Review: Shimano MT7 Winter Boots – No excuses boots for winter riding

by 16

These Shimano MW7 winter boots are designed to remove any excuses you have about winter riding. Forget ‘it’s too cold’ or ‘it’s too wet’ as the idea of these black beasts is to protect you from the worst that winter will throw at you.

They’re certainly no lookers, but who cares if it’s cold and dark?

Shimano has a long history of making decent winter boots. Originally these boots’ predecessors evolved from Shimano’s original downhill clip-in boot, launched last century, but the design has been refined over the last couple of decades and what we have here is a great, if reasonably ugly/workmanlike, boot designed for the cold and the dark, the wet and the snowy.

From the top-down, there’s a tall, soft, neoprene cuff, intended to keep splashes and drizzle out. Obviously, there’s a big hole in the top where your legs go, so they will never completely keep everything out, but the wrap-around design keeps the worst at bay. It’s sewn into the lace cover, which is made of an impervious, rubberised material. Underneath this is a bellows tongue, topped by a BOA closure. The single BOA filament is relatively short in its coverage, being only about 80mm long over the mid-foot, yet this is enough to keep your foot in place, with no other straps or buckles to help.

shimano mw7 boots
Twirl to tighten. That’s it. No zips or straps…

Underneath, there is a Michelin branded, lugged sole with plenty of tyre-like tread to keep traction when off the bike. The whole sole is covered in tread, even the instep, which is handy for resting, unclipped on pedals, or for roots, stiles and rocks where you’re relying on a small part of the sole for grip. There are differently coloured treads for the extreme toe and heel tread, but my thumbnail test couldn’t feel a difference in rubber softness.

Inside the boots, there is a cosily brushed insole, as well as a fabric lining. This aids the instant feeling of comfort that you get when putting them on. Interestingly, the sizing appeared to be true to size. I normally only just comfortably fit into a Shimano size 43 trail shoe with summer socks on, yet these size 43 MW7 winter boots fit just fine with a generously fleecy sock. Try before you buy, but I don’t reckon you’ll need to size up from you regular Shimano shoe size.

Shimano MW7 boots in use

Getting in: I’ve run these boots for one and a bit winters now, and some wet springs and autumns too. So far they’ve been pretty faultless. Getting into them (something that can be hard on some boots with zips or laces) is very easy as the MW7 winter boots open up pretty wide, yet are quick to click and cinch. I’ve not had a problem with the BOA dial (though a prouder rubber grip would help winter glove grip) and the dials are guaranteed for life. I’m aware that if you snap a filament, that would be a pretty big issue, but it’s hidden under that flap and pretty safe.

Give us a flounce!

Cinching the boots up is simple enough. Turn the dials tight, then probably put in a few more clicks after the first snack stop as the boot settles around your foot. The fit is comfy, with a roomy enough toe box to let you wiggle toes if they do get cold. This is pretty rare, though, as the thin insulation is great, even for breaking through icy crusts of snowdrifts on your hike up to the top of the climb. The neoprene cuff does a good job of keeping the worst of the weather out (and if you’re wearing waterproofs over the top, you can be sure of some comfy toes.

Wet weather is similar – you need to be standing in properly deep water before you get any ingress – probably deeper than 4-5in/100-120mm. Obviously, if you’re riding something like the Strata Florida or similarly submerged Welsh trails, you’re going to get wet feet, but the insulated lining and the vent-less exterior of the MW7 boots do a good job of wetsuit insulation. Obviously, at some point you’ll have to physically empty them out as they won’t drain, but that can wait until the porch of your B&B, right?

Wet feet
Sometimes, you just need to empty out your Shimano boots and wring out your socks, eh Carl?

Sole grip is good. I’d prefer it a little chunkier for truly sloppy mud, but they do a great job of most terrain. They’re also confidence-inspiring on rock, which is more than some winter boots can claim. If you are going to be doing a lot of hike-a-bike, though, you might find the reasonably roomy boots to lack a bit of structure. On the flipside, the soles of the MW7 are rated 5/12 on Shimano’s stiff-o-meter, so riders used to more regular non-cycling footwear will find them instantly comfortable, with very little bedding-in needed, if at all.

