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Tech Anyone have experience with Bont cycling shoes?

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
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I ordered a pair of Bonts, Riot MTB+ to be precise. Together with Lake, Bont is supposed to be company that offers the most space in the toe box. For someone with wide, voluminous feet, finding cycling shoes that fit has been an issue. Currently, I have a pair of S-Works 7 in 43 W and a pair of Velokicks Lactics in 44. The Lactics are very wide. Bont’s fit guide recommended 43 W, which is a sensible suggestion given my past.

Unlike other cycling shoes, Bonts have a “bathtub sole”, meaning the sides are not flexible, but rigid. The Bonts (which arrived in record time, I placed the order on Monday afternoon and got them delivered on Thursday!) are a bit narrow around the area of my knuckles. This isn’t uncommon with shoes, but most shoes will stretch a little. They can be heat molded, but this likely voids my right to return them. Ditto for trying them out on a ride. Some people wrote that the tightness is not a problem when you are riding. Others have suggested to size up as a matter of principle.

Does anyone here have experience with Bont cycling shoes? Should I just get a second pair in 44 W and return the others? Should I try them on the bike and heat mold them, and then just sell them if they don’t fit? I wouldn’t mind that route either, but 43 W isn’t a common size.

PS Even though these shoes only cost me $190 (the road version is even cheaper), in terms of stiffness, it can easily trade blows with my S-Works. I’m super impressed with that. Also there is a lot of room in the toe box.
 

Komuso

Cruising
Oct 6, 2010
21
11
I have two pairs of Bonts (Riot, and Helix).

The Riots are a bit of an odd fit on my feet. Like you, I felt that they kind of pinched my feet in the front at the knuckle of the big toe, and the other side of my foot. I heat formed them over about five or six attempts, and in the end I just made them big and open, rather than going for a comfortably snug fit. I use them as winter shoes, with slightly thicker socks, and they are ok for the money.

The Helixes are a much better fit, and with heat forming, are nice and snug. I've also tried Vaypors, which were an excellent fit straight out of the box.

Did you try heat forming, or did you just get another size?

Last note - the Riots are stiff, but Helixes are a whole other level again. Love Bont shoes for their stiffness. Rock solid sprint platform.
 
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OreoCookie

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Did you try heat forming, or did you just get another size?
No, because I wouldn't have been able to return them otherwise. I got in touch with support and they recommended that I size up upon hearing that I have S-Works 7 in 43 Wide. I am currently waiting for my size 44 Wide Riots.

The stiffness is super impressive, and surely, if the larger Riots fit well, I will definitely keep the brand in mind. It is good to know that Helixes are a better fit, although I didn't want to spring for Vaypors — given that I already have a pair of S-Works, they were too rich for my blood. But perhaps once the S-Works have given up the ghost in a few years, I might consider them.
 

Nuff

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Jul 28, 2020
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I got bont vaypors and they were perfect fit right out of the box. Coming from Shimano RC901 the extra toe space is massive relief.
I did have a little bit of tightness in the instep area, but that has loosened up after few rides and I didn't have to do any heat moulding.
The hard part for me was getting the position of my cleats dialled in, I use blue SPD-SL, so there's very little room for error. Also the insoles aren't great, I've tried specialised ones, but they are taking too much space in the toe box area for me, so I went back to original ones. I'm thinking about trying sidas bike+ next. Although trying out all this insoles might end up being a lot more expensive than the shoes.
 

OreoCookie

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I just got the email from Bont that they have processed my return and wanted to confirm sizing and delivery address. If the size 44 W fits, I think I'll be super happy with these shoes. They are a good deal (especially in a world where the ¥ isn't as weak, <$200 for shoes with a seriously stiff carbon sole with quality materials is a good deal, me thinks).
The Riots are a bit of an odd fit on my feet. Like you, I felt that they kind of pinched my feet in the front at the knuckle of the big toe, and the other side of my foot.
I had the exact same fit issues. Due to the bathtub sole construction, the sides have very little give. With most other shoes, the soft upper will give way over time.

