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Bont Blitz review

Bont Blitz
20 Jul 2015
Verdict:

Custom cycling shoes for under £200? The Bont Blitz are a revelation.

For 
Custom fit shoes for less
Against 
Toe box could be roomier

Material technology aside, cycling shoes have ostensibly been made the same way for decades – gluing and stitching together outsole, midsole and upper, around a last. Bont sought to challenge some of those norms with its range of high-tech shoes but now it’s brought custom to the masses with the Blitz. Bont shoes encase the foot in a fully heat mouldable carbon fibre chassis, and since it appeared on the scene in 2008, its shoes have seen plenty of visits to the top step of the podium in Olympic road and track events as well as the Tour De France.

Any bike fitter worth their salt will tell you optimal bike fit and performance begins at the foot/pedal interface, hence the benefits of custom-fitted footwear can be considerable, improving both comfort and power delivery. This includes other less obvious features such as getting the foot positioned close to the pedal axle (lowering the stack height) in order for improved pedaling biomechanics. In the past fully custom fitted footwear was the reserve of only the cream of the pro peloton, but Bont’s design makes this possible in just 20 minutes, straight from your oven at home, and with its latest Blitz shoe, it costs less than two hundred quid.

Heat moulding

So, that’s the pretence of the design: stick your new carbon slippers in the oven at 70°C and 20 minutes later they should emerge, with the resin now sufficiently malleable to allow you to form the shoe around your individual foot shape. The reality though is not quite so straightforward. My experience of this, and other Bont shoes, is that you’ll need to be patient with this process and not expect instant gratification. I found two or maybe even three attempts in the oven is required to get the desired results, and that’s for someone that (I’m reliably informed by a podiatrist) doesn’t have any obvious foot abnormalities for the shoe to be coping with. That said, with perseverance I was able to get the Blitz moulded into a comfortable shape. My best results were achieved having my bike set-up on the turbo trainer, and going as quickly as possible (it helps to have previously fitted the cleats and marked their position, but remember to remove them for the heating) from oven to foot, followed by some initial localised manipulation in key areas, such as the heel cup, and then straight onto the bike for some sustained, steady pedaling until the shoe has cooled completely.

The overall impression the Bont Blitz gives is of a very rigid platform, offering complete support for the foot. I found this was further enhanced by adding a custom formable insole too, (Sidas or similar) as the supplied Bont insole is wafer thin and featureless. The toe box feels limited on room, particularly feeling quite shallow, which whilst generally not always a bad thing, (as the last thing you want is your foot swimming around in the shoe), you may find, as I did, your feet begin to feel claustrophobic if they swell at all in hot conditions. The Boa dial and Velcro strap together offer an easy to adjust fit as far as the upper is concerned, which helps a little if the shoe begins to feel cramped in the heat, but because the carbon sole wraps up the sides of the foot to create a kind of ‘tub’ for your foot to sit in, the fit is significantly more restrictive than with other shoe designs.

The upper has held up well also – the patent finish microtex sheds most filth and pretty much wipes clean. The soles have scuffed up, but still perform just fine and the rubber bumpers at either end are easily replaced should they wear down.

Performance wise, the shoe is worth every penny. You can ride safe in the feeling that none of your precious power is being absorbed by errant flex in the outsole or even the upper for that matter. I have heard some riders suggest that overly stiff shoes don’t make for good companions on a day-long ride, but I have not found any issue using the Bonts for rides of over 7 hours in the saddle. In fact for most rides they’ve become my go-to shoes. 

Contact: saddleback.co.uk

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