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  1. #1
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    Winter Shoes- A Good Article

    I found this review/write-up and I'm sure someone looking for winter riding shoes can benefit from it. The Gaerne Eskimos look great to me. I use Sidi Dominators and these fit similarly- maybe a half size bigger- perfect for thicker socks.

    I know someone who uses Sidi Dominators and uses the Gaernes as his winter shoe and loves them. It's probably not a cheap option for most ($159-$200 is what I've seen) but they are available and should last several years.

    Here is the link to the article:

    http://www.trailcentral.com/communit...d.php?tid=1319

  2. #2
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    No pics but the article text....

    Just in case the link goes bad or website loses it or whatever, here is the text without any pics:

    ================================================== ================================================== ===
    Who here rides in the winter? - Long writeup



    I ride year round. I mix it up in the winter with skiing, of course, but it just gets boring riding all the lower trails and flats on the road routes. So this year I decided to go a step further. I now have a tendency to go out and ride some of my favorite Front Range trails while it’s snowing, or recently snowed. This has necessitated the use of warmer footwear products and other gear, such as helmet covers, balaclavas, skull caps . . .

    At the end of a days 1 or 2 hour ride, no matter what I wore, my feet were always frozen. Pins and needles aren't fun and that's about what it feels like when you thaw out your frozen feet. I mean, I could wear two pair of woolies, overshoes taped to my tights to keep the crap out, but my feet were always cold. After a few rides, I destroyed my overshoes and couldn't justify spending another $30 on something I'm going to destroy again. I knew there were other talked about solutions out there, such as neoprene socks, Gore-Tex socks, etc. I wanted to continue riding, but didn’t want to deal with cold feet at the end of the ride. I deal with that sh*t enough skiing, the last thing I wanted to do was deal with it all winter, biking. So my search for hardcore winter cycling footwear started.

    I started looking at the basic shoes that everyone knows
    the Sidi Storm

    the Lake MXZ300

    the Answer Kashmir

    and the Shimano W101


    I found that the Sidi is the best fitting, but it has no insulation on the inside of the shoe. The outer is made of a weatherproof material and is fairly rugged. This means your foot would be frozen if that's all you were wearing besides a few wool socks. They'd be dry but not warm. At a price of a standard Sidi $179-$200.00 I cannot recommend them. There is better out there for this price range.

    I found the Lake MXZ300's to be a big cumbersome shoe that had good features and was designed to be warmer as it had a thicker outsole and shell and neoprene boot. It was almost a Boot but still a shoe. It seemed like it would be weather proof and would do a good job of keeping me warm for 2 or so hours. But the entry and exit as well as the clunky overall feel of the shoes swayed me from buying them. Supergo usually has them around this time of year if you want to try em on. I found them not much to my feet's liking as far as fit went, but remember everyone is different. If I bought these I wouldn't spend more then $100 on them though. Most places sell them for around $150-170.00.

    The Answer Kashmir, I read a few reviews on them, but was unable to find some to try on. My memory of my friends' Answer shoes falling apart after a year of MTB riding in muddy Virginia, made my decision of not even trying to find anything more about them. I'm not saying Answer makes a bad shoe because my friends' shoes I was refering to, were purchased back in 1994, and Answer has stepped up since then. The reviews I read on them made me think that if I was on a budget that these would be the ones to buy. They run a full neoprene sock on the inside of the shoe all the way up to the ankle. The only part that didn't have neoprene was the foot beds. Here's a good review on the Answers I was able to dig up: Answer Kashmir Review
    From the information I gathered, these shoes would be as warm as the Lake MXZ300. The overall design of the shoe was more suitable for riding as well. I would have considered them as a full time winter shoe, if someone around here carried them so I could try em on.

    The Shimano W101 is the same exact shoe as the Answer Kashmir at least in the "Design" ideas. They used a full neoprene cuff and inner shell with durable weather resistant outer. I have never fit in Shimano Shoes so I didn't really look into these. If Shimano is your brand then these would hold up just like the Kashmir's.

    Then my searches magically landed in the land of England. I ended up finding even more winter shoes:
    Northwave Celsius GTX Gore-Tex

    Gaerne Polar Competition MTB

    Gaerne Polar Three Strap

    Gaerne Eskimo

    Shimano MW02 GoreTex

    Diadora Chili Extreme MTB

    Lake MXZ301


    This changed everything. I didn't know that Gore-Tex was available in a MTB winter boot yet. I'm still waiting for the day for them to come out with a solid Vibram Competition lugged Sole, but hell, that's a whole other story to gripe about our sport and the lack of advancement put into our parts . . .. Meh!

