Carbon fiber is a revolutionary material that is as strong as steel with a fraction of the weight and Bont has been producing carbon based footwear since 1989. The material is mainly comprised of carbon atoms that are bonded together and aligned to form the long axis of the fiber. Several thousand of these fibers are twisted together to form a yarn which is then in turn woven into a fabric. We source our carbon exclusively from the world’s #1 carbon manufacturer, Toray of Japan.
3k plain is a tightly woven carbon that is used in the aircraft industry and is what we use in Bont shoes.
Unidirectional is what we use inside shoes like the a-one to make them extremely stiff. The benefit of unidirectional carbon is that we can choose which direction we want to lay the carbon and we can produce extremely stiff, light weight shoes using it.
This is a cheaper form of carbon that is not as strong as 3k and is around 20% cheaper.
In the old days, if you bought a plastic or nylon based shoe, you knew what you were getting. But now-a-days, with all these modern expensive materials, it's getting tougher, so here are some ways that manufacturers use materials that you need to watch out for.
Most skates are made with sponge foam padding. It’s light, it’s cheap and it doesn’t crush down. But what it does do is absorb water when it gets wet. So, if your feet sweat, you skate through a puddle or if it starts raining, your boots start absorbing the water which makes your boots very heavy indeed. This type of foam is known in the industry as open cell foam, because the cells are porous. The foam used in making a Bont shoe is a high quality closed cell memory foam which doesn’t absorb water. So you don’t have to worry about them absorbing water while you skate.
Bont’s method of producing skates by hand inside out is a process that is far more skill intensive, time consuming and thus resulting in far greater costs than the current mainstream skate construction methods, but one that allows the Bont range of skating skates to lead the market in performance. The Bont production line has been engineered by founder Inze Bont to allow for our monocoque skates to be hand made in the most time efficient manner possible. This is a process which continues to be developed and refined. Inadequate processes such as using generic vacuum boxes for curing the carbon have been replaced by methods such as pressure wrapping which provides four atmospheres of pressure rather than the traditional one atmosphere from vacuum forming. Bont’s drive for design innovation is matched by its innovation in manufacturing processes.
We start with the last (plastic foot) which has been crafted by a combination of the latest technology and over 36 years of experience. We used data from 20,000 laser foot scans to develop a standard last, we then merged that with Mr. Inze Bont’s 36 years of making custom speed skate/performance footwear and the ongoing feedback received from professional riders. The result is one of the finest cycling shoe last created.
The footbed is the first part of the shoe added to the last. It is made in-house from a heat moldable EVA. The footbed is 65A hardness and only 3mm thick which makes it extremely light weight and heat moldable.
The liner is then added which has been chosen out of hundreds of liners. This liner is not only light weight and strong, but it fights odour and is not easily broken down by sweat.
Anti stretch tapes are then added. These tapes are similar to seatbelt material and ensure the boot does not stretch over time.
We then hand lay the carbon paying particular attention to the stress it will need to bear whilst cycling. Each and every layer is laid with a purpose. We use cross weave 3K 198 gram aircraft grade carbon on the outside and unidirectional carbon on the inside. The uni directional carbon has only half the strands of cross weave carbon. It gives strength in one direction so it saves weight by using less carbon and absorbing less resin.
The light weight upper is then glued and sewn onto the shoe. Holes are hand punched through the uppers and the liner for ventilation. The buckles and straps are attached. The location of the straps is such that they pull the foot down and into the back of the shoe. The excess glue is cleaned off and the shoe is ready to be ridden in. The shoe has passed through 16 independent stages of quality control for it to be deemed ready for action. The result is a shoe with the best strength to weight ratio on the market.
Between the outer skin and the liner, we add a material that is proprietary to Bont to stop the boot from stretching over time. This material has similar strength characteristics to Kevlar. This material is stitched to the outer skin and bonded to the liner so it can never move or be removed, it becomes part of the boots structure. This layer is the reason that Bont boots do not stretch out as much as other brands of boots over time.
A last is a plastic replica of a foot that the boot is built around. At Bont, we have been perfecting our lasts since 1975 and the process is ongoing. Unlike the standard shoe last many companies use, we put extra effort into creating and developing our lasts so that they fit right out of the box.
Our Pro Team skaters are some of the best in the World and love to give us constant feedback. From the little things like the placement of the buckle to trialing the latest materials, they are helping Bont create products that not only look good but perform at the elite level.
Small eyelets put pressure on a very small area and can cause pain. Bont eyelets have a large head which spreads the pressure over a larger area to help overcome any discomfort.
Bont boots are the most heat moldable boots available. Bont's proprietary resin has been developed and perfected over 36 years to be an extremely stiff resin that becomes pliable at relatively low temperatures. Unlike other skates which are moldable only in select locations, all Bont boots are able to be molded over the entire base providing skaters not only with the most anatomically designed boot on the market today but also with the ability to fine-tune the fit of the entire boot to give a customized fit.