REVIEW: BONTRAGER FORAY SHOES

Perfect kicks for trail to gravel

Bontrager’s Foray shoes focus on performance while providing comfort for off-the-bike situations. The Mountain Bike Action crew spun the BOA dial on these hybrid SPD-compatible shoes to see how they would perform out on our local trails. Let’s jump right into the highlights of these shoes before we provide you with our on-trail opinion.

Tech features: The main goal with the Foray shoes was to offer a roomier fit than more focused cross-country shoes, such as Bontrager’s Cambion offering. According to Bontrager’s stiffness chart, the Forays provide a stiffness index of 6 out of 14, while the Cambion’s offer 12 out of 14. The added flexibility of the Forays helps riders feel the pedals a bit more and offers them much more comfort when off the bike.

Other features include a BOA fitment system and a Velcro strap to further secure the shoes. To make sure the shoes hold up to the abuse of off-road, Bontrager used synthetic, perforated upper materials and a GnarGuard rubberized coating for trail-bashing protection. Meanwhile, Tachyon rubber outsoles offer grip on most surfaces. Considering the shoes are for a wide range of use, Bontrager provides a wide range of adjustment for cleat portions. If you want a more gravity-focused fit, slide the cleats back a bit. Gravel riders can place the cleats right at the balls of their feet for a performance-oriented fit. Last but not least is a scuff guard at the front of the shoe that keeps your toes safe and your shoes looking fresh.

Field test results: On the trail, these shoes provide a great fit and feel that’s perfect for most riders. Some more aggressive riders may want a more gravity-focused design, while true XC racers will want something a touch lighter; however, these “happy medium” shoes blend those two needs quite well at an unbeatable price. At just under 400 grams per shoe in the size 10 we tested, these are far from lightweight, but considering their durability and traction-filled soles, the Bontragers are on par with most other trail bike shoes. The fitment was just as we expected from a BOA system, providing a nice squeeze evenly spread around the feet. Furthermore, the shoes were comfortable enough to wear all day on epic climbs or descents and journeying on foot to explore hidden trail treasures.

While these shoes are a perfect mix of everything most riders want, they don’t compete with extreme demands on either side of the spectrum. Riders looking for one pair of do-it-all shoes will find them here, but more serious riders may want to fork over the cash for two different pairs of shoes for XC racing and enduro riding. That said, a weekend trail rider will likely get many happy years from Bontrager’s Foray shoes. Rugged enough for trail riding yet stiff enough to work well with gravel bikes, these new Bontrager shoes won’t let you down.

HITS:

• Do-it-all shoes for every occasion

• Durable yet performance-focused

• Comfortable on and off the bike

MISSES:

• Slightly heavy for XC racing

• Not as burly as gravity-focused shoes

STAR RATING:

★★★★

Price: $159.99

Contact: www.trekbikes.com

 

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