Reviews You Can Rely On

Bontrager Foray - Women's Review

A lightweight, breathable shoe with lots of volume makes this a good choice for riders with wider or higher volume feet
Bontrager Foray - Women's
Photo: Trek Bikes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $150 List
Pros:  Lightweight, very breathable, BOA lacing is easy to use
Cons:  Marginal power transfer and stability, not water-resistant, roomy fit
Manufacturer:   Trek Bikes
By Tara Reddinger-Adams ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 14, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Walkability - 25% 7
  • Stability and Control - 20% 6
  • Protection - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Bontrager Foray is an incredibly breathable shoe thanks to its highly perforated uppers, making them ideal for hot or humid environments. This breathability does come with a downside though, as the shoes don't offer much protection and do not repel water well. Featuring a Boa lacing system the Foray quick to lace and to adjust, however, its roomy fit makes it best suited for riders whose feet are wide or tall. On the trail, the shoe absorbs vibrations fairly well and the sole flexes making hike-a-bikes comfortable, but some riders may be disappointed in its power transfer properties, which are more akin to an entry-level shoe. For riders who struggle to find a shoe with enough volume or width for their feet, the Foray is worthy of consideration.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $150 List$200 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$130 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$160.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$139.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
62
82
80
74
69
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, very breathable, BOA lacing is easy to useComfortable fit, large cleat opening, good power transfer, excellent trail absorptionLightweight, good power transfer, easy to walk inComfortable, excellent protection, excellent power transfer, easy to clip in and out of, great for hike-a-bikeLightweight, very good power transfer, breathable
Cons Marginal power transfer and stability, not water-resistant, roomy fitLacks breathability, expensiveNot the best lateral stabilityHeavy, not waterproofLacking side protection on the mid-foot
Bottom Line A lightweight, breathable shoe with lots of volume makes this a good choice for riders with wider or higher volume feetThis comfortable shoe impressed our testers with its fit, trail absorption, and power transfer and is a great match for short trail rides and all-day epics alikeThis unassuming shoe combines on and off the bike performance with good power transfer and walking comfort at a relatively reasonable price tagA high-performing shoe that offers comfort paired with excellent stability, protection, and walkabilityA solid performing shoe packed with features typically reserved for shoes with a much higher price tag
Rating Categories Bontrager Foray - W... Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Traverse Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Comfort (25%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Walkability (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Stability And Control (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Protection (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
6.0
9.0
3.0
7.0
Specs Bontrager Foray - W... Mallet Boa - Unisex 2FO Roost Clip - Un... Traverse Scott MTB Elite Boa...
Measured Weight (g) 334g 379g 322g 450g 351g
Outsole Tachyon rubber Match MC1 SlipNot FG DST 8.0 MID GRIP Rubber Sticki rubber
Closure Velcro/Boa L6 Boa, Velcro strap Laces Laces/Velcro Boa, Velcro strap
Upper Material Nylon/polyester Synthetic synthetic leather Synthetic & D30 Microfiber, 3D nylon air mesh
Footbed Bontrager Inform not specified Body Geometry EVA Foam ErgoLogic
Sole Rubber EVA midsole Soft Lollipop Nylon Composite Plate D30 High Impact Insole Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
Size Tested EU 40 US 7 EU 39.5 / US 8.5 EU 39.5 / US 8.5 EU 39

Our Analysis and Test Results

On the trail, the Bontrager Foray's performance is middle of the pack. It absorbs trail chatter fairly well, but it has a roomy fit that not transfer power well for our testers and lags behind shoes at a similar price point for stability and control. During hike-a-bikes the sole flexes and grips surface adequately but had concerns about the shoe's overall durability given how quickly the toe spikes deteriorated. The highly perforated uppers do a great job of allowing air to flow into the shoe, but also allow water to enter into the shoe and should be taken into consideration if you ride in wet conditions. Other shoes in our test have similar breathability and better moisture management.

Bontrager describes the Foray as an "undeniably comfortable" shoe designed for trail riding, cyclocross, or gravel. Built around a "slightly roomier" last the Foray has a lot of volume, which can either be great or not depending on the shape of your foot. Our testers found the shoe to be comfortable, but our feet were swimming in the shoe, especially in the forefoot and toebox. We were unable to find our desired fit because of this. However, for riders who struggle with shoes being too low volume, the Foray could be a good choice.

Performance Comparison


We enjoyed the breathability offered by the Foray, but struggled to...
We enjoyed the breathability offered by the Foray, but struggled to achieve our desired fit due to the shoe's roomy nature.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Stability and Control


Bontrager rates the stiffness of the Foray a 6 of 14, with 14 being the stiffest, meaning that the sole of the Foray flexes quite a bit. The power transfer of the Foray is marginal in comparison to other shoes we tested. The power transfer is more in line with entry-level or spin bike shoes, rather than a shoe advertised as having a "stiff sole." In our testing, we had considerable heel lift which paired with the roominess of the toebox, prevented us from having a solid return on the backside of our pedal stroke.

