Bont Vaypor XC shoes £225

Brutally stiff yet remarkably comfy

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Bont are extremely well known in the world of road cycling, with sideburned superstar Sir Bradley Wiggins using their race slippers to propel him to victory in the Tour.

The Vaypor XC shoes are the company’s off-road versions, and they’re quite an unusual take on cycling shoes. They ditch the conventional stiff shank running along the sole for a carbon fibre ‘tub’ that your foot sits into instead.

They're very stiff, and are actually very comfy thanks to the extra support that shape gives. They’re heat mouldable too, so pop them in the oven (on low) for 20 minutes, slip them on and they’ll match your feet perfectly. Any pressure points can be eased out with a screwdriver handle or similar.

The memory-foam padding is comfortable and the toe box is much wider than most race shoes, allowing the velcro toe strap and instep ratchet to securely fix your foot in place.

Power transfer is direct, unsurprisingly, and when you're off the bike, the lack of flex means you won’t be running anywhere in a hurry. Nevertheless, we did several extended hike-a-bikes without ending up crippled, despite our burning calves.

The grippy tread is replaceable, there’s a small rubber mid-section should you miss clipping in, and small bumpers protect the shoe from knocks and wear. They can’t stop the bondage-style microfibre outer suffering fairly quickly with heavy use, and those carbon soles are a little haggard too. At this price, you might want to keep them strictly for racing rather than trail-bashing duties.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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