It wasn’t that many years ago when most flagship shoes featured combinations of velcro and bulky ratcheting designs. The BOA dial system and other similar dials provides a far more compact and elegant solution to cycling shoe closure systems. Today dial systems have trickled down from flagship shoes to even entry-level cycling shoes. While most flagship shoes today use the robust BOA IP1 dial system, which provides dual direction micro adjustments, cycling shoe designers have been creative in how the dial(s) are implemented. This leads us to the topic of today’s review, the Bont Cycling Helix carbon cycling shoes. Not only do the Helix cycling shoes feature Bont Cycling’s distinctive anatomical unidirectional carbon outsole but it also features a very unique helical lacing pattern.
While Bont Cycling’s distinctive anatomical outsole design may look strange compared to traditional cycling shoes, the design results in a lightweight shoe with direct connection to the pedals.
The Helix shoes use a single BOA IP1 dial with kevlar cables that wrap around and through dedicated channels in the carbon outsoles before connecting back to the tongue of the shoes to improve the tension distribution. Although this unique design doesn’t come cheap, Bont Cycling offers a good amount of color variations and size options that allow you to tailor the shoes to each buyer. There are an impressive four width variations (Standard, Wide, Narrow and Asian) as well as 36-50 EUR sizes. If that’s not enough, there are also two additional levels of customization available: semi-custom (custom color) or full-custom (outsole designed around your foot casting + custom color). In this review, we will simply be looking at the standard Helix in a EUR 41 wide with the shiny red/white color scheme.
|Category||Cycling Shoes (Road)|
|Measured Weight (in g)||456 (EUR 41 Wide)|
|Likes|| + Heat Moldable Chassis|
+ Unique helical lacing
+ Anatomical Fit
|Dislikes||– Premium Price|
– Busy exterior graphic design
– Limited US distributors to try for sizing
|Where to Buy (US)||Bont Cycling|
The Helix cycling shoes come in a standard Bont Cycling branded cardboard shoe box. A size chart is printed on the underside of the box as well.
In the box you’ll find:
- Helix shoes
- Branded bag
- 6x spare cleat bolts
The branded bag feels like a thick synthetic material and is great for storing the shoes or transporting them.
Right out of the box, Bont Cycling shoes don’t look like the typical cycling shoes. Where traditional cycling shoes consist of a two part design with a flexible upper material wrapping around your feet and a stiff outsole, Bont Cycling utilizes a more integrated design approach. The handmade, heat moldable unidirectional carbon outsole has an anatomical shape that follows the form of your feet and wraps partially upward to provide additional support for side-to-side movements. As a result the Helix shoes visually look more like slippers than cycling shoes due to the wide outsole shape. With the Helix shoes, there are a number of color variations available from the flashy ‘Shiny Red/White’ variation we have here to more subtle colors. The Helix shoes are also available in the Reflex collection, which provides a retro-reflective coating for nighttime visibility.
Compared to the Vaypor S Reflex shoes we recently reviewed, the Helix has a simpler exterior design due to the single BOA dial closure system. Perforations along the front of the shoe, as well as vents along the toe guard which keep you cool even on warmer days. The helical routing of the lacing results in two distinctive raised channels along the outsole of the shoe. The attention to detail meant the Helix cycling shoes tipped our scales at a feathery 456 grams (EUR 41 wide) which is impressive compared to the 548g Vaypor S shoes (EUR 44 wide) and 528g Shimano S-Phyre shoes (EUR 44) we’ve reviewed. The shoes do have a less polished appearance due to the exposed edges between the outsole/upper as well as untrimmed thread tails along the stitching.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the Helix shoes is the closure design. Bont Cycling has incorporated a single BOA IP1 dial which allows for dual direction micro adjustments. This makes it easy to make adjustments while riding. While the dial itself is mounted in a traditional location, the lacing system has a helical pattern that goes through dedicated channels in the outsole before attaching to the tongue. The unique lacing pattern provides even tension distribution that also pulls your feet backward for a secure fit and eliminates the need for a second dial or velcro strap. On the road, we found the closure system provided a comfortable yet secure fit whether we were cruising or doing high intensity climbs.
Bont Cycling describes the Helix as the “new standard in performance footwear” and to “experience performance and comfort without compromise.” These are bold claims, as high performance cycling shoes typically translate to stiff and unforgiving shoes that become uncomfortable on longer rides. At first glance, the Helix shoes don’t look particularly inviting due to the stiff Durolite uppers and minimal lining on the inside of the shoes. However, the wide toe box and anatomical outsole design result in a stiff yet comfortable ride. Particularly after the heat molding process, the shoes contour around your features providing a very direct feel.
As far as sizing goes, Bont Cycling has a size calculator on their website that recommends a sizing based on a few foot measurements. In our case, the recommended 41 EUR Wide shoe (one size larger than typically worn) turned out a little too large resulting in some foot movement. In hindsight, going a half size down may have been ideal particularly with the wide width option.
The Helix shoes also boast one of the lowest stack heights on the market at only 3.6mm. This minimizes the effective distance between the cleats to the pedal and improving feedback while pedaling. One of the most impressive aspects of the Helix shoes, and with many of Bont Cycling’s shoes, is just how wide the toe box is. As someone with wide skinny feet with bunions, the Helix shoes in the wide version provided ample space to be able to wiggle toes without losing any performance that typically comes with sizing up shoes for additional space. This also means that on longer rides where your feet naturally expand, the Helix shoes remain comfortable from the start to the end of the ride.
Overall, we found that the Bont Cycling Helix shoes are an impressive carbon cycling shoe that provide high-performance without compromising comfort. While Bont Cycling’s distinctive anatomical outsole design may look strange compared to traditional cycling shoes, the design results in a lightweight shoe with direct connection to the pedals. We also took advantage of the heat moldable outsole to really dial in the fit of the shoes, without the need for custom insoles. Although the stiff upper material and lightweight of the Helix shoes had us initially concerned, we found the shoes comfortable for short rides as well as high-intensity long rides. While the Helix shoes are pricey, the wide variety of size options, anatomical fit, and heat moldability makes it easy to recommend for those who don’t want to sacrifice comfort for high performance.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Bont Cycling. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.