Developed in conjunction with Trek’s Factory race teams, the Bontrager Rally is a flat sole, cleated shoe, designed for trail, eMTB and gravity riding.
| WORDS: Myles Kelsey | IMAGES: Troy Davies | LOCATION: Tokai MTB and Jonkershoek |
The Rally shoes are available in an Olive Grey or Black colourway from sizes 36 to 48. They feature a synthetic leather upper, abrasion-resistant heel and toe caps with a shock-absorbing EVA mid-sole.
Bontrager Rally Mountain Bike Shoe
- Sizes 36 to 48
- Synthetic Leather Upper
- Lace closure
- Hook and loop strap
- EVA mid-sole
- Abrasion resistant coating
- SPD cleat compatible
- Colours: Black or Olive Grey
- Weight: 435g (size 43, with cleat)
The synthetic leather upper design adds durability and water-resistant qualities to the Rally. Bontrager opted for a no-nonsense lace closure system, with a large reinforced hook and loop strap to secure the shoe and optimize fit.
The toe and heel areas are reinforced with plenty of EVA foam to improve comfort, durability and protection. The size 43, with Shimano cleat, weighed a sprightly 435grams.
A jagged siped tread pattern extends across the toe and heel area for traction when off the bike. The cleat channels are long, allowing for a wide range of adjustments including a more mid-foot position that gravity-biased riders prefer. Surrounding the cleat is a large open platform area with a slight taper that helps guide the cleat into the pedal.
FIT & COMFORT | A secure feel with pillow-like comfort is how I’d describe the fit of the Rally shoe. They are almost as comfortable as my favorite set of running shoes – not that I run anymore. The sizing is also true – in other words – I’m usually a size 43 but every now and then I stumble across a size 43 shoe that’s frustratingly either a little tight or too loose. Not so with the Rally shoes. A lace closure system is my favorite for aggressive riding because it’s lightweight and bombproof. Cleverly, Bontrager has made the Rally shoe with a high or low lace option (on the ankle side) to cater to different ankle sizes and preferences. Well done guys – that’s neat. The wide fastening strap provides good ‘locked-in’ foot support and doubles up on duties by securing the laces effectively.
Notably, over the four-month test period, the generously padded inner hasn’t ‘packed down’ or changed the fit of the shoe – they are as comfy as ever. The soft uppers and EVA sole provide plenty of comfort – you really won’t need more cushion. On some days, I’ll be on my feet or riding for up to six hours and I’d say these are some of the most comfortable trail shoes I’ve used. That cushion effect of the EVA is very noticeable on rough trails and big landings with less impact coming through the shoe.
PERFORMANCE & PROTECTION | Walking on sketchy rock chutes and inspecting trails is something I’m doing a lot of lately and the traction on slippery terrain is good. In fact, the Rally shoe is very stable on loose, wet or dry terrain. The toe box area is large enough to allow a little wiggle room to dig toes in for stability and added power. Bontrager have also reinforced the toe box for added protection.
It’s on the bike that the Rally shoe is uber impressive and for me there are really two standout benefits of the Rally. Firstly, they are impressively light – like only 70grams more than most XC ‘slippers’ – and that translates to less fatigue on long rides and more snappy acceleration when dropping watts out of turns. Secondly, and sticking with performance benefits here, the Rally cleats in and out easily. When un-cleated on rough terrain the best thing to do is get back into the cleats – and that’s easily done with the Rally shoes. I tried them with Shimano Saint and XT Trail pedals and it’s super easy to get in and out of the pedal.
I’ve done a lot of trail riding on rocky technical terrain, including a few shuttle days and some wet outings and so far there are no noticeable issues with regards to durability or early wear.
VERDICT | Bontrager’s Rally shoe are of the most comfortable trail and gravity orientated shoes I’ve ridden. The combination of performance and protection, both on and off the bike, is excellent too. If you are looking for a lightweight high performance shoe for eMTB, Trail or gravity riding, then these are an option worth considering.
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