Their understated yet classy design help the Bontrager Velocis road shoes compete in a market where classic lace-up designs are on the up and image is everything. They look good, and the price isn't too bad considering the features they pack in.
I'm a bit of a fan of Bontrager's ‘Electric Salmon’ colour, but the simple black and white options with minimal logos on the uppers will appeal to those who like a more understated look.
The uppers are white, very white (or black/pink, very black/pink). My first impression was that they were going to get spotted with tar and road grime then go a grubby looking grey, but the shiny character of the synthetic upper has meant a quick going over with a baby wipe has kept them looking fresh.
There's mesh ventilation up over the top of the toe, and perforated side panels, which are ridged, presumably to direct airflow towards the perforations. They're neither terribly warm nor cold, which means they've been well suited to the Scottish summer. I'd possibly want a more ventilated shoe for extended use in higher temperatures.
The sole is a high-gloss carbon/fibreglass composite, with a large Bontrager logo stretching diagonally across the base. Unfortunately, there are minimal markings for cleat positioning, which makes aligning cleats fairly fiddly. There are markings, but they sit under the body of the cleat, which means you don't get any reference points. Extending the markings to sit outside the cleat contact area would really help.
Heel and toe strikers help protect the shiny sole from scratches and to give purchase when walking. As with all road shoes with shiny soles, it takes a bit of an effort to keep this clean and walking over a gravel drive will inevitably start pitting the finish.
Bontrager has given the sole a stiffness index of 10, which would – at first glance – suggest they are the stiffest shoe Bontrager offers. But actually they sit somewhere within the upper range of stiffness: the index goes all the way beyond 11 (for the Spinal Tap fans out there) up to a heady 14. For a combination of general fast road riding and racing at amateur level, though, the stiffness factor of 10 should give any rider enough support. It certainly feels as though your feet are well connected to the pedal platform, with very little deflection when sprinting or climbing. This doesn't mean that they're flexible, as they are very far from being bendy.
The trade-off for a modicum of compliance in the sole is that they are very, very comfortable. Inside the shoe, the platform is fairly flat, so there's no Bont-style arch support, which will no doubt suit many riders. If you want more arch support, Bontrager offers an insole that can be heat-moulded to tune the bed of the shoe to your feet. The toe box is generous but not overly so, and there's a decent amount of adjustment in the front Velcro strap to make sure you get a secure feel across the front of your feet.
The Boa IP1 closure system is a very effective way of getting an even spread of pressure over most of the upper, and it's extremely easy to get right with a simple ratchet system to tighten and release pressure in small increments. To remove the shoe, you pull the Boa dial outwards and it immediately gets rid of any tension in the system, so the shoe can be pulled off rapidly. Having always used traditional ratchet systems, I found the Boa dial a great improvement and it's something I'll be looking for in the future when it comes to picking shoes.
They're not the absolute lightest shoe on the market, but they're also no heavyweights, and the technology that Bontrager has managed to pack into them is reflected in the pricing. At £169.99 they're not a cheap option, but they are very attractive.
Effectively priced and feature-packed shoe with lasting good looks
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Make and model: Bontrager Velocis Road Shoe
Size tested: 12, white
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Bontrager says: "Fly up the climbs and kill the sprints with the Velocis road shoe. It's everything most roadies need in a shoe: light, stiff, and well ventilated."
The blurb from Bontrager might seem slightly ambiguous, but it's actually spot on. It really does sum up the Velocis shoes perfectly.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
inForm Pro last - Ergonomically optimized high-performance fit
Silver Series carbon sole - Carbon/fiberglass composite sole
Boa IP1 dial for precise two-way adjustment
Stiffness index 10
Synthetic uppers with Lightning Mesh panels
Nothing to worry about here.
Not an out-and-out performance shoe, but close to it. Do everything thrown at them superbly.
There's been very little change from how they looked at the start of the test, with overshoes, toe covers and a Scottish summer having failed to tarnish the uppers.
Heat-mouldable inner would help to give arch support for the flatter-footed.
The price tag of nearly £170 makes them a major purchase for most people, but they do offer a lot for the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's hard to see what more you'd want in a shoe designed for road/sportive/amateur racing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The looks and the comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of mouldable insole. It's available to buy as an optional extra but heat-moulding is included as standard with cheaper shoes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The initial blurb offered by Bontrager tries to cover all bases in what is required by most riders, most of the time. These shoes come as close as possible to fulfilling the statement and do it with an understated style... unless you go for the Electric Salmon version, in which case, they'll do it with eye-searing style!
Age: 33 Height: 183 Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Cervelo S2
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking