Revamped Bontrager Circuit road shoes cost less, add comfort and performance

New laminated upper materials, a sturdier hold, and better ventilation than the previous version.

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Bontrager’s previous Circuit road shoes offered excellent value and very good performance, and the newly redesigned version promised to improve that ratio even further. 

Upper materials get upgraded from the previous synthetic leather to a thinner and more flexible laminated mesh-and-TPU construction for a more supple feel, while the old hard plastic lace guides now switch to softer fabric ones to eliminate potential hotspots. Additional notches along the edges of the eyestay are said to provide even more flexibility so as to be more accommodating of different instep heights, and a more heavily reinforced heel counter promises a better hold.

The updated upper material features TPU laminated over mesh.

In addition to being more flexible, the new upper material is supposedly more breathable, and it’s also augmented with an array of larger perforations relative to the previous Circuit. Up front, there’s a new sole vent under the toe, too.

The one-way adjustable Boa L6 dials carry over (albeit with updated dials), and Bontrager is also sticking with the inForm Race last for this model, which offers just a bit more breathing room around the midfoot and ball area relative to the brand’s most performance-oriented inForm Pro shape.

All of this is attached to a fiber-reinforced nylon “Bronze Series” plate — rated 7 out of 14 on Bontrager’s in-house stiffness scale — that works with both three-bolt and two-bolt cleats (as did the previous version). Two-bolt cleats require users to purchase the steel cleat insert separately, but it’s nice to see the extra versatility on tap, anyway.

The fiber-reinforced nylon plate certainly isn’t the stiffest, lightest, or thinnest one Bontrager has in its catalog, but it gets the job done and is compatible with both three-hole and two-hole cleats.

Actual weight for a set of size 43 shoes is 555 grams.

Bontrager is offering the new Circuit in five colors, and retail price has actually dropped slightly to US$135 / AU$220 / £130 / €140 — meaning that these shoes have not only gotten better, but have also gotten more affordable, too. 

Now that’s a trend I can really get behind.

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