You know how it is. You want a lightweight pair of cycling shoes. You love ventilation. You want a non-restrictive upper, and you want a supple underfoot feel. The answer is obvious: clipless Crocs.
How did we end up here? Excellent question. It’s been keeping me up at night too, so let’s unpack it.
Crocs is a foam clog manufacturer that has been ruffling feathers since the early 2000s. The brand makes footwear that is not conventionally attractive, but has made a lot of money doing so, finding a loyal following among healthcare workers, podiatrists, boating enthusiasts, and the fashion agnostic.
The man that has reinvented the Crocs for a cycling audience is French footwear customiser Alex Valcko, a three-time national bike polo champion. His business, Valcko Studios, purchases shoes from Vans, Nike, and the like, and modifies them to work with clipless pedals. He’s been refining this dark art for nine years, and clipless Crocs are his latest masterpiece.
Gimmick? Not really. Here, have a video of them in use, soundtracked by DJ “DJ KHALED!!!” Khaled:
The Valcko Crocs feature a recessed box compatible with any two-bolt pedal system, with a retrofitted shank to increase the sole stiffness (which, on Crocs in their native form, is virtually non-existent).
There has been something of a renaissance of cycling sandals in the past couple of years. The dearly beloved Shimano SD-501 Touring Sandal got a 25th anniversary re-release last year, while Lachlan Morton wore a heavily modified pair of (non-clipless) Birkenstocks across most of France for his Alt Tour, raising thousands for World Bicycle Relief and letting his ruined feet breathe in the process.
Bringing the whole clipless Croc narrative arc full-circle, Morton visited Valcko in Paris after completing his 5,000 km ride, where he received a pair of the clipless Crocs to test. So if they’re good enough for Morton, they’re probably good enough for you (if you’re in the market for a pair of clipless Crocs, which, on face value, is a little unlikely).
The shoes are made to order in Paris by Valcko, and pricing is still to be announced. In the meantime, you can snap up a pair of SPD Vans for €140 at ValckoStudios.