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review

Bont Blitz Road Shoes

6
£180.00

VERDICT:

6
10
Super-stiff race shoes with cool looks, but quirky sizing and cramped fit mean they won't be a choice for many
Weight: 
544g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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As far as power transfer goes, the Bont Blitz are hard to knock - although when it comes to comfort I found them lacking because of a cramped toe box and an unforgiving carbon 'chassis'. Perfect for the crit racer perhaps, less so for the sportivist.

The Blitz are different to most other cycling shoes on the market in that they don't so much have a sole in the traditional sense. What they have is a chassis, the 3k carbon fibre mould creating a kind of tub that your foot sits inside, which extends up to just shy of the tops of your toes.

Oven baked

When you stick the shoes in a 70°C oven for 20 minutes the resin becomes pliable enough that once you stick your foot into the chassis it will then mould itself to the exact shape. Well, in theory. It's still such a stiff material that the customising is minimal, and should you have any lumps or bumps on your feet it becomes quite a drawn out process considering the tiny gains.

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It took me four attempts to get the Blitz to an acceptable fit – with the help of a rounded screwdriver handle – but they still don't match the comfort of my Giro Factors. There is just no room for your feet to move at all, so the sides of your toes are pressed against a harsh structure that resonates every bump vibration through them. Broken road surfaces can be quite unbearable.

Fit where they touch

Bont provide an online measuring guide to help you order the right size if you can't get to your local bike shop to try them on. You basically stand on a tape measure with your heel against a wall to find out your foot length and then measure the width. Don't forget your socks, mind. You put these details into the calculator and the size you require is displayed on the screen. With a length of 267mm and a 103mm width, Bont recommended a 44 in standard width. I'm usually a 44/45 depending on the brand and the Blitz come in bang on in terms of length, provided you keep your toe nails trimmed.

Wiggle also have a size chart on their website, but bear in mind the lengths quoted are that of the last used to create the chassis - so the 44s are 275mm.

The length is good then, but the width not so. As I said earlier, the toe box is very cramped, not just width wise but in height too. My toes constantly felt a bit claustrophobic, and not being able to move them just made it worse. Considering Bont have designed a more rounded toe box than most to avoid the toes being squashed, I was certainly surprised about this. Unfortunately the Blitz only come in standard width, unlike others in the range which have a wide fitting too, although the standard fit should accommodate up to 107mm in my size.

Now that the outside temperatures are starting to rise, the lack of room is even more noticeable as your feet start to swell in the heat. A two-hour ride on a warm spring afternoon can only be described as uncomfortable.

The problem is, though, going up a size wouldn't make much of a difference as the heel cup and rear of the shoe was slightly oversized, allowing some slop at the heel when pedalling. Tightening the Boa didn't help either, as this only pulls in the upper when it's the chassis that's the problem.

The shape of the sole has a decent arch support, but unlike a lot of other shoes the Blitz don't come with any varying risers to tailor the fit.

No pressure

Shoes with Boa retention systems spread the load across the foot better than laces, straps or buckles, and those on the Blitz are no different. The system is easy to use: pull the dial away from the shoe to remove the tension, and click back before rotating clockwise to tighten by way of a ratchet giving micro adjustments. It's simple to do on the fly too.

There's a Velcro strap at the bottom, which does a good job of keeping the front of the shoe in position. For added comfort the wide tongue has plenty of firm padding as well.

The included insole is on the thin side and when paired up to that super-stiff chassis these shoes aren't the most forgiving. It's a harsh ride but for getting the power down without flex the Blitz are up there with the best of them.

For a one-hour to 90-minute blast, the Blitz are hard to fault for crit racing or time trialling, anywhere you're happy to sacrifice some comfort for all-out performance.

Impressive build quality

I had an early pair of Bonts, A-Threes if I remember right, which were quite crude in their finish, so it's great to see the overall quality has improved with the Blitz. They are very well put together with all the stitching and gluing being neat and tidy. The microfibre upper is soft, with loads of ventilation, and so far looks to be standing up to the daily scuffs of the commute.

The toe is protected by a hard rubber bumper that can be replaced if necessary by removing and sticking a new one on with the Loctite specified on Bont's website. The heel guard is also replaceable.

Conclusion

The performance of the Blitz is impressive but the fit just means it's all in vain. Just to make sure it wasn't just my feet, I passed them around a few ride buddies for them to try (one beauty of the Bonts is that they can be moulded over and over again) but none of us really got on with them. The mouldable fit just isn't custom enough to justify all the faffing around when other shoes off the shelf already offer a great fit and decent levels of stiffness.

Saying that, if you are lucky enough to have a foot shape that works with them, then Blitz would be a recommended buy for performance riders. The stiffness is impressive, as is the weight of 544g for this size 44, standing up well to competitors at the same price point.

So, if the Bonts fit, then brilliant, you've got a lightweight, stiff race shoe provided you can live with the harshness. But from my admittedly mini group test, you'll be in the minority. Also, note that some websites say they won't accept returns after the shoes have been heat moulded - though we're not sure how that would stand up in terms of the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Verdict

Super-stiff race shoes with cool looks, but quirky sizing and cramped fit mean they won't be a choice for many

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Bont Blitz Road Shoes

Size tested: Size 44, Neon Yellow/Black

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: "Bont Cycling Blitz, 100% carbon, heat moldable road shoe that's ready to race.

With industry leading anatomical features and a sub 235gram weight (42), the Blitz redefines the standards of mid level road cycling shoes."

It's certainly capable of racing, being very stiff. It comes down to whether you can get on with the fit though.

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

*3K Carbon Chassis with Microfiber Upper

*3.6mm Stack height

*Frontal area air vents and mesh panels in forefoot

*Comfort Innersole

*Replaceable Sole Guards

*3 Hole Look Configuration Cleat Mounting

*Fully Heat Mouldable Chassis utilizing Thermoset Resin giving custom fit

*BOA dial and forefoot strap closures for micro-adjustment

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
5/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

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

Performance is great, fit not so good for me.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The power transfer and the looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fit is just odd - for me anyway.

Did you enjoy using the product? For 60min short blasts I could live with them

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? With a 'try before you buy' note attached

Use this box to explain your score

The low overall score is purely down to the fit; for me and a few others who tried them it just doesn't work, and with comfort being the defining factor of shoes there isn't much here to recommend. It's a real shame as the Blitz are really good shoes and if they fit then the price is justifiable for the level of quality and performance.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

 

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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