Author Topic: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?  (Read 2058 times)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« on: November 17, 2019, 10:42:37 am »
I have some gnarly long distance rides planned for the months ahead and while my cheapo MTB shoes are OK in dry conditions, they are very prone to getting soggy even with overshoes. On this basis I want to invest in some winterised MTB shoes.

My current shortlist pick are the Shimano RW5s which I can get for £95 with a Sigma Sports newsletter discount code https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Shimano/RW5-Dryshield-SPD-SL-Winter-Road-Shoes/F7YS but thought I'd canvas for opinions first. I'm aware that no shoe can be 100% dry proof, this is a mucky sport, but I really hope that I might be able to do multi day events in challenging conditions without having to put on cold wet shoes every time I get out of the bivvy bag.

Opinions and recommendations welcome  :thumbsup: my budget tips out at £150-70 at a push
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 10:48:58 am »
Three-bolt cleat required?  I suppose that precludes any serious walking ability...

(I love my MT91s for actual off-roading - decently waterproof, good foot protection, excellent grip on mud.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 10:56:16 am »
Three-bolt cleat required?  I suppose that precludes any serious walking ability...

(I love my MT91s for actual off-roading - decently waterproof, good foot protection, excellent grip on mud.)
sorry should clarify, I only use two bolt. Using SPD right now, might fully convert to Time ATAC within a year...

MT91 does actually look very robust, do you find them OK for looooong rides? They look tough but they look like they're heavy.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 11:04:46 am »
MT91 does actually look very robust, do you find them OK for looooong rides? They look tough but they look like they're heavy.

I don't think I've done much more than about 100km in them.  They are indeed heavy, though in winter that's the least of my problems, so I'll defer to a proper cyclist for verdict.

They're probably the best cycling footwear for walking in, which can be useful in itself, but probably isn't what you're after.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 11:24:50 am »
I like my Northwave Celsius boots. Had them for years, still do a good job of keeping my feet cosy and dry. They are not really warm, but usually warm enough with some decent socks.
Not too heavy. They are not like proper chunky hiking boots, but OK for a bit of walking and mud.

Seems the Celsius is now discontinued, looks like the equivalent is the Raptor? Also an even warmer Arctic version. Though not cheap.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2019, 01:01:55 pm »
My current shortlist pick are the Shimano RW5s which I can get for £95 with a Sigma Sports newsletter discount code https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Shimano/RW5-Dryshield-SPD-SL-Winter-Road-Shoes/F7YS but thought I'd canvas for opinions first. I'm aware that no shoe can be 100% dry proof, this is a mucky sport, but I really hope that I might be able to do multi day events in challenging conditions without having to put on cold wet shoes every time I get out of the bivvy bag.

No views on the shoes, but a tip for bivviing in cold weather.

Put your boots in a plastic bag (I use the inside out dry bag my sleeping bag was in), and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag. This keeps the shoes from freezing, making it marginally nicer to put boots on in the morning. Store your gloves in the sleeping bag too, Same reasons.

I sleep in sealskins waterproof socks, so that when you put your boots on in the night for nocturnal arboreal irrigation, you don't get your feet soaked to go back in your sleeping bag.

Will you be carrying a stove?

J
--
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ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2019, 01:16:08 pm »
I like my Louis Garneau's, adn have just ordered a pair of their summer shoes to match.  They have kept my feet consistently dry

They do come up smaller than others, in my experience, and to allow winter socks I ended up with a 44 vs my usual 42 having tried them in my local Evans.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 01:25:12 pm »
I'm also looking, my Diodora Windtex boots have served me well for over a decade but of course the model has long gone.  Never 100% waterproof, they have always kept me comfortably dry and on really wet rides I rely on waterproof socks (Currently Showers Pass, which I'd recommend)  I find Shimano sizing inconsistent, had a couple of pairs of shoes, neither were comfortable long term.  Currently thinking of trying on some Mavic Crossmax, which I've had recommended.  Though as a lot of my riding is on flat pedals  I'm also considering not using SPD's on any bikes for the winter.
My one strong opinion is don't get a boot that's too warm, before the Diodoras, I had some that wouldn't have been out of place on an Arctic expedition.  The only times they weren't uncomfortably hot was in the sort of conditions I try and avoid riding in. IMO layering your footwear is as relevant as with all other clothing.

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 01:29:33 pm »
I bought a pair of Specialized Defrosters three years ago and wished that I'd bought them years ago.

Keeps my feet warm and dry in almost all weather. Only time my feet get damp is in day-long rain, when water seeps down from the top due to sodden leggings.

