The Bontrager Evoke Mountain Shoe is a great entry-level shoe that straddles the line between gravel and trail use. It's solidly built with an aggressive tread and decent grip in all terrain, but it's weighty and not the most comfortable.
The Evoke follows a simple, tried-and-tested design with three Velcro straps to keep them in place. All around upper are perforations for airflow into the shoe, and the Tachyon rubber outsole is aggressively treaded for off-bike grip. There are also mounts for spikes at the toe.
The Evoke uses Bontrager's inForm Race last, which delivers a roomy fit around the ball of the foot. Its GnarGuard protects the toe and heel.
While the extra room is noticeable around the ball of the foot, the Evoke is still a slim shoe. Those with wider feet should make sure to try them on before buying.
Compared to similar shoes, it's no featherweight because of its thick rubber sole. However, it’s stiffness negates the weight and it feels efficient on the bike.
While the fit is generally good, the tongue is a little long and can dig into the front of the ankle. That in turn pushes the tongue into the shoe, causing it to fold over and dig into the top of the toes. It's not uncomfortable enough for me to write them off, but it’s definitely a niggle that isn’t easily forgotten during a ride.
Because of the perforations dotted around the shoes, they're not very well weather protected. While the perforations do an excellent job of keeping your feet cool, they welcome water in a little too well. The Evoke is best kept as a summer shoe.
Off the bike, the Evoke is perfectly pleasant to walk about in thanks to its scooped toe, and the tread is impressively grippy both on hard and soft ground.
For the money, the Bontrager Evoke is good if not outstanding. It’s comfortable enough for shorter rides, it’s cool and it gets the job done, but you could get a lighter, more comfortable shoe for not much more cash.
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