winter boots or just waterproof shoes?

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  • winter boots or just waterproof shoes?
  • lovewookie

    in the market for a set of cold, damp weather footwear again.
    my previous diadora winter boots were good, if a little bulky.

    however my shopping list currently sits at either:

    shimano MW5
    Shimano XM7
    Shimano XC51N
    the cheap Scott boots in start fitness.

    don’t want to spend much over £100, would love to spend much less than £100.

    I do suffer from cold feet, though the fleecy linings in winter boots tend to lose their fleecyness after a few rides and flatten down, so I’m thinking that, as I tend to wear merino sealskin socks in any case I may be better looking at a sealed toe normal shoe, sized up for winter useage?
    I think that ankle collars on winter boots do very little. I’ve never had a pair of boots that dont leak at the neoprene.

    so is it worth the extra spend for a set of dedicated boots? I’m not talking abuot getting 45NRTH boots, those are a different thing alltogether. I’m steering more toward a slightly oversized fit normal shoe, the XC51N is sealed, but I do think they may be a little snug even sized up?

    either that or I go for wide fit normal shoes with waterproof toe socks.

    or I’ll just go for winter boots….;-)

    I went with Northwave ‘artic’ boots. Yes the fleece stops being fluffy but it’s still insulating and unlike merino doesn’t stay wet.

    £145 but they’ve lasted 4 years so far (although I suspect one has a pinhole leak above the toes now) and I wear them for 6 months of the year so they’re very good VFM. Bearing in mind that VFM I’m basing on nothing else on my bike including the frame cost more than £145! It’s a bit of winter kit I’d not scrimp on again. I’ve done sealskinz, merino, overshoes, boots are far better, they just work rather than having to constantly battle with having the right combination of shoes/socks/overshoes washed and dry (or not falling apart in the case of overshoes).

    Only negative is water running down your leg, but the neoprene does it’s best so it’s still substantially better than overshoes/socks.


    ok, thanks.
    part of me is also saying that boots are better. never got on with overshoes.


    Northwave boots here too.
    After years of using thick socks/ overshoes etc etc and suffering cold feet, the boots are a no brainer. So much better and designed to d what you want them to do, keep your feet dry and warm.
    Get boots


    I just got a set of MW5s and they do seem to keep my feet drier for longer than my previous (SM81 I think) boots did.

    I do have new tights as well though, which seem to be water repellant, and I’m sure this helps.

    A 3 hour wet ride did see me finish with wet (but not cold) feet, but the rest of me was also saturated (and cold).


    how do the MW5’s size up? I’ve been hearing conflicting info about new shimano shoes in that you’d traditionally size up one EU size anyway, so 2 eu sizes for winter boots, but the new ones are sized better, so maybe just one size up for winter?



    Just bought Shimano XM9 from ze Germans. Normal shoes 43, my Shimano shoes fit well at 44 so ordered the same. No 43 in stock anyway. Should have gone 43 tbh, even accounting for thicker socks.


    Just a little tip for those with really cold feet ..cut out some tin foil to the shape of your insoles and place it shiny side up underneath them ..
    It will ” reflect ” the heat back.


    The Swanage Bikemonger has deals on 45Nrth Japanthers but also buy slightly oversize to leave wiggle-room / thick socks. I’ll still put overshoes on over boots if particularly wet as cold water draws away the heat / stop your socks getting soaked.


    Unfortunately the bikemonger deals aren’t in my size 12s.



    Normal shoes and decent socks does the trick for me.
    0 degrees medium thickness sealskinz socks
    -5 thick socks
    -10 or colder i put the shoe covers on on top either old school thick ones or a pair of MT500 I can go for hours in these temperatures even go across streams without getting cold feet.

    Yet your shoes to tight and you will limit blood stream and get cold feet.


    I went for 47s as per all my other older Shimano shoes, they fit fine, with some room for thick socks (but not that much tbh).


    I have some cheap muddyfox boots from sports direct. Should have bought a extra size up if I was in Scotland but for down south the no vent construction plus the liner plus a average socks have been warm even when wet into the -ve numbers we get. The extra ankle warmth is nice too.


