You know how sometimes a product leaves you with that “Just OK” feeling? It’s not bad, but never quite gets to great either, just kind of lives in the middle ground? That, for me, has been the Foray gravel/MTB shoes from Bontrager.
If you are not a big fan of Lycra or you tend toward more casual options, then technical clothing like this Adventure line from Bontrager falls into the gap between hucking and crits. This approach of a snug fitting short, not loose like a full baggie, and good looking enough to wear around town, when combined with casual looking jerseys or shirts in high tech fabrics…well it reminds me a lot of what was called ‘Touring Clothing’ in days gone by.
The RX8 does what a gravel bike does. It takes what was a road thing, for smooth paved surfaces, and it makes it into a rough road, dirt road thing. Gravel riding is not mountain biking, (despite the cross-over at some points), and the demands of road riding are a bit closer related to what we do on gravel “roads” than what people need to have for single track. Therefore; it is my opinion that a slightly modified road shoe is what will do the job best, and Shimano has knocked it out of the park with the RX8
As is often said, the best apparel and components simply “disappear” while riding, leaving you to enjoy the ride. The RX8 shoes from Shimano are the definition of such an apparel item. While either walking a gnarly, muddy dirt road or riding up and down hill and vale, the RX8 just got out of my way and let me do my thing.