UCI rules state that “non-essential items of clothing designed to influence the performances of the rider” are prohibited and forbidden.
Bont’s Crono shoe is a clever aerodynamic shape to minimize air resistance of the largest moving parts of the bike – your feet. Its tear-drop, diamond-shaped toe and a sharply profiled heel is as unique but fitting to most time trial equipment. Even the heel pad has been shaped like a fin for minimal airflow disturbance making the shoe look almost more like a sail than shoe. Each pair goes for a pricey $500 US dollars but is customizable to the rider’s foot and backed by Bont’s reputation for quality.
The ruling seems ironic compared to other equipment designed to reduce air resistance available to racers, especially this year as new technologies gaining big race attention. Johan Van Summeren won the Paris-Roubaix wearing a new pair of Castelli Free Aero Bib Shorts and Giro’s new Selector helmet has interchangeable tail sections.
The shoe became controversial at the world track championships in March when the Russian National team wore the shoes to a second-place non-victory. Usually shoe covers and booties intended to provide warmth in cold weather conditions are denied for indoor racing use, but Bont’s Crono shoe design seems to be time-trial specific and not weather sensitive.
Bont has stated they will challenge the UCI’s decision and the shoe maker has already generated some attention from the cycling community on their Facebook page. The outcome of the shoe banning will be followed by cyclists and industry professionals as the UCI faces growing dissatisfaction from the cycling community.