If you're in the market for a high-end road shoe the Bont Vaypor S will be on your shortlist. The incredible stiffness and thin sole make it a fantastic performer which can be spotted in the pro peloton. The huge range of sizes including four standard width fittings will improve the chance that the Vaypor S is the right shoe for you. The heat mouldable chassis allows you to tweak the fit as often as you wish too.
Huge range of sizes
Low stack height
Mouldable to improve fit
Sizing process is difficult
Only slight changes in fit possible through moulding
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If you've just spent over $400/£300 on a pair of bike shoes you might be a little dubious about putting them in your oven.
We checked our thermometers and steadied our nerves to test out the heat mouldable Bont Vaypor S road shoes to see how they compared to the rest of the best cycling shoes.
Bont Vaypor S: construction
Forget the heat moulding, the most striking thing about the Bont Vaypor S is its rigidity. It is an incredibly stiff shoe, both the sole and upper. These are not shoes you want to wear on a social ride with many a café stop.
There’s a unidimensional carbon chassis which forms a bathtub shape for the sole and lower sides. Small replaceable heel and toe guards offer a modicum of protection for the shiny sole. The upper is a soft anti-stretch fabric, perforated for ventilation. There’s asymmetrical fastening courtesy of two BOA Li2 fastenings -these are high quality shoes.
As if featuring in the pro peloton isn’t enough, the true USP of the Vaypor is that the shoe chassis is heat mouldable in your home oven.
Bont Vaypor S: the fit
There’s an excellent range of sizes. In total the Vaypors are available in 19 lengths (EU size range 36-50) and four different widths as standard, with an additional two as special order. This choice does add a challenge to your size selection. There’s a seemingly simple measurement system using a print out from the website but what’s simple in theory is rather more tricky in practise. I found it hard to be consistent using the template and I measured the length of my foot a good 10mm different across many attempts. In the end my choice was limited to what was available for testing which took the pressure off a bit. It’s well worth getting yourself to a dealer and trying a few sizes to be sure.
The bathtub design of the bottom of the shoe makes the Vaypor appear pretty huge but they’re not as voluminous as they appear. I have skinny feet and the pair I tested were larger than I would have chosen so I had to tighten the BOA fastenings as far as they would go. Even though the shoes resembled a sack of spuds my feet held in the shoes incredibly well, the anti-stretch fabric and BOAs did an excellent job of holding my feet, the fine adjustment of the Li2 dial is really incredible.
Bont Vaypor S: cooking
Expectations high, I was rather underwhelmed by the heat moulding process. This isn’t because it doesn’t do what it promises, it just promises less than I had hoped. As Bont state “heat molding is only designed for small changes to fit, 1-2mm at most”. It took a good few turns in the oven to make the changes I was after as I found it hard to see the deformation. After a few attempts I realised I was better off wearing the shoes for a while until they were fully cooled and then go by feel. What I really wanted to do was to cinch up the higher portion of the heel cup to stop my skinny heels lifting out the shoe on each pedal stroke. In truth this is probably more in the realms of sizing than the fit adjustments the moulding is designed for. I certainly had more joy relieving a couple of pressure points than I did getting looser bits to sit a little better.
Bont Vaypor S: the ride
After a few times through the oven to mould I was ready for cleats and pedals. In all the playing about with fit I wasn’t convinced that I’d get on with the Vaypors, I hadn’t thought I had got close to the fit I wanted. On the bike everything changed. These shoes are incredible, given the price and reputation this perhaps isn’t the biggest surprise but the stiffness and comfort is phenomenal (my usual road shoes are a pair of S-Works so a reasonable comparison).
Although they’re incredibly rigid they’re not uncomfortable, that will be that clever bathtub design and heat moulding. I did have a bit of heel slippage but that’s more about my feet than it is the shoe (cringes at memories of hours shopping with my mother for school shoes I didn’t walk out of).
The low stack height is noticeable; your foot feels completely ‘on’ the pedal but the stiffness of the sole means that the hotspot you expect never materialises.
Bont Vaypor S: value and conclusion
The Bont Vaypor S are high end road shoes and at $415.00 / £325.00 have a price to match. But they’re not out there on their own, Specialized S-Works Ares are priced similarly and at $484.00 / £390.00 the Sidi Wire 2 shoes will set you back even more.
If you’re looking to splash out on a high-end pair of road shoes then you want them to fit. The huge range of sizes in which the Bont Vaypor S is available as well as the mouldable chassis gives your feet the best chance possible to benefit from the incredible stiffness of the shoe.
- Sizes: EU 36 - 50
- Widths: Four standard, two special order
- Colors: White, Black, Reflex Ghost, Reflex Havoc (tested)
- Weight: 230g per shoe (claimed for size 42), 245g for size 41 as tested
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