Mountain bike shoes – you want the best you can afford, but then you put them through hell from their first ride. It’s an emotional wrestle at first, but then, once they’re a few rides old, you focus on their functionality more. Here’s what we thought of the new Bontrager Evoke shoes.

Call us conservative, or just practical, but we’re quite keen on plain black mountain bike shoes. Matt black even more so. So, the Evokes got off to a very good start with their first impression. For those that are a bit more adventurous, they also come in Battleship Blue with Radioactive Orange accents. For reference, the previous version of the Evoke used triple Velcro straps for closure.

Here’s the lowdown on the shoe according to Bontrager:

  • The inForm Race insole offers a slightly roomier, high performance fit.
  • A single Boa® dial delivers precitions fit and easy micro-adjustment
  • Strong, synthetic perforated upper materials hold up to off-road rider demands
  • Durable GnarGuard rubberised coating protects against abrasions and other damage from trail debris
  • Nylon composite Bronze Series sole provides stiff yet walkable performance
  • Stiffness index: 6 of 14
  • Tachyon rubber outsole allows great grip on any surface
  • Compatible with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats

Here’s our take after a few weeks of riding with them on traditional country mountain bike trails, gnarly wilderness mountain bike trails, mountain bike jump lines and gravel bike rides.


They immediately felt good from the first ride. Very comfortable and definitely a slightly roomy toe box, which is great if you have wider feet. With the Boa lacing all the way down there is consistent firmness with no tight spots that you sometimes get with combo closure systems.


Although we haven’t been riding in them for long in terms of duration, we have done many rides in the Evokes and can confidently say we’re impressed with the construction of both the sole and the upper. The perforated upper is strong enough to fend off scuffs and potential tears (that happen with mesh uppers), but still somewhat breatheable. Even on long rides (more than 5 hours) on hot days, we never felt sweaty or hot feet. The GnarGuard fabric on the toe and heel is exceptionally strong, and the stitching/glue to the sole is superb. The Tachyon rubber outsole is super grippy and durable. Our test pair hardly shows any wear here at all and that includes regular dismounts to push up steep, rocky slopes.


The two key performance factors for us are always how well the shoe holds your foot when pedalling – mostly in the pulling up action; and how well your power transfers to the pedal. For the former, the heel cup is a good height, but not too tight, ensuring predictable, consisten ‘hold’. It’s not super firm, but then it’s not a super high-performance shoe. For the latter, the sole stiffness index of 6 out of 14 is stiff enough for adequate power transfer, but without the harshness of a super-stiff sole. The single Boa closure is also ideal for most riding, but not for high performance racers, who need a more secure feel, especially for the pulling up action during pedalling on steep, technical ascents.

At 836g for the pair (with SPD cleats), the Evoke isn’t light, but they don’t feel that heavy when you’re riding, only when you’re walking.


A good-looking, high-quality shoe that’s ideal for all but the most competitive racers. As with all Bontrager shoes, the Evoke carries a 30-day unconditional guarantee.

PRICE: R1999

COLOURS: Matt Black, Battleship Blue/Radioactive Orange

More information here