Reasonably comfortable too. Did a ride of 95 miles a few weeks ago, and paired with merino wool socks, my feet were toasty throughout a frosty night.
I don't want to grow old gracefully. I want to grow old disgracefully.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2019, 03:38:33 pm »
Though as a lot of my riding is on flat pedals  I'm also considering not using SPD's on any bikes for the winter.
I like this idea a lot; beacuase
- if I'm riding in crazy conditions, I'm probably not worried about tiny performance gains of clipless. And
- bike shoes/boots are crazily poor value*; I'm sure something like a 3-seasons walking boot would perform better for much less wonga.


*See also: just about all "bike-specific" clothing. ::-)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2019, 03:49:36 pm »
Though as a lot of my riding is on flat pedals  I'm also considering not using SPD's on any bikes for the winter.
I like this idea a lot; beacuase
- if I'm riding in crazy conditions, I'm probably not worried about tiny performance gains of clipless.

The main 'performance gain' of clipless - your foot only coming off the pedal when you want it to - is IMHO more important in crazy conditions.  I suppose it ultimately depends on how comfortable you are with clipless vs flats.


Quote
- bike shoes/boots are crazily poor value*; I'm sure something like a 3-seasons walking boot would perform better for much less wonga.

Can't argue with that, although I wrecked the uppers of a perfectly-serviceable pair of well-worn walking boots by riding in them using PowerGrips.  Clipless is cheaper if you're going to make a habit of that sort of thing.

Depending on your pedalling style, some walking boots might be restrictive around the heel when used for cycling.  Something to watch out for.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2019, 03:57:51 pm »
The one time I tried riding in walking boots on flats, I found the sole of the boots was simply too curved for proper and indeed safe shoe-pedal contact.
The unwilling rider and the one who leaves each control in turn without reluctance, with no desire to come back, obviously cannot be making the same journey, even though their brevets are identical.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2019, 04:38:09 pm »
I have a pair of Shimano MW81 and North Wave (Artic I think?) I ride mostly SPD again now so the NW boots don't get much of an outing these days. 

The MW81 have been fab since Jan 2015 but are now showing some signs of age on the neoprene and I suspect they might not make through this season and have seen a lot of walking as I did use them one a couple of tours after I got them.

There was a newcomer to the boots world last winter season that seemed to be warmer and dryer than most of the competition, unfortunately I can't remember the name, not stocked in many places either, I think it was a japanese name.... I am sure they had 3 levels of warmth rating in the range,  I was quite tempted to give them a go as they looked likely to solve the wide foot fit issue of most cycle shoes...
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2019, 04:48:19 pm »
45nrth do a few boots which get good reviews, the Ragnarok probably being the most suitable for a UK winter. Trouble is finding a stockist to try them on for size.

Walking boots are a very viable alternative, as demonstrated by Alexandria Houchin when getting the women’s singlespeed record on Tour Divide this year.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2019, 04:49:56 pm »
45nrth do a few boots which get good reviews, the Ragnarok probably being the most suitable for a UK winter. Trouble is finding a stockist to try them on for size.

Walking boots are a very viable alternative, as demonstrated by Alexandria Houchin when getting the women’s singlespeed record on Tour Divide this year.

That's them, (45NRth) just found them on the web! It was the japanther I was looking at last winter, but the Ragnorok reflective do look mighty good!
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2019, 05:17:26 pm »

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2019, 06:15:36 pm »
MT91 does actually look very robust, do you find them OK for looooong rides? They look tough but they look like they're heavy.

I don't think I've done much more than about 100km in them.  They are indeed heavy, though in winter that's the least of my problems, so I'll defer to a proper cyclist for verdict.

They're probably the best cycling footwear for walking in, which can be useful in itself, but probably isn't what you're after.

I love my MT91s. I live in them when touring, I don't carry any other footwear, all weathers/time of the year. I also commute in them 6 months of the year in the UK.

As Kim says, they are proper walking boots, vibram soles, laces, etc, plus cleats. I tend to do a fair amount of walking — unmade mountain roads on fixed wheel, it's a given — but also without the bike. But I also cycle up to 300 km /day in them. With the right socks (base + outer) for the weather they are totally versatile, freezing to 40 degrees.

Cons: the soles are not very stiff, they can roll outwards. The tops are open, in persistent rain it will run down your legs into the boots, and being waterproof they will fill up. Heavy compared to most cycling footwear.

Pros: Comfort. On long rides comfort can make or break a ride, I've suffered all the usual cycling aches and pains but since using these, never with my feet.
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2019, 06:25:15 pm »
I'll add to the cons list: Incompatible with winter tights that have a zip at the side of your ankle.  The zipper chews through the fabric of the boot.

I tend to use baggier winter longs without a zip with them, which is fine on an upright, but the waist isn't very recumbent friendly.

