ROAD.CC8 OUT OF 10
Bont's Riot Road+ shoes bring custom fitting down to a (reasonably) sensible price point, offering a comfortable fit with not many compromises when you compare them to its top end Vaypor S shoes.
The Riot Road+ is described as an 'entry level' shoe by Bont, which may seem a little disconcerting given that they're £150 a pair – so it's a good job that they're also described as the most 'technically advanced' entry level shoe money can buy. So, what are you getting for your cash?
As with all Bont's higher end shoes, the Riot Road+ are heat-mouldable, which means you literally warm them up in the oven to customise them for your own foot arch and shape. To do this you heat them at 70°C for about 20 minutes, then slip them on and tighten the straps.
You can reheat them as many times as you need to. In my experience they can feel a little off when heading out for your first ride, when the shoes are exposed to forces beyond simply slipping your foot in, so while it's patience-testing, it's worth repeating the process to get the best possible fit. I was fairly happy after two rounds in the oven.
Be aware, though, the fit is quite wide from the outset and it's impossible to really slim them down even with the heat moulding, so they aren't really for those with narrow feet.
The sole has carbon sandwiched in between layers of fibreglass to add strength, and while this does feel a little harsher than a full-carbon sole underfoot, I found it perfectly manageable. You can, of course, customise with insoles if you're putting in monster days in the saddle.
Personally, I prefer a Boa dial to straps, and the Riot Road+ offer an in-between solution, with one dial and a Velcro strap combined. The dial has quite a lengthy bit of wire exposed when the shoe is opened up and it takes a fair bit of adjustment to get it fully closed, but once it's there the shoes cradle your feet well.
Price-wise, as Bont says – and I have to agree – these are probably the best value shoes you can get that offer some degree of custom fitting; I've certainly not found anything comparable. Shimano's highly-rated RC7s are £20 more, but aren't heat-mouldable, instead they offer regular or wide-fit sizing and come in half sizes. Personally, I find Shimano's regular shoes are a better fit for me – the Riot Road+ are a bit boxy – but if you have wide feet then the Bonts are well worth a look.
In summary, I'd definitely recommend the Riot Road+ shoes for anyone who struggles getting a perfect fit in off-the-shelf shoes. The actual shape of the carbon/fibreglass outsole is on the wide side and they are quite boxy, so if your feet are on the wider side too these may well be just what you're looking for, and at a decent price.
They're also available in five different colours, ranging from all-black to a very loud 'mega crimson', so you're bound to find something to match your bike if you like to be colour-coordinated.
Make and model: Bont Cycling Riot Road+ cycling shoes
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Bont says: "Introducing the Bont Riot , the worlds first carbon composite heat moldable entry level cycling shoe.
"The Riot combines Bont's pro series technical features including our power transfer platform and anatomical shaping with competition grade materials to create the most technically advanced entry level road cycling shoe."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Carbon fibreglass composite sole
Boa dial with 'z-form' hook-and-loop strap
Heat mouldable for custom fit
Perforated upper for ventilation
Structural medial longitudinal arch support
Microgrid on the sole for precision cleat mounting
Rate the product for quality of construction: 7/10 A bit of a boxy shape, but otherwise well crafted and hard-wearing.
Rate the product for performance: 7/10 Comfortable on long rides and good power transfer.
Rate the product for durability: 7/10 Tough sole and upper. The wire that secures the dial feels a bit flimsy but no problems so far.
Rate the product for fit: 7/10 The heat moulding makes things far better, but I found the shape of the sole a bit boxy and wide.
Rate the product for sizing: 6/10 They size up slightly small, which was fine for me but it's worth noting for in-betweenies.
Rate the product for weight: 6/10 A bit on the heavy side, but not bad.
Rate the product for comfort: 8/10 Custom fit allows for great comfort.
Rate the product for value: 9/10 Custom fitting and carbon fibre sole at sub-£150 is, comparatively, very good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed? They're easy to clean as they're synthetic so the muck wipes straight off.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose: Not quite as stiff as a top-end shoe, but the power transfer is reasonable and they're very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product: The heat-mouldable tech that increases comfort.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score: They're the best value heat-mouldable shoes you can buy, and there's plenty of trickle-down from Bont's top end shoes. They're a bit on the wide side for me, but if they suit your feet they're a very good option.
Overall rating: 8/10