Getting out: To exit the boots, you just pull on the BOA dial to click it loose and pull open the lace flap (an action that consistently sprayed gritty water into my eyes, until I learned to look away) and loosen the BOA filament. Assuming you can feel your fingers enough to grip the dial, you’ll be able to exit the boots. Something that can’t always be said of zipped or ratcheted boots. Even laces can be an issue in the cold and wet…

There is also a competitor from Shimano’s own line, the lace-up. Gore-Tex lined XM900 boots, which are more like a winter hiking boot. If you’re going to be doing more scrambling and hike-a-bike, then those are definitely worth a look.

Even when it’s unavoidably wet, you’ll do better than in regular riding shoes

Three things that could be improved

  • The price: At £200 a pair, they’re a big investment for something that has a limited season, as they really can get too warm to ride once spring is here. However, they really can open up a whole ‘nother season of riding to you.
  • No toe studs? The sole tread could be chunkier for better grip in wet grass, mud and snow, and a pair of toe studs would really help add versatility.
  • Cleat slots could be longer – especially for riders coming from flat pedals. And while we’re here, why not make a flat-sole version anyway? The world is crying out for winter flat shoes.

Three things I loved

  • Instant comfort. They’re easy-on, even with cold hands, and they feel warm and homely very quickly.
  • They’re not overbuilt, so they don’t feel heavy, like a mountaineering boot. They dry quickly too. The MW7 winter boots are a Goldilocks fit between a useable cycling shoe and a protective, deep winter boot.
  • That impervious feel when on. Whether riding into a sleety head wind, or stepping into that unavoidable puddle to open a gate, the MW7 boots are an essential bit of winter kit.

Overall

The Shimano MW7 boots are a great ally in the quest to actually enjoy the winter months. They will find (and have found) favour with winter commuters, night riders, long distance trail riders and anyone who finds the thought of cold, wet feet unbearable and a limit to how much they can (or want to) ride off road during the winter months. They’re not the prettiest, but it’s probably dark and raining, so who’s looking? And ‘performance’ riders might want a stiffer sole and more strap closures. For me, though, the ease of getting them on and the instant warmth and comfort means that the Shimano MW7 has given me one excuse fewer for not riding my bike tonight.

Review Info

Brand: Shimano
Product: MW7 Winter Boots
From: Freewheel.co.uk
Price: £199
Tested: by Chipps for 18 months
Singletrack Full MembershipJoin us

If you like what we do - if you like our independence then the best way to support us is by joining us. Every penny of your membership goes back into Singletrack to pay the bills and the wages of the people who work here. No shareholders to pay, just the people who create the content you love to read and watch.


  • This topic has 16 replies, 15 voices, and was last updated 5 days ago by fossy.
Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Review: Shimano MT7 Winter Boots
  • Premier Icon Ben
    Full Member

    The more obvious competitor is the MW5, which I can report offers everything the MW7 does, but with a simpler (but still using a pull up cord not laces) lacing system, I believe a slightly longer cleat slot, and something waterproof-but-not-goretex instead of goretex. I’ve had mine for a year and still the best winter shoes I ever owned. 10/10!

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Full Member

    Boots with shorts on, really? That’s  just a water ingress waiting to happen.

    Premier Icon idlejon
    Full Member

    Mine were useless. They repeatedly flooded last autumn, until after one 40 minute commute home I poured a full third of a pint of water from each boot. (This was a torrentially wet day, but it was entirely on tarmac albeit with a lot of surface water – not more than a few cms deep.) I’m not sure whether there was a batch of faulty boots but a colleague had the same issue – both pairs got sent back to Madison. We have both used winter boots before, and have both been riding forever so know that boots are never fully waterproof, but our experience with these was pretty poor.