    Rather then getting into the differences between all the shoes on the list above I’ll just narrow it down to the ones I was interested in. I was looking at craftsmanship, design, materials, soles and origin (I wear Sidi shoes so I wanted a similar fitting shoe).

    For the ones that I do not review, let's just say that for reasons that were similar to the first round of shoes investigated, I chose these winter shoes. A few of which should be called Winter Boots (now we're talking!) The decision was made after I gathered all the information I could on all the boots mentioned on the second list. Remember different people have different needs:

    Northwave Celsius
    Gaerne Polar Comps
    Gaerne Polar 3 Strap
    Gaerne Eskimo

    The level of craftsmanship put into each Boot is amazing. Each one offers a different level of warmth, protection from water, mud and wind, but also to mention, big $$price tags.


    The Gaerne Polar Competition was their first attempt at going back to the drawing board and re-designing the Winter shoe line. Instead they found the need to make them Winter boots. These Boots had higher elastic cuffs and full Wintex (waterproof and windproof material) shell down to the toes. There was little as far as insulation besides the materials made to make the inner and outer boot linings, although it doesn't need any more insulation as everyone who has written anything about these shoes has said they are almost to hot sometimes. The inner boot is a cloth material with full lace up front. The outer Wintex shell zips up over the inner boot. A great boot, but they are all on closeout and not being made anymore. They didn't have my size anywhere in the U.S. BUT, You can still find a few sizes on eBay and at the U.S distributor www.gaernebike.com and www.ital-tecno.com (although Gaernebike is slow on communication). I recommend you call the websites before you buy to confirm your size is in stock (all the big ones are gone from 46 and up). Price $129-159.00 plus shipping.
    If you are a roadie, Gaerne makes a road version of this shoe, and I can pretty much guarantee you that everyone in the U.S. has your size in stock. Velo Sport did a write up on these Boots here: Polar Competition Review


    The Gaerne Polar Three Strap was the shoe I was After. They took the basic idea of the Wintex outer shell from the Polar Competitions, wrapped it all up into a very well sealed outer shell with a high elastic cuff and 3 Velcro Straps over the foot. The shell's material is windproof and waterproof. The interior of the shoe is completely lined with lambskin wool including the sole. The price I was able to find these was $150.00 Shipped (usually they will run you $189 plus shipping if you can find them). A shop in NY (www.ital-tecno.com) had them in stock-supposedly- in my size. I'll get back to this later. The main reason I was after these shoes was simply because they looked more like a high top cycling shoe with good sealing properties from the elements. Not to mention it had ample insulation for the rides I go on. Here's a review on these shoes: Polar 3 Strap Review

    Next we have the Gaerne Eskimo. This boot is as Top of the Line as Gaerne gets. It is built like a real hiking boot, but with MTB in mind. How so you ask, well it looks like a big bulky boot but it is a very slender boot that isn't cumbersome at all. It feels like a real cycling boot should feel. The inner and outer shell are completely waterproof. The interior of the shoe has Thinsulate lining, the sole is insulated and the outer shell zips up over the laces of the inner boot. Materials were not skimped on here and because Gaerne did such a good job they also decided that these boots should come with a high-end price. $230 plus shipping. Once again if you can find the sites to buy them on they are a pair of Boots that will never let you down.

    The Northwave Celsius GTX Gore-Tex. Are built a lil differently then the Gaernes. They use an anatomically shaped boot with elastic Cuff that holds in all the right places without causing achilies scuffing inside the boot (one of their key marketing features of the boot). They have full a Gore-Tex shell and aggressive sole. They use the same type of Thinsulate material that Gaerne did on their Eskimo. The sole is probably one of the most aggressive and suitable for stomping through the snow and slush. So, overall, this would be a very warm boot. A few things about Gore-Tex though that must be noted:

    1- your feet sweat like mad and if you want to go on an epic ride in the winter, sweat is bad-it freezes. And while Gore-Tex is water/windproof it is not cold proof. Also because of the inherent breathing properties of Gore-Tex, your shoe will retain more sweat then if you were wearing a well insulated boot with wool socks.

