Bont's Vaypor+ shoes are super-comfortable, durable and provide loads of foot stability as you ride.
The basis of the Vaypor+ is Bont's unidirectional carbon 'chassis' – the sole that extends upwards around the sides of your foot to form a tub shape.
A lot of other brands do something similar at the rear of the foot to keep your heel stable through the pedal stroke. Having the sole extend upwards at the front is more unusual (it's partly hidden under the upper so you can't see how far up it extends). The idea is that it stops your foot from tipping inward (pronation) or outward (supination) as you pedal – issues that can lead to pain and injury – and I find that it works.
This kind of design could be a problem for people with particularly wide feet because they can't rely on the suppleness of the upper to provide more space. However, Bonts tend to be popular with wide-footed riders partly because of the shape (see below) and partly because you can heat-mould the sole yourself at home, which is much simpler than you might think. You just heat them in the oven and push out any tight areas with the rounded end of a screwdriver, or something similar. (Have a look here.)
Also, Bonts are available in wide fits and the UK distributor ZyroFisher stocks the wider models in the most popular sizes.
The other thing you'll notice about all Bont soles is the unusual shape that's closer to that of your foot than most other brands out there. My feet just aren't the same shape as most shoes, so there's always something getting pushed or pressed. I find that the Bont shape doesn't constrict the forefoot at all, so I don't get discomfort even on very long rides.
The upper is made from kangaroo leather that's supple straight from the box. Beneath that there's another layer made from a material that, according to Bont, has similar strength characteristics to Kevlar. It's stitched to the outer leather and bonded to the cow hide internal lining, and it doesn't stretch at all so your feet are held firmly in place.
Memory foam padding helps with comfort. It's low profile but provides all the cushioning you're likely to need. The insoles are made from EVA foam rubber and they're thin too, but equally comfortable. Like the outer soles, they're heat mouldable so you can get them to conform precisely to your foot shape.
Two of Boa's IP1 dials take care of closure, the ones on your right foot tightening clockwise, the ones on your left foot tightening anti-clockwise so your hand motion is the same whichever shoe you're adjusting. Boas are secure and they're easy to alter in either direction on the fly. Pulling the dial outwards releases the tension on the Kevlar wire in one go.
Holes punched in the upper and tongue provide ventilation and you get more via little grids in the toe bumper. These help to stop your feet getting too sweaty but there's not as much airflow as with full mesh panels. I didn't find these in any way clammy, but if you do tend to get hot feet then there are airier options out there.
I mentioned the toe bumpers: they're made from TMU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and provide good protection that's particularly useful if your shoes overlap the front wheel. You get little rubber sole guards at the heels too. All are replaceable if they wear out, although they're bonded in place (there's a screw, too, on the heel one) so I can't see that being the most straightforward job in the world.
I must say that the way the upper is bonded to the outside of the sole doesn't have the appearance of something that's going to stay stuck – but it does. The section that overlaps looks like it's just waiting to get caught on something and pulled away, but that's never happened, not even close, I don't think it will.
In fact, these shoes offer plenty of durability. That kangaroo leather is tough stuff and the Boa dials are easily replaceable if they ever get damaged in a crash, for example.
The Vaypor+ is very similar in design to the Vaypor S that we reviewed here on road.cc recently, although these have slightly more ventilation. The closure system is different too, with the upper lace going over the top of your foot rather than towards the side so there's no chance of any pressure on that boney bit below your ankle. There's really not a lot in it, though.
To me, the only real issue is the price... and as sticking points go, £350 is really pretty sticky. If it wasn't for that price, I'd buy these shoes in a shot. That sort of money makes me think twice, though. If you've got more money than me, go for it – you'll be getting some superb shoes and you won't be disappointed.
Superbly comfortable and supportive shoes... it's just the price that's the sticking point
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bont Vaypor+
Size tested: 40
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 calls the Vaypor+ "a luxury sportive shoe combining classic materials with state of the art technology".
It lists these features:
* With the luxurious yet uncompromising strength of a kangaroo leather upper
* Supple cow hide internal lining
* Bont Cycling's industry leading carbon technology ensuring highest strength to weight ratio and lowest stack height
* The anatomical perfection of Bont Cycling's last to ensure correct fit
* Bont Cycling's technical innovations for improved efficiency and structural support
* BOA's IP1 Dual directional dial with quick release functionality
* Both traditional and bold colour options
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
One of the most interesting aspects of the design is the mid-layer in the upper:
"Between the outer leather and the liner we add a material that is proprietary to Bont to stop the cycling shoe from stretching over time. This material has similar strength characteristics to Kevlar. The material is stitched to the outer leather and bonded to the liner so it can never move or be removed, it becomes part of the cycling shoes structure. This layer assists in pedalling efficiency by maintaining a supportive structure over the top of the foot in the upward part of the pedal stroke."
Go to Bont's website for loads more info on the design. http://www.bontcycling.com/products/road/vaypor+_2016/index.html
Bont sizing used to be small but it's about normal these days.
If in doubt, measure your feet following Bont's instructions. http://www.bontcycling.com/items/support/sizeWizard_VS.html
These are expensive shoes, no doubt about that. If you want higher value, the Riots have several similar features at less than half the price.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They're easy to look after. Maybe treat them with some leather cream after a soaking.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They've performed brilliantly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort, support and ease of adjustment.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, it's just the price tag that's difficult to handle.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
These are exceptionally good shoes – which would earn them a 9 – it's just the huge price that brings them down a peg.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: De Rosa R838
I've been riding for: 7-10 years I ride: 2-3 times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: Club rides, general fitness riding