words by Trystan Cobbett
My first really good pair of carbon soled road shoes were Adidas Eddy Merckx Anniversary they had an embroidered serial number on the side proclaiming them to be one of 1000 pairs made. Now long retired but still some of my favorite shoes of all time, the Adidas was the stiffest shoe I had ever owned. I still remember the first time I slid them on my feet and pedaled away from the shop, that “Wow!” moment that made me question what I had been missing in my cycling shoes all those years before.
The Vaypor Plus brought me back to that moment of revelation. The shoe uses a unique carbon footbed that wraps up the sides and heel of the foot. This allows for a thinner sole than most other cycling shoes, which in turn allows for a lower saddle height and lower center of gravity. What makes these really stand out though, is the stiffness.
For a lot of people these shoes are a great fit right out of the box. Bont has a uniquely shaped forefoot area that gives your toes room to wiggle. That’s not the case with a lot of more classically shaped cycling shoes that use a slim toe silhouette and that can cause a lot of foot pain.
For me the shoes weren’t exactly a Cinderella fit; I have a wide foot and a pretty prominent knuckle at the base of the big toe (the first metatarsal). Normally with a leather or synthetic shoe this isn’t a problem since the shoe conforms to these oddities, but with the carbon structure of the outsole this wasn’t as easy to accommodate. The great thing about the Bont shoes is that the carbon is easily heat molded. The shoe can be slightly reshaped to pinch or expand around critical pressure points thanks to the carbon fiber’s temperature sensitive resin. You can’t turn a size 10 into a size 11 but you can address some minor concerns. To work for my feet there were multiple sessions reshaping the shoes in the oven to get them just the way I wanted, I would knead them with my fingers to stretch an area or put on the shoes with several pairs of socks at a time to exaggerate the size of my foot. It took some time but it really paid off in the end.
The stiffness of the shoes stabilizes the foot laterally more than any other shoe I’ve owned and this helps maintain better alignment all the way up the leg. It also helps maintain better force directly into the pedal axle and the crank arm.. They’ve seen multiple days of 100+ miles without any discomfort. The Boa retention mechanism allows me to tighten down the shoe, but it’s really hard to over tighten it as I can with some of the buckle style shoes. Even after a year and a half of regular use the Boa is showing no signs of wear and tear- but they have a lifetime warranty so I’m not worried.
Since I first started wearing the Vaypor Plus more than 18 months ago they have become my favorite riding shoes
I still switch over to some other shoes for shorter rides or just to try something different from time to time but it only makes me appreciate the Bonts that much more.