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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old June 28th, 2017, 01:14 AM   #1
osen
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Default Has anyone successfully heat molded Bont boots?

Hi!

I've been a casual skater for a few years and just recently made the move from 90mm fitness skates to a pair of Bont Semi-race with a 13.2" frame (4x110). I love skating them but I'm having no luck with heat molding and they fit so badly out of the box that I had to stop skating and let my feet heal.

I've followed the instructions with care (85C/185F for 20 minutes, measured with accurate external thermometer) but had no luck getting the resin to soften. I tried again and this time I followed the video instructions (20 minutes to begin with, then check on them every five minutes until the carbon softens). Even after a total of 35 minutes the stiff parts were still hard as rock and standing in the boots made no difference to the fit at all.

I emailed Bont and this only added to the confusion. In the first response they said that the carbon parts were not moldable. When I pointed out all the information on their site indicates otherwise and the video literally instructing to heat until the carbon softens their next response said the carbon is in fact moldable (?) and gave me the generic instructions again. I emailed back and explained my problem again, but after this I haven't heard back from them. This was three days ago.

So I'm wondering if anyone here has had any luck heat molding Bont boots and if so, how did you do it? Are the stiff carbon areas heat moldable or not? Is Bont a reputable company? Maybe it was just a language problem but the complete reversal of the heat molding statement felt weird.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old June 28th, 2017, 01:25 AM   #2
kufman
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Normally Bont boots are very easy to heat mold but I do have one pair that will not mold. Maybe they didn't mix the resin correctly or something? Not sure.
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Old June 28th, 2017, 09:31 AM   #3
Krulle
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did a pair last week, one spot that I do not get well 100% correct, but worked out for the rest

The outer (carbon) shell does not seem to deform, but you feel that the inside changed.
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Old June 28th, 2017, 11:29 AM   #4
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I'm going to say that my experience is similar to osen's - it's VERY hard/impossible to mold the boots so that the carbon underneath all the padding can actually be meaningfully changed. The tongue and the rest of the soft material do easily soften up can help the overall fit, but the carbon around the ankle area I have never found to remotely pliable, even if I go slightly above recommended oven temperature and//or with heatgun treatment.
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Old June 28th, 2017, 12:52 PM   #5
Stroopwafel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osen View Post
and they fit so badly out of the box
Maybe these are not the right boots for your specific feet. Heat molding can do a lot but it's not magic. There should be a reasonable fit to start with. And with molding Jet's and Cheetah's for several people 30 minutes on 95 Celsius did well for me.

Having an accessory navicular bone I had no other option than to make a dent in the carbon on the inside of my Jet's. With repeated heat gun and a lot of force that proved possible but I second it's tough.

And regarding pain and carbon shells, Powerslide has developed the pain free shell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x11pQUHuYXo Whether it's a useful product i don't know, but I believe it's great they took the effort to develop it.
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Old June 28th, 2017, 02:59 PM   #6
kentek
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Default What technique

What technique are you using to warm your boot?
I have found that Luigino's method quite good:

Big pot of boiling water. Safest-you don't want to burn the boot!
Use a very large plastic bag, one big enough for 1 skate. Place bagged boot in boiling water for about 12-15 minutes.

Put on hot boot w/o socks

Have a helper mold to your foot.

Hope this helps
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Old June 28th, 2017, 06:03 PM   #7
osen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kufman View Post
Normally Bont boots are very easy to heat mold but I do have one pair that will not mold. Maybe they didn't mix the resin correctly or something? Not sure.
I see, that's interesting. That was my first thought as well, that something's up with the resin. I hope to hear back from Bont.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krulle View Post
did a pair last week, one spot that I do not get well 100% correct, but worked out for the rest

The outer (carbon) shell does not seem to deform, but you feel that the inside changed.
It's confusing to say the least. They state that all stiff parts are heat moldable including the base and go on about their special low temperature resin. What is the resin used for if not the carbon fiber weave? If it's only the inner padding that is in fact heat moldable I would argue that's false advertisement.

I couldn't feel any change to the fit at all unfortunately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
I'm going to say that my experience is similar to osen's - it's VERY hard/impossible to mold the boots so that the carbon underneath all the padding can actually be meaningfully changed. The tongue and the rest of the soft material do easily soften up can help the overall fit, but the carbon around the ankle area I have never found to remotely pliable, even if I go slightly above recommended oven temperature and//or with heatgun treatment.
Damn, that sucks. Had I known this to begin with I would have sent them back immediately. Now I can't return them I guess the fit has to be closer to optimal out of the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroopwafel View Post
Maybe these are not the right boots for your specific feet. Heat molding can do a lot but it's not magic. There should be a reasonable fit to start with. And with molding Jet's and Cheetah's for several people 30 minutes on 95 Celsius did well for me.

Having an accessory navicular bone I had no other option than to make a dent in the carbon on the inside of my Jet's. With repeated heat gun and a lot of force that proved possible but I second it's tough.

