Bontrager XXX Road Shoes review

Pro-level road shoes

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £300.00 RRP | USD $400.00 | AUD $500.00
Black clipless road cycling shoe from Bontrager

Our review

Well-vented, stiff and comfortable. This is every inch the premium shoe
Pros: Glorious fit, well-made, understated
Cons: Come at a high price
Skip to view product specifications

When Bontrager gives something the ‘XXX’ moniker that means it’s the top-of-the-tree, premium product.

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That said, throughout 2020 there will be a series of LTD versions of this shoe in various colourways. They will cost extra at £349.99, making what’s already a very expensive shoe somewhat jaw-dropping.

The XXX is the shoe that Trek/Bontrager provides to its pro-athletes with a ‘rider-first’ design that prioritises stiffness and ergonomic comfort.

The stiffness comes from the full ‘OCLV’ carbon sole, which is rated 14 out of 14 on Bontrager’s own scale.

The sole is well vented with metal-mesh lined holes on the toe and through the spine of the shoe. A replaceable heel bumper protects the carbon at the back and bonded rubber toe bumpers do the same up front.

Bontrager claims this sole is superlight, and on our scales a size 45 weighed 567.6g, although you can find lighter for similar money.

The upper reduces seams to a minimum with one on the instep behind the toes and the traditional main seam running through the centre of the heel.

The TPU upper has laser-cut perforations throughout with a mesh of perforations on top of the toe box, which does a great job of venting heat, and the perforated gloss panels on the flanks add further breathability.

Inside you’ll find a sculpted inform insole perfectly matched to the inform pro-last that the shoe is designed around. The asymmetric, tongueless opening wrapped around my foot comfortably with masses of adjustment from the twin BOA IP1 dials operating wide-set lacing.

The heel is lined with cats tongue-like material that secures your foot. The heel cup itself is well-shaped with its structural support coming from an exoskeleton design removing a potential pressure point from the inner.

On the road, you can feel the stiffness through the sole. The unmoving nature of it is well balanced with the supple, comfortable, yet supportive upper making the XXX feel every inch the premium shoe.

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The XXX has everything I’d expect in a pro-level shoe performance-wise, yet it doesn’t really stand out in a crowded market. Understated is a good thing but a £300 price tag? Not so much.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $500.00GBP £300.00USD $400.00
Weight 567.6g (45)
Brand Bontrager

Features

Features Upper: 69% Polyester / 28% Polyurethane / 3% Nylon
Liner: 100% Polyester
Extras: Bag included
Cleat fitting Spd-sl
Shoe closure Dial
Sole 100% OCLV carbon