Review: Bontrager Rally Clipless Shoes

Jan 9, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  


Bontrager debuted their Rally clipless shoe this past year at Crankworx Whistler. The shoe, based off of Bontrager's Flatline shoe, is the brand's first flat sole style clipless offering. They were developed in conjunction with Trek's enduro and gravity teams, and are targeted at riders looking for the benefits of a flat pedal style shoe but with the security of being clipped in.

The shoes have a synthetic leather upper, abrasion-resistant, reinforced toe and heel caps, and a shock-absorbing EVA midsole. The shoe has siped tread at the toe and heel to provide traction off the bike and then a large open platform in the center to allow the rider to easily clip in. Cleats can be placed over a wide range, with enough room to accommodate rides who prefer their cleats positioned closer to the midfoot.
Rally Clipless Details

• Synthetic leather upper
• Abrasion-resistant toe and heel caps, reinforced toe cap
• Hook and loop strap
• Colors: Black, Nautical Navy, Trek Factory Racing, Olive Grey
• Sizes: EU 36-48
• Weight: 840g (pair, size 43.5, tested)
• MSRP: $149.99 USD
www.trekbikes.com

The Rally shoes use a lace closure that is reinforced with a hook-and-loop strap for added security. The shoes are compatible with any standard two-bolt cleats. The Rally's are available in four different colorways, in sizes 36-48, and sell for $149.99 USD.


A reinforced toe and heel along with an ample amount of EVA foam make the Rally not only durable but comfortable as well.

There's a nice runway for clipping in and the tread on the bottom of the Rally provides a decent amount of off-bike traction.

Performance

The Rally shoes provided a secure fit right from the start and fit true-to-size using European sizing. After a good bit of use, the shoes have not packed out to any noticeable extent where sizing would change. The strap across the top provides a little extra support (think a booster strap on a ski boot), and also keeps the laces out of the way and tied. The shoes don't loosen up while riding or require any tinkering throughout a long day.

The Rallys are supportive and comfortable. The uppers are soft and don't feel overly stiff and the EVA sole provides plenty of cushioning without sacrificing any noticeable power when it comes to riding. The reinforced toe and heels are confidence-inspiring, and although I haven't made a habit of kicking rocks lately, it's good to know that they are there to add an extra layer of defense against broken or bruised toes.

Cleats can be positioned fairly far towards the center on the Rally's, and clipping in is easy with plenty of clearance with SPD, Time, and Crankbrothers pedals.

Off the bike, the Rally's have a good amount of traction and feel, enough so that it's easy to get around and tip-toe across sketchy creek crossings, rocks, and other perils in the trail. The rubber compound doesn't do as good of a job at providing outright grip in wet and slimy rocks as Five-Ten's shoes do, but it's ample for all but the slickest of slick. In fact, I'd say these are the most comfortable clipless shoes I've ever walked around in.

In light rain and wet conditions, the shoes do an excellent job of not becoming overly waterlogged from spray and splashes. That goes out the window a bit when they are submerged. The Rallys do tend to take a while longer to dry out and can stay water-logged longer than some other shoes out there, most notably the Specialized 2FO.

When it comes to durability, the Rally's are holding up with no signs of wear and tear after countless cycles of wet and muddy riding while sitting by the dehumidifier in our basement to dry in-between.




Toe to Toe: Bontrager Rally vs. Specialized 2FO 2.0

Bontrager's Rally and the Specialized 2FO 2.0 are targeted at the same riders and are from two of the biggest "full product line" brands out there. How do they compare?

Weight: The Rallys hit the scale at a few grams less than the Specialized shoe - and they're both light but that's when they're dry. Water-logged, the Rally takes on and retains more water, causing it to lose out when it's damp, but they do remain comfortable even when they're totally soaked.

Design: Both shoes share a reinforced toe and heel box. The Rally has an overall lighter construction than the 2FO. The 2FO's utilize an XPEL air mesh construction which ventilates better than the Rally, but it also allows the elements to more easily breach the shoe and find their way to your toes. The Rallys have a strap that provides additional support where the 2FO does not. While the 2FO does have slightly more ankle support and protection on the inside than the Rally, the strap on the Rally gives it a more secure feel overall.

Grip/Cleat Position: The Rally and 2FO both offer a similar amount of grip off the bike and the rubber compound seems to be similar in hardness. The Rally is a little bit easier to walk in and spend more time off the bike without thinking you're wearing a cycling shoe. Both shoes allow for a further back than normal cleat placement and are two of the lightest options currently available for this style shoe.