And regarding pain and carbon shells, Powerslide has developed the pain free shell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x11pQUHuYXo Whether it's a useful product i don't know, but I believe it's great they took the effort to develop it.
I'm starting to think that too. Had I known the carbon parts weren't pliable I would have sent them back for sure. I guess I could try a heat gun as a last resort. Bont won't accept a return now anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kentek View Post
What technique are you using to warm your boot?
I have found that Luigino's method quite good:

Big pot of boiling water. Safest-you don't want to burn the boot!
Use a very large plastic bag, one big enough for 1 skate. Place bagged boot in boiling water for about 12-15 minutes.

Put on hot boot w/o socks

Have a helper mold to your foot.

Hope this helps
I used the recommended oven method. This method sounds interesting, not as harsh as putting them in the oven. I might try this. It does however sound like I won't have any luck getting the carbon parts pliable.

Thanks for all the responses. I hope to hear back from Bont.
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Old June 29th, 2017, 06:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
I'm going to say that my experience is similar to osen's - it's VERY hard/impossible to mold the boots so that the carbon underneath all the padding can actually be meaningfully changed. The tongue and the rest of the soft material do easily soften up can help the overall fit, but the carbon around the ankle area I have never found to remotely pliable, even if I go slightly above recommended oven temperature and//or with heatgun treatment.
Me too! Couldn't get my second gen "white pleather" Semi-Race shells to budge, only the pleather and foam uppers. And yes I tried all techniques mentioned in the replies to this thread. A fellow skater said the same of his first gen Bont Z boots.

I was actually thinking about ordering a semi-custom two points 195 mount Bont Semi-Race boot despite how miserable I was with the three point Semi-Race I had, this post is making me re-think repeating that mistake.

Btw, I had no problems at all getting the carbon fiber shell to become pliable when heat molding my Luigino Bolt boots.
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Old July 5th, 2017, 07:12 PM   #9
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Default Don't do this. Don't even read this.

I've molded a few Bonts (Jet, Cheetah, Alpha), and I'm just going to throw this out there:

I only do this for spot-fixing, not trying to make a stock boot custom.

I have a tool I made, a variation of a tool that many skaters and boot makers have used that is basically a c-clamp with a donut-shaped thing on one point and a blunt object (smaller than the donut hole) on the other point.

Use a heat gun on max and get those carbon/fiberglass layers as hot as possible without actually setting stuff on fire. It smells horrible, especially if there's lots of old sweat already in there. Go between pointing the gun directly at it, and away.. back and forth for a while until you think everything is all nice and pliable. If you're brave, you can push a little bit to test. Maybe wear some thick leather gloves for this part.

Then use that tool to push out any areas that need it. If you don't have the tool, a broomstick handle pushing down into the boot works well, too. Do that on some carpet, or some other "giving" surface.

I know this seems like reckless advice, and please.. I really get it lol.. But this has worked for me many times.

I stumbled on this after months of frustration at putting my boots in the oven, waiting 20 mins, etc, only to never be able to do anything. I think they make those instructions so that they won't ever be liable for anything. When I first started with the heat gun, I was using an infrared thermometer, until I realized that I just didn't know what temperature was truly too high.

But again, this is reckless advice and your mileage may vary. So, don't do anything I just wrote about.
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Old July 5th, 2017, 08:39 PM   #10
Spencer.Berry
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I have definitely heard of many people having good luck with the extreme heat gun method and specialized tools.

Do be careful about excessive heating in the oven:
http://www.skatelogforum.com/forums/...3&postcount=16
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Old July 5th, 2017, 10:20 PM   #11
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If any of you happen to live near ski country or a city big enough to have a ski boot fitter... go ask if you can borrow their tools. They punch out ski boots like this every day. Good shops will have a range of tools, hacks may have a couple.
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Old July 7th, 2017, 02:04 AM   #12
osen
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A bit of an update to this thread. Bont replied and advised me to up the temperature to 95C. I did 20 minutes at 95-97C and finally the carbon became somewhat pliable. Not much but enough to make a noticeable change to the fit, at least I think so. I did 20 km's today and didn't experience as much discomfort.

I think I'll try again a bit longer to see if it's possible to get them more pliable. I've borrowed a heat gun too in case I still can't sort out the problem spots. Seems they do require more heat than stated. At this temperature the glue between the tongue pleather and padding melted separating the two layers and one buckle warped slightly otherwise they seemed fine. A bit scary though, I wouldn't want to go higher in the oven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bleedingedge View Post
I've molded a few Bonts (Jet, Cheetah, Alpha), and I'm just going to throw this out there:

I only do this for spot-fixing, not trying to make a stock boot custom.

I have a tool I made, a variation of a tool that many skaters and boot makers have used that is basically a c-clamp with a donut-shaped thing on one point and a blunt object (smaller than the donut hole) on the other point.

Use a heat gun on max and get those carbon/fiberglass layers as hot as possible without actually setting stuff on fire. It smells horrible, especially if there's lots of old sweat already in there. Go between pointing the gun directly at it, and away.. back and forth for a while until you think everything is all nice and pliable. If you're brave, you can push a little bit to test. Maybe wear some thick leather gloves for this part.

