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by Anne-Marije Rook
October 5, 2016
In this edition of Women’s Product Picks, we take a look at Specialized’s women’s helmets and top-end shoes, Bontrager’s Meraj shoes and race-specific saddle, as well as Prologo’s women’s endurance saddle.
Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:
Bontrager’s Meraj women’s road shoe was first introduced in the 2016 product line to offer a high-performance, race-ready road shoe to female riders. A year later, the shoe is still on par with what the rest of the market has to offer.
A sister model to the men’s Velocis, the lightweight shoe features a carbon/fiberglass composite sole with a stiffness index of 10 out of 14, and the two-way adjustable Boa IP1 closure and toe strap.
In keeping the weight down and the shoe airy, the Meraj sports mesh ventilation on the top of the toe and perforated side panels.
Available in white with cyan accents and black with purple accents, the Meraj women’s shoe is less flashy than the current trend of bright colourways, but while understated, there is no doubt that this is a high-performance shoe.
The composite sole isn’t the stiffest Bontrager has to offer, which offers a range up to 14, but they are by no means flexible or soft. When climbing and sprinting, there’s no sense of power loss or deflection. If anything, the compliance is a good thing as it makes for a very comfortable shoe no matter how long you’re in the saddle.
The inside sole is fairly flat with little arch support, which for me is a good thing. But should you want more arch support, Bontrager does offer heat-mouldable insoles, sold separately.
I’m a big fan of the Boa system and the IP1 dial is my favourite as it allows you to adjust both ways –to loosen or tighten while riding — and simply pull upwards to undo the closure alltogether for a quick removal of the shoe. The Boa system offers plenty of support in the midsection of the foot but I did find the toe box to be a bit roomy. The toe strap does offer some adjustment there yet when tightened down snugly, there’s some extra fabric that creases out to the sides.
Why we like it:
Lightweight and stiff yet comfortable enough for all day riding.
The Meraj being Bontrager’s top of the line women’s shoe, it does lack the heel cup support and overall snugness needed for pure performance riding (i.e.: sprinting).
Price: $219.99 USD, $249.00 AUD, £179.99