Toe Splay in shoes?

I bought two sizes of shoes. (Bont Vaypor 2023). they apparently are not gonna change shape much for the upper.

smaller size fits perfect front to back but I can’t splay my toes…I would say it’s just short of pinching

bigger size allows me to splay and wiggle my toes comfortably. it’s about 5mm more than I need length-wise…I don’t feel like my foot is sliding though.

is this just a no-brainer to get the bigger one? or should I just get used to the tighter one?

(I’m coming from barefoot shoes or walking barefoot all the time…so veeerry unused to anything snug fitting).

thank you!

Feet swell as you ride, so I would buy the bigger shoe. Also, if your toes overlap, you might end up with your nails cutting into the adjacent toes, or through socks. I have what I call “flipper feet”. They are very v-shaped, which means I need the most space across the knuckles, but not an overly wide heel, and many “wide” shoes don’t fix that problem.


You’ll find out after several hours if there’s not enough room to splay your toes, you’ll get “hot” spots. I would go for the slightly bigger shoe. Only problem can be getting the cleats far enough back if the shoes are too long.

As an aside Lake CX201s fit even wider than even Bont double wide fit and I found them a better option for me as an everyday barefoot shoe wearer.


I think the larger shoe is a no brainer. I don’t see any drawbacks, but getting the smaller shoe seems to have several.


yes exactly! that’s why I’m considering the smaller.

looks like it’s only 2mm difference though in cleat position even though the shoe is 5 mm extra in length.

I found I have to size up in Lakes then I get this extender plate to bring the cleat back…the lakes have curved feet and mine are straight. also lakes have toe spring that I prefer to not have.

seems like the bont’s (at least these) natively have their cleat position farther back.

ok interesting I see that shoe is straighter with less toe spring. ok going to order a pair of those before I put cleats on these.

thank you!!

I also like the Lake shoes for their wide toe box.
I also wear toe socks to allow for more splaying and to avoid having my nails rub against one another.

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Try a taller arch support. The toes might be spreading because you’re crushing your arch’s bit.

Yes, I’ve found that I get less “hotspots” in summer when wearing toesocks, and in winter they keep my feet warm because my toes are free to wiggle.

arches don’t need support, especially for those of us going barefoot and wearing minimal shoes, who have strong feet.

The support isn’t performing the same function it might in your dress or running shoes. It’s just to take up space. The problem is clamping unpadded cycling shoe is pressing that arch down against a solid sole while the cleat holds your foot at a given angle. Give it a try as an experiment, you’re not going to ruin your foot strength using them as your feet are largely static in the cycling shoe. I don’t need arch support in running shoes or casual shoes, but it makes a big difference in toe comfort in a cycling shoe.
You can also try just loosening the shoe a click or two from where you’ve got it now, but I find your foot just shifts forward.

Do your toes splay in the shoe if you just wear them while seated at a desk for an hour? That might point to the builtin arch being in the wrong spot or the soles curve (drop) being wrong for you. With Shimanos do this to me, I need to size up just to put the arch in the right spot. The curve is wrong for me, so I needed something else anyway.

Yeah, bigger. Unless these are your tt race shoes. Then go smaller. For aero.


Bont also sells wide and extra wide versions. Did you think about staying with your current size but opt for a wider variant?

Have you tried specialized top of the line shoes? They have a very wide toe box that allows total freedom for your toes. After having the road shoes for a year, i now hate my old mtb shoes and am replacing with spec. They feel amazing.

Just a comment that, for me, Spesh shoes aren’t all that wide. They make fantastic shoes, but I find the Shimano S-Phyre a much better fit for my foot type. This is the problem with shoe recommendations…our feet are all so different. 10 or so years ago, I had several people tell me SIDi mega were the solution to wide feet, and I’m here to tell you, those things were torture devices for my flipper shaped feet.

In my experience Bont and Lake are the best options for people with wide feet. My S-Works 7 in wide are great as well, but it seems Spesh sells fewer and fewer of their shoes in wide. And it is typically just their top-of-the-line shoes that have gone up significantly in price.

I have also tried Sidis, but they quality and price/performance were ridiculous.

Bont Riot+ are a steal if you want stiff shoes. They cost half but are every bit as stiff as the S-Works. I paid $160 for mine.

Obviously YMMV, but after trying all sorts of insoles and wedging, the best set up I’ve ever had was to just throw out the insoles. I assume it’s some sort of proprioception thing. At least it’s easy and cheap to try!

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Unfortunately, they’re both impossible to find where I live. I’d love to try both. I tried to order the Bont’s direct once, but delivery was a month or something long.

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The Bonts are particular in that they have a bathtub construction. This is what makes them so stiff. Shipping and sizing is an issue, but I need to special order cycling shoes anyway, so ordering online is roughly the same for me.

If the Recons had still been available in wide, I would have considered them for my MTB, but at least in Japan, they were no longer available in wide. I have heard good things about Shimano cycling shoes, but I don’t have first-hand experience.

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Im not talking about all specialized shoes. The newest sworks torch and recon have a very different and roomy toebox