Bont, who started out manufacturing speed-skating shoes, have only been making cycling footwear for a few years but already their products have been seen on the feet of riders such as Thor Hushovd and Bradley Wiggins.
The Vaypor is their new top model and features fully mouldable uppers and soles. Rather than just slipping them on and adjusting the straps to fit, you pop them in the oven at 70°C for 20 minutes or so, remove, wait until they’ve cooled enough to touch, then put them on and adjust the straps and buckle. As they cool, the uppers mould around the top of your feet while the bathtub shaped base moulds around your sole.
The result is a wonderfully close and secure ﬁt. If you suffer from bunions or bumps you can shape the softened shell with the blunt handle of a screwdriver, pressing out the shell where needed, and don’t be worried if you don’t get the ﬁt right ﬁrst time because they can be reformed as many times as you like.
Once on, they’re adjusted with a diagonal toe strap and a wide padded ratcheted top strap, a combination that lets you strap them down signiﬁcantly closer than standard shoes without pinching.
The sole is much stiffer than anything else we’ve tried, which is impressive for a shoe that weighs just 282g (size 45). It’s also thin, giving you the feeling that you’re really connected to the pedals, although the low stack height meant adjusting our saddle height fractionally before riding with them.
With shoes this stiff we expected some discomfort on longer rides, but the opposite was true. They’re so stiff and stable our feet were never allowed to roll or move around to create any kind of friction or heat build-up.
The ﬁnish is cleaner than Bonts of old, but being essentially a handmade shoe the joints and bonding can look a little crafted when compared with better ﬁnished footwear from the likes of Specialized or Fizik.
Okay, £225 is a lot to pay for a race shoe, but it’s cheaper than both the previous top shoe, the CTT-one, and the previous second-in-line A-one. It’s rare that an improved product comes with a lower pricetag, and we reckon that’s something Bont should be applauded for. An extra £25 will get you the premium version Vaypor with laminated silver glass ﬁbre straps or upper.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.