Bont Vaypor White Leather Road Shoes  £250.00

9/10

Lightweight and very stiff racing shoes that you can heat-mould for the perfect fit

Weight 596g   Contact  www.saddleback.co.uk

by Mat Brett   February 28, 2012  

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Bont's Vaypor shoes are lightweight and amazingly stiff and you can heat-mould them to your feet for an excellent fit.

You've probably heard of Bont shoes, if only because the UCI banned their Crono time trial shoe last year. Bonts certainly attract a lot of attention because they're very different from the norm – not just the TT shoes, but the rest of the range too.

For one, Bont shoes look distinctive. The longest part of most bike shoes is down the centreline, more or less. With the Vaypors, the point furthest forward is at your big toe, which makes a lot of sense to me because that's how your foot is shaped.

Bonts are a touch broader than normal in the forefoot too. If you find other brands tight in that area, it's worth trying these on for size. If you don't need that extra wiggle-room, it's easy to draw the upper in via a Velcro strap that starts out right down by your little toe, and you can alter the shape by heat-moulding them (more on that in a sec).

The extra width also means that a large road cleat like a Look Kéo or Shimano SPD-SL is fully supported by the sole. With every other pair of cycling shoes I have, I need to set the cleat so that the corner hangs slightly over the edge of the sole on the instep side in order to prevent my shoe from rubbing the crank. With these shoes, the whole of the cleat fixes against the sole providing a solid foundation for laying down the power.

The soles arc around the sides of the upper to cradle your foot and hold them steady. Around the heel cup, the carbon extends virtually up to the opening; you can see a lot of it although the top inch is covered by leather. It's similar at the front end. Although it's mostly covered up, the carbon forms a trough that your foot sits in.

This might cause discomfort but for the fact that you can easily heat-mould the carbon. You put your shoes in the oven at 70°C for 20mins until the resin becomes pliable, let them cool just a little, then put them on and allow them to cool properly... job done! You can do this as many times as you need to in order to get the perfect fit. I found mine a bit tight in the mid-foot so I heated them up, pushed them out a little in that area and they've been spot on ever since.

The carbon-fibre soles are among the most rigid I've used – maybe the stiffest. It's virtually impossible to bend at all, and because they're shaped precisely to my feet, they're perfectly comfortable despite featuring very little padding. That padding comes largely in the shape of a very thin EVA insole (that's also mouldable) and memory foam in the tongue. They don't feel soft and yielding like some shoes, but I've been out on big weekend rides in these and never had to give them a second thought. I've certainly not had any hot spots or any other notable discomfort.

The stack height – the distance from the bottom of the outsole to your foot – is just 3.6mm, which is lower than any other shoes I've ever used. Why's that an advantage? People sometimes go on about a low stack height equaling increased efficiency but I don't buy that. I mean, you'll have to put your saddle down a few millimetres if you swap to these shoes but I wouldn't get too excited about that.

The uppers are all-leather although the standard Vaypor uses microfibre and is £25 cheaper at £225. Both versions come with perforations above the toes and in the tongue for ventilation, and another vent on the instep.

In terms of weight, these are certainly light, my pair of size 47s weighing in at just 596g. You can get lighter but these really don't trouble the scales much at all, particularly considering that they feature a ratchet closure rather than just lightweight Velcro straps. The advantage is that they're super-easy to adjust from the saddle.

Bont's sizing, by the way, is much smaller than everyone else's. You might have to go a Euro size larger than usual. Bont do have a size chart on their website but it didn't work very well for me – I needed a size larger than it suggested.

There's very little protection on the bottom for those shiny carbon soles – just a little guard at the heel and toe. That keeps the weight down but it does mean the soles are vulnerable when you're off the bike. Those guards are replaceable if you wear them out but you really won't want to walk far in these.

Verdict

Lightweight and very stiff racing shoes that you can heat-mould for the perfect fit

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bont Vaypor White Leather Road Shoes

Size tested: White, Size 47

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 say, "Based on the successful ctt-one, the Vaypor continues Bont's development in shoe technology.

"Whilst maintaining the lateral forefoot support synonymous with all Bont cycling shoe models, the Vaypor now has a reduced carbon height around the toe box area and an all new Suede L liner.

