As a videographer who mainly films mountain biking, shoes are one piece of my kit that I take very seriously.
A good shoe gives me the confidence to run around on any type of terrain while filming and not worry about slipping on a rock face or catching my foot and tumbling down the trail, camera gear in hand.
The Flatline Mountain shoe is the first pair of Bontrager flats I have owned, and I can confidently say that they are my favorite mountain biking shoe I have ever used—they seem to have struck the perfect combo of materials and construction. Out of the box, the Flatline feels and looks extremely durable.
A synthetic leather upper on the shoe looks nice and provides great weather proofing and protection. A strip of grippy material on the toe and heel also provides reinforcement in two highly exposed spots. Right away I noticed how comfortable the Flatlines are, it’s like wearing regular tennis shoes with clean lines. Personally, I appreciate the fact that shoe designers aren’t listening to Chad Muska anymore.
The Vibram soles seem to have a rubber compound that provides the perfect balance between having your shoe stick to the pedal while still providing adjustability when needed. Off the bike, the Vibram soles provide superb grip on any type of surface, thanks to two very different sole patterns. The toe and heel areas feature a zig-zag pattern that provides a bit more grip thanks to the extra surface area. The center of the shoe has a nice block design that hooks up well with any type of flat pedal.
I’ve ridden the Flatlines with three different flat pedals: Oneup Aluminum pedals, RaceFace composite Chesters and ANVL Tilt alloy pedals. The Flatlines performed admirably with each, even though all three pedals have a different style of pins.
I’ve learned that my wide foot makes finding the perfect fitting shoe a struggle sometimes. Slipping the Flatlines on, I immediately noticed there is plenty of room in the toe box (definitely on the wider side of shoes) while the heel cup still locks your heel in place. Another great feature that I love is the elastic on the tongue, which makes my foot feel nice a snug as soon as it’s in the shoe.
After a long ride, I usually want to get my shoes off as soon as possible, let the old dogs breathe a bit. The laces are easily undone making getting the Flatlines on and off really easy. The laces are on the longer side, however, a small strap is integrated on the top of the tongue to hold the laces down and out of your drive train.
My foot has a pretty high arch, which necessitates more support in an insole that most shoes have. The stock Ortholite insoles weren’t too bad, but after about a week of riding I decide to switch to something more supportive. I put in a pair of Super Feet that work well with the shoe and make my feet much happier after a long day on the bike.
I’ve been super impressed with the Flatline Mountain Shoe. The durability has been nothing but stellar, and I haven’t had any major issues. These shoes are comfortable on and off the bike, fit a wider foot without trouble and don’t stick out like an experimental skate shoe from the ‘90s. Although Bontrager might not be a name people think of as a top contender in gravity focused mountain bike shoes, they’ve nailed it with the Flatline Shoe.
Bontrager Flatline Shoe
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