Review: Bont Cycling Vaypor+ Road Shoe 2017
February 28th, 2017
February 28th, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
The Best Belt-Drive and Internally-Geared Bikes for 2018
What is a Women-Specific Bike?
Best 2018 Budget Mountain Bikes for Under £1,000
Bespoked - The UK's Handmade Bicycle Show announces talks
Did you know we have a marketplace too?
We've got a new, dedicated Marketplace, with no hidden fees or commission.Find your next bike
If ever there were a luxury cycling shoe, one that hit the nail on the head of both performance and quality, it is probably this shoes from Bont Cycling. The Vaypor+ is made with uncompromising materials and coupled with state of the art shoe performance and manufacturing techniques. Though it is designed for outright power transfer, Bont is well known for their custom fitting techniques; offering the ability to oven-bake your shoes to mould them to your feet, together with a good range of half-sizes.
The tech Bit
The Vaypor+ is not for the vegans among us, as it is has a kangaroo leather upper and a cow hide inner. Kangaroo is used for its extremely high strength, light weight and durable qualities, and the cow hide inner lining keeps it supple and feeling forgiving. On the sole is Bont's speciality; the unidirectional monocoque chassis, which uses multiple layers of carbon, hand laid in different directions to increase stiffness whilst minimizing weight by using less resin. This year the soles are upgraded with a grid printed over the beautiful raw carbon weave to assist cleat adjustment. To finish it off is the IP1 BOA dials, which is arguably the cream of shoe closure systems, offering dual directional adjustments and a quick release function. The new Vaypor+ is ventilated by air vents on the front and a perforated upper. Finally, those white straps are not just for aesthetics; they are anti-stretch tapes that ensure the shoe does not stretch over time. My favourite part of all this is the memory foam padding. Most cycling shoes are made with sponge foam padding. It’s light, it’s cheap and it doesn’t crush down, but it also absorbs water when it gets wet and it isn't very durable. If your feet sweat, or you ride through a puddle or if it starts to rain, your shoes can start to absorb water, which makes them heavy as well as uncomfortable. The type of foam used in the Vaypor+ has porous cells that don't absorb water. It's a simple solution, but its this attention to detail that makes the whole shoes so well thought out.
Bont shoes are obviously designed for cycling, so much so that they feel utterly alien to wear off the bike. This is not a bad thing, but if you're trying these on in a shop, you have to bare in mind that they are going to feel like clogs when you stand up. Plus, all that beautiful raw carbon weave on the underside does not take kindly to being walked around, though Bont have placed some very tiny, but useful, bumpers for those odd occasions you find yourself standing astride the bike. On the bike, however, they just feel right. This is largely thanks to Bont's defiance in shaping the shoe. You'll notice they are almost squared off at the toes, not pointy like others, which makes a lot more sense than squeezing your poor little toe in, or selecting a size that doesn't fit just so that all your digits get in. On the bike, there is a lot more control, as well as a relief of any pressure that would otherwise come from sliding down into funnelled end. Power transfer is instantly noticeable. Being winter I've not had the opportunity to race these puppies yet, but they're attentive attitude to sprints, hills and general out-of-the-saddle efforts suggest I wouldn't be reaching for any other shoe when I do. Being winter I definitely felt the ventilation work, but what was interesting was the all-round cooling feeling I got from them, unlike other brands where the vents come in from the front or underneath and pretty much wiz past part of your foot, leaving the rest of it still feeling overheated. I fully expected these to be over-kill for me and my weekend rides, but while I wouldn't want to walk around a cafe in them, they have been surprisingly comfortable. I've not heat-moulded these shoes, nor have I felt the need to, but they feel almost custom already. The super stiff soles had me worried about comfort, as there is absolutely no give anywhere, but I never once had tingles, hot spots, or pins and needles during a long endurance training ride. Clearly the fit is king. Though I would consider these racing shoes, they have proven to be a great long-distance shoe for a rider looking to gain every second of performance.
If you know the difference between a generic set of aluminium road wheels and a set of premium carbon wheels, then you should be running similar quality on your feet. After all, they are the first points of contact to drive those wheels. The Vaypor+ absolutely delivers its promises of performance, and really exceeded my expectations on comfort. These shoes come in classic black, white and gold (as pictured), or an assortment of blues, greens and oranges for the daring, or "classic" brown for the suave. Be sure to follow them on Instagram too, as wearers have a tendency towards "sock doping" when they're not racing. The only downside to these shoes is the price tag; at £349.99 they won't be for everyone, but they're not aimed at pleasing everyone, they're the best of the best and command a premium for the materials and the manufacturing process that made them. For anyone wanting a slice of the action on a budget, keep an eye out for their entry-level Riot shoes with new colour-ways being released this Spring.