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Bont Blitz shoes – review

If you haven’t used Bont shoes before, there are a couple of things that you’ll notice which set the Aussie company apart from other cycling shoe manufacturers.

First is the shape. Far from following the traditional shoe shape, Bont make their bike shoes to mirror the outline of a foot. And that means the shoe gets progressively wider until the toes, where it ends with a gentle arc, rather than the pointier shape used by many brands. It means that they look like they’re an odd shape – or, perhaps more correctly, a more exaggerated version of the same shape – when compared with the majority of cycling shoes, but the thinking behind it certainly makes sense. Consequently, the sole looks absolutely huge and part of that is also down to the fact that, unlike traditional road shoes, the sole wraps up around the sides slightly to provide lateral support for the forefoot so, in effect, the sole actually is bigger on a Bont shoe.

The layup of the soles is 3K unidirectional carbon fibre. Unidirectional carbon uses only half the strands of cross weave carbon, which means half the weight in carbon and half the amount of resin is needed to set it, so you can make a stiff sole considerably lighter. Of course, unidirectional carbon only give strength in one direction, but for something like a cycling shoe sole that’s not a disaster.

One more thing to note about Bont soles is that they’re super stiff. In my experience of testing bike shoes, there are stiff soles, there are very stiff soles and then there’s Bont. Every time I use a set of their shoes I’m amazed at how stiff they are, and, to be honest, they could probably do with a little more padding on the insoles in order to counteract that. If you’re not used to highly stiff soles, you might find your feet stinging a little after the first ride or two but don’t worry you’ll soon get used to it.

The other plus with the Blitz’s soles is that they’re heat mouldable. Stick them in the oven at 70 degrees for 20 minutes and they’re compliant enough that you can ease out any problem spots, but remember to take out the insoles first. And make sure you keep an eye on them while they’re in the oven. Even if you have an independent thermometer, it’s easy to overcook them. Literally. And the last thing you want to do is ruin a £180 set of bike shoes in the oven.

The other thing to know about heat moulding is, although the soles will be malleable, it won’t be a case of them flexing around in your hands like cardboard. You’ll still need to apply a bit of force to make them do what you want but again, be careful, because too much force can still crack the carbon, hence why they come with instructions to not walk in them while they’re hot.

The upper is also heat mouldable, and you can dial in the fit not just of the sole during the moulding process. The upper is made from a microfiber, and is wonderfully supple when heated so you can put the shoes on, do them up and wait for them to set knowing that you’ll achieve a better fit from the process.

The ventilation on the upper is pretty good. The combination of perforations down each side of the shoe with two mesh vents at the front means you never overheat, and there are a couple of small vents in the rubber front bumper too.

Closure is dealt with by a single Boa dial and a small support strap. The Boa gives a solid, progressive tightening over the top of the shoe, and the strap means you can squeeze the toe box really tight if that’s the way you like your shoes.

In fact, overall, the quality of these shoes is really rather pleasing. They look like what you’d expect from a £180 set of bike shoes, and the little touches – like how well the upper joins the sole – are all done excellently. You also don’t have to have them in this hot pink colour if you fancy something a little more subdued, and Bont do them in white, yellow and blue which is a pretty good range of colours and should offer something for everyone.

Out riding, the issue I had with the Blitz is width. My feet are quite wide, and I don’t naturally fit into one of the sizes on Bont’s chart – Bont suggest sizing based on length and width of feet in millimetres. The main issue is where the sides wrap around slightly and my feet push against both sides when I’m riding hard which ends up being a little uncomfortable. Going up a size could give a little more lateral room, but the extra length might make them feel a little ungainly. I’ve used a set of the excellent Riots before and very much enjoyed them, but for some reason I just couldn’t get comfortable in the Blitz.

So, I decided to try and ease out the problem spots with a bit of custom moulding. I had a couple of goes at it and, to be honest, didn’t have a huge amount of luck. The heel cup moulded very nicely, but trying to flatten the last out a little bit proved a fruitless endeavour. It’s a shame beucase there’s a lot to like about these shoes and actually, I suspect there are an awful lot of riders who would really love this set of Bonts and would find that their characteristics suit their foot shape perfectly.

Conclusion

Basically, it all comes down to fit with Bont’s Blitz shoes. You can’t knock them on build quality, stiffness, and general function, but whether or not your feet are the right shape to match some of their features will be the only answer to whether you’ll get on with them or not. Don’t get this review wrong, these are a quality set of bike shoes, they’re just not the right set of shoes for me.

Pros

– Extremely stiff soles
– Heat mouldable soles and uppers allow for a degree of customisation

Cons

– Overall shape and wrap around sole may not suit certain foot shapes

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