Bont’s cycling shoes are a popular option for those with fussy feet, as they all have a heat-mouldable chassis made from an Epoxy Thermoset Resin that can be sculpted to fit your foot.
The Riot TR+ is claimed to be the world’s only heat-mouldable tri shoe with a carbon composite sole and, given their elite road shoes cost upwards of £300 (such as the Zero+ favoured by two-time Ironman world champ Jan Frodeno), it looks like a very good value package.
Our size 45s came in a royal blue and orange colourway, with lime green, black or white/blue versions also available. Weighing just 224g per shoe without cleats, the upper is made of a durable and breathable microfibre with plenty of perforated mesh sections to keep your feet cool.
After first trying them, we felt the chassis was too firm against the outside of our foot, but after 10mins of heating in the oven at the recommended 70°C it was a totally different story. It’s also important to remove the insole and cleats before heating, then while standing in the warmed-up shoes, you just take the round end of a screwdriver and press out any parts where you can feel pressure. If you still find they’re not right after hitting the road, it’s not a problem as they’re infinitely mouldable so you can keep repeating the process until they’re spot on.
With just a minimal 4.8mm stack height we felt none of our effort being wasted, and the stiff carbon composite sole is comparable to full carbon, if not slightly more forgiving. The two straps close outwards and, for shoes with a Velcro fastening, our feet felt an almost road shoe-like security.
T1 is also a breeze as the straps open out very wide and the heel loop is huge (maybe too huge for those worried about wasted watts, but it’s a negligible issue for most of us). On very hot test rides the venting was excellent, and we also found the insole very soft and comfortable over long distances, making this a great candidate for Ironman racing.
With a competitive price and the custom fitting distinguishing it from competitors, the Riot TR+ is now setting the tri-specific shoe standard. While we’d like to see a professional-level version with a full carbon sole – and perhaps a BOA dial system as opposed to straps for an even more secure closure – they’ll be more than capable for anyone outside the pro ranks, and perhaps within them.
Just make sure to follow the heat- moulding instructions to the letter, and when you’ve got over the abnormality of popping your bike shoes in the oven you won’t look back.
Verdict: stiff, light and will fit most athletes due to customisation process 94%
Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com