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Post-Ride Product Review - Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe

We're starting a new feature post to give you insight into some of the products we carry in our shop. We're calling it the Post-Ride Product Review.

Here's how it works. We'll ask someone - maybe one of our staff members or a store regular - about a recently purchased product. We'll give you an honest perspective on the product - not a sales pitch. The photos will feature gear that's been used in the field - not studio shots of brand new gear.

Three months later, we'll follow up and see how the product has held up and, most important, whether it still lives up to the initial impression.

If you have just purchased some gear with us and would like to be part of the feature, we'd love to hear from you. Send a note to garin@mellowjohnnys.com

Product: Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe; $399 MSRP

Rider: Ben Cross

Rider Bio: Ben is an all-star in the MJ’s service department. Most days, you will find him at the upstairs service counter helping customers with a range of maintenance and product questions. Ben is also an avid cross, mountain and road rider. During this product test, Ben was riding a 2013 Giant Anthem Full-suspension 29er.

What are your initial reactions to the Bontrager XXX mountain shoe?

I love them: best shoe I’ve ever owned. After 4+ hours of solid riding, I didn’t feel any areas of discomfort or fatigue. First, it’s a tremendously stiff shoe. There is an instantaneous feel of power transfer through to the pedal. With the two independent BOA straps in the upper part of the shoe, there is an equal pressure across the top of the foot – something that is hard to find in a 3-strap shoe. Also, they’re flashy. Which I dig. For a long time, I didn’t associate Bontrager with being top-of-the-line gear. In the past couple of years, they’ve been killing it with great gear and this is one such example.

What’s the fit like? True to size?

The shoe is definitely true to size. I’m a size US 10 / EUR 43 and they’re spot on. The fit feels amazing. There aren’t these pockets of tightness or anything too loose. There’s just enough room in the toe box to accommodate a thicker sock, but not so much that it feels empty when riding with a summer weight sock. Overall, I’ve never had a shoe with such a great snugness.

What are some of your favorite features?

While I don’t tend to spend a lot of time off the bike while riding, there The shoes are grippy – especially on wet and rocky terrain. The single molded tread seems like it’s going to last and there isn’t a ton of deep groves, so I don’t anticipate a ton of mud build-up. Also, the toe covers are tough. I’m confident that they’re be able to withstand a snag on a rock or branch without too much of an issue. And, while it’s not the biggest deal now, the shoe is well-ventilated.

Where did you do your break-in ride?

I rode some of the south trails of the Greenbelt here in Austin. The trails there are super-flowy with a ton of pedaling. The trails are in great shape at the moment. Certain sections are still a bit muddy and limestone sections of the trail were a bit slick, so I had a bunch of opportunities to be on and off the bike.

What prompted the purchase of the new shoe?

I wanted to find a shoe that had a significant amount of longevity. I ride a lot and it was important to find something that is survivable on tough trails and could withstand more than a few impacts. Also, I wanted something without the 3-straps. Adjustability is super important to me and I’ve not had a lot of success with the Velcro and ratcheting straps.

Did you have any issues with the shoes? Any reservations?

If there’s one gripe: the insole that comes with the shoe is pretty flat. Plus, it’s a deep shoe. For my arch, I needed something with a bit more support – so I’m currently using a thicker Giro insert. Other than that, I was worried that they’d be too stiff when off the bike and that while walking or dismounting that I’d feel uncomfortable and unstable – especially on rocky sections. But when I was walking or running on the trail my foot stayed in place and my heel didn’t move around at all because of the no-slip shark skin like fabric in the heel cup.

Any final thoughts or suggestions to people considering the shoe?

Get them; but, just not in red. That’s my color.

So what's you're rating on our super sophisticated 1 - 10 doughnut scale?

🍩 🍩 🍩 🍩 🍩 🍩 🍩 🍩

(8 out of 10)

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Bontrager XXX Mountain Shoe

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