Bont Helix Review – Cycling Shoes That Fit Perfectly
How many Boa dials does it take to get you the perfectly fit cycling shoe? Well, the answer is as many as Bont feels is necessary. In this case, just one. But it’s not just the ultra-strategic Boa dial, it’s the fully wrapped cable wiring system. Turn the dial one click–feel the fit adjust all around your foot.
BONT HELIX CYCLING SHOE REVIEW
So what’s so new and different about these Bont’s? Well, we’ve reviewed Bont cycling shoes in the past and have always been impressed with their customizable heat-treatment process. Meaning, you literally stick these shoes in your oven, heat them til the carbon becomes malleable, and shape them around your feet (those aren’t the actual directions–make sure to follow Bont’s instructions on how to properly heat mold your shoes).
But Bont took the custom fit a bit further by adding an integrated cable wiring system that actually wraps all the way around the shoe and through the carbon chassis. In other words, the Boa dial will adjust the cable fully around your foot. Racers take note.
Weight: 226 grams (size 41, according to our scale)
Colorways: shiny red/white, metallic blue/white, black/gold, black/white, and white/charcoal
Upper Material: Duralite Outer Skin
Stack Height: 3.6mm
Carbon: Unidirectional Monocoque Chassis
Tested: Size 41, Wide, Shiny Red/White (a very sweet color that matches well with a red/black kit)
Built for maximizing the strength to weight ratio of the shoe, the Bont Helix is ultra light and won’t give you that block-footed feeling of heavier shoes. Even when your legs are tired, these shoes still feel light and fast. Definitely stiff and hard-soled for the ultimate in power transfer.
Of course, key to the aesthetics of the overall shoe, the unidirectional carbon fiber has a pretty cool matte finish and wave points (my own, unofficial, technical term) under the arch that not only reinforces high stress areas, but also adds a pretty awesome look to the shoe as a whole.
The upper is made of an outer leather that is layered with Bont’s own proprietary material to keep the upper from stretching. Similar in strength to Kevlar (yes, Kevlar), it’s stitched and bonded to the liner–meaning it’s there and it’s staying there. This added layer means that the upper doesn’t leak watts.
Certainly, the construction of Bont’s Helix shoe is rock-solid and perfect for riders who want every gram of energy transferred directly into the pedals. With an upper that stays put, but still feels supple and comfortable, these shoes deliver in every way.
BONT HELIX REVIEW – THE VERDICT
These shoes really are top-shelf worthy, and I’m not ashamed to sing Bont’s praises here. But I did have to do a little work to get them to fit like perfection. I’m not generally a hard-soled kinda rider, and my first ride wearing the Helix shoes did not go so well. I had some heel rub, and developed numbness in my left foot several miles in (followed by my right foot a few miles later).
But, knowing how my other Bont shoes fit so well, I went back to the oven. Two more heat treats later, and I rounded out a few areas along the arch, set the heels in perfectly, and smoothed out a hot spot.
Overall, my final bit of comfort adjustment did involve adding a light and thin insole; though, wearing a nicely padded sock also did the same trick, but I’m generally a thin sock kinda cyclist. If you’re not used to hard-soled carbon shoes, you may find a few adjustments necessary as well.
Yes, I know the added insole somewhat defeated the purpose of the closed cell memory foam padding that ensures it won’t retain moisture from sweat or wet conditions (ie it stays light and keeps the shoe’s durability from breaking down). But the upside for me was a perfectly cushioned, perfectly dialed, perfectly competitive cycling shoe.
And that’s what sets the Helix apart. Once I molded the chassis to fit me perfectly, the innovative cable wiring system really spoke to me. One click forward or back and the whole shoe adjusts–even the shoe’s volume. It’s pretty darn fool-proof.
A NOTE ON THE FIT
Cyclists with wider feet will want to take note as these were hands-down the widest shoe I’ve ever tested. Plenty of wiggle room in the toe box, for sure. As a wide-footed rider, I think I may have just hit shoe nirvana.
Aside from going with a wide-width option, I also sized up from my usual EU 40 to a 41. You’ll definitely want to check out the sizing guide before purchasing these shoes to make sure you’re not ordering a pair that’s too short.
So, yes, the Bont Helix is one of the sweetest pairs of shoes I’ve ever tested. Definitely worth the $399 price tag if you’re serious about performance without sacrificing comfort. Very light and very fast, the Helix holds its own.
Get more information at www.bontcycling.com
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