A heat-mouldable, carbon-reinforced race shoe for a hundred quid? The Bont Riot certainly ticks a lot of boxes. It's properly mouldable, as many times as you like, hard wearing and comfortable. There's a lot to recommend it.
Bont's shoes are all based around a composite tub that uses a proprietary resin that's very stiff but becomes pliable at a relatively low temperature. The more expensive shoes are all-carbon; this entry level shoe is mostly fibreglass but with carbon reinforcement through the high stress areas.
The upper is microfibre, with plenty of venting holes and panels. Closure is by a ratchet strap and a v-shaped Velcro strap that sort of does the job of two. Finish is pretty good, and the shoes have stood up well to the general wear and tear of riding well. There's a few scratches on the soles but the bumpers, although small, are well placed and replaceable when they wear down. You get a standard three-bolt fixing for your road cleats, with useful markings to line them up just so.
To mould the Riots to your feet, all you do is lob them in the oven at 70°c and leave them there for 20 minutes. Then, take them out and stick your feet in them. If you have any specific problem bits you can set to work on them; Bont recommend using the round end of a screwdriver to push the sole out where more room is needed. I spent some time closing up the heel a bit as I found that my ankle wasn't held too well out of the box. It was a success, too: they're much better since they've been in the oven a couple of times.
Slip them on and they're a pretty comfy shoe out of the box. The insole is fairly thin but does the job and the upper is good too, although it can crease if you overtighten the ratchet or Velcro straps. It's unlikely you'll do either; the ratchet isn't the most sturdy-feeling I've tried and the Velcro strap is difficult to overtighten unless you set it with the shoe empty and then stick your foot in.
Bont make big play of their medial longitudinal arch support, which feels a little awkward when you first put the shoes on. It supports the inside face of your arch, where there's normally some space."Over pronation is one of the main contributors to incorrect tracking of knees during a cyclists pedaling phase due to internal rotation of tibia and femur", say Bont. "This can result in knee injuries."
Anyway, after a couple of rides you do get used to the support there, and it also seems to spread the load better across your whole foot, meaning, for me anyway, that the ball of my foot felt a bit less worked over on longer rides, which is sometimes the case with stiff road shoes.
And boy, are these stiff shoes. Bont claim a stack height of 4.8mm for these shoes, which is very low meaning the sole is pretty thin, but the bathtub shape of the sole, and the combination of fibres and resin that Bont use, really shines through here. There are stiffer shoes than this out there, but not that many, and not by that much. If you stamp on the pedals you really feel the whole of the sole of your foot doing the work, and the raised insole section helps with that too. If you were putting these on blind, the feel on the bike would suggest a top-end race shoe. But they're very much in budget territory. For the money, they're very good indeed. Bont's next model up, the a three, is £25 more although you can get them for less than £100 online. In my opinion, the better finish and features like the toebox protector on that model make it worth the extra spend over the Riot. This shoe will no doubt get discounted too: if it's worth an 8 at the £100 RRP then you can certainly up that to a 9 if it drops much below.
Okay you're not getting full carbon which means they're a bit heavier (although 704g for size 47s is very competitive), and the finish and hardware isn't as good as Bont's (or other makers') higher end shoes. But if you're looking for a stiff shoe for faster rides and you don't want to break the bank then the Riot is certainly one to shortlist.
Stiff, mouldable shoes for your fast bike, at a low price.
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Make and model: Bont Riot
Size tested: 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?
Introducing the Bont Riot , the worlds first carbon composite heat moldable entry level cycling shoe.
The Riot combines Bont's pro series technical features including our power transfer platform and anatomical shaping with competition grade materials to create the most technically advanced entry level road cycling shoe.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material Carbon Composite Construction with Microfiber Upper
Stack Height 4.8mm
Air Vents Ventilations holes through upper and mesh inserts
Sole Guards Replaceable
Cleat Mounting 3 Hole Look Configuration
Fit Customization Fully Heat Moldable Chassis utilizing Thermoset Resin
Closing Options Z From Velcro Strap and Buckle
Weight 280 grams
Sizing Options Standard
Color Options White/Black Rear Panels
Well made - the level of finish isn't as high as more expensive shoes but they're not in danger of falling apart.
Really good shoes, these. Especially considering the price.
Soles can scratch fairly easily, upper is tough, ratchet less so.
They're light for a budget shoe.
For stiff race shoes they're pretty good.
£100 for heat mouldable race shoes? Can't say fairer than that.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. These are very good shoes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Super stiff, respond well to moulding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Ratchet feels a bit plasticky.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.