Home
Verdict: 
Super-stiff, supportive and comfortable road shoes, the only hurdle being the big price
Weight: 
516g
Bont Vaypor S
9 10

Bont's Vaypor S shoes are super-stiff yet they provide an excellent level of comfort... but you do have to stump up a whopping great wad of cash if you want to enjoy them!

The Vaypor shoes have evolved a little since we first reviewed them on road.cc back in 2012, but they're still incredibly stiff.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The soles are handmade from unidirectional Toray carbon fibre and they just don't flex. There are quite a lot of stiff-soled shoes out there these days if you're prepared to pay top-end prices, but the Vaypor S takes things to another level. For what it's worth, Bont claims that the sole boasts the highest strength to weight ratio of any cycling shoe currently available. I don't know if that's true, but I can detect absolutely no flex at all.

Those soles are tub-shaped – they extend up around the sides of your feet, not just at the heel but in all other areas too. It feels like this is providing stability and support as you pedal. The curved-up sides could potentially cause discomfort if your feet pushed hard against them anywhere, but for the fact that the soles are heat mouldable.

Bont Vaypor S - side.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - side.jpg

Moulding the soles is a relatively simple process: you just heat an oven to 70°C and then put your shoes inside for 20 minutes. After taking them out you can alter the fit of any tight areas with something like the round end of a screwdriver. You can repeat the process as many times as you like. The EVA innersoles are heat mouldable too.

I find the Bont sole particularly comfortable because its distinctive shape is closer to that of my foot than many other shoes, and I suspect the same is true for many other people. I don't feel like anything is being squashed, squeezed or cajoled here, and I've never experienced any hot spots with the Vaypor S. I know this might sound like nonsense, but a lot of shoes simply aren't all that foot shaped! The outline of the Bont sole looks like the outline of a foot, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

Bont Vaypor S - sole heel.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - sole heel.jpg

The outer sole has heel and toe guards to provide some protection and grip, and a grid on the forefoot makes matching up your cleat positioning a cinch.

Bont Vaypor S - sole toe.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - sole toe.jpg

The uppers are made from Durolite synthetic material, which looks a lot like leather and wipes clean quickly and easily. Beneath that there's a proprietary material that, Bont says, has 'similar strength characteristics to Kevlar'. I'm not sure whether or not it'll stop bullets, but I do know that it doesn't stretch so your feet are held firmly in place.

Two Boa IP1 dials take care of closure. If you've not used Boas before, they work superbly. You can do them up tight to prevent unwanted foot movement while sprinting, they're super-easy to adjust one-handed from the saddle, and you just pull the dial outwards to release the tension completely. If you smash one up in a crash, it's pretty simple to replace too.

Bont Vaypor S - Boa.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - Boa.jpg

Compared to some shoes the Vaypor S doesn't offer a huge amount of padding, but don't make the mistake of assuming that results in a lack of comfort. There's a small depth of cell memory foam around the top of the opening (the 'collar') and the heel, and the tongue provides cushioning against the Boa dials and laces, and I've found it to be perfectly sufficient.

Bont Vaypor S - heels.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - heels.jpg

This foam doesn't retain water, which is good news when you sweat or get caught in the rain – as I did last week in a freaky Italian storm. My feet didn't dry particularly quickly afterwards because I had wet socks, but at least the shoes didn't feel too heavy and they weren't still damp the following morning.

> Buyer's Guide: The best performance cycling shoes

You get ventilation courtesy of holes in the uppers above your toes and across the tongue. There are also vents in the toe bumper and the foot arch. You can certainly get shoes that offer more ventilation via mesh panels, though, if that's something you particularly need.

Bont Vaypor S - toe.jpg

Bont Vaypor S - toe.jpg

You might think that this is a gushing review, but Bont's Vaypor S shoes are something special. You can get lighter shoes and you can get ones with more ventilation, but these are stiff-soled, supportive, secure and very comfortable. Too bad they're not cheap as well.

Verdict

Super-stiff, supportive and comfortable road shoes, the only hurdle being the big price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bont Vaypor S

Size tested: 46

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Bont says, "Lighter, Stronger, Faster.

"Designed for speed and comfort.

"The Vaypor S once again redefines the standards of pro level road cycling shoes. Our latest flagship shoe has been further refined to improve on our already industry leading standards. Wether you are a pro racer or simply a rider who demands the finest, the Vaypor S will provide the most anatomically and biomechanically correct platform with the most efficient power transfer platform currently available."

These are top-level shoes for performance-minded riders.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Bont gives a lot of information behind its design at http://www.bontcycling.com/products/road/vaypor-s/index.htm Check it out to see if you're convinced by the brand's technical reasoning.

Bont lists these tech specs:

Material Unidirectional Carbon Monocoque Chassis with Durolite Upper and Faux Seude Leather Liner

Stack Height 3.6 mm

Air Vents Frontal area air vents and air gills in arch area

Innersole EVA thermo-mouldable

Sole Guards Replaceable heel guard

Padding Memory Foam

Cleat Mounting MM grid plus grip / 3 Hole Look Configuration

Fit Customisation Fully Heat Mouldable Chassis utilising Epoxy Thermoset Resin

Closing Options Dual Dial Retention System with Kevlar wiring

Color Options White, Black, Black/White

Sizing Option Stock, Wide & Narrow Fit, Full Custom

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Everything is very well made using high-quality materials, such as the Durolite upper, Toray carbon-fibre sole, Boa dials...