    2 -If they built a Gore-Tex bootie inside the boot to cover the whole foot - top and bottom, then how do you put in a new cleat anchor, god forbid you strip out the ones that came in the shoe to begin with? Do u actually have to cut a hole through the Gore-Tex bootie and use gore patches?

    I called a few shops that carried them, but no one could tell me if the shoe was actually a full Gore-Tex bootie or just a Gore-Tex shell. With a price tag of $220.00 plus shipping these are right along the same line of Boot that the Eskimo and Lake MXZ301 are. I was willing to buy these and found a shop out of Chicago that has a wide range of sizes of them in stock. At the time when I was looking, no one had the Eskimos or the Polar 3 Straps in stock. The reason I was willing to shell out $$$ for these was simple. They would be the warmest shoes available and the soles are the most aggressive for snow walking. The site to find the Northwaves is www.cbike.com. Once again always call before you order. Northwave does make a road version of this shoe and it is called the Fahrenheit.

    I did not consider the Lake MXZ301, but if my idea of fun was stomping around all day long Alaskan Iditabike style, these would be the boots I would buy. They are the most impervious to the elements getting in. If Iditabike is your thing then I would consider only three boots, listed in no particular order: Northwave Celsius, Lake MXZ301 and Gaerne Eskimo.

    Lake does make a road version of the MXZ301. One thing to note about these is that the soles, with SPD road pedal cleats, would allow for sufficient grip for around town walking. Believe it or not you can actually buy the Mountain shoe online from www.performancebike.com for $199.99 plus shipping. Which is a pretty decent price for a boot like that. I believe from the amount of materials that these would be even warmer or equal to the Northwave Celsius.

    So back to my Boot order on the Gaerne Polar 3 Strap . . .

    After hours of searching I was able to track down a vendor who carried the Gaerne Polar 3 strap in my size I ordered them and called them the next day to confirm the order. I wanted to make sure they had the shoes in my size. No such luck, even though they had listed them in my size on their site, they were all out. I didn't find this out until I called them back the second time. I called the second time because a buddy of mine wanted to order a pair of shoes at the same time and they had his size as well (I was floating him the cash).

    Well the guy, who's name was David (at Ital-Techno), hooked me up. He had just gotten in the Eskimos and was willing to ship em to me at $179.00. I bought two pairs, one for me in a 46 and one for my buddy in a 44.

    How do Gaernes fit? Well I wear Sidi Dom2's in a 46 and the Gaernes are built with the same standardized sizing that Sidi uses, with one exception. They build them 1/2 size big to accomodate all who need half sizes. So if you fit in a 46 with a lil room, then buy a 45. If you fit in a 46.5 then buy a 46.

    How do Northwaves fit? Northwave uses the standard Euro Sizing chart. What's the difference? Well if you fit in a 46 Sidi you will fit a Northwave 45. Euro Sizing is usually one size smaller then Sidi Standardized Sizing.

    One thing to note, neither manufacturer makes half sizes.

    All the vendors said the same thing to me about the fit of both brands of shoes and how they would compare them to Sidi. Everyone said they were narrow. Hmm.

    After I got the Eskimos, I was thoroughly happy with my purchase. They fit just like the Sidi's did, even though a majority of the reviews I read on Gaerne's fitting was that they were really narrow and that was what I was worried about the most. I bolted on my cleats with loctite and then sealed the shoe anchor slots with bath tub silicone to assure that no water would seep in. Next day it snowed, and i went riding !

    An overview of the Websites that I found that carried these shoes:
    www.cbike.com
    www.ital-tecno.com
    www.gaernebike.com
    www.wiggle.co.uk (if you happen to live in England)

    All I have to say is my feet have never been warmer, the price I got was a steal, Act fast if you are looking for a winter boot/shoe they sell out FAST!!

    Thanks

    Aaron

    ================================================== =================================================
    Last edited by Flyer; 11-30-2006 at 08:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Nat
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    Has anyone used these Hotronic heated insoles?

    http://www.hotronic.com/

  4. #4
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    Good analysis,

    I ride the front ranges as well, just a little bit north of you.

    My major compliant is the cleat attachement allows a great deal of heat to escape out the bottom of the sole.

    Of your favourites, can you please describe for me the how the cleat is insulated in each shoe?

  5. #5
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    Sorry, that wasn't my write-up. I found it on the web and thought I'd post it here.

