I’ve been riding the Bont Vaypor S shoes now for a couple of months and been able to experience the benefits they offer across the spectrum of riding conditions.
As with all Bont shoes, the soles of the Vaypor S are heat moldable so you can customise the shape to better accommodate your foot. The process does make a positive difference to the way the shoes fit; it is quite simply done at home in your kitchen oven.
Beyond the novelty of ‘cooking’ your shoes, Bont shoes offer several key design features I found interesting and beneficial.
The Bonts are clearly different to every other cycling shoe you will have seen. The forefoot shape of the shoe is somewhat broader and doesn’t mirror a conventional dress shoe with a slim pointed toe like many cycling shoes. Bont concedes the fashionable look may be appealing but contends that this aesthetic comes at the expense of comfort, performance and possibly long term joint health.
Bont’s broader forefoot shape provides anatomically correct support. The last is anatomically correct in that it allows the foot to function naturally, providing a supportive foundation for your body, and delivering pedalling power without squeezing the toes and metatarsals, which causes hot spots and numbness. Correct support can also reduce foot pronation which has implications for knee and pelvis conditions. Apart from these concerns, I have quite broad feet and have trouble finding regular shoes, let alone cycling shoes that fit well, so I was hopeful the Bont’s custom fit soles would help, and pleasantly surprised when they did.
The Vaypor S last incorporates a sidewall which folds up around the sides and heel, cupping the foot, and is bonded to the shoe’s upper. This sole design, compared with a flat carbon last, provides a very stiff structure, being reinforced in two dimensions. Given the strength of the cupped last they are able to use less material in production to reduce stack height and weight compared to a flat last.
The Vaypor’s last has had redesigned carbon layup to improve its strength to weight ratio. The size 46 shoes weigh in at 279g each (or 229g for a size 42) and are easily the stiffest shoes I have worn. I haven’t been able to detect any bend in the soles of these things at all while riding, or even when trying to fold them in half over the edge of my desk … they’re rock solid!
I found the shoes felt extremely stiff when I first tried them on, stiff to the point that I held little hope of being able to wear them for anything but the shortest rides, even with the prospect of the molding process yet to be complete. Despite these initial concerns I have completed rides up to five hours in them and apart from being surprised at the sensation of stiffness and efficiency in power delivery in the first 20 minutes, the shoes were such a natural fit I forgot I was wearing them.
Layers of memory foam have been included under the innersole and around the foot to enhance comfort and fit, and the Boa IP1 dials provide accurate tension adjustment at the outset and on the fly, plus they offer quick, easy exiting from the shoes after a ride.
The upper has a full length suede liner inside the shoe for improved grip—I found the snug fit and the suede made getting the shoes on without pulling my socks too tightly onto my toes sometimes difficult. Once into the shoes though, the upper works well in conjunction with the Boa dials, firmly and comfortably holding your foot back in the heel cup to stop any heel lift that will reduce power.
Venting and airflow into the front of the shoes is effective to the point you’ll probably need shoe covers or duct tape over the under sole vent in the winter but should make them great for hot weather.
Bont’s Vaypor S is a high performance shoe that offers a very stiff, anatomically correct chassis for efficient power delivery. The custom fit last increases comfort, and clever shaping of the uppers with the latest Boa dial tensioning ensures your foot is comfortably secure, complimenting the benefits and efficiency of the wraparound last. The Vaypors are priced in the upper end of performance shoes, but will suit any bunch riders and racers who are seeking a solution to hot spots and numbness, and those looking for the exceptional stiffness and power delivery.
Distributed by GKA www.bont.com