I'm in the sandals camp for touring...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2019, 06:54:28 pm »
I'm sure something like a 3-seasons walking boot would perform better for much less wonga.
I commute 9 miles each way once a week to a site that requires non metal safety footwear, not wanting to carry shoes or ride in the big boots the company supplied I bought a pair of safety trainers.  These, though not at that price.
https://www.dickiesworkwear.com/uk/dickies-phoenix-safety-trainer-fc9527

They have been so good I've started wearing them for most of my cycling, I've never had any other footwear that feels so secure on flat pedals, in any weather.  I've yet to do a proper long ride in them, though I've done plenty of full days deliveroo.  I'll need to swap pedals around and try them for a proper ride, I'd be surprised if they weren't fine.  They have the added winter advantage of being water resistant and wide enough for thick or waterproof socks.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2019, 07:17:44 pm »
I'm in the sandals camp for touring...
I was converted to sandals for touring this summer. Non-spd, as I've got toe clips on my tourer because it also serves as urban utility bike.* I started wearing them as something good for both riding and walking in the hot weather, and then found that they work well for distances up to at least 100km too. However, I can't imagine any sock thick enough and perhaps most importantly windproof enough to make winter riding in sandals a possibility for me.

*Obviously n+1 is called for but that in turn calls for house+1.
The unwilling rider and the one who leaves each control in turn without reluctance, with no desire to come back, obviously cannot be making the same journey, even though their brevets are identical.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2019, 07:29:06 pm »
No views on the shoes, but a tip for bivviing in cold weather.

Put your boots in a plastic bag (I use the inside out dry bag my sleeping bag was in), and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag. This keeps the shoes from freezing, making it marginally nicer to put boots on in the morning. Store your gloves in the sleeping bag too, Same reasons.

I sleep in sealskins waterproof socks, so that when you put your boots on in the night for nocturnal arboreal irrigation, you don't get your feet soaked to go back in your sleeping bag.

Will you be carrying a stove?

J
This is helpful - no, I've not yet bought into the stove life. My brother swears by his jetboil but I'm not really a big heater-upper.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I have to say I reeeeaaaaally like the look (and price point) of the 45NRth boots. It's a shame I can't find somewhere to try them on but I could always buy three pairs and refund the two that don't fit...  :P
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2019, 07:53:27 pm »
45nrth Ragnarok - Charlie the Bikemonger (Ripon) sells them.

I'm also sandals for touring - I find them OK down to about 5° without socks (toes do better than fingers when it's cold), and have gone down to -5 with sealskin type socks.

I don't recommend MT91s - they have this big problem; they aren't available any more, so unless your feet are size 40/41 (Spa) you'll be out of luck. I think the current equivalent is the XM9

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2019, 08:12:11 pm »
This is helpful - no, I've not yet bought into the stove life. My brother swears by his jetboil but I'm not really a big heater-upper.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I have to say I reeeeaaaaally like the look (and price point) of the 45NRth boots. It's a shame I can't find somewhere to try them on but I could always buy three pairs and refund the two that don't fit...  :P

The reason I ask about the stove is that if you have a stove, and the fuel budget to allow for it, if you heat up water, and put it in an HDPE nalgene bottle (don't use the polycarbonate ones, they crack as the temperature drops and a vacuum is created), then put that in a sock, in your sleeping bag, you get a hot water bottle that stays warm most of the night. Bonus of prewarmed water to make tea quicker in the morning. I use 1/2l nalgene bottles for this (1l is too big for my socks (I have small feet)). I am paranoid so I also put the bottle in a dry bag, the dry bag I just took my night socks out of. Do it with 2 bottles, and 2 socks, you can use it to dry out your day socks.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2019, 08:45:48 pm »
My brother swears by his jetboil but I'm not really a big heater-upper.
I also swore by mine, though when it finally wore out I replaced it with the smaller and lighter Primus Lite+ which is the same style.
quixoticgeek's hot water bottle would make it worth carrying, even if you did nothing else with it. I've done something similar, though it's a ling time since I've slept out in conditions that needed it. 

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Any strong opinions on MTB winter boots?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2019, 08:57:37 pm »
I also swore by mine, though when it finally wore out I replaced it with the smaller and lighter Primus Lite+ which is the same style.
quixoticgeek's hot water bottle would make it worth carrying, even if you did nothing else with it. I've done something similar, though it's a ling time since I've slept out in conditions that needed it.

In terms of weight, the best option is a little meths stove. I use a zelph starlite, with a simple stand, you can store enough fuel to boil 500ml of water in the stove, then a small bottle for extra burns. These take up minimal volume, and weigh next to buggerall. The largest component is a mug to boil the water in, I put this in the bottom of my waterbottle pouch, and then put the bottle in the mug inside the pouch. Meths doesn't like to burn at very cold temperatures, so stick the stove/fuel in your jersey for a few minutes before lighting.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/