BONTRAGER FLATLINE SHOES REVIEW
Words & Photos by Sourpatch | Action Photo by Dusten Ryen
When I started mountain biking almost ten years ago, it seemed like FiveTen was the only brand anyone ever talked about, despite the offerings from other brands, FiveTen’s rubber and shoes were built for an underserved demographic of riders. Fast forward to today and FiveTen is about the last company I think about when it comes to mountain bike shoes. Now that there are plenty of solid options that don’t look like futuristic hiking shoes, riders have a lot more to think about when it comes time to buy a new pair of riding shoes.
Bontrager has been in the shoe game for a long time and have some solid offerings these days as they’ve done some major revamping. Bontrager sponsored our recent eMTB Roundup and supplied a slew of their Flatline flat pedal shoes and the recently reviewed Rally clipless shoes. We excitedly put ten pairs of shoes to the test in the incredibly demanding Palm Springs, CA desert and our home trails ever since coming back.
The Flatline is the only flat-pedal specific mountain bike shoe in Bontrager’s footwear line up. Like most flat pedal shoes, the Flatlines have a casual, skate-like appearance with very minimal styling. They’re perfect for those that want a shoe they can wear on a ride, or to the local watering hole. Bontrager kept the Flatlines clean with a traditional lace closure system and solid black color offering with a hint of orange. Bontrager does offer two other colorways, which are a bit more boisterous.
Getting into the technicalities, Bontrager equipped the Flatline with durable Vibram rubber outsoles. The outsoles themselves have a uniformed tread pattern which provides a proper connection between the pedal and shoe. Bontrager also added directional tread in the toe and heel sections to provide plenty of traction should one find themselves off the bike hiking up or down the trail.
Cushioning on the Flatlines come in the form of an EVA midsole and offers a nice ride. It’s not as refined as Ride Concepts use of D30, but the shoes are also not as stiff, which means they’re a bit softer under foot anyhow. The upper on the Flatlines is comprised of a durable, synthetic leather. Like the Rally Clipless shoes, the Flatlines use the same “GnarGuard” coating on the toe box and heel area. We scuffed these shoes on lots of rocks, cacti and dirt over the last few months and they still look great.