We found the power transfer on the Foray to not be as good as other...
We found the power transfer on the Foray to not be as good as other shoes we tested, in part due to it's fit.
Photo: Byron Adams

The Foray absorbs trail chatter fairly well and in some cases better than shoes with similar stiffness ratings, especially on very rocky descents filled with softball to baby head-sized rocks. For riders who enjoy rocky descents, a shoe's ability to absorb impacts is important in helping alleviate sore feet, and we feel these are a poor choice for bumpy descents.

We found the shoe to absorb the trail fairly well, such as impacts...
We found the shoe to absorb the trail fairly well, such as impacts from jumps.

The Foray has some of the smallest fore and aft cleat adjustment in our test for a trail shoe and measures only 1 1/16". For riders who prefer to have their cleat at the extreme ends of the spectrum, the opening is too small. Our testers prefer to have the cleat set back for descending control and stability. We can stand up and push into the pedals but are underwhelmed with the amount of control we are able to put into the pedals. Overall, the control and stability are marginal compared to other shoes at the same price point in our lineup.

With only 1 1/16" of fore/aft adjustment the Foray has some of the...
With only 1 1/16" of fore/aft adjustment the Foray has some of the least adjustment in comparison to similar shoes.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Comfort


The Foray is the roomiest shoe we tested and has good out-of-the-box comfort, as other reviewers have stated. Built on Bontrager's inForm Race last, this Foray shoe is designed to have a "slightly roomier, high-performance fit." Our testers agree with Bontrager's claim and found the fit to be very roomy, especially in the toe box. But, the shoe's overall volume makes it difficult for us to achieve our desired fit. We struggled with our foot moving from side to side in the forefoot of the shoe and we had slight heel lift while pedaling. The Boa lacing tightens well around our mid-foot, but we were unable to tighten the forefoot of the shoe with the velcro strap. For riders with wide feet or whose feet have a lot of volume, the Foray could be an excellent option.

There is a lot of internal volume to the shoe which our feet did not...
There is a lot of internal volume to the shoe which our feet did not fill, and we could not tighten down the front velcro strap enough to alleviate our foot moving around in the toebox.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

In regards to breathability, the Foray is one of the most breathable shoes we tested. Its large perforations above the fore-foot and mid-foot have excellent airflow. However, breathability comes at a cost in terms of water resistance. The numerous perforations allow for moisture to pour into the shoe, making this a shoe best reserved for days when you are guaranteed dry trails.

Aside from making lacing a breeze, the Boa system evenly distributes pressures, alleviating pressure points on the top of the foot. The Boa is great for quick and small incremental adjustments, something our testers came to appreciate, especially compared to traditional laces.

Walkability


Bontrager provides a stiffness index on their shoes, to help the consumer make a purchase decision in regards to the shoe's flex. The Foray is rated a 6 of 14 (14 being the stiffest) and our testers found the Foray's nylon composite Bronze Series sole to flex easily underfoot while hiking. The Tachyon rubber gripped rocky surfaces adequately but not as well as shoes with a stickier rubber sole. In muddy conditions, the soles easily cake, but kicking them on the ground knocks most of it loose.

Hike-a-bikes were comfortable, especially when we ended up walking...
Hike-a-bikes were comfortable, especially when we ended up walking more than riding due to snow, ice and mud.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

One disappointing feature concerning walkability is the integrated front cleats, which began to quickly deteriorate and deform while hiking on our first use. While these cleats are not necessary during hike-a-bikes, they can provide extra grip and traction while hiking uphill on soft dirt surfaces. We expected the cleats to hold up for longer than they did.

The front cleats began to quickly deteriorate when hiking, causing...
The front cleats began to quickly deteriorate when hiking, causing us to question the long term durability of the shoe, especially for riders who may spend lots of time hiking for big descents.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Protection


The Foray has a reinforced toe box and heel with Bontrager's GnarGuard, which is designed to add protection from abrasions and debris. This provides adequate protection from trail debris and scuffs for the front of the toebox, however, there is little protection for the top of the forefoot and the sides of the mid-foot. Riders whose home trails are known for kicking up rocks may want to take this into consideration.

Large perforations are great for airflow, but unfortunately do not...
Large perforations are great for airflow, but unfortunately do not keep water out very well.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The forefoot and mid-foot are covered with large perforated ventilation holes that allow dirt, water, and other debris to easily enter the shoe, making them a poor choice for wet conditions.

Weight


The Bontrager Foray weighs 334-grams for a women's EU 40, earning it high marks in this metric.

The shoe earns high marks for it's weight weighing 334 grams for a...
The shoe earns high marks for it's weight weighing 334 grams for a women's EU40. However, like many lightweight shoes there is little in terms of foot protection.
Photo: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Value


The Foray's MSRP is in line with many of the other shoes we tested. Because of the sloppy fit and poor power transfer, we feel that other shoes offer a better value for the money.

Conclusion


For riders prioritizing breathability over performance, or those needing a larger volume shoe, the Foray is worth consideration. However, we found its overall performance on the trail to be marginal, especially when compared to similarly priced shoes, and recommend those considering the Foray also give consideration to other models.

Taking a pause in Sedona while testing.
Taking a pause in Sedona while testing.
Photo: Byron Adams

Tara Reddinger-Adams