Worn by a legion of devotees who swear by them, Bont cycling shoes have developed something of a cult following. What has the Australian brand done to achieve that? It’s pretty simple—make shoes that are truly different from everything else on the market. We looked at the brand’s topend shoe, the Vaypor S, to see how much of a difference its unique approach to cycling footwear makes.

For better or worse, one thing that defines the Vaypor S is its looks. It’s certainly not a terrible-looking shoe but, splaying out wide with a roomy toe box, it isn’t anywhere close to competing with other brands for the most aesthetically pleasing shoe design. However, that’s one of the Vaypor S’s advantages. It’s focused first and foremost on the best anatomical fit, with form following from there.

a truly different shoe design

Bont puts a great deal of effort into creating lasts specifically for the biomechanics of cycling—six width options in total for the Vaypor S—part of the reason its shoes look and fit differently than anything else on the market. But despite its bulkier appearance, the Vaypor S is made from top materials and manages a low weight of just 244 grams per shoe (size 42.5).

The upper is made of a light, durable material called, what else, Durolite. Between that and an inner layer of suede is a proprietary material Bont says has similar properties to Kevlar that both helps maintain the structure of the shoe over time and supports the top of the foot during the pedal stroke. Beneath that, the sole, made of unidirectional carbon fiber, provides world-class power transfer becoming of a top-end model costing $379.

a truly different shoe design

Feet spread out under pedaling pressure and change in size over the course of a long ride. The Vaypor S’s noticeably wide fit relieves any toe pressure and leaves room for changing foot shapes so hot spots don’t become an issue. Another biomechanical breakthrough is a concave foot support that surrounds the foot, helping corral it into a neutral position and alleviating problems caused by tilting the foot inward or outward.

Though the Vaypor S is wider, we felt no need to excessively ratchet down the Boa IP1 dials to achieve a close fit. That’s in large part thanks to a heel cup that steadfastly locks the foot into place. The Vaypor S manages to avoid cumbersome pinch points, but should you have persistent problem areas this shoe has a trick up its sleeves. At-home heat molding allows you to warm up each shoe in an oven, then shape them to the precise contours of your feet. The process is simple and infinitely repeatable, should any new problem areas arise.

The Vapor S has worked wonders for us, providing a no-fuss fit and, really, no problem areas to speak of. If you have persistent problems finding a shoe that works, this could be your glass slipper.

$379; 244g/shoe (size 42.5); 3 colors; bontcycling.com

From issue 105, get your copy at pelotonshop.com