Bontrager’s Rally shoe is built for everything from downhill to day-to-day trail use according to Bontrager, and features a number of details that suit such a broad range of applications.
It’s an extremely comfortable shoe with impressive ventilation and, despite looking fairly bulky, a weight of just 882g per pair, which makes it lighter than many competing shoes.
Bontrager Rally specifications and details
The Rally’s sole is relatively flat, both on the exterior, where the low-block tread is closely packed, and on the interior, with a neutral, fairly flat insole profile that rises right at its edges to provide support for the foot.
The toe and heel sections of the sole’s tread are chamfered to aid off-the-bike grip, while the sole’s chassis is built to be suitable for walking.
It has a moderately flexible toe section, and an EVA foam insert in the midsole. Overall, the sole is one of the flexier in our recent tests.
This, Bontrager says, is to aid comfort when walking, and also to offer some impact protection if you ever bail mid-jump and take a heavy landing on your feet.
The cleat box has good profiling to help guide your cleats into the pedal mechanism, with the front and back of the cleat box being ramped.
The width of the box is around 40mm, narrower than on many other shoes. The cleat channel is quite long at 35mm, and it starts relatively far back in the shoe.
The upper features a fairly smooth material, which should be easy to wipe clean. Bontrager uses laces to secure the shoes, backed up by a broader-than-average Velcro strap.
Ventilation holes are mostly located on the edge of the foot, rather than over the toe. Both toe and heel receive dedicated protection, with extra scuff protection for the shoe and heel box, there to improve the lifespan of the shoes.
Internally, along with the relatively flat insole, there’s plenty of padding around the ankle area. Bontrager says it has given the Rally a more relaxed fit, aiding all-day comfort on and off the bike.
Bontrager Rally performance
Despite its bulky outer and low level of toe ventilation, the Rally doesn’t get too hot on your feet, the perforations on the side of the foot clearly keeping temperature rises at bay.
While the minimally perforated toe area helps protect you against the occasional splash, the volume of foam in the construction of the heel area and tongue means it soaks up water readily.
The amount of water it soaks up isn’t as high as some shoes, but I found the Rally the slowest of the shoes I tested to dry out, taking almost three days inside the house.
Getting the Rally on and off is moderately easy because the laces pull through the eyelets with less resistance than some shoes.
The strap over the top does get in the way a bit, because it sits right over the knot of the lace, and the plastic loop you pull the strap through is quite tight.
The shoe itself is incredibly comfortable to wear, with a roomy feel giving toes space to wriggle about, and the EVA sole helping mute chatter through the pedals.
The padding around the ankle makes it feel like a snug fit where it matters, too.
The Velcro strap helps lock the feet into place in the shoe, reducing any heel lift, though the flexible upper isn’t as laterally supportive as some other shoes.
This helps with day-to-day comfort, but some riders may prefer a more solid feel from their footwear when manoeuvring their bike around technical terrain.
The flexibility of the sole gives a natural feel to the shoes when walking, but does mean that pedals with a cage are a necessity, because otherwise the shoe flexes over the pedal and the cleat can be felt.
The shallow tread isn’t the best on muddy pushes.
Toe protection is ample and pedal feel, with a cage, is good. If your pedals have longer pins, you might want to use a spacer or two to fine-tune the feel; with Shimano Trail pedals, I didn’t require spacers.
Bontrager Rally bottom line
The Bontrager Rally is a super-comfortable shoe, with a plush interior and a sole that takes the sting out of the trail.
It’s not the stiffest shoe out there, which will appeal to some, and is definitely best paired with a pedal featuring an ample-sized platform.
How we tested:
Mountain bike shoes have a hard life. All your power is transferred through their soles, as well as an awful lot of bodily bike control.
At the same time, they’re stamped onto pedals (some of which have platform cages with sharp pins), are walked in on rough surfaces, have to sit in the firing line of mud and water, and shrug off impacts with trailside rocks, roots and vegetation.
As such, the best mountain bike shoes have to satisfy a wide range of requirements to reach the top of our table. In this group test, we pitted 12 pairs of clipless shoes from leading brands against each other during several months of sloppy winter testing.
We tested all these shoes with both Crankbrothers and Shimano SPD pedals to check that they’re compatible with the most common platforms. They were ridden with one foot in one brand of shoe and the other in a different type, to better grasp their differences.
Steep banks were scrambled up and down, while we carried our bikes on our shoulders to see how much our heels slipped in the heel box and our feet slipped in the mud. We even sprayed them with a hose to see how water-resistant they are, then timed how long they take to dry out.
Other shoes we tested:
- Crankbrothers Mallet Speedlace review
- Endura MT500 Burner Clipless review
- Five Ten Kestrel Lace review
- Fizik Gravita Versor Clip review
- Giro Berm Cover review
- Ion Rascal Select BOA review
- Leatt 6.0 Clip V22 review
- Mavic XA Elite II review
- Ride Concepts Transition review
- Scott Crus-R review
- Shimano AM5 review
- Specialized 2FO Roost Clip review
|Price||AUD $250.00EUR €170.00GBP £155.00USD $155.00|
|Weight||882g (44) – for pair as tested|
Upper: 55% Polyurethane/24% Nylon/21% Polyester
Colours: Olive Grey, Grey/Black, Black, Nautical Navy
|Cleat fitting||2-bolt spd type|