Then use that tool to push out any areas that need it. If you don't have the tool, a broomstick handle pushing down into the boot works well, too. Do that on some carpet, or some other "giving" surface.

I know this seems like reckless advice, and please.. I really get it lol.. But this has worked for me many times.

I stumbled on this after months of frustration at putting my boots in the oven, waiting 20 mins, etc, only to never be able to do anything. I think they make those instructions so that they won't ever be liable for anything. When I first started with the heat gun, I was using an infrared thermometer, until I realized that I just didn't know what temperature was truly too high.

But again, this is reckless advice and your mileage may vary. So, don't do anything I just wrote about.
I'll probably end up testing this if a longer 95C run in the oven won't sort things out. Thanks for sharing.
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Old July 24th, 2017, 03:47 AM   #13
KevOnSkates
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I had to carry out a long, iterative process to mold my Bont Z's to where they don't bother me any more:

1. Rest until the inflammation dies down
2. Spot mold the 1-2 spots on each boot that hurt the worst
3. Skate gradually increasing distances until my feet start to hurt again
4. Repeat 10 times

If you really care about the looks of your skates you may not want to try this approach as I managed to really make a mess of a couple of spots
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Old July 24th, 2017, 07:32 PM   #14
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Bont's are generally one of the very heat moldable boots out there, in heel and achillies areas (typically not heat moldable throughout the entire boots - meaning arch, footbed, toe box - but I am clarifying this with bont and will update this post when I get that confirmed). Or, maybe Alex can pipe in to answer?

updates: from bont: "these part are heat moldable – heel, achilles, toe box, footbed, ankle area.
Arch area is also can heat moldable, but they have no effect."

I'm a bit confused as the "arch" would be considered part of the footbed by definition. Typically, the arch area is not heat moldable, as thermo plastic materials (even layered between carbons) can soften and lead to flexion in the boots.


But, all that said, today pretty much all of the glues used and synthetic outer boot materials are subject to delamination issues when subject to too much heat. In past we'd heat leather boots to 200+ Degrees Fahrenheit, without issue. As you have experienced boot today's materials will come unglued with too much heat. When/if that happens during heat molding they can be compressed back together (while they are still hot) to re-adhere. If left to cool in that state it's then hard to get the materials to re-bond. We've seen delamination of materials with many of the newer boots when subject to too much heat. So, we suggest to always error on the side of caution when heat molding. We have been successful heating boots at 200 degrees F for duration of 10-15 minutes(max). After that initial heat molding, we use a heat gun for any residual hot spots a skater may be having difficulty with.

The water heat method described above generally will get boots nearer to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. But the pot cools quickly so heat is lost just as rapidly, so with this method you are not holding to a consistent 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Curious what heat/fit issues you are/were experiencing. Can also suggest(if there is room in the boots) to use an ezeefit ankle sleeve/liner to help with hot spots during break-in period. Many skaters have great luck with these.

Get a fit that works. Typically, we suggest our customers try the boot for general, overall fit first, and to not skate or heat mold them until they are certain of the fit. If there are issues, we then evaluate those on individual circumstance. But, most all, including our shop, will not take returns on heat molded/used gear, as no dealer can resell these products as new. We have an entire Size Chart web page dedicated to Sizing & Fitting, just for this purpose, and it works great for skaters to get the right size the first time. We are also known to intervene with online orders to double check sizing with customers before blindly sending a boot size, to help the customer avoid any potential delays/disappointments as related to return/exchange processes. Often however we find those with wider feet disappointing in the 4-6 week production wait time with Bont, and they will select larger boots to get the width they need, just to get something in hand quickly. As I note to everyone, Bont does not stock wide sizes, as there are far too many variables, not only in widths but also in volumes, and there can be discrepancies between left & right feet, as well. For the small $30 up-charge fee bont charges it's worth the wait to get a boot that fits proportionally to you feet. Not many (if any) other boot companies offer this option. Bont gets a +1 for that option. The dangers in ordering a stock size and going up a number of sizes just to accommodate width issues are that the proportions are typically wrong. Yet, many folks will struggle to make-do or endure pain from an ill-fitting boot just to bypass production wait time.

My personal modo has become happy feet are skating feet. If your feet are hurting, as a skater, you will only endure so much before you eventually stop skating. So, it pays out in the long run to take the time in getting a boot that works best for you, the skater.
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Last edited by shesk8; July 25th, 2017 at 05:23 PM. Reason: updates
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Old July 26th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleedingedge View Post
I have a tool I made, a variation of a tool that many skaters and boot makers have used that is basically a c-clamp with a donut-shaped thing on one point and a blunt object (smaller than the donut hole) on the other point.
This tool is great for spot molding. You will get better results if you heat up the "blunt object" on the C clamp instead of heating up the boot. The heat on the "blunt object" will soften up the boot area VERY quickly.
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