Pros

+ Amazing fit and comfort
+ Excellent support reinforced with strap closure
Cons

- Drainage and drying isn't the best in extremely wet conditions
- Rubber could be tackier for slick rocky surfaces off the bike



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesBontrager's Rally shoe is one of the most comfortable flat-soled clipless shoes available. It offers a high level of performance and functionality along with protection and durability. The shoes do a good job at repelling water, but if you're trudging through creeks all day long, they may become a little more water-logged than some riders prefer. If you're looking for a comfortable and versatile flat-soled shoe for anything from trail riding to DH racing, then it's an option worth considering. Daniel Sapp








56 Comments

  • 24 1
 Will we ever see Mullet shoes ??!
A flat one with a clipless.

Ok sorry loll I need my coffee
  • 5 1
 For equal versatility to the M324? That would be fine and dandy as long as they don't call it "mullet" - that's at the top of the list for terms and buzzwords that need to disappear.
  • 2 0
 @danielsapp: it’s at the number 2 spot. Thank your coworker for the top spot on that list...
  • 6 0
 @danielsapp how would you rate the durability compared to Shimano AM7s? I've been riding AM7s for the past two seasons, and they are so comfortable I stopped using my dedicated commuting shoe and started used the AMs. At this point with two years of near daily use in all conditions, they hardly show any wear at all. Hell, I haven't even had to change the laces. My previous clipless shoes were Bontrager's but not "enduro" style shoes, but typical clipless MTB slippers. They held up well, but once I started commuting in them they didn't last more than another year. (They had two years of regular MTB riding and then I moved into riding distance from work, they also had pretty harsh plastic soles that helped me fall down my basement steps with my carbon CX bike in hand)
I'd guesstimate I have 8-10k miles on my AM7s and I'd be surprised if there was a more durable shoe available.
  • 2 0
 +1 for the AM7s (current version with single Velcro strap). Bought these on a whim on sale and they’re fantastic. Amazingly comfy, great fit, stiff enough to pedal all day, good protection.
  • 4 0
 They’re a bit lighter than the current AM7 but a similar style/design. Comfort wise, they’re on par. I haven’t put quite 8k miles on them yet but I fully expect them to hold up given how well they have thus far.
  • 1 0
 Using an AM5 for nearly 6 month now, clipless, and they are one of the best shoes I ever had. Using it with a Crank Brothers Double Shot 3. And also for an everyday shoe. When not clipped in, its ok, never slipped off the pedal, when used it with my flat Shimano XT pedals its like my old 510's. And all this for around 60 EUR...
  • 7 0
 @danielsapp

dude if your going to talk about a cycling shoe you should certainly make a clear reference to how they stack up in terms of pedaling stiffness on the bike.
  • 9 4
 Jeez, bike shoe styling sucks in general, but these things look positively orthopedic.
  • 2 0
 It sounds so lame but I didn't buy these shoes mostly for that reason. I have this dumb thing where if I feel like I look great, I'll ride good.. Shallow and dumb but at the end of the day I'm happy. I went with Shimano AM5s instead and love them. If I feel like I'm lacking performance or protection in the rough then I'll likely move to the new AM7s.
  • 3 0
 I feel that the "cycling shoe" style of XC shoes is actually much better than the"wannabe sneaker"-type. Most of the latter look like shallow imitations of sneakers designed by someone who has never seen a stylish shoe before.
  • 1 0
 Funny, because I strongly dislike how the large majority of “cycling shoes” look and much prefer a “skateboard shoe” look like these ones. Can be interesting how different all of our preferences can be.
  • 2 0
 Great shoes until you damage the mounting plate that the SPD clip screws on to.... Cause pull that shoe soul out and find out they sewed a bedding in there and there's no way in to replace the plate without cutting your shoe apart.
  • 4 2
 Seriously I know that would be a PITA - but having had clip shoes last 10 + years with multiple cleat changes - what are the odds that's going to happen that isn't down to ham fisted monkey wrenching? At which point it's your own fault and expecting a shoe to be designed to avoid stupidity would mean we should all be wearing crocs.
  • 8 1
 Right...I recall that happening once in the countless times I've replaced or swapped cleats on various shoes over the years. It was a pair of clapped-out, several-year-old, hand-me-downs that were a size or two too small that I cross-threaded a rusted bolt back in while installing some used, but less used than what I had been using cleats and then undoubtedly overtightened. (I can't remember what they were but they probably should have been burned a year prior). I tossed the shoes at that point and learned how to properly install a cleat. It was a win-win.
  • 2 2
 @nouseforaname: that's great man happy you aren't a ham fisted monkey. The point is it's an oversight. That's it that's all.
  • 2 2
 @danielsapp: It's still an unnecessary oversight or decision made to cut manufacturing costs.

