Bontrager Foray trail shoe
Bontrager’s Foray trail shoe has the look of a classic cross-country mountain bike shoe, but has a surprisingly flexible sole, which was apparent as soon as I pulled them on and walked across the car park.
They may look a bit ‘disco slipper’ (especially in the yellow-and-blue colour option), but coming in at six out of the 14 on Bontrager’s stiffness scale, they’re firmly pitched at trail riding and are easy to pound out long days in the hills in.
The Forays’ sleek synthetic exterior not only looks good but is resistant to knocks and scuffs, and easy to hose off at the end of the day. The spartan lining and pinhole ventilation mean they never hold onto water for long either, and are surprisingly comfortable in a wide variety of conditions.
The sole is remarkably grippy and if you want to go more extreme, you can even bolt in a few studs at the front, although this does make them more clunky on the hoof. They fit snugly, with no hot spots, thanks to the excellent Boa-and-strap combo.
Adjusting the fit involved a pleasantly efficient crank of the Boa dial and pull of the Velcro strap. They’re really easy to pull on and off too, which is a plus if you’re riding in mucky conditions.
However, some testers found that despite the excellent Boa system they had to tighten the Velcro strap to reduce volume in the toe box area, which sometimes deformed the shoe.
This space in the toe box can mean that for riders with narrower feet, there’s room to move around, which can give the feeling of reduced efficiency and disconnection from the bike. So, as always, I’d recommend trying before you buy to make sure the fit is for you, but, if the Forays fit your feet I’d put them near the top of your no-fuss shoe list.
They proved to be hard wearing, comfortable, provided efficient pedalling and were easy to live with. A quick hose off at the end of a ride and they were invariably dry as a bone the next day, ready to go again.
If you’re looking for a protective enduro shoe these probably aren’t for you, but for everyday trail riding where you don’t expect to be off the bike much or bouncing your ankles off the cranks, they really did the job.