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Bontrager Anara review

Bontrager Anara review
27 Jul 2015

Look past the pink and the Bontrager Anaras have an array of great features that are rare on entry level shoes.

Cyclist Rating: 
Boa dial rare at this price
Fit a little too roomy

As the introductory model into Bontrager’s high-end women’s road shoe range, the Anara seemed like an ideal choice for a regular commuter who often enjoys longer weekend excursions into the green of England’s countryside.

Bontrager describe them as being ideal for riding “1 mile or 100”. With some key performance and style features they are trying to catch the attention of a rider who is starting to take her cycling more seriously, and looking to get kitted out.  The fact this shoe is compatible with both the 2-bolt SPD style and 3-bolt cleat shows Bontrager’s idea of where this shoe fits within its range.

On first inspection they look an awful lot like many of the other women’s road shoes currently on the market; black leather-effect upper and bright pink highlights, right down to the reflective detailing on the heel. Once you’ve got past the pink, the Anaras are a paired down and stylish looking shoe, I am definitely glad to see women’s cycling shoes move away from whites and pastels and into the darker, more classic look. 

At £129.99 they are one of the few women’s shoes available that offer a Boa dial at this price and the first in Bontrager’s range to do so. The combination of the long Boa cable and soft upper makes the shoe very easy to slip on, however the “slightly roomier” fit means it has to be tightened as far as possible to create a tight and secure feeling that is comfortable to ride in. Although very comfortable now, there is a concern that after a few months of riding and breaking in, the upper will stretch and feel even roomier.

The shoe feels light to wear and the cut out soles are thin yet relatively stiff while shaving grams off the overall weight. The stiffness of the sole allows a good transfer of power through the pedals however after a while in the saddle the shoes became uncomfortable. With the Boa dial tightened at the top of the shoe the Velcro at the bottom could not match its holding power. This made me conscious that while applying pressure through the pedals, the ball of my foot slipped around inside the shoe. To counter this from happening I had to tense my foot up, which ached after a while of riding. Going down a size may have sorted this problem out, unless you have wider than normal feet suited to a spacious shoe.

Overall, if you are looking to start upgrading some of your kit these are a great stylish place to start, offering many features rarely available in this price bracket. The reflective stripes on the heel are a subtle and welcome addition to darker commutes home and join the commuter and weekend rider shoe together. By creating a roomier shoe to attract the casual riders Bontrager may have caused some sizing and performance issues that they hoped to solve.



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