Although Cadel Evans couldn’t quite make it two in a row at this year’s Tour de France, another Aussie brand boomeranged into the spotlight – quite literally on the heels of British winner Bradley
Weighing in at just 170 grams each, the Team Sky rider’s custom-designed Bont Zero shoes were an important part of the ultra-lightweight kit that helped propel him to victory.
“Every rider wants and needs the edge,” says Shan Wilson, technical director at The Bicycle Company, which is the sole distributor for Bont in South Africa. “And feet and shoes ultimately play a big role.”
Wilson says Bont’s design philosophy is based on a fully heat-mouldable monocoque carbon chassis.
“A carbon sole and a carbon last are two very different aspects not really understood by the public. Most aftermarket carbon shoes out there simply have a carbon insert.”
Made from 3K carbon fibre, which is five times stronger than steel, the shoe is strong and rigid, allowing zero flex.
What makes this footwear so groundbreaking, says Wilson, is that the carbon last is completely mouldable, creating a very individualised fit for the rider.
“It has unique cleat placements that can be set under the arch, a feature not currently widely available in the marketplace.”
The hardness of the sole also eliminates the cleat pressure issues commonly found in entry-level shoes, he says.
“Despite its strength, the weight of the shoe is one of the lightest, which is critical in this sport, and the stack height is one of the lowest.”
All Bont shoe models feature structural medial longitudinal arch and lateral forefoot support to stop over-pronation of the feet.
“Over-pronation is one of the main contributors to incorrect tracking of the knees during the pedalling phase due to internal rotation of the tibia and femur. This can result in knee injuries, as well as lower back strain.”
Furthermore, says Wilson, the anatomical heel cup shaping provides increased stability during the pull-through stage of the pedalling and up strokes.
“This stabilisation is achieved without any mechanical operation or over-tightening of straps or laces, which allows for increased comfort and blood circulation.”
Although conventional cycling shoes have a more aesthetic “dress shoe” shape, they can constrict the toes and compress the nerves between the metatarsals, resulting in the common “hot foot” sensation, he says.
The anatomical forefoot shaping of Bont shoes allows the foot to function in its most efficient and anatomically correct position. “This allows the pedalling force to be spread across the greatest possible surface area.”
For sprinters, and track riders like the pre-Tour Wiggo, the shoes offer a dual strapping system, combining laces with Velcro strap and ratchet, for maximum support during bursts of power.
With two standard models in each of the road and mountain bike departments, Bont shoes are priced from R1 999 at selected cycling outlets throughout the country.
The top-end model is available on special order at a recommended retail price of R5 999.
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