  6. #6
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    I have had a few pairs of winter shoes:

    Gaerne Polars:



    Lake MXZ-300:



    And recently I got some Shimano MW-02:



    The Shimanos blow the others away in terms of fit so thoroughly it's not even funny. The Polars are the worst. They have potential, but the internal lacing is pathetic and there is nothing backing it up. The uppers are just floppy through the instep as a result and they are stiff enough in the ankle part they just fit totally weird. I am ready to glue a big strap to the midfoot area. Maybe I'll just sell them instead. The Lakes aren't much better. While you can at least get them tight, the fit is so cludgy, you really need to want them to put up with it. They are very narrow and you have to size up about 3 sizes to fit felt insoles and a wool sock inside. The lacing is pretty complicated and they are not particularly waterproof. The straps pull out after a while and the stitching comes apart. They work ok, but are not that great. The Shimanos are sooooo much more comfortable it's amazing. They also feature a Gore membrane inner bootie which, if my other shoes with them are any indication, will keep my tootsies dry for a few seasons. The location of some of the seams makes me nervous in terms of the stitching getting worn through, but they are nice and warm and fit like a real shoe. Hard to argue with that part. They are also pretty cheap at $150 from Chain Reaction Cycles (they don't seem to be imported to the US for some reason). I bought 2 pair (one for me, one for the GF) and some other crap and got free shipping from the UK. There was a credit card currency conversion fee which basically took the place of shipping. Worth the cheddar so far as the GF loves them too.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  7. #7
    PMC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Has anyone used these Hotronic heated insoles?

    http://www.hotronic.com/

    Yep, I've got one winter on them and plan on breaking them out today as the temps are hovering around 12 this morning.
    Mine are built into Superfeet Wintergreen foot beds and are pretty awesome when the temps really dip. The low settings are not super useful (while biking but are just fine for skiing) but the top two settings work really well for winter cycling so you'll want the 3.5 model with the higher power batteries. The only downside for me other than the initial cost is tucking the batteries into your tights but it isn't really that big of deal because you're feet are warm when others stay home and aren't riding.
    I've used them down to around 0 with good results in my Lake MXZs for rides of 3-4 hours.

  8. #8
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    Boot fit ...

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I have had a few pairs of winter shoes:

    Gaerne Polars:



    Lake MXZ-300:



    And recently I got some Shimano MW-02:



    The Shimanos blow the others away in terms of fit so thoroughly it's not even funny. ...

    ... They are also pretty cheap at $150 from Chain Reaction Cycles (they don't seem to be imported to the US for some reason). I bought 2 pair (one for me, one for the GF) and some other crap and got free shipping from the UK. .
    Then lets hope that Shimano finaly sells them in the US soon. All the other models are narrow. I have the Answers, mine are two full sizes above what I normally wear. They are still too narrow. I have to wear ankle cuffs so my heels do not slip.

    For some reason the shoe manufacturers seem to think that only people with super narrow italian feet wish to ride bicycles in cold weather. Either that, or they do not wish the insulation to strike the crank arm (if this was the case, they should have moved the cleat in a big to compensate).

    In ither case, there is a huge gap in the market right now for WIDE cycling boots.

  9. #9
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    I love the fit of shimano. Did you have to get them bigger then normal? Or are can you fit thick socks on with your reguler size.

  10. #10
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    I consistently ride size 45 (US 11 or 11.5 depending on brand) in all shoes, but went with 46 in the Shimanos and it was a good choice. I normally put some thick felt insoles in my winter riding shoes to insulate my foot from the cold cleat plate. I have not had to do this with the Shimanos yet and am just running the stock insole which seems to be pretty good. I can wear relatively thick wool socks in the shoes and everything is great. I think if I lived in an even colder place (our temps rarely get below 10F/-12C and most winter riding is probably between 15 and 32F/-10 and 0C) I would have gone with a size 47 and had tons of room for insoles and 2 socks. The Shimanos doe fit wider than the Gaerne and Lakes. The Shimanos fit "normal", not weird like the others.

    I agree that most cold weather cycling shoe makers have their heads up their butts. They should place the cleat farther inboard to give crank arm clearance (no one is worrying about q-factor way below freezing), make the shoes roomy, and ship them with seriously thick and insulating insoles to get the foot away from the cleat plate. How hard is that? They could even team up with some other shoe manufacturer who actually knows something about winter shoes.

    BTW- the Shimanos cost about half of what the Gore Sidi shoes cost.
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  11. #11
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    Shimano MW02 questions

    This is great info on the Shimano shoe. I have been trying to figure out which winter MTB shoe will work for me and nobody has them locally. I normally wear a SIDI 44.5 in MEGA (E width) for summertime riding.