Just out of curiosity, you mentioned that you tried also the Helixes and the Vaypors. Is the sole identical? (It looks like it, but I can’t tell for sure.) Is there a difference in the fit? What about the quality and all?
I got bont vaypors and they were perfect fit right out of the box. Coming from Shimano RC901 the extra toe space is massive relief.
How is the quality of the shoes otherwise? They look pretty weird in a cool way (like POC helmets, and I personally love POC helmets).
 

Nuff

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Jul 28, 2020
142
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How is the quality of the shoes otherwise? They look pretty weird in a cool way (like POC helmets, and I personally love POC helmets).
They are not the prettiest, but They fit my feet and that's all I care about, after my previous attempts with other shoes and getting nerve damage in my big toes since the toe boxes were too small.

The finish isn't as nice as fizik's or shimano's I had before, but they seem to be built really solid, I've put on 8000km since march this year on them. Took them for 5 day bikepacking trip and since I lost my flip flops on day one they were my only shoes. They have lots of scratches etc, but they still look solid. They are built like a tank.

They also have great service/warranty which I did have to use, but I got sorted out really quickly.

If anyone is interested, I had a 15% off discount code and I can dig it up.
 

baribari

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May 28, 2010
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I ordered a pair of Bonts, Riot MTB+ to be precise. Together with Lake, Bont is supposed to be company that offers the most space in the toe box. For someone with wide, voluminous feet, finding cycling shoes that fit has been an issue. Currently, I have a pair of S-Works 7 in 43 W and a pair of Velokicks Lactics in 44. The Lactics are very wide. Bont’s fit guide recommended 43 W, which is a sensible suggestion given my past.

Unlike other cycling shoes, Bonts have a “bathtub sole”, meaning the sides are not flexible, but rigid. The Bonts (which arrived in record time, I placed the order on Monday afternoon and got them delivered on Thursday!) are a bit narrow around the area of my knuckles. This isn’t uncommon with shoes, but most shoes will stretch a little. They can be heat molded, but this likely voids my right to return them. Ditto for trying them out on a ride. Some people wrote that the tightness is not a problem when you are riding. Others have suggested to size up as a matter of principle.

Does anyone here have experience with Bont cycling shoes? Should I just get a second pair in 44 W and return the others? Should I try them on the bike and heat mold them, and then just sell them if they don’t fit? I wouldn’t mind that route either, but 43 W isn’t a common size.

PS Even though these shoes only cost me $190 (the road version is even cheaper), in terms of stiffness, it can easily trade blows with my S-Works. I’m super impressed with that. Also there is a lot of room in the toe box.
If you're going to buy shoes online, you have to buy a spread of at least three sizes (I recommend the size you calculate is perfect and the two half sizes above it) and send the ones that don't fit back.

Even if you get hit by tariffs, you're still better off.... I bought some Lakes that were over 44,000 yen in Tokyo but less than 18,000 online.

That said, I made the mistake of wearing my thinnest cycling socks (by a good margin) when sizing them. Now I wish I had gone up another half size to allow me to use thicker socks and to compensate for custom insoles, which take up a bit of volume.

Though I have started using my MTB pedals and shoes on my road bike lately, so it's less of an issue... haha.
 

OreoCookie

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It really sucks how much variation there is in between different males and models. I followed their sizing guide to the T, yet it was too small. I hope the 44 W will fit. On the plus side, their service was really good. Delivery took 3–4 days.
 

Komuso

Cruising
Oct 6, 2010
21
11
Just out of curiosity, you mentioned that you tried also the Helixes and the Vaypors. Is the sole identical? (It looks like it, but I can’t tell for sure.) Is there a difference in the fit? What about the quality and all?
Couldn't say with certainty whether they are the same or not. The general fit was more or less the same.

Riots have a lot more room for up and down movement in the toe box, which I don't really like. It might be partly due to the fact that have a synthetic upper, whereas other models are leather.

Pushys currently have Vaypor MTBs on sale for $350 AUD. Reckon I might grab some.
 