"The base is made by hand by sandwiching cross weave carbon and uni-directional carbon fiber which is embedded with epoxy thermo setting resin.

"The fibers are hand laid in the matrix according to the strain they will have to bear. Super Mold Technology allows you to obtain a custom fit from a stock boot.

"The Bont a-one's industry leading stack height, weight to strength ratio and power transfer are all part of the new Bont Vaypor."

It's a lightweight race shoe that can be custom-moulded.

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

The sole is fully heat mouldable. You put the shoes in the oven to soften up the resin and, once they've cooled enough, put your feet inside. It's not hype; this really does make a significant difference to the fit, meaning that very stiff, enveloping soles can also be comfortable.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It looks fine. Most of the upper sections are bonded together rather than stitched in place, but they're standing up fine to repeated use. The ratchet buckle is high quality and it allows you to adjust the fit easily one-handed.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Stiff, lightweight, mouldable... excellent. They just feel great.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

They're standing up to regular use very well but bear in mind that these are race shoes, not everyday shoes.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

You can get lighter but these are certainly very lightweight.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

You don't get loads of padding but the fact that these are heat-mouldable means you can get an excellent fit.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Yes, it's a lot to spend on a pair of bike shoes but heat-mouldable soles are never cheap. I'd say they're worth serious consideration for that technology.

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

They do their job very well indeed and they feel brilliant.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The ability to mould the carbon-fibre and their stability on the pedals.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Did you ride faster in them? Does the stiffness make them more efficient for the 'typical / average' club cyclist? Does the comfort mean the 'typical / average' club cyclist will ride for longer with less fatigue? Or are they really only of benefit to elite riders? I'm really hoping you'll answer yes / yes / yes / no. Then I have more reasons to buy...

Low Speed Wobble's picture

posted by Low Speed Wobble [138 posts]
28th February 2012 - 18:22

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The shape makes a lot of sense. My crocs and birkies are suoer comfy and squeezing into Sidis after years of wide shoe comfort is getting tough. Still a bit Swedish orthopedic health shoe looking but I'd wear them for my feets sake if nothing else.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1052 posts]
28th February 2012 - 22:22

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250 squid???? Crying Thats insane, but they are popular here with Aussie riders.

Sean

posted by seanieh66 [193 posts]
29th February 2012 - 3:36

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Low Speed Wobble wrote:
Did you ride faster in them? Does the stiffness make them more efficient for the 'typical / average' club cyclist? Does the comfort mean the 'typical / average' club cyclist will ride for longer with less fatigue? Or are they really only of benefit to elite riders? I'm really hoping you'll answer yes / yes / yes / no. Then I have more reasons to buy...

A good pair of shoes is a benefit to anyone. The more comfortable you are, the more you'll enjoy your cycling. Plus, discomfort can affect your performance. You don't necessarily need to buy a top-end pair of shoes to be comfortable, of course, but the shape and the fact that these are mouldable meant I found them very comfy.

Saving 100g or whatever on a pair of shoes isn't going to affect your speed much, although it will make life easier because you effectively lift up each shoe once every pedal stroke – 90 times a minute, or whatever cadence you pedal at. As with all components, it's more about incremental gains. Save some weight on your shoes, some on your wheels, some on your handlebars and so on, and it can add up to a significant difference.

posted by Mat Brett [1853 posts]
29th February 2012 - 10:50

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Bont Vaypor - anyone know of a UK stockist? The one listed on Saddleback's website tell they they're not a stockist. Saddleback have yet to reply to my request for information. Perhaps the greater people of Roadccland know where I can get a pair?

Low Speed Wobble's picture

posted by Low Speed Wobble [138 posts]
2nd April 2012 - 16:20

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The shoes are great. The soles are mouldable and they are light, stiff and comfortable.
However, one of the ratchet straps has broken and there is a three-month wait for a replacement. Consequently it's a case of throwing out a pair of £200 shoes or fastening them with zip ties every time I ride. No help from dealer, UK distributor or even any response from Bont in Australia.
I'll look beyond the product in isolation in future and go for a manufacturer that supports their customers. At Wits End

posted by Soulboy [1 posts]
17th August 2014 - 17:28

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