Bont Riot shoes £99.99

Mouldable, high-performance footwear

BikeRadar score 4/5

Aussie shoe purveyor Bont has expanded its range to appeal to those on more limited budgets, with its new entry-level Riots under a ton.

Carbon soles at this price are few and far between, and the more common composite soles that use carbon or fibreglass for strength are often a performance compromise. Bont uses a carbon composite construction and its own proprietary resin, which it's been developing over 36 years.

Heating the shoes in the oven for 20 minutes at 70C/158F makes the very stiff resin become pliable, so when worn, they’ll mould to the shape of your feet. You don’t have to mould them, but they can be heat moulded as many times as you like to achieve the perfect fit.

The three bolt-only soles do have an alignment grid, but this is disappointing and nowhere near as good as those on previous Bont shoes. The sole forms a tub that rises high at the heel and over the big toe, and stands about 20mm tall around the forefoot, with the hardwearing microfibre upper stitched and bonded to it, and the ankle ratchet strap anchored through it for security. They’re handmade, which resulted in slightly unequal weights between shoes, but our size 45s weighed a very impressive 638g.

Unlike previous Bonts, the Riot backs up the large side perforations with mesh sections on top for extra ventilation, and a vented padded tongue. The liner and insole are better padded and less frugal than Bont’s more costly cousins, proving very comfortable, and the increased ventilation proved to be effective – even in the recent heat wave.

The Riot’s major selling point is that sole, which with a stack height of just 4.8mm is very efficient – but feels every bit as stiff as more exotic, much more expensive shoes. Heel retention, arch support and stability are superb, and we couldn’t feel any flex climbing or sprinting.

The V-shape forefoot Velcro strap is secure but not vice-like, though the micro-adjust ankle ratchet can slightly crease the upper when tightened hard. The heel and toe bumpers are replaceable, and the Riots come in sizes 36-50 with four half sizes, which should cover most of us.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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