aesthetically pleasing design. The behind the scenes work that goes into this process is incredible. Each company tries to create their own fit philosophy and brand identity, while appealing to the largest possible market. It’s a tough nut to crack.

We’ve just received a shipment of Bontrager’s newest high end road shoe, the XXX Road, and think that these guys have come pretty close.

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At a shop measured 515 grams for a pair of 44’s, the XXX Road is on par with other performance shoes (think Giro Factor). Not insanely light, but light enough. Holding the shoe you realize that while this will be raced in the pro peloton, it won’t fall apart after one season. That’s a good feeling for a $400 shoe. In addition, Bontrager chose to use the brilliant BOA fit system instead of Velcro straps or buckles. This adds a bit of weight, but the payoff is a better fitting shoe that’s easy to adjust.

The comfort of the XXX Road is of course subjective, but our staff has been quite impressed. The heel cup is narrow enough so that you feel attached to the shoe. It cradles well, and holds the foot firmly in place. The last is of medium volume, and there is room in the toe box to move your feet. You certainly won’t feel that you’re swimming in the shoe, but it is nice to wiggle your toes every once in a while. An exceptionally stiff carbon sole, replaceable heel pad and clean lines complete the package.

With a full size run in stock, as well as brand new options from Shimano and Giro, now is the time to compare and contrast to find the perfect fit. Yes, these are expensive shoes that may not be for everyone. The good news is that while you may sacrifice some weight going to a less expensive option of the same brand, the fit should be very similar. And remember the old bike shop adage: “Spend on the shoes. Save on the pedals.”

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