Growing up a Midwest kid in the 1970s, I held a fascination with our Canadian friends to the north. My TV driven curiosity was fueled by shows like Sargent Preston of The Yukon. The Canadian Mounted crime solver, and his sidekick King, contrasted starkly compared with Columbo and The Rockford Files. In the 1980s, Bob and Doug McKenzie from the Second City TV crew cracked me up with their beer-soaked antics and Canadian accents. TV stereotypes aside, I now have a number of Canadian friends and a greater respect for things from the land of the maple syrup and ice-hockey including the Quilo Boot from Blivet Sports.
Blivet Sports offers a number of products focused on hands, head and feet. Introduced to the snow sports market in 2018, Blivet Sports entered the fat-bike universe with the Quilo Boot, Kroll Helmet, and Bodi Chest Bag.
Quilo Boot: The Features
- 3M Thinsulate insulation™ 200 g
- Vibram sole® made of special “xs Trek” rubber and Eva insertion with high thermal resistance
- LISZT AIR TOEBOX’’ with extra toe volume of 4 x EEEE
- Quick dual-lace lacing system with automatic locking
- Tongue and heel loops for getting them on quickly
- Multilayered, highly heat-resistant removable insole made of 70% wool
- Waterproof synthetic leather exterior and high durability 600 denier polyester exterior
- Wide tightening strap at the calf
- Eyelet for gaiters
- 360° reflective strips
- Compatible with every type of pedal cleats on the market
- MSRP – $390/Canadian – $306/US
The Quilo boot is unique compared to a number of its competitors. Out of the box I was amazed by the Quilo’s weight. The Quilo is hands down the lightest winter riding boot I’ve worn. My size 47 test boot (with SPD cleat) comes in at 1220 grams per pair.
The Lake 304 MXZ in the same size with SPD cleat weighs 1640 grams. It is a noticeable difference, particularly after a few hours of pedaling, or stomping around during off trail adventures.
Most fat-bike winter boots are cumbersome when you’re not on the pedals. The Quilo, by contrast, is extremely comfortable off the bike. It fits and feels more like a hiking boot than pedal specific boots on the market like 45NRTH’s Wolvhammer or Bontrager’s OMW boots that fit and feel more like a snowboarding boot. The Quilo has just the right amount of flex for walking and scrambling. This boot will double nicely as a companion for snowshoeing as well.
On the bike the Quilo gets it done. My test boots came before the snow landed in the north country, so I logged a few rides on my gravel bike in 20 to 30-degree temperatures. The lightweight and low profile work well on gravel proving versatility beyond fat-biking.
What Works and What Doesn’t
I will admit that I was skeptical about the boot’s ability to perform in harsh north Midwest winters given its wispy profile. The boot is rated for temps down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit. To date, I’ve logged about 25 hours in these boots in temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to about 5 above. So far so good. In fact, very good. On colder days I layered with a light-weight merino base sock with a mid-weight wool sock over it. I am impressed with the boot’s thermal retention. Sizing is always on the mind when you order a pair of shoes or boots. I did have to size up to a 47 to allow for a second pair of socks, but once I got that dialed, I was impressed with the comfort and overall fit. The LISZT Air toe box allows for ample toe movement.
If given the opportunity to sit down with the product designer I would start the conversation with the retention system. Sure, the dual quick-lacing system works and allows for adjustability. That is a plus. Yet I feel like this technology is outdated and cumbersome. The closure system is reminiscent of the first-gen 45NRTH Wolfhammer. Once you have both retention strings snugged up to your liking, you’re left with 5-6 inches of lacing left to fly in the wind. There is no strap to tuck them away. To solve this, I wad-up the excess and use the top ankle Velcro strap to tuck them away. If not done correctly they come loose leaving the potential for mayhem. A dedicated system to keep the laces out of your drivetrain is needed. Look to Giro and Bontrager footwear for inspiration. Their lace-featured shoes have a small piece of elastic webbing to tuck away the extra lacing.
The Final Word
The Quilo boots are super light-weight, feel good on the feet, and demonstrate the performance needed for warmth and comfort riding down to temperatures hovering near zero degrees Fahrenheit. The thoughtful boot design provides off-the-bike comfort suitable for a romp in the woods, snow-shoeing, or other outdoor winter activities. The McKenzie brothers might even find them to their liking for ice-fishing and boot hockey.