Top of the range, state of the art and used by a Tour de France winner, all elements that get a cyclist’s heart fluttering and all found on the Bont Zero+ Road Shoe.
First seen gracing the feet of Bradley Wiggins on his 2012 Tour de France winning ride, the Bont Zero+ has quickly gained a following and is considered by some to be the ultimate, high performance road shoe.
Picking up my white Zero+ shoes, for testing, I was keen to see if this Tour winning shoe lived up to it’s prestigious palmares.
First step was to get the shoes moulded. In days gone by there was little you could do if your shoe did not fit. In the last 20 years heat moldable inner soles have transformed the fitting process and with Bont, the custom fit has been taken a step further.
The Zero+’s, as well as coming in narrow, standard and wide, as well as a vast range of sizes, are also heat moldable, meaning the shoe can be molded to fit the exact contours of your feet. I found the Bonts come up a little on the tight side. Through the heat molding process you can gain a little extra width or room in the toe box area, but if unsure it may be worth going for a size bigger than you normally do.
After visiting the guys in store, with their vast knowledge and special oven, they molded the shoes to my feet and set me on my way.
A great feature of the molding process is the shoes can be reheated and molded up to around four times, giving you plenty of attempts to achieve that perfect fit. Another nice touch is the simple molding process can be done at home using a conventional oven, just remember to take your casserole out first!
With a thin carbon sole it is worth noting you may need to lower your saddle to accommodate the, relatively low, 3.6 millimetre stack height. Compared to my previous shoes the stack height difference was around 5 millimetres.
Slipping into the shoes for my first ride and I was immediately impressed with the simple, yet effective ATOP Central Dial System, which sits on the top of the shoe. This is easy to access, quick to tighten and loosen and held together by strong, replaceable, kevlar wires. A velcro secured cover sits on top of the dial, keeping the system tucked away and adding to the shoes aerodynamic, low drag design.
Setting off and clipping in, I soon realised why these shoes were so popular within the professional peloton. They felt light and getting out of the saddle, incredibly stiff. This was mainly due to their 100% carbon monocoque chassis design, which uses hand laid unidirectional carbon. You can really feel the power seamlessly transferring from the shoe to pedal. No watts will be wasted here. The low heel design supported my foot perfectly as I pulled up on the pedals.
It is worth noting these shoes are designed with performance in mind, so if you are looking for a slipper like comfort and loads of padding you may need to look elsewhere. I could quite quickly feel the difference between these and other shoes I’ve used. The extremely stiff carbon fibre sole takes some getting used to, but after a few rides it feels natural, with the memory foam padding, providing just the right amount of support.
High performance does not mean you need to skimp on practicalities. Bont realise this shoe needs to stand up the rigours of racing and riding hard and have addressed this. Air vents provide ventilation on the front of the shoe and AG100 material has been used on the upper and inner, which is easy to wipe clean and seems to wear well. Underneath there are replaceable sole guards as well as a 3 hole cleat design that features a handy grid, allowing you to accurately set up your cleats to the correct position.
This is definitely a shoe that takes a bit of getting used to but give it a chance and the rewards are worth it. Lightweight, (190 grams in size 42), stiff, easy to use and stylish, with subtle Bont graphics, this is a true race ready, high performance road shoe.
Let us know you thoughts on the Bont Zero+, or if there are any products that you'd like to see us test in the comments section below.
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