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Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe Review

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe Review

Designed for some of the best xc riders in the world, the Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike shoe is a workhorse, top of the line carbon cycling shoe that will motor you down the nastiest of gravel roads and the most technical single track in style. With notable features like an OCLV carbon sole, double Boa closure for micro-adjustability, and a damn good look, we’d put this shoe up against anything on the market.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe

Design, Build and Fit

Designed to be Bontrager’s fastest, most advanced mountain shoe they have produced, we also think it might be the most expensive. The XXX mountain bike shoe was designed for those that want to go fast or look like they can go fast. It’s an exceedingly light, stiff, and zero-compromise trail shoe for XC and gravel. Riders and racers that value efficiency, minimal weight, and maximum stiffness won’t be let down.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
Bontrager mentions the XXX shoe gets a 14 out of 14 on theirs stiffness index, a number that’s achieved thanks to the 100% OCLV carbon sole.

OCLV Carbon Sole

Bontrager mentions the XXX shoe gets a 14 out of 14 on their stiffness index, a number that’s achieved thanks to the 100% OCLV carbon sole. While we don’t have a stiffness scale here, we will say this shoe is stiff (think road shoe stiff) and not particularly made for walking. Several unrideable excursions above the tree line on rocky trails in Colorado left me yearning for a slightly more flexible shoe. This was mainly due to the brutally steep hike-a-bike sections over bowling ball-sized rocks. Dismounting for a rock garden or a mid-ride refuel will not be a problem. A long day on the bike will give riders a chance to appreciate the stiffness and efficiency.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
There is now doubt these shoes went through a brutal 4 month test period ranging from gravel in Pennsylvania, singletrack in Ohio and riding above the tree line in Colorado.

Heel and Toe Protection

Speaking of rock garden and obstacles, The shoes have a reinforced toe and heel area, and there are Tachyon rubber lugs for traction and toe spikes for deeper mud and muck. I had the opportunity to catch my foot on a downed log one day so hard it moved the cleat in the shoe, put my knee into the shifter and brake lever rotating it a solid 90 degrees, and I tore open my inner thigh on the stem. The foot was 100% fine!

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
Enjoy a little extra protection for your feet and the shoes thanks fo the Durable GnardGuard outer material.
Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
Durable GnardGuard is also featured on the heel providing extra support and protection.
Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe

In dirt and mud, solid traction is provided from the lugs on the tread and optional toe spikes, it’s lacking when it comes to wet rocks. A softer rubber would offer a lot more traction and confidence when dealing with these conditions.

Bontrager XXX MTB Shoe Upper

The tongue of the shoe is an asymmetrical design. This design wraps around and over the top of the foot from the medial to the lateral forefoot arch for comfort, and to keep out any extra debris. Additionally, there are neoprene flex points at the top of the tongue and the back of the shoe to help reduce pressure points.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
The tongue of the shoe is an asymmetrical design that wraps around and over the top of the foot, from the medial to the lateral forefoot arch,.

As a high-performance shoe, the XXX MTB is designed to fit snugly and uses Bontrager’s inForm Pro last. Two Boa IP1 dials secure the shoes, with the Boa lacing routed in a way that distributes the pressure evenly, and not just on the top of the foot. When it comes to comfort, the XXX gets two thumbs up from this guy!

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
BOA is the way to go!

When it came to the fit on the Bontrager XXX personally the only problem I found was it maybe ran a half-size (euro sizing) big. I have two pairs of OLD Bontragers in the basement, some Giro, and a pair of Pearl Izumi that are all size 46 and they all fit pretty well. However, in the Bontrager XXX I downsized and went with a 45.5. After that swapI was ripping single-track and hammering gravel roads like a pro, just a little slower.

REform or In-form insoles

The stock insoles in the shoes are pretty basic for a $399.00 shoe, but Bontrager does make an aftermarket insole in collaboration with Superfeet that you can pick up for $40.00. The insoles are offered in low arch, mid-arch, and high arch options.

Now, after shelling out this kind of cash for a shoe most riders are not going to be very excited about dropping more cash on insoles, and I can’t blame them. On the flip side, offering different size shoes, color options, and now tossing in different insoles would be an inventory nightmare for dealers.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
The stock insoles in the shoes are pretty basic but worked well for me and I have high arches, but after writing this article I am curious to try out their insole designed for high arches.
Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe
Definitely a workhorse of a shoe that won’t let even the most discriminating rider down. Think it is designed just for racing? It is actually the shoe of choice Emily Batty will use in her 10 day ride across Iceland.

Durability and Verdict

We have ridden the XXX for around 4 months now and they have been solid, aside from some scrapes on the sole. This is definitely a shoe designed to be light, fast, durable, and extremely comfortable. I anticipate this shoe being my “go to” for quite sometime.

The Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoe Retails for $399.00 and available through your local Trek dealer or at Trekbikes.com.

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