As someone who's in the Industry you know farewell that a company can put any product through an absolute gauntlet of tests But untill you let the public use it you will never truly know what can happen.... Expect the unexpected.
  • 1 0
 That might actually be an advantage in fall or spring. Less chance of the cold creeping in through the cleat opening.
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: you know farewell that a company can put any product through an absolute gauntlet

r/boneappletea

check it out
  • 10 4
 Flats win worldcups.
  • 7 6
 Flat pedals win medals
  • 4 5
 There should be a flat pedal world champs, or world cup series.
  • 3 0
 dual classes, 29's with clips and 27.5's with flats. riders could compete in both classes
  • 4 12
flag john42 (Jan 9, 2020 at 0:56) (Below Threshold)
 @zyoungson: so you are implying that you can't win else? You need a separate class so you have a chance with flats?
You don't. Google Sam Hill. He doesn't need a separate class to win with flats.
  • 2 1
 @zyoungson:

Early 2000’s in the UK, they had the “No clips series” for BMX...
  • 1 0
 I have the 2FO and never use them- they're tall and narrow which results in a distinctly unstable platform compared to my FiveTen Kestrels. The Rally looks pretty similar to the 2FO, so I'd be concerned that they also feel a bit tippy rather than planted.
  • 1 0
 I’m wearing 2FOs from 2018 and find them decent. I wear a size 48 and up until two years ago I had worn (Shimano) DX shoes exclusively for a decade. The new lasts that Shimano trotted out were too small, and 5.10 quality sh*t the bed so I needed a new brand when my last pair of DXs wore out. Too bad Trek had nothing to offer - I’ve preferred the Waterloo brand over Morgan Hill for ages - but I settled on Spesh shoes as there was nothing left to pick from.
  • 3 1
 Aren’t all shoos clipless? I mean the clips when they were used were mounted to the pedals, not the shoos, right? The industry should come up with a better word like system shoos or something else.
  • 5 1
 Go on, shoo, get outta here!
  • 5 0
 why can't they just call it clipped shoes not "clipless"
  • 1 0
 Because road bikes
  • 1 0
 Because "clips" refers to toe clips. I'm pretty glad that todays pedals are clipless, even if it sounds weird.
  • 1 0
 "They were developed in conjunction with Trek's enduro and gravity teams, and are targeted at riders looking for the benefits of a flat pedal style shoe but with the security of being clipped in."

What are the benefits of a flat styled shoe? The fact that they look different?
  • 5 0
 I rally like those
  • 2 0
 I like how manufacturers are moving the cleat position more inward toward the big toe. So, your stance when standing on the pedals is a wider. Better on the downhills.
  • 3 0
 I agree. These still looks fairly centered but I just got the new Giro Ventana that have the offset clear box to the inside and only one ride so far but I’m really liking it. Especially for duck footed riders like myself, my cranks and swing arm are probably thanking me.
  • 5 2
 Clipless, so they're flat.
  • 2 0
 They should have clips on top of the shoes as well
  • 2 3
 Ditch the cleats at least for the winter. Having a chunk of cold metal up in my foot makes me want to go home. You may find yourself squarely on that pedal where the power is. Is there a flat version of this?
  • 7 0
 “The shoe, based off of Bontrager's Flatline shoe, is the brand's first flat sole style clipless offering.“
  • 1 0
 The Flatline is the flat shoe they have. Roughly similar looking but no power strap.
  • 1 0
 @gbeaks33: and best thin. These new Rally's offer up much better durability.
  • 1 0
 Look cool, disco shoes. Defo gonna try them.
  • 2 1
 Finally a decent pair of clipless shoes for the retirement-home gentleman.
  • 3 3
 Skipped the article so I could just say how ugly they are. They should come with a Medicare ID Card.
  • 1 0
 How do they fit and how stiff are they?
  • 1 1
 What's up with boaty mc boat face look shoes?
  • 3 0
 Look like those old school "corrective shoes"
  • 4 4
 I’ve never understood that word.
Clipless. Makes no sense.
  • 5 0
 If you do 5 minutes or web research I’m sure you will be enlightened...
  • 1 1
 @CircusMaximus: who has time for that.
  • 1 0
 don care
  • 1 4
 Bontrager clothing falls apart
  • 4 1
 not my experience
  • 2 0
 *grabs chin while thinking deeply*

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