Today we’re going to review the Bontrager Foray Mountain Shoe – MSRP $159. Clipless bike shoes are one of the more ridiculously expensive bits of kit that vex the average hard-working person’s cycling budget. I regularly see prices on zapatos bicicletas that take a huge bite out of a thousand dollar bill. Some of the high-end racing shoes that I’ve seen on the interwebs are even more expensive than the best quality pair of winter cycling boots. So when Bontrager sent us a pair of moderately priced clipless shoes, I was intrigued. Would they feel as good as my venerable SIDI Dominators? Would they work across the swath of bike denominations that I regularly participate in? Miles and miles of dirt, sand, gravel, and pavement would serve to sort all of those questions and more.
Bontrager built the foray with a slightly roomier fit that makes them feel pretty comfortable with a little thicker pair of socks. The Single BOA® L6 dial allows for an easy and precise fit and the velcro strap on the forefoot allows some adjustment in the toe box. Our test shoes are 47’s (Size 13 US) and fit true to size. The outer material is a perforated synthetic that looks like it will stand up to the kind of abuse that mountain bike slippers get exposed to and there are durable, GnarGuard rubberized coated panels to protect against abrasions. A bit of break-in was required getting the stiff outer material on the top of the tongue comfortable for my instep which is a common problem for me. I don’t know if I could wear these shoes without socks because of the roomy fit. I don’t know if I’d want to wear these slippers without socks because of the synthetic material. However, with socks these shoes feel ultra smurfy. I think that these shoes are well sorted for harsher (not winter) weather conditions. They’ve taken every kind of weather that I’ve thrown at them and still look pretty spiffy. All of that being stated, it didn’t ake long for these shoes to feel great and become my preferred SPD shoe.
I don’t always ride clipless pedals, but I run old-school Shimano 747 SPD pedals when I do. I’ve been rocking this pair of Bontrager Foray Mountain shoes in place of two pairs of older Italian cycling shoes. As I was conducting research time in the saddle for this story, I discovered that one of the older shoes had worn out cleats that were causing me a little knee pain and both older shoes had stretched as a result of my tendency to supinate. One of the major benefits that I experienced with wearing the Forays is the neutral platform that they provided my feet on the pedals under load. If you’ve got an old beat-up pair of mountain bike shoes, you should look into a pair of new shoes. Your feet will thank you. When I’m mashing up a climb on my singlespeed, I feel like the Foray creates a solid foundation for my legs to transfer power to my feet and push against those tiny clipless pedals.
When your shoes match your hat (or in this case helmet) and bidons you’re making a coordinated fashion statement. Olive Green is accented with Radioactive Orange on our pair of Forays and I kept on finding unique ways to color coordinate with these pedal pushers. The Foray also comes in Black, Blue and Grey.
The definition of Foray plays extremely well with my whimsical bicycle tales about missions behind gnome lines. All kidding aside, these shoes came to me with perfect timing last spring. They made me realize that my old clipless cycling shoe arsenal was worn out and tired. If these shoes fit into your cycling budget, you can buy them with confidence. I rode them on my gravel bike, on my singlespeed, and plus bike. I run platform pedals on my fat-bike. They’re a great shoe at a palatable price point.