Bontrager has stepped up its shoe game over the past couple of years, updating for maximum performance and comfort. The benefit of having a shoe line that pushes performance technology to the limit is that technology eventually trickles down the line. That’s what happened with the updated Bontrager Circuit road shoe.
What are the updates?
The most notable update right from the gun on the Bontrager Circuit is the new TPU and synthetic mesh upper. The super lightweight and very breathable material we’ve seen on higher-end shoes helps the overall comfort immensely. The material offers an already broken-in feeling and allows the BOA to quickly do its work — not folding or crumpling fabric when tightened.
Air-flow and cooling is a massive benefit of using the TPU and synthetic mesh material. The small perforations are vented but not bare to the foot. The fabric under the perforations acts as a buffer to keep the airflow natural.
Deeper heel cup
Bontrager also updated the heel up with a deeper pocket to keep the rider’s foot planted to transfer power to the pedals. The heel cup has extra padding and thick, sturdy material to protect the Circuit Road Shoe’s integrity for many rides to come.
It seems that Bontrager also updated its factory insoles. The insoles for the Circuit arrived with a padded arch and mid-foot.
The Bontrager Circuit received an updated BOA L6 dial. Though the previous model had a BOA L6, the newer model has an updated knob that boasts ease of use and an added grip when tightening with gloves.
Mesh sole ventilation
The sole of the Circuit is a blend of 85% nylon and 15% glass fiber sole and has the same “Power Truss” as the previous model. The shoe ranks on the middle of the Bontrager sole stiffness scale at a 7 out of 14. When adding in the updated mesh cooling vents and walkable lugs — the stiffness is right on the money for performance and long days in the saddle without hot spots
Bontrager updated the last on most of its high-end shoe line the previous model year — opting for a less narrow, slightly roomier modern fit. This update is most notable in the toe box of the shoe, giving the phalanges wiggle room and the ability to run a thicker winter sock easily.
The updated hook and loop style toe strap isn’t just for show. This beefy retention system helps to dial in what the BOA couldn’t get. The TPU material is supple and moves quickly around the strap without disturbing the fit.
Since this is an entry-level shoe that goes beyond the markers, it’s only fitting that it maintains some of the more remarkable features of the previous model. For those looking to take advantage of the road style fit and the stiff sole — the Bontrager Circuit takes both mountain and three-bolt road style cleats.
Bontrager Circuit Shoe specs:
- Bontrager inForm Race last high-performance fit
- Single BOA L6 Dial with adjustable toe strap
- Synthetic mesh and TPU uppers with perforations
- Two zonal security flaps with webbing guides and relief cuts
- Nylon composite Bronze Series sole
- Stiffness index 7 of 14
- Compatible with 3-bolt and 2-bolt SPD-style cleats
- Unisex sizing: 36-48 (half-sizes 38.5-45.5)
- Weight: 268g/shoe size: 42.5
- Price: $135.00
- Availble now
How’s the ride?
My first rides on the Bontrager Circuit were on the trainer, the stack height is a bit higher than my current go-to, but after some adjustment — I felt at home. The material and overall comfort are something of a more expensive piece of footwear.
The heel cup holds the foot excellently, and the BOA is very easy to adjust on the fly. The tongue is super thin with slight padding, making it easier to get an excellent fit.
I opted to use the stock insoles for the testing period and found them much nicer than expected. I usually swap out stock insoles for ones with a higher arch, but the updated Bontrager ones to be just right for the job.
After many rides in the Circuit shoes, I began favoring them for gravel and road rides. Yes — the sole isn’t as stiff as higher-end road shoes, but the comfort is very premiere.
The nylon blend shoe makes the shoe easy to walk around in and change from three to two-bolt cleats easily. Simply, pop-out the rubber grommet in the middle of the three-bolt cleat and push through the footbed.
The only drawback is that a back mounting plate doesn’t come with the shoes on purchase — but finding one at your local bike shop will be pretty easy.
I feel this shoe is a fantastic option for any rider looking to update their footwear without emptying their wallet. The overall feel of the Bontrager Circuit is crazy comfortable and rarely seen in a price range of $135.00.