Initial impressions of 45NRTH Japanther boots inside...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Initial impressions of 45NRTH Japanther boots inside...

    I'd started the winter the way I do most, with a new pair of booties and fear in my heart knowing what a PITA they can be and how, in the end, I'd still be cold. Typically, I need two pair of socks, toe covers, booties and chemical warmers to be out for anything over an hour when temps are around the freezing mark. Even so, I rarely make it to the 1:30 mark without having very uncomfortably cold feet (the kind that hurt terribly as they thaw)Last week, I decided enough was enough and that I was going to buy a pair of dedicated winter boots. I needed something that was warm and dry (naturally) but also svelte enough to race CX/gravel in as well as train on the road. I ultimately narrowed the choices to the Shimano MW81, Specialized Defroster, Northwave Celsius Arctic, and 45Nrth Japanther. All were similarly priced (within a reasonable range) but I could get a good team deal on the Specialized or 45Nrth. After reading countless, and usually conflicting reviews and speaking with a few teammates, I decided the Japanthers were for me.

    Pros:
    double ankle cuffs really seal everything out
    fully gusseted tongue so no water creeps in
    burly but not slick soles
    stiff soles for power transfer
    wind and more or less waterproof
    high coverage (much more than the others)
    roomy toe box
    cinch string provides nearly custom feel
    very easy entry

    Cons:
    not cheap
    I don't love zippers so we'll see on durability there
    sizing (like most) is not accurate

    I wear a size 43 typically and went to a 45 in these to allow for a heavy wool sock. On the bike and even walking, they feel great as in they are very comfortable. I was a little concerned about how warm they would be since my feet and hands are particularly sensitive to cold and these are only described as a transition season boot down to 25F. I think its marketing hype since 45N wouldn't have an offering in that space and wants to let the nuclear options rule their winter lineup. The insides don't feel all fuzzy and warm when you stick your hand in but as it turns out, 45Nrth knows what they are doing with this one. After an 1:45 today in strong wind, wet roads (high humidity) and upper 20's F, my feet felt nothing more than cool by the end with a pair of summer weight merino socks under a pair of winter socks. I could have easily stayed out longer with no discomfort from the feet. This was a huge breakthrough for me and is a really encouraging sign for the winter. I also think I could easily have had warm feet for at least an hour in much colder temps (closer to 20F) and with some chemical warmers, I'd bet down a fair bit lower still. I'll have the chance to try that over the next few days as the forecast is for temps in mid teens with wind chills in the single digits. I'll post a reply after I've tried them in the coldest weather I am really willing to ride in this week. If I can get an hour+ in those temps with no chem warmers, I'd say we have a winner for sure in these. Supposed to get snow too so I'll be able to speak more about the waterproof nature of these as well. If we get much, I am sure that the higher cuffs on these will make me very glad I chose them over the other options.

    For anyone looking to buy some winter boots, I know there aren't many out there yet on the Japanther so I thought this might help.
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  2. #2
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    Quick update since I knew today was going to be a real test. Snowing and 13F with 20-25mph winds made it about as cold as I'd be willing to do outside. I wasn't sure what to expect although I figured the ride would be short lived. I was wrong. For the first half hour, I felt very comfortable (not warm, not cold, just right), at about 45-50 mins, the toes felt a slight chill. not cold, just not toasty. By the one hour mark, cold started to creep in and I started to head home. I want to qualify the cold feeling as being definitely cold but not that painful, I just lost three toes kinda cold I normally would feel at those temps. This is well below the temps the boot is rated or and at the lowest end of my outdoor riding tolerance. Feet stayed completely dry (never submerged them so it was just the snow and some slush splashing around). Time will tell I guess but after a couple of rides, I am very pleased with my purchase. While its not usually the case, this is one case where I think the company actually underpromises and overdeilvers in a fairly meaningful way. Kudos 45NRth!
    though hope is frail, it must prevail - Taj Weekes

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  3. #3
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    Have you tried on the Wolvhammer? They are supposed to be for quite cold conditions and waterproof, though bulkier. The Japanther's I was thinking of trying as well, it looks they can take colder temps than advertisied.
    Last edited by dundundata; 01-27-2016 at 12:40 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    Have you tried on the Wolvhammer? They are supposed to be for quite cold conditions and waterproof, though bulkier. The Japanther's I was thinking of trying as well, it looks they can take colder temps than advertisied.
    I picked these up as well recently and knowing that I am eventually moving somewhere where it doesn't really get much lower than 32F but can be quite wet - figured one Wisconsin winter would be fine.

    I've been barefoot-shoe-styled for 3 years, and as such my forefoot has widened quite a bit and a 46 felt slightly narrow but workable, as a 47 I would be swimming in with the rest of the foot & length! (I wear a 10.5 Vivobarefoot for comparison). With my sock combination feels just fine.

    Longest ride so far has been 45 minutes, but have some fatbiking coming up soon and am pretty confident things will be fine. On my 30 minute commute to work coldest I've hit was -6F with these.

    I typically wear Injini toe-socks with these if the temperature is below freezing. For -6 it was those + a thick smartwool sock. The extra room around the toes has been great for comfort and warm air circulation. When it's at freezing I'm just fine in a Bontrager Thermal wool sock, and feel toasty warm without issues.

    My only fitment issue with them is that the tongue of the shoe has a rather large seam where it's stitched on the side to the outside of the foot. I have to be very careful with placement of the tongue, or else I get severe pressure right on my medial malleolus. Hoping that continues to work itself out.
    Moving the soul with two wheels.
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  5. #5
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    I bought a pair of the latest Japanther boots and they really hurt my ankles. The are better if I close the internal ankle strap first, put the tongue on the outside of that, then cinch the lacing, then zip them and velcro the outer ankle strap. Even then they still hurt a bit, and they really don't breath very well. The outside zipper is also very tight and difficult to close.

    Disappointed, I tried a pair of latest Wolvhammer boots, and they were instantly comfortable on and off the bike. No pressure point on my ankle at all, same size. They also seem to breath a bit better.

    I have only worn them for 40-50 miles, and not in the rain, but I don't think I can return them because I got them on a massive sale below dealer cost.

    Did I get a bad pair? Should I try to ask the shop to return them for another pair? Unless I can come up with a solution to the pain with the Japanthers, I am putting them up for sale. I don't need both boots anyway. I feel a little weird selling them too without disclosing that they hurt my ankles.

  6. #6
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    What size are your Japanthers?

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