2020 Bontrager XXX Mountain Bike Shoes
  • Total rating
4.5

Summary

Light, comfortable, and great power transfer leaves with one of the best mountain bike shoes on the market. But they don’t come cheap!

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Pros

  • Super Light
  • Super Stiff
  • Great Fit and Comfort
  • Durable
  • Great Power Transfer

Cons

  • Eye Watering Price Tag
  • Pore Off-Bike Traction
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

The Bontrager Triple X range is made for the racers, and the new Bontragers Triple X Mountain Bike Shoes are no different. These shoes are made for their elite Cross Country and Cyclocross racers to use at the highest level in competition.

Bontrager XXX Mountain Shoe
view on trekbikes.com

These shoes are also available for weekend warriors but they come at a high price and for someone that isn’t worried about every watt being transferred to the pedals Bontrager makes some cheaper option that will be plenty good enough.

The shoe is designed to be light, stiff and fast, and that they are. Trek has a “no-compromise” performance. But there is always a compromise and this time is the price. Coming in at an eye-watering $400 retail price these shoes are definitely for those that are focused on performance.

Available sizing is 36-48, including most half sizes. They come in 3 colors, Black, White/Azure and if you want to stand out on the trails they have a Nautical Navy/Radioactive Pink.

Performance

The Bontrager XXX MTB shoes are up there when it comes to performance. They share the same top half as the Triple X road shoes, this makes them very lightweight so you are not pulling over heavy shoes with each pedal stroke.

Coming in at 605g (pair, size 43.5) they are some of the lightest MTB shoes on the market, but that lightweight doesn’t mean that they lack durability or stiffness.

These shoes are also super stiff (14/14 on Bontrager’s stiffness index). This number is achieved thanks to the 100% OCLV carbon sole. These shoes are up there with some of the stiffest road shoes I have used, and from this, you can feel that the power transfer to the pedals is amazing.

Stiff shoes are known to slip a bit more than a less stiff pair of shoes due to the rigidity of the sole, but I have not experienced this with these shoes. The non-slip fabric on the heel of the shoe really keeps your foot securely in place, even when you are really putting the power down.

The shoes offer a good amount of ventilation, preventing any hotspots while you are riding. The shoes also don’t retain water when they are soaked or damp.

The tread spacing is very well thought out with Shimano SPD pedals clipping in and out with no problems at all. The thread isn’t overly amazing while off the bike though if you need to do a quick run during XC or CX race, but it isn’t a deal-breaker for me as I just added the sprigs and they were easily grippy enough for a CX run.

The “GnarGuard” at the front and heel of the shoes is also a nice touch for keeping your feet safe from rock strikes and adding some more durability to the shoe. Overall the shoes are very comfortable over all types of riding.

Issues

Overall on these shoes, the issues are quite minor and they wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me but they are good to keep in mind if you are looking at buying these shoes for yourself.

The insoles on these shoes are quite cheap and basic, they don’t offer great support and just aren’t up to the same level as the rest of the shoe. Bontrager does make an aftermarket insole in collaboration with Superfeet.

I haven’t tried out these soles but have heard good things about them on different reviews, I am looking into getting some of them as I don’t get along with the stock insoles. I don’t see why Bontrager can’t put these insoles in as stock, with the price these shoes are you would expect better insoles.

In Bontrager’s defense, they have said “We recognize most riders at this price point prefer their own custom solution, similar to the running industry, for that perfect fit. For those that don’t have one already, we offer the Superfeet aftermarket option since they are the best. Plus it’s hard to determine the most common foot type is (high arch vs low arch) out of the box.

I see where they are coming from but still think the shoes should come as stock with the Superfeet insoles.

The off-bike grip on these shoes is subpar as well. The lugs are a good size and work well but the rubber compound is letting it down, especially in the wet the hard rubber struggles for grip and is easy to slip. Some softer rubber could fix this problem but could sacrifice some durability.

Who are These For?

So who are these shoes for? Personally, I think these shoes are for the racers that are looking for the best possible performance and are focused on getting every watt through the pedals. These shoes are made for every second counts kind of rider, so if that is you, and you have the budget, I would seriously recommend these shoes for you.

These shoes could also be for a weekend warrior with a large budget that likes all the best equipment to go and flex on his riding buddies.