    I replaced them with NW Arctic boots which have been much better. I rode home on a similarly wet day a few weeks ago and poured some water out of the boots, but not the 1/3rd pint that I filmed last year! 😀

    Premier Icon Adam
    Full Member

    I’ve got the MW5’s used for commuting winter 2019/20 along a filthy canal tow path and they were great. I also used a set of grip grab gaiters but my feet were dry when I got to work. I paid less than £100 for tham, I just couldn’t justify the extra for the MW7’s.

    Premier Icon stingmered
    Full Member

    Got the MW5’s last winter and they’ve been amazing. Originally had the MW7s lined up but Covid/Stock issues meant they unavailable. However when I read a few reviews it appeared the MW5s were the one to go for anyway, better closure system, and some were saying more waterproof. Dunno whether this is true, but the 5s have been excellent. Warm and toasty, but also room enough that you can wear a merino sock and still have plenty of room to wiggle your toes and keep the blood going.

    Premier Icon Vincent Gregory
    Full Member

    Been running MW7’s two winters now and they are great. Much roomier than the previous MW80 and I definitely didn’t need to size up this time. They are also a lot warmer than MW80’s so I rarely need more than woolie boolies even in snow rides. When water gets in feet stays warm.

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Full Member

    I really like them (wore through last winter).

    “something that has a limited season, as they really can get too warm to ride once spring is here”.

    Not that limited – they’re gore-tex so they do breathe a bit and with thin socks (wooleators) I reckon you can wear them comfortably all year when it’s muddy. I switched to mine in October and was wearing them into April last year. Add woolly boolies in Winter months for warmth.

    The Boa dial/lace on these seems to work way better then the twin boa dials I’ve got on a pair of spec shoes (which have to be regularly retightened during a ride) and the flap over the top is a win. Studs are a disadvantage on rock so I reckon better without.

    To criticise, they don’t seem super warm – in the coldest weather they could do with more insulation – and the ‘let-water-in-level’ could be higher, but they’re by far the best iteration of these boots yet.

    Premier Icon scuttler
    Full Member

    Still on MW80’s (faultless) so watching with interest.

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Full Member

    Still on MW80’s (faultless) so watching with interest.

    Better fit (higher internal volume for the same size, less toe squeeze), better tightening mechanism, better sole for both grip and walking, longer slot for better cleat position. I’m using my MW80’s on my road bike now.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Not that limited – they’re gore-tex so they do breathe a bit and with thin socks (wooleators) I reckon you can wear them comfortably all year when it’s muddy.

    I have a pair and cannot wear them if its above freezing – simply too hot and my feet get so sweaty.  Its an odd one – I generally run cold but my feet are always hot.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Full Member

    Still got some WH-100s (I think that’s them) – blue / yellow scheme – after a review back in STW. Good study boots. Other boots also in the shed..

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    Older MW7, pre BOA. Great. Use when muddy in summer too.

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Full Member

    I disagree with the review here, and I’m more aligned with @idlejon. Think I was on the MW80 previously and loved them, tho the sole was a bit slippy.
    The sole on these is great and I love the Boa closure. Buy otherwise I’ve found the leak more that my previous Shimano boots, the uppers are too baggy, and the sole isn’t stiff enough. Really disappointed. Had plenty of other Shimano shoes and they’ve always been great 🤷‍♂️

    Premier Icon cloggy
    Full Member

    In my experience waterproof boots eventually let water in, but don’t let it out. Ditto for SealSkins which turn my feet into prunes. I did the Real Ale Wobble on Sunday and after a time you just like your feet to be warm, forget dry.

    Premier Icon Old and Past it
    Full Member

    The title is wrong.

    Review: Shimano MT7 Winter Boots – No excuses boots for winter riding

    Title says MT7, but then the review talks about MW7.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    I use drysuit wrist seals cut down over the neoprene when it’s really wet. Shoes get filled from the water running off your legs.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.