The Bont Vaypor+ 2016 may be a great fit for someone, but it wasn’t for our testers. Very stiff around the upper, a bit of a closed-in toe box, and construction that looks substandard. At the same time, the BOA system was one of the best we tested and the carbon sole is outstanding.
Weighing in at 230 grams, the Bont Vaypor+ 2016 is not the lightest shoe in the test, and it frankly feels heavier than it actually is. This is likely due to the rigidity of the upper giving the impression of a very substantial shoe. In reality, the weight of the Bont Vaypor+ 2016 is just grams above the lightest shoes we tested. The Vaypor features a Unidirectional Carbon Monocoque (one piece) Chassis (sole and foot bed) that is incredibly stiff. The sole is also phenomenally thin. No other shoe that we tested had a lower stack height than this at 3.6 millimeters – a priority for some.
Bont also inserts a Kevlar like material into the the upper connected directly to the sole which encases the foot in an effort to capture more energy. You can feel it. Personally, I found the upper to be a bit stiff and harsh, like my first real pair of road shoes, but there is no question that it works in terms of translating energy to the bike. The shoe and thin sole work together to harness your energy, and there is no wasted energy even when out of the saddle sprinting.
Bont Vaypor+ 2016 is likely not a shoe that is going to be comfortable for everyone. Unlike others we tested, it has less give than some shoes, which vastly improves the Vaypor’s efficiency, while at the same time limiting the shoe’s ability to “break in.” That said, this shoe features an internal cowhide layer which is unusually plush and seamless, and the heel cup was very well suited to my foot’s average size heel width and depth.
The Tongue is positively luxurious, with cowhide on the internal, and kangaroo leather on the outside. Soft and plush, a welcome respite from the synthetic microfiber materials ubiquitous in the category. However, all these materials could not compensate – or perhaps caused – the relative stiffness in the upper that I found to be the least comfortable of any shoe we tested.
Two Boa IP1 dual directional dials make up the closure system. The IP1s have a micro adjustment, dual directional design and a favored quick release available by pulling the dial. The lower dial pulls Kevlar wires through the forefoot ensuring a tight lacing. We were more impressed with the lacing on the Bont Vaypor+ 2016 than some others and it provides a secure fit with the foot anchored to the sole.
For some, the initial reaction to the Vaypor+ 2016 was that is looks a little bit sloppy in production, but the more time we spent with the shoe, the more we understood that 1) they were going for a vintage design and 2) Bont takes incredible pride in their build and the science behind it. The use of kangaroo hide and cow leather, which is not present in other shoes in the category necessitates more sewing, and more seams and cuts on the shoe versus monopiece synthetic materials. The sole and heel cup being a one-piece carbon cleans up the design substantially. Bont was also going for a specific look that is a contrast from today’s shoe design, intentionally retro and classic in style.
We anticipate the Bont to wear well over time, like a classic road shoe, with much improved efficiency from its vintage brethren. It does also feature a heat moldable carbon fiber last, which we did not attempt to mold.
Bont Vaypor+ 2016 features a perforated upper with a mix of mesh in some of the holes and nothing in others. Breathability felt good, though less so than other shoes we tested likely as a result of the dominance of the leather on the foot. There are also 4 ports along the front of the shoe that increase air flow, and also allow for water to release. The overall breathability and drainage on the Bont Vaypor+ 2016 is less than most. This shoe excels in cool and dry situations.
Incredibly, this is a $500 shoe. For the thick-wallet rider that wants a retro shoe with absolute fantastic rigidity and closure, it could be a fit.
Seth Portner has been riding and racing mountain bikes since the late 1990s, specializing in XC, marathon and ultra-marathon events. He also enjoys regular multi-day road tours, and is an accomplished ultrarunner and XC skier. Seth, his wife and their daughter all split their time between Lyons and Winter Park.