Bont Shoes make custom carbon fiber racing shoes, along with a bunch of inline skating shoes and other cycling discipline shoes. I have been running Bont Shoes for the past 3 years, and love them!! I couldn’t ever go to another pair of shoes. Especially my famous PINK shoes! :)
Bont’s method of producing shoes by hand inside out is a process that is far more skill intensive, time consuming and thus resulting in far greater costs than the current mainstream shoe construction methods, but one that allows the Bont range of cycling shoes to lead the market in performance. The Bont production line has been engineered by founder Inze Bont to allow for our monocoque shoes to be hand made in the most time efficient manner possible. This is a process which continues to be developed and refined. Inadequate processes such as using generic vacuum boxes for curing the carbon have been replaced by methods such as pressure wrapping which provides four atmospheres of pressure rather than the traditional one atmosphere from vacuum forming. Bont’s drive for design innovation is matched by its innovation in manufacturing processes.
The making of the shoe
Bont cycle shoes are made unlike any other racing shoe. Most shoes use a pre made base and a pre made upper and the two parts are glued together. The result is a shoe that feels like it was made in two parts. We makes our shoes from the inside out. Everything is laminated together by the epoxy resin so it forms a monocoque.
We start with the last (plastic foot) which has been crafted by a combination of the latest technology and over 36 years of experience. We used data from 20,000 laser foot scans to develop a standard last, we then merged that with Mr. Inze Bont’s 36 years of making custom speed skate/performance footwear and the ongoing feedback received from professional riders. The result is one of the finest cycling shoe last created.
The footbed is the first part of the shoe added to the last. It is made in-house from a heat moldable EVA. The footbed is 65A hardness and only 3mm thick which makes it extremely light weight and heat moldable.
The liner is then added which has been chosen out of hundreds of liners. This liner is not only light weight and strong, but it fights odour and is not easily broken down by sweat.
Next, the memory foam. Bont’s memory foam has been rigorously tested in a vice for a period of 6 months and it will still retain its shape. It is also tested for days with impact testing equipment. The foam is closed cell so it will not absorb moisture and is also extremely light weight.
Anti stretch tapes are then added. These tapes are similar to seatbelt material and ensure the boot does not stretch over time.
We then hand lay the carbon paying particular attention to the stress it will need to bear whilst cycling. Each and every layer is laid with a purpose. We use cross weave 3K 198 gram aircraft grade carbon on the outside and unidirectional carbon on the inside. The uni directional carbon has only half the strands of cross weave carbon. It gives strength in one direction so it saves weight by using less carbon and absorbing less resin.
The light weight upper is then glued and sewn onto the shoe. Holes are hand punched through the uppers and the liner for ventilation. The buckles and straps are attached. The location of the straps is such that they pull the foot down and into the back of the shoe. The excess glue is cleaned off and the shoe is ready to be ridden in. The shoe has passed through 16 independent stages of quality control for it to be deemed ready for action. The result is a shoe with the best strength to weight ratio on the market.