What are the Best Winter Mountain Bike Shoes? – 2017 UPDATED
Off-road cyclists don’t need to hang up their bikes when winter arrives. Companies produce all sorts of winter gear for mountain bike riders. You want to make sure you have one of the best mountain bike lights available.
For extra comfort, consider investing in a pair of heated hand grips. Without a doubt, though, one of the first things you should consider buying is a pair of winter mountain bike shoes.
Several styles flood the market, but to save you valuable time, we examined the options for you. So, here you go - The Top 3 Pairs of Winter MTB Shoes:
Choosing a Pair of Winter Mountain Bike Shoes
Because winter mountain bike shoes differ from regular biking shoes, you need to know what to look for in a good shoe. Consider your climate.
Are you more interested in keeping dry or keeping warm? All winter mtb shoes should be waterproofed. The appropriate amount of insulation depends on the temperature in your area.
Comfort is key. The shoe should be flexible and breathe well. It does no good to keep moisture out if a lack of ventilation is causing moisture to collect within the shoe. Winter mountain bike shoes should come to the ankle.
Regular biking shoes tend to be low-cut. Their lack of height is one of the main reasons that neoprene booties are ineffective. The snow and water just enter from the top of the shoe.
The Benefits of Owning Winter Bike Shoes
The best thing about owning a pair of winter bike shoes is that you can ride comfortably year around. Cold rain and melting snow used to mean the end of biking. Now, with a few accessories, a bike ride in winter is no big deal. So, if biking is your primary means of transportation, you can get around even in inclement weather.
Another benefit of owning winter cycling shoes is that they aren’t just winter shoes. One of the things I hate the most is the cold rain of both Spring and Autumn. Riding through puddles, results in wet shoes and socks.
Winter MTB shoes are waterproofed. Keeping dry means more to me than keeping warm. I wear water resistant shoes year around; anytime I’m going to get wet.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Winter MTB Shoes
Now that we have covered why you would want to purchase winter mountain bike shoes, let’s take a look at our top 3 picks. Some of the things you should consider:
- Are they waterproofed?
- What level of insulation does it provide?
- Are they lightweight and flexible?
- Is there extra room for thicker socks?
- What sets that particular pair of winter mountain bike shoes apart from the competition?
- And the big one - HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?
Savvy shoppers know how to weigh quality against cost. Where is the balance? Let’s take a look and make some comparisons.
Lake MXZ 303 Winter Boots - Men's
- Leather upper provides flexibility and when treated, keeps out water.
- The shoes’ deep lugs allow good snow clearance.
- Fully insulated for extra warmth.
- The closure is made with a BOA dial instead of laces.
- Comes high up on the ankle to prevent moisture from getting in the shoes.
- Sizing runs small. Order at least two sizes larger than you normally would.
- The leather is not waterproofed until treated.
As is the case with most mountain bike shoes, the Lake MXZ runs a bit small. Be sure to order a larger size than normal. The last thing you want is a foot cramp when you ride.
The BOA dial is one of those things you either love or hate. The drawstring is fast, but difficult to cram under the velcro flap. It’s also difficult to get the even pressure that shoelaces provide. That said, the closure on these shoes seems secure, and you don’t have to worry about laces that snag.
The Lake MXZ makes a good winter shoe once you have waterproofed the leather. Treating the leather is pretty simple, and a whole bunch of waterproofing treatments are available.
Shimano Men's All Mountain Bike Shoe Sh-Mw81
- Fleece Insole for insulation and warmth.
- Synthetic leather uppers for flexible movement.
- Reinforced sole with spike mount
- Shoe goes to the ankle and seals tightly to keep out moisture.
- Plenty of room for thick, winter socks if you order a larger size.
- The lugs are deep and tend to hold mud. You may find them hard to clean.
- Some may find that the shoes are a bit narrow. Wide sizes are not available.
- Synthetic leather may not hold up as long as real leather.
The synthetic leather of the Shimano Bike Shoe does not need to be waterproofed. With the fleece insole, these shoes keep your feet warm as well as dry. Just like the Lake winter mountain bike shoes, the Shimano run a bit narrow. If you have wide feet, then these are probably not the shoes for you.
The lugs are set deep and make it easy to walk around in the snow. However, they tend to pick up mud and hold onto it. You may find it hard to clean the shoes without a lot of digging.
The price can’t be beaten. For that alone, I feel that the Shimano Bike Shoe is a shoe worth considering.
Northwave Celsius Artic GTX Shoe - Men's
- Keeps you warm even in sub-zero temperatures.
- A special membrane that allows ventilation without letting in water.
- Drawstring closure is faster than laces and longer-lasting than velcro.
- Tall enough for you to tuck in your bibs.
- The tread provides good traction on walking surfaces.
- Not too hot to use during warmer weather.
- Nice price.
- Shoes are a bit narrow. Order a size larger to make room for thick socks.
The Northwave winter mtb shoes perform in even the coldest temperatures. Of the three shoes we have spotlighted, the Northwave Celsius Arctic appears to be at the top when the thermometer is at the bottom.
Waterproofed and insulated, they keep your toes dry and warm. Because the tops of the shoe reach the ankles, it’s easy to tuck in your bibs, which helps keep your legs warm.
Once again, make sure you order a couple of sizes larger than normal. There is probably no need for extra socks when you wear the Northwave, but it’s always good to have that option.
How to Care for Winter Cycling Boots and Shoes
Winter shoes come in two basic types of material, neoprene, and leather. Each has benefits that we will address later as we take a look at individual pairs of shoes. What I want to mention here is that leather shoes are not naturally waterproofed.
You must treat the leather before riding. Rubbing them with oil or waterproofing compound seals the leather. You may find that you need to repeat the waterproofing procedure each season, but it’s quick, easy, and inexpensive.
You can watch this YouTube video for a complete demonstration on how to waterproof leather shoes:
Another thing you can do to keep your winter mountain bike shoes in optimal condition is to clean and dry them thoroughly after every ride. Road chemicals, dirt, and water break down the shoe material over time. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth. Replace your laces as they show wear. I hate it when laces break while I am out riding.
My Final Thoughts on These 3 Winter Mountain Bike Shoes
Each of these shoes meets all the criteria set forth above for good winter bike shoes. They are all waterproofed and warm. If you like the look of real leather, you will want to consider the Lake shoe. The Shimano is the best choice for those riding in the snow.
However, I can’t help but feel that the Northwave Celsius strikes the best balance between quality and price. They protect your feet, even at very low temperatures; and yet, the ventilation allows you to wear them during warmer weather.
The height of the shoe allows you to tuck in your pants, which adds additional protection from the cold. Best of all, of the three, the Northwave Celsius sells for the lowest price.
The spotlight shines on this particular pair of winter mountain bike shoes.
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