Bontrager’s shoe line remains one of the most impressive in the industry. Just a few years ago, they launched an all-new shoe line, which was fantastic. Now, the next generation of Bontrager’s road shoes is headlined by the all-new Bontrager XXX Road Shoe.
2020 Bontrager XXX Road Shoe Features:
- InForm Pro last
- 100% OCLV carbon sole
- Stiffness index of 14 of 14
- Dual Boa IP1 dials
- Form TX lace routing system
- Asymmetrical tongue wraps from inner to outer foot
- SPD SL 3-bolt
- Weight: 331 grams (44.5, actual)
- MSRP: $399.99
Triple X = Power, Comfort and Breathability
In life, three strikes means you’re out, but with Bontrager’s all-new XXX Road Shoe, those three X’s can mean any three superlatives you can conjure up. For me, I’m going with power, comfort and breathable, but once you try them, you can come up with your Triple X.
In recent years, a few shoe brands have won me over with their wide toe boxes that allow true wiggle room. Bontrager’s latest road shoes (like the Velocis), have been made with just that — a refreshing amount of space in the forefoot. That extra room allows your toes to wiggle and move with just the right amount of blood flow to remain numb-free, even on the longest of rides. That extra space is only the beginning of the story here.
Slipping into the Bontrager XXX Road Shoes is unlike your typical road shoe. The asymmetrical, wrap-like tongue (think burrito) eliminates pressure points and puts your foot into the perfect power position. That’s the start of where its power comes from. Ratcheting the dual Boa IP1’s, further wraps the tongue around your forefoot instead of simply pulling the shoe together from either side. It truly is a fit you have to experience to appreciate.
Those Boa IP1 dials are a fantastic way to dial in your fit. With them, I can adjust the pressure accordingly and modify it easily on-the-fly. I did so on one of my typical climbs — a 3000 ft. ascent up Utah’s Alpine Loop. This climb lasts an hour and during that ascent and other long rides, I’m able to tweak things as needed. Most of the time, I ratcheted down the front dial and loosened the upper dial. With that, I enjoyed a precise fit while allowing my foot to swell slightly. Dual IP1’s is the key there and no other fit system compares — laces, ratchets, Velcro are all second fiddle to Boa.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, there’s no getting past the $399 price tag on the XXX Road Shoes. That’s expensive, but if you’re looking for the utmost in performance and comfort, these are as good as you’ll find.
That 14 of 14 stiffness index is no slouch either. Power transfer is excellent via the OCLV outsole. These are wicked-stiff and deliver every ounce of power to the pedals. With the previous model, my feet felt fatigued on long rides, but that’s not the case with the new Triple X’s. Bontrager designers have mapped out that ideal fit for long and short days alike. I do wish for a little more pronounced metatarsal button to spread those toes out ever so slightly.
My white samples are getting dirty — there’s no way around that. But, they are offered in black and bright yellow as alternatives. Fit is true-to-size with the 44.5’s fitting just right with enough wiggle room to squeeze in some thicker winter socks, if needed.
Let’s talk breathability. There are certainly more ventilated shoes (Bontrager Ballista and TIME Osmos 12), but these have never felt overly-warm or swampy on hot rides. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they breathe. Under the hottest temperatures, going with a thin sock will help even more.
Note: I wear a 10.5 street shoe and am comfortable with the 44.5’s. My feet are normal width and I have relatively low arches.
- Wrap-style uppers offer superb fit
- Easy adjustments with dual Boa IP1 dials
- Stiff carbon outsole for power transfer
- Breathe really well
- Wider toebox than usual allows wiggle room
- My feet would appreciate a little more pronounced metatarsal pad
The Bottom Line: Bontrager XXX Road Shoe
Triple X represents Bontrager’s “best of the best” and there’s no question that the new Bontrager XXX Road Shoes sit comfortably on the top rung of road shoes. The unique wrap-style uppers, mated to an ultra-stiff carbon outsole delivers power transfer and comfort that’s as good as it gets. Plus, the toebox has a good amount of wiggle room instead of feeling cramped.
When thinking about what makes a pair of road shoes best-in-class, the all-new 2020 Bontrager XXX Road Shoes check off every box. They are stiff, yet comfortable and they breathe well to boot. With a unique wrap-style upper and dual Boa IP1 dials, you'll be hard-pressed to find something that offers a better overall fit. Oh yeah, and that ultra-stiff OCLV outsole delivers every ounce of power to the pedals. Winners here, y'all.