1. Home
  2. »
  3. Gear & Apparel Reviews
  4. »
  5. Bontrager XXX mountain bike shoe

Bontrager XXX mountain bike shoe

Spencer Powlison /
  • RATING 9.3/10
  • PRICE $400.00
  • SIZE 42
Bontrager's XXX mountain bike shoes combine comfort and performance. Photo: Brad Kaminski | VeloNews.com

Cross-country mountain bike shoes must strike a perilous balance between stiff efficiency and enough comfort for long days on rough trails. After suffering through many rides with numb toes or hot spots, Bontrager’s XXX shoes have been a welcome addition to the closet.

Although these mountain bike shoes share the somewhat-NSFW moniker of their road counterparts, the XXX MTB shoes have a rugged upper that is comfortable for marathon days on the trails.

Starting from the bottom, the XXX’s sole is 50 percent carbon and 50 percent glass fiber. It is still very stiff, but the 50/50 layup makes for a ride that’s not so harsh.

That carbon plate is covered with rubber tread, which Bontrager calls “Tachyon rubber.” If you’re tramping around on dry trails or slickrock, the lugs are fine. However, we have ridden shoes with more aggressive soles, so if a muddy day is in the forecast, perhaps add toe studs for extra traction.

The upper has a nice combination of a protective toe-cap and a mesh vent up front. Although these black shoes aren’t airy, they were fine on most midsummer days.

To strap things down, Bontrager went with a simple configuration of two Boa IP1 dials and a velcro strap over the toes. If you have a low-volume foot, you’ll find yourself cranking down that velcro to make sure your forefoot is secure. Bontrager’s XXX shoes are particularly wide in the forefoot.

However, we had no concerns about heel security with the XXX togs. The silver heel liner fabric grips socks securely. Plus, the heel cup is well-padded, also contributing to overall comfort.

While $400 is a lot to pay for mountain bike shoes that get scraped up, covered in mud, and generally abused, the XXX justifies its price with all-day comfort paired with solid stiffness. Fortunately, after about 600 miles of riding and racing over the last two months, they’ve held up just fine.

If you dig the way Bontragers fit, there are a number of less-expensive options in its lineup that we’ve also ridden and enjoyed.