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Blivet Quilo Fat Bike Boots Review: Ultra Ready

Gearing up for the Wendigo Ultra fatbike race, Trevor faced the daunting challenge of 200 km in biting -20°C weather. To keep his feet warm and dry he chose the Blivet Blivet Quilos Gen 3. Dive into Trevor’s review to see how these boots fared in the frosty elements.

Blivet Quilo Fat Bike Boots Review: Ultra Ready

Riding bikes during the winter in Montreal can be a lot of fun, but very cold and unforgiving if not dressed properly. Nevertheless, winter cycling has always been something I have enjoyed. It’s been a necessity by commuting to work year-round and also a great activity to be able to get outside in freezing temperatures and slip and slide around the local trails. Usually, I would ride whatever old mountain bike that I happened to have and slap on my cross-country ski gear to keep warm. My boots would usually consist of some insulated hiking boots or those big old Sorel boots that went up my calf. This all worked out reasonably well but my feet were never truly warm, usually getting cold quickly on the flat pedals.

This past year I decided to take my winter cycling more seriously and took a deeper dive into fat biking to see what all the hype was about. I took a big chance and entered the Wendigo 200km fat bike ultra, borrowed a Panorama Chic Chocs from a friend, and started training on the local trails. I kept using my cross-country ski gear which still worked out great, and used flat pedals, but my old boots just weren’t cutting it for extended periods of riding. Plus, I wanted to try clipless pedals to get more power output for extended periods. I tried insulating my summer clipless shoes with insulated insoles and doubling up on wool socks, but without proper insulated soles the cold still transferred from the steel pedals up through my shoes. It was time to try fat bike-specific shoes.

Blivet Sports

I wanted boots that were comfortable and stable enough to pedal and walk in, weren’t huge behemoths in terms of weight and size, waterproof, and easy to take off and on and were, of course, warm. I did some research and quickly found Blivet Sports (pronounced Bliv-ay), a local Quebec company that specializes in fat bike apparel and accessories. Founded in 2018 in Quebec City, Blivet Sports originated from a passion to develop and offer fat-biking gear to athletes of all levels. They carry everything you need from glove systems and helmets to footwear and bags. I was immediately drawn to their clipless pedal-friendly Quilo Boots (Gen. 3). They looked like they ticked all the boxes for comfort and warmth, but how would they perform on the trail?

Quilo Boots Tech Talk

As soon as I took them out of the box, they looked great. You can tell that the material used in its construction has been specially selected for maximum comfort, performance, and aesthetics. It features sturdy synthetic leather panels with a nice matte finish.

Slipping the boots on, I immediately liked how light they felt. They are some of the lightest boots in their class at 1068g, which is surprising for a fat bike boot. At this weight, they still include 200g of Thinsulate 3M™ insulation and a highly efficient thermal wall to offer some outstanding cold protection up to -18 ° Celsius (-4 ° Fahrenheit). With an astonishing amount of toe box room, they can accommodate sock layering with space enough to still be able to wiggle your toes. The internal material, extending from toe to ankle, was chosen to eliminate moisture, which is often a cause of frostbite in winter sports. This inner layer, made of breathable material, is also meant to dry quickly, with some microfleece at the top of the boot for more comfort. Surprisingly this boot has a width similar to a summer shoe but with more volume.

On the exterior, they use the Vibram® Wolftrax outsole. This addition offers better traction without compromising the stiffness, enhanced foot-to-pedal stability, and an expanded cleat zone—a game-changer for fat bike enthusiasts. I could see this outsole would allow for excellent power transfer when pedaling.

The Quilo features two laces for independent and precise adjustment in the foot and ankle area, ensuring optimal comfort. A wide tightening Velcro strap at the calf and an overall height of 21 cm from the ground would help keep snow from getting into the boot.

Performance On The Trail

It was time to really put the shoes through some rigorous winter tests. Day after day of training in -5 ° to -10 ° Celsius weather the boots performed flawlessly. My feet were warm and toasty on clipless pedals with just a single layer of mid-weight wool socks. The comfort level and lightweight feeling were so surprising for a fat bike boot; it was blowing me away. Especially on hike-a-bike sections the walking comfort was better than a hiking boot. One drawback I noticed was that in deeper snow conditions snow would collect in the top, although it never went into the boot. This could easily have been avoided with the use of some gaiters.

The boot’s next test was on a three-day fat bike excursion in Maine with the crew from Panorama Cycles. Temperatures were exceptionally warm and I started to notice that these boots were a little bit too warm at 0° Celsius. My feet were definitely sweating, but all my clothes were a bit damp at the end of the day. It’s pretty hard not to sweat when outputting that much energy while fat-biking in warm temperatures. There were lengthy amounts of hike-a-biking but, again, these boots were as comfortable as could be, always feeling secure without slipping. One addition that would have been nice would be an interior shell that could be taken out to dry overnight. Nevertheless, I’m glad these were the boots that I used over three days and 50 km of continued use and abuse on the trail.

Race Day

The big day had come. I awoke to temperatures of -24 ° Celsius in the Whitewater region of Ontario for the Wendigo fat bike ultra race. I was quite nervous that all my gear would be warm enough for these conditions, especially my boots, which were only rated for -18 ° Celsius. With some experience, I knew I needed to fortify the boots with a special winter layering trick. I slid some light Merino socks on first then covered them with a plastic bag acting as a vapour barrier. Next, I put on some heavy-duty wool socks to insulate that combination. This would allow for the warm sweat to be kept next to my foot and not be absorbed by the dry outer sock. With this layering system, the boots still had room for me to wiggle my toes in the ample footbox for better circulation. For the first hour, the boots were working well, but after a few hours my toes began to get a bit numb with cold, yet the minimal discomfort was still manageable. I knew I was pushing these boots to their limits, but after checking in with other riders they too were feeling the cold. As the day progressed the temperature rose slightly to around -17° Celsius and the boots were holding up. Jumping off the bike and stomping around on the ground helped my feet warm up. After 18 hours of mental ups and downs on the bike, I was exhausted but happy to have completed the 200km. My gear performed fine and the boots had performed as expected, if not a bit on the cold side for those extremes. My feet were relatively comfortable though, without soreness or rubbing, which is surprising after so many icy hours in the saddle. In my books, that’s a big test for them and the boots were pushed past their limits without failing.

The Wrap-Up

These boots proved themselves worthy of fat biking adventures, and I can’t imagine tackling a race or other multi-day fat bike adventures without them. I can see why the Quilo are some of the best regarded winter cycling boots on the market. They are an essential piece of gear for fat bike enthusiasts looking for performance in temperatures up to -18 ° Celsius. Overall, their versatility and comfort to be worn on local rides, commuting, multi-day excursions, and races make them a great investment for winter riding.

Get a Start on Next Season!

Blivet has generously offered a discount on their Quilo Standard and Classic boots for Bike Gear Database readers. The promo code BGDB20 can be used on the Blivet website now and includes free shipping! Hop on it.

✓ Pros
Light and extremely comfortable on the bike, as well as off the bike walking and hike-a-biking
No rubbing or hotspots
Ample toe box space for warmth and layering
Can be used for a wide variety of rides from light commuting to multi-day adventures
SPD and flat pedal-friendly
✕ Cons
Inner insulation not removable for fast-drying
Temperature rating not extreme (only up to -18 ° Celsius)
Could have a better top closure system for deep snow
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