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They're stiff, secure, supportive and comfortable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

They stand up to regular use very well. I've not crashed in these, thankfully, but I've hit the deck in a previous version of the Vaypor and the damage was no more or less than you'd expect with other shoes.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

The forefoot feels less tight than you get with some other shoes, so your toes can move. The heat mouldable aspect of the design isn't a gimmick; it works and it's relatively easy if you follow the instructions.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

I took the same size here as I do with other brands. You can get wide fits in some sizes.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Yes, these are very expensive shoes, but check out the materials used (see above) and the performance.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

It's easy to wipe them clean after wet/dirty rides. You can get grit in the vent holes but it comes out with a bit of effort.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

These shoes perform superbly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The super-stiff sole and the level of comfort on offer.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is, um, challenging. Don't get me wrong, the Vaypor S works hard to justify the cost, but you have to say that £300+ is a lot of money to spend on cycling shoes.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I was going to spend £300+ on any cycling shoes it would be these.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The performance is so good that even a £325 price tag can't stop these getting a 9.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

6 comments

Avatar
pwake [422 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

It's hard to explain how good Bonts are unless you've tried them; I'm on my second pair of Vapors (first pair only replaced due to crash damage) and can't see myself ever switching to another brand. They are stiff AF but so comfortable. I always used to have issues with 'hot foot' on longer rides with stiff soled shoes; I tried Northwave, Specialized and Sidi, but that's never happened with the Bonts.

When you consider it logically, the tub construction is a 'no brainer' for stiffness and light weight; Google beam bending theory and sectional modulus and you'll see what I mean.

Avatar
sammutd88 [39 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Agree with the above. I have a pair of Vaypor + and they are great. Getting the width in the toe box was a huge issue for me and Bont get the shape right. They may not be the most fashionable or lustworthy but they are the best for wide feet. 

Avatar
nadsta [172 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
sammutd88 wrote:

Agree with the above. I have a pair of Vaypor + and they are great. Getting the width in the toe box was a huge issue for me and Bont get the shape right. They may not be the most fashionable or lustworthy but they are the best for wide feet. 

 

Bont Vaypor+ in a wide fit were too narrow for my toes, I tried moulding loads and even had Sigma sport heat them up and attack them with a screwdriver but they never gave enough. I swapped to Shimano R321s wide fit which are perfect

Avatar
reippuert [67 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
pwake wrote:

It's hard to explain how good Bonts are unless you've tried them; I'm on my second pair of Vapors (first pair only replaced due to crash damage) and can't see myself ever switching to another brand. They are stiff AF but so comfortable. I always used to have issues with 'hot foot' on longer rides with stiff soled shoes; I tried Northwave, Specialized and Sidi, but that's never happened with the Bonts.

When you consider it logically, the tub construction is a 'no brainer' for stiffness and light weight; Google beam bending theory and sectional modulus and you'll see what I mean.

Totally Agree. When i got a pair if of A2's  a few years ago it was like a revelation compared to my trusted SIDI's (Ergo 2 with carbon soles  - in the 90'ies i rode Techno's). BEfore i got the A2's  i bought a pair of nice Giro's for my MTB tried out a par of really lightweight and comfortable Mavic's roadshoes. Both appeard to comfortable but when riding them there was not much difference to my almost 10 years old Sidi's.

The A2's did not appear to be comfortable but fit arround the heel flet almost as secure as with the sid's, after molding they where a little less uncomfortable and it was really wird that i could wiggle my toes - it felt like wearing a bathtub. Once i started riding them the revelation came to live - you could feel that power transfer  from s o'clock to 9 o'clock was massively improved - and even more surprisingly long term comfort was 2nd to none - tiredness arround the outer toes after +4-5 hours is non existant, even after 8-10 hours feet feels like i just put on the shoes.

Bonts are in my humble opinion the best shoes out there - best way to describe them is its like like wearing no shoes.

 

moldablility is nice and flexible but i think the two main advantages are  that their are designed with room arround you toes in mind, and the sole extends to up ABOVE youre forefoot. Additionally stack height is really low.

when i comes to Vapor's they are expensive but with the A2 you get 99% of the fuctionality and little more weight and a little higher stackheight  - A2's are sold for almost 1/3 of the Vapour 

Reg stackheight its still lower than anything out the incl the new mavic exo-skeloton model).

Reg the full carbon sole on the Vapour vs the glasfiber/carbon shoe in the A2  i'd say it doesnt matter  - stiffness still exeeds anything out there.

Bora or velcro+straps - doesnt matter, actually i often ride mine without closing the, fit aaroun the heel and the forefoot is so perfect that you can ride them un tied.

 

reg RIOTS - i recent, i got a pair for MTB, they are ok but they lack the full bathtub cinstruction thus molding is far more importand (and they require much more molding) long term comfort, fit does not come near my A2's  because they are designed like a standard cycle shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
part_robot [197 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I also found Bont Vaypor+ Wide too narrow. Additionally the toebox was too shallow and the rounded edges of the tub restricted the width further by causing my toes to bunch over each other. In the end I went for Lake CX237 Wide which were a revelation in terms of comfort and are the only "true" wide cycling shoes I've tried. Look beautiful too IMO.

That said Bonts are great though and I'm told the design of the Vaypor S solves some of the issues I've mentioned.

Avatar
steviemarco [228 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I had a pair of the original Vaypor's and after 3 moulding sessions still they didn't feel 100% right. Also, a few of the cleat fixings were loose (no I didn't heat them too much either, used an oven thermometer and not the generic one on the front of the oven) so had to use pliers inside the shoe to hold nut while tightening the cleat. They were stiff though. I had them in fluo colour and I think they looked amazing I just wish I could have gotten away with them as I'd still be wearing them now, 4 years on.