Weight: 574 grams (with Look Keo cleats/bolts)
Sizes/Widths: 36-50 in whole sizes plus 40.5, 42.5, 44.5 and 46.5. Also available in 4 widths
Colors: Up to 6 color choices depending on which country you are ordering from
Stack Height: 3.6mm
How Obtained: Sample from company
Availability: Online (company site), bike shops
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 500+ miles
Comfortable, High-Performance Road Shoes from Oz
I only heard of Bont cycling shoes a couple of years ago, so I was surprised to find out that this Australian company has been selling footwear since 1975 (though has only been making cycling shoes for nine years). Once I knew the name, I started looking for the shoes on group rides and races, and it didn’t take long to spot them.
Unique low-profile appearance
Bont shoes have a distinctive low-profile look – as if they’re built more like clogs than shoes. This is actually an illusion created by their unique carbon soles, which act as more than soles. Typically shoe soles cover the bottoms only. Bont’s curve up and around the feet, even more at the back, where the entire heel cups are also built-in and integral to the soles.
I’ve had carbon soles separate from the shoe uppers. I don’t think this could ever happen with the Bonts. Rather than gluing thin carbon soles to their shoes, they’re actually using hand-laid unidirectional carbon-monocoque construction – much like carbon frame, fork and rim construction – to make the lower half of the shoes and then attaching the uppers.
Super stiff for awesome pedal power
This monocoque construction makes these Bonts among the stiffest road shoes I’ve ever worn. Due to their carbon chassis that’s almost bathtub-shaped, they’re not just stiff horizontally – along the soles – like other carbon shoes. Bonts are stiff in all directions, which makes you feel locked into the shoes and more directly connected to the pedals.
Even if your current shoes are top-line carbon models, I bet you’ll feel that the Vaypors are stiffer. And if you’re currently in flexible footwear, you’ll be amazed how connected you feel and how easy it is to lay down more power on climbs or accelerations. The low, 3.6mm, stack height helps.
There’s such a thing as too stiff, but not to worry. Bont’s Duralite synthetic leather uppers cradle you in comfort with ample ventilation, plush suede padding around the foot and even memory foam innersoles. There are also small vents built in ahead of the toes to draw air into the shoes and help keep you comfortable.
In addition, Bont’s BOA closure system is cleverly designed to eliminate slack in the uppers so that you don’t lose any power transfer due to slop or looseness inthe shoes. As you tighten the lower dial, the BOA wires pull the foot down, while tightening the other dial pulls the foot back into the heel. I own several different super shoes with BOA closures and love them, but this is the first closure system I’ve used where you can fine-tune the snugness to such an amazing level.
With the carbon monocoque construction and the Bont BOA bidirectional closure system, the Vapor S raise the bar in ergonomics and power transfer. Plus, while I didn’t request or test them, Bont also offers heat-moldable innersoles. Once heated and shaped to your feet, the shoes would be even more ergonomic.
Plus, Bont has a Size Wizard on their site that helps ensure you select the correct fit. It instructs how to accurately measure both feet and provides a reference chart for picking the right pair. It was easy to use, and my Vaypors fit perfectly, which was a relief because the last time I ordered shoes I had to return them for another size.
Built for the long haul
Bont does not stop with performance and comfort. They built maximum durability into the Vaypors, too, with fully rubber-wrapped reinforced toes and replaceable thick rubber heel tabs. If you think about it, a couple of the main things that beat up shoes is finding and clicking into your pedals (and pushing off the road at the start of that process) and, of course, walking.
With the Vaypors, there’s no need to worry because the black rubber toe protectors do the work, not the carbon soles or white synthetic leather uppers. At $450, this isn’t an inexpensive pair of shoes, so it’s nice Bont went to such lengths to ensure they last a good long while.
Summing up, with all their impressive features, if you’re in the market for an awesome-fitting and -performing high-end road shoe, I think you’ll love Bont’s Vaypor S.
(Incidentally, if like me, you like the visibility and look of white cycling shoes but worry that they’ll get filthy fast, RBR contributor Sheri Rosenbaum has a couple of great Quick Tips for keeping them clean.)
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.