Bont Cycling shoes review – Vaypor and Riot MTB
I have been using the Bont Vaypor for over a year now and I decided to give try to their mountain bike shoes too. My main cycling training is done on the roads, so I chose to go with the Bont Riot MTB, as I would not need a hardcore offroad shoe. I am going to talk about the two shoes here in the meantime, because outside of weight, there is no difference what so ever. Well there is one, what is sizing. I am going 48 with the Vaypor and had to size down with the RIOT ! It is stated on this way on the official BONT website too. Their sizing guide is excellent and yes, you should follow it. I have been riding with 2 pairs of BONT cycling shoes, but also used their size chart to determine the size of a performance roller skating boot. It always worked out fine. Great work guys !!! Just like Altra !
Bont shoes are wide
They are wider then usual and more curvier cycling shoes. Curvier; I mean the curb of the toebox is a lot more forgiving than any other shoes in the market. In addition, with their customised models, even extreme footed individuals can find their options.
This is going to be the very first selling point to this brand’s shoes. We can find wide shoe options in the market, but still with a very much unnaturally tapered toebox. I customised a couple of NW shoes, by heating them and gapping out the inner with metal sticks overnight on the radiator and it worked out fine. However you should not have to do this with a 300 euro shoe. You just want to make sure it is the perfect fit.
Bont shoes have customised fit
Fit is the second part of the advantages. Both shoes are resin filled. The Riot is 100% fibre, plastic and resin while the Vaypor is Carbon fibre and some resin. This leads to a thermo-mouldable frame. You can place your naked shoes in the oven on 75 to 80°C for 18 to 20minutes and shape it to your feet. I recommend to place the shoe, after the heating, on a soft surface (yoga-mat), then stand in it with a thick pair of socks and kind of move around in it. Lightly shifting your weight around on the inside. Try to tighten the ratchets as well, but slowly and not to full tightness. If you found hotspots, get the back of a screw driver and forcefully apply pressure where it needed on a controlled fashion.
TIP: Metal is more conducting than plastic, silicon or paper. Place your shoes in the preheated oven, on other than the rails of the oven or metal cooking tray. I used a silicon cookie sheet, but you can get a thick slice of cardboard or sg. Preheat the oven and don’t turn the fan on ! I find that 15 minutes are not enough and 20might be too much. 18 is great ! Remove the ratchets if you can, but definitely take off the insole and no cleats should be present. Once in the shoe, do not ever try to walk in them ! You can break the sole ! I mean literally, you can bend it and break it ! 10minutes of staying in the shoe is enough, but over 15 is completely unnecessary. Wait a day(24h) if you could, but at least 3hours, before you go for that bike ride !
Most cycling shoes are built around a flat platform. Even if the thickest and highest density carbon was used, this leaves the structure vulnerable to flex, especially long term. Bont shoes are made to stay stiff, by using a cradle shaped sole. It has edges or let’s just say walls. Imagine bending a metal sheet or trying to bend train rail. Maybe visualise breaking a bath-tub into two. I don’t have better exemples. It is stiff as ! I mean I never encountered as stiff. I mean it for both shoes, RIOT and Vaypor.
This leaves us with a performance oriented shoe. Yes, these are not your coffee shop visiting slippers. It is really a pain in the ass to be walking in both. Running up for 15sec max on a slope during an MTB or cyclocross race is ok, but not standing or walking in them for long time. Do not try using these for enduro / all-mountain mtb-ing nor for cyclo-tourisme. They are not intended to ! No “portage” !
You have already heard the pros. One single thing I have to mention. If I wanted to ride hard for an hour it would be okay, but for a full day in the saddle, the insoles are just very thin. You feel the carbon against your feet ! I mean all the vibration and road texture is felt through the sole. Having a super stiff 6.7kg carbon bike do not help either. I simply added a pair of cheap shock absorbing insoles. These are non contoured flat inner soles costing 10bucks. Makes the difference between being in heaven or hell.
(How did I test out these shoes ? Well I rode all summer of 2017 in the Vaypor doing many 200km + rides and since December I have been spending basically 6hours a day 6 days a week in the RIOT MTB doing messenger work. Well not in the last 2 weeks, cause temperatures dropped to sub 10°C and it is way too cold to wear bike shoes. I am actually now riding in LOWA Tibet , cause the humidity, the melting snow and the windchill just freezes your feet ! – Either ways, they are both tried, tested and approved !!!)