Review: Velokicks Blanco Lace-Ups

A contact point on the bike, shoes are an important focus in attire purchase. The cycling shoe bears the burden to satisfy across multiple ways uses. The shoe must perform when locked into pedals. It hardly does much walking, but when walking is needed, shoes need to perform there, too. They don’t need to look great so much as they don’t appear overengineered. But who are we kidding? Looks always matter. Accomplish these standards and a sought-after shoe is made.

The VeloKicks shipment included a boot bag, shoes, and two laces.

Shortly into the pandemic of 2020 we ordered up a pair of Velokicks Blanco lace-up cycling shoes. An Australian company, VeloKicks launched in late 2015 to bring custom shoes to the cycling world. As with any internet purchase there was concern procuring the proper shoe size. Our last pair of shoes from another company kept getting wider, and it was suspected some lingering back pain stemmed from the ill-fitting size. A quick message was sent to Velokicks regarding sizing and an equally quick response from Nick confided the correct selection. Putting faith into their expertise, the shoes were ordered. To have a podiatrist within the company certainly helps here. 

What arrived from Australia was a shipment of shoes, two sets of laces (one black set; one white set), and a boot bag to keep the Blancos separate from the apparel before and after events. With alacrity hardware was mounted to the Blanco shoes and the laces cinched. The wider distance between eyelets down the shoe and across promotes a comfortable enclosure around the top of the entire shoe. So far, so good. One conclusion met immediately was the width felt down the middle - wider than Euro shoes, but not nearly as wide as Bont shoes.  

Headed out onto the roads of Bucks County and sheer bliss took over. This is what it should feel like when shoes fit properly. Instead of convincing the foot to be satisfied with the cycling shoe, the Blancos wrapped the foot and maintained security. The now-firm contact point of the bike became easier to control, to connect that much closer to the bike. The shoe is just as important as the saddle, the tire choice, and the bike itself. What was meant to be a short test ride stretched longer due to sheer enjoyment and the extension of being part of the road cycling experience.

The VeloKicks carbon sole is stiff, reliable, and extremely responsive. The heal pads are also stout and cushy for those walks from car to bike, or in our case, across the Delaware River into another New Jersey.

While we are in late spring/ early summer conditions, there have been a few warm outings. Those warm rides have been met with another impressive design of VeloKicks: smart venting. With the right socks, airflow could be felt immediately from above and below. With synthetic leather, airflow is manipulated into and around the shoe for maximum ventilation. The VeloKicks Blanco is the shoe for upcoming summer outings. 

VeloKicks Blancos come with a carbon sole and immediately the exploration was stiffness. With an eye toward a couple of Strava KOMs, the bike, the shoes, the rider - all as one - snapped out of the saddle to gauge power transfer to the pedals. With the correct shoe fit the bike was guided easily, the pedals mashed properly, and the confidence intensified. These shoes don’t just look pretty, they deliver the goods. The carbon soles are plenty stiff with radar-like control.

There are two areas we have been working on regarding our Blancos. We have never had a pair of lace ups with a bow loop to stow the laces. On our VeloKicks we continue to stretch the loop higher and higher in hopes one day we can slip the tied bows under it for full security. Other companies offer a stretch linen loop with questionable longevity, but VeloKicks features a synthetic leather loop. For now, a far crossover lace is our security. Our second area we have been working on concerns the laces. We somehow unsheathed the black laces rather quickly. Perhaps our excitement got the best of us and we leveraged the laces beyond their torque setting. Though black is still in the shoes, it’s only because we don’t know what we’d do if the white laces come unsheathed as well.

We have logged several hundred miles in our VeloKicks in no time flat. We have tested them on warm spring rides, windy cooler outings, and several (given the times) trainer rides. Having correct-fitting shoes ignites our imagination for the next ride and the possibilities. We have only walked sparingly in our VeloKicks but at some point we will have to walk the pedestrian bridge into New Jersey. That is where the walking aspect comes in. If their cycling performance is any hint, the Blancos will deliver where negligible ambulation is called on, too.

Synthetic leather features dozens of holes for ventilation in tandem with a toe box vent on top and a sole vent on the bottom.

Blancos are designed for an opportunity to display personality. The shoes are bright white and will stand out in a group. They are also a blank canvass. The team at VeloKicks advertises the possibility of custom graphics. Though we weighed the idea for a logo, we are still suckers for the classic clean look. With our size coming in at 250 grams, we have yet to find where the VeloKicks are lacking. 

Take the custom graphics route or don’t. Take the Blanco dials or the lace-ups. But take control of the entire road riding experience by adding VeloKicks Blancos to the equation. Don’t be surprised to find there is more enjoyment to be had. All it took was a contact email to the company to build confidence about size, selection, and the general feeling that there is much more speed and comfort to be found.