Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
According to Bont, the Vaypor+ is a “luxury sportive shoe.” Yes, we can hear you groaning — the cycling industry really loves micro-specialization, doesn’t it? A shoe is a shoe, however, and if you find a pair that makes your feet happy, who cares about the moniker? Marketing aside, the Vaypor+ is great, but it comes at a steep price.
The 230-gram Vaypor+ features Bont’s unique carbon fiber sole design, which wraps the heel and scoops upward on the forefoot and arch to lend additional support. That impressively stiff platform is pocked by four air vents in the rubber toe piece, which nicely protects the shoe from scuffs if you are clumsy on the stairs.
Unlike many shoes with synthetic materials, the Vaypor+ uppers are made of Kangaroo leather (how Australian of them) with cow hide lining. This material is perforated for ventilation — relatively effective, although shoes with mesh panels, like Bontrager’s XXX, feel more airy. The Bont leather is soft but not as supple as you’d expect, partly due to the carbon sole that wraps the foot, as well as a Kevlar-like material that is integrated into the upper to prevent stretching.
As for color, sizing, and fit, Bont has plentiful options. There are six colors to choose from — we thought the brown shoes had a cool, old-school vibe. You can also get the Vaypor+ in four stock fits (standard, narrow, wide, Asian), or full-custom. Bont has an online sizing guide that walks you through the thorough process of measuring length and width on both feet. If one foot is larger than the other, Bont can accommodate that pretty easily. In general, Bont’s foot-shaped last works well for wide forefeet. If you’ve ever felt crunched by narrow, European-style shoes, like those made by Sidi or Gaerne, Bont might be best. Plus, you can heat-mold the Vaypor+ at home, provided your oven can consistently hold its temperature at 160 degrees. Tinkerers will love how you can mold the shoes as many times as you like.
Once we had heat-molded our pair and clipped in for a ride, comfort and performance were both excellent. As we said, Bont pegs the Vaypor+ as (very high-end) enthusiast shoes, but they felt like they’d be ideal for racing. Padding is minimal, although not uncomfortably so. The sole is tremendously stiff, like the Vaypor S we recently reviewed. It is easy to fine-tune the fit with two Boa IP1 dials, which micro-adjust in either direction.
Whether or not the Vaypor+ lives up to its billing as a “luxury sportive” shoe is debatable. The nearest competitor we can think of in that vein is Rapha’s GT shoe, which is 90 grams heavier, $50 cheaper, and feels less like a race shoe. But the fact remains: This is a great pair of shoes. Should you spend the extra $40 to get the Vaypor+ instead of the Vaypor S? If you prefer leather uppers and a more traditional shoe tongue, it might be worth it. While Bont’s Vaypor+ is one of the most expensive shoes we have tested, it also offers possibly the greatest range of fit options along with top-notch performance.