Good grip combined with durability
The Bontrager Flatline shoe has good grip, flexes enough so you can feel the pedal and it’s hardwearing. It’s not perfect though.
I’ve been riding the new Bontrager Flatline shoe since it launched just over six months ago and apart from a little scuffing where the inside of the right shoe rubs on the crank arm they are still going strong, with very little in the away of pin damage to the rubber sole.
Yes, the Vibram outer sole looks kind of funky with its shallow blocky tread but it grips a treat, without locking your foot into a single position. Grip is further improved with sufficient flex in the sole so the shoe can wrap around the pedal more than other Vibram soled shoes we’ve tried. It helps too that the mid-sole on the Flatline is really shallow, so you get less rollover especially when climbing, just like you would on pedals with a thinner platforms.
On longer rides the roomy toe box and comfy Ortholite insole stops your toes going to sleep or getting cold and the synthetic leather upper has just the right amount of protection to keep most wheel spray and water splashes from soaking your feet.
The upper feels a little flimsy, or to be more accurate it lacks the support of a Five Ten Freerider Pro or even the Specialized 2FO 2.0 so it feels more like and comfy old pair Vans than high-performance mountain bike shoe.
If you only get one thing right with a flat pedal shoe it needs to be the rubber outer sole. Without adequate grip not amount of fancy upper features will make it a good shoe. These use Vibram rubber, and while it’s got a great reputation amongst climbers, historically it’s struggled to find its footing in mountain biking. The new Bontager Flatline shoe goes along way to addressing that, but it still not got the measure of the 510 Freerider Pro even though it will probably last a lot longer.