OreoCookie

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Riots have a lot more room for up and down movement in the toe box, which I don't really like. It might be partly due to the fact that have a synthetic upper, whereas other models are leather.
Interesting, I thought Lake was the only company to offer real leather shoes (with wide tie boxes).

I figured that the fit should be broadly similar, the sole looked very similar on the product photos.
 

OreoCookie

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In case someone is interested in Bont shoes, Riot MTB+ to be precise, I wanted to give a short review after about 3–4 months of ownership. I use these shoes regularly (5x a week), e. g. on my commute, but also longer, harder rides. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. In fact, I was very tempted to get a pair of Riot+ road shoes on Black Friday.

The shoes are perfect for XC riders and people riding gravel.

Pros
  • These are quality shoes. The construction is really solid and the rubber/plastic pieces for the sole are replaceable. Nice!
  • When riding these shoes are supremely comfortable: no hot spots of any kind and I feel very secure. They also never felt warm or super cold.
  • Off the bike, they feel a bit like road shoes — because they are. The offroad sole makes it easier to walk, but you can tell that these are MTB shoes that skew towards you being on the bike rather than off the bike. Off the bike, it took a while for the shoes to conform to my weird foot shape. There was really only one weird spot on my left foot (my feet are not symmetric), but that took care of itself over time.
  • These puppies are stiff. They do not quite reach the stiffness of my S-Works 7, but they get uncomfortably close and cost less than 1/2! In torsional stiffness, I cannot tell the difference between the two. Presumably, the Bont's "bathtub sole" is mechanically stiffer compared to a flat sole of the same thickness. Thus, the bathtub sole needs less material to reach the same torsional stiffness. Only in the pressure distribution while riding hard is there a difference. However, the S-Works have the advantage of being mated to huge SPD-SL cleats as opposed to the tiny Crankbrothers cleats I have on the Bonts. However, no hotspots, I'm grading the $160 Bonts on the ¥40,000 S-Works 7 curve.
  • I love that Bont caters to people with weirdly shaped feet. Their most expensive models even come in super wide and Asian fit. Wide suffices for me (and I have e. g. running shoes in super wide). They look weird and perhaps not as elegant as some other shoes. But I literally cannot even put on these other, more elegant-looking shoes.
  • The velcro + Boa dial closing mechanism works very well. My only complaint is that it is a bit harder to put on the shoes one-handed while carrying a baby bag and my son on one arm — something I have to do whenever I pick up our son from day care. Probably Bont did not optimize the shoes for this use case, though 🙃

Cons
  • The sole is too hard for my taste, I would have preferred a Vibram sole or similar, which is softer and provides more grip. While I understand that softer soles wear faster, since the sole is replaceable, I think this is less of an issue and Bont should have made a different choice here.
  • The exceptional stiffness can be an issue for some styles of riding. This is a well-known trade-off, some shoes like Specialized's Recon 3 .0 have a hybrid sole with fiber glass in the toe box (or everywhere).
  • For the same reason these shoes aren't the most comfortable for walking. I don't walk like I am in road shoes, but it definitely does not feel as good as my Velo Kicks Lactics.

Verdict

These shoes are a steal in my opinion — if you fit the use case. Given that these shoes are largely identical to their road sibling (really, the shoes look identical save for the bits on the sole), I reckon that everything applies to the road shoes as well. Although I would expect them to be less walkable and such, of course.
 
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OreoCookie

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Doh, I forgot to add that. I got Riot MTB+. Bont sells a road version that they call Riot+. Apart from the sole, the two shoes are as far as I can tell identical.

The MTB shoes go for US$189, the road shoes are a bit cheaper at US$169. I think I got them a bit cheaper, for $169 if memory serves. If you are thinking of getting shoes from them, I recommend to quickly get in touch with Bont about sizing. They have a guide, but I ordered my first pair a size too small (43 W instead of 44W). When I told them I had S-Works 7 in 43 Wide, the person on the other end immediately told me “pick 44 Wide”. The recommendation was spot on.
 
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