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 boot 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 Inadequate processes such as using generic vacuum boxes for curing the carbon have been replaced by methods such as pressure wrapping which provides four atmospheres of pressure rather than the traditional one atmosphere from vacuum forming.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.
Check out the last design, footbed, liner, anti-stretch tapes, carbon fiber and upper tabs for information on the full process.
Epoxy or polyepoxide is a thermosetting epoxide polymer that cures when mixed with a catalyzing agent or "hardener". The process of polymerization is called "curing", can be controlled through temperature and choice of resin and hardener compounds; the process can take minutes to hours.
Resin development is something that we have been doing for over 36 years. Formulating a resin that is super stiff, yet becomes moldable at low temperatures and has a fast cure time is critical for our unique requirement which is why we are probably the only cycle shoe manufacturer who develops our own resins in-house.
Our resin becomes soft at just 60°C (140°F) which is the lowest in the industry. Once you heat the resin, mold the shoe and let it set, it is permanently set without the need to remold. You can also reheat the resin as many times as you like.
The temperature of the air and the amount of humidity are critical in determining the amount of hardener that needs to be added to the resin. That is why we have a computer that mixes the resin and hardener together and dispenses the resin after measuring the air temperature and humidity.
Most manufacturers use a process known in the industry as pre-preg. This is where the resin is "pre-impregnated" into the carbon fiber. In virtually all applications, the resin is chosen by the carbon fiber manufacturer in a one shoe fits all kind of deal. The shoe manufacturer has no way of altering the resin to meet the heat moldablilty requirements of modern shoes and that is why they require very high temperatures to make the shoes slightly heat moldable. Pre-preg manufacturing is fine for bike frames or crank sets that do not need to be heat molded by the rider, but they are unsuitable for the construction of cycling shoes.
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.
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.