    Proper winter boots for me, lake 303’s spendy but long lasting & warm, so worth the investment as mentioned above. Wasted lots of money on two pairs of NW & Shimano boots & overshoes which were/are great in the wet but not a stitch on the warm of a proper winter boot


    I take a leaf out of winter walkers book.

    Big thick brigdale merino wool socks, decent pair of decent thick-soled leather upper walking shoes. They’re not 5-10 levels of grip, but they’re comfy, warm and even if you get absolutely soaked ’cause you’ve binned it through a river your feet stay appreciably warm even in freezing temperatures.

    Winter hillwalkers know their stuff. And to top it all – my Merrells dont’ stink like shit like all my 5-10’s do.

    Edit: Oh, and you can, y’know, like, walk in them too… 😉

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Old pair of Lake boots here. They have ankle gaitors built in. Sadly being American, the upper is warm and waterproof, but they left a damn big hole where the cleat is and no insulation in sole. Nothing a thick layer of plastic DPC and good insoles couldn’t solve though.


    Boots every time.

    I’ve some Garneau winter MTB shoes that strike a good compromise between warmth & weight. No wet feet yet!


    Should have gone 43 tbh, even accounting for thicker socks.

    That was my experience with the XM9s as well, they don’t fit the usual “go up one size” rule.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    Had a few winter boots over the years and find I generally prefer overshoes [with warm socks]. Just prefer the versatility of riding in good cycling shoes.
    Fact of life that overshoes don’t last, though, for mountain biking. So pointless buying an expensive road-style pair. Just need a good neoprene set that go on easy and pay some attention to keeping the back zips in working order. I’ve had good sets for £20.

    IME overshoes fall apart so quickly mountain biking that it’s cheaper to run a pair of winter boots. Nothing stops the water getting in if it’s really wet but decent merino socks (Defeet Woolie Boolies the best I’ve found) keep your feet warm.

    For the UK, where it’s usually muddy, something stripped down – the laced hiking boot style look bulky and difficult to clean. I’ve had a few pairs of the MW5 style over the years and I”d buy another – it looks like the sole on the new ones is less ‘hard plastic’ and more ‘hiking boot’ so should be better to walk in (my one criticism). What I’d really like is that boot with the michelin sole off the ME7

    Premier Icon ransos

    Nothing stops the water getting in if it’s really wet but decent merino socks (Defeet Woolie Boolies the best I’ve found) keep your feet warm.

    That’s true, but I’ve found that my Northwave boots are much better at keeping my feet warm when wet than using ordinary shoes and overshoes. I keep meaning to try some kind of ankle gaitor to reduce the amount of water running down my leg.


    I’ve just received the Scott boots from Start Fitness you mentioned.

    Look really good design in terms of the tongue and cuff arrangement so can’t wait to try them in the wet and cold.

    I did notice that the price has gone up from £70 to £79 on the website but still good value on the face of it provided they perform as well as they look.

    I also tend to wear the knee high Sealskin socks so the water can’t drip down inside like can happen with the shorter version.


    hmm, those scott ones were tempting, but with zero reviews it’s difficuly to take a punt.

    how wide is the sole on them? winter boots can vary so much from almost race shoe skinny to boots that wouldn’t look out of place on a Klingon bird of prey.



    I’ve sent a couple of pictures to the email address in your profile.
    They aren’t chunky IMO.


    great, thanks.



    I’ve used a new pair of Shimano MW5 several times now this autumn and am pleased with the performance. Did the usual Shimano thing of initially ordering a size up to a 44 instead of the 43 I use in most other shoes- mistake! The replacement 43 is fine.
    A couple of useful features stand out: They open wide for drying, much more so than most others with an ankle cuff.
    The sole is definitely a bit more grippy on wet or slippery surfaces than the earlier MW81 boot.
    The cable lace arrangement is easy to over-tighten, reducing circulation and thereby causing feet to be colder than necessary.

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