    Would you say the sizing is close to a standard SIDI?

    Do you use the same pedals in the winter that you use in the summer?

    I am thinking that the MW02 in 46 might work for me as well with a thick wool sock and then if I need more warmth out of it I can use an XL Pearl Izumi Amphib cover over it.

    For really cold days I can always stick the whole thing in a NEOS overboot and use platform pedals.

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I consistently ride size 45 (US 11 or 11.5 depending on brand) in all shoes, but went with 46 in the Shimanos and it was a good choice. I normally put some thick felt insoles in my winter riding shoes to insulate my foot from the cold cleat plate. I have not had to do this with the Shimanos yet and am just running the stock insole which seems to be pretty good. I can wear relatively thick wool socks in the shoes and everything is great. I think if I lived in an even colder place (our temps rarely get below 10F/-12C and most winter riding is probably between 15 and 32F/-10 and 0C) I would have gone with a size 47 and had tons of room for insoles and 2 socks. The Shimanos doe fit wider than the Gaerne and Lakes. The Shimanos fit "normal", not weird like the others.
    Eat Food. Chop Wood. Ride Bike.

  12. #12
    No, that's not phonetic
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    It has been many years since I wore a pair of Sidis, so I am hesitant to compare sizing. The width of the Shimanos is a bit more generous than most cycling shoes though. They actually seemed to take normal feet into account.

    I ride Time pedals all year 'round. Various models.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  13. #13
    No, that's not phonetic
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    It's been a number of months now that I have been riding the MW-02s, and they continue to impress. They are holding their shape nicely, are still very cozy, comfy, and waterproof. For the price, they are a solid investment in your winter riding comfort. Highly recommended, especially compared to the other shoes on the market. Now if only there were a US importer....





    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  14. #14
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    I have to say I like the lake shoes, the soles are about 1.5-2" thick, and as far as waterproof, I crashed through the ice and my feet didnt get wet untill the water went over the tops. I've tried diff. socks & # of pairs and I find that 1 pair of summer socks works best for me down to 10f, when I tried wool socks they were too thick and my feet got cold from being too tight. Mine are going on 3 years now with no noticable wear, I did pop some sheet metal screws into the soles this year for walking on ice (stay off of hardwood and lineoleum floors ) the only negatives Ive found are 1, they are bulky, and 2 they take awhile to put on or take off as you have to lace them, wrap the cover and then tighten 3 velcro straps
    my summer shoes are Sidi, dominators, and Specialized BG comp and the lakes seem to fit as well.

  15. #15
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    I thought I'd drag this thread back up and just say that the Shimano shoes are still performing brilliantly, and I even bought a second pair from an outfit here in the US! Brands Cycles carries the MW-02s for $160 with free shipping. Ordering from them was very pleasant and they even gave me free shipping to Alaska. For a nicely made, insulated, Gore Tex shoe, that's a smoking deal imho.

    As I stated earlier, I normally wear a size 45, but went with 46 in my first pair of MW-02s. That allowed me to wear one pair of thicker socks with a felt insole. While this was a nice setup, I would prefer to be able to stack the stock thick foam insole on top of the felt one to insulate my foot from the cleat better. After I discovered that there is a US source for these I bought a second pair in size 47, and this has allowed me to do the insole double stack. This is comfortable down to 10F for me. I still ride with my size 46s in warmer, wet weather. I reach for those when the temps are 32-45F. If you are just looking for a cool/wet weather shoe, I'd suggest you go up one size. For real winter riding, go up 2 sizes.

    The shoes have proven to be very warm, comfortable, and durable, though a more extensive toe-bumper would make sense. Some of the stitching extends down around the toe area to the welt, and this area obviously sees a lot of abrasion, especially if you have to push our bike through crusty snow and you are punching through with every step. I may reinforce the area with a little Aquaseal soon. Otherwise they are simply superb, and my GF loves her pair as well. Nice job, Shimano.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  16. #16
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    Northwave shoes use a considerably wider toebox than most...
    Mountain Cycle Zen
    Mountain Cycle Moho STS
    Felt F75

  17. #17
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    Although the review is dated, still interesting. I researched winter shoes this year and ended up getting the current Shimano MW80 model. Fit and feel is very good, and I like the foolproof velcro straps. Getting into them takes a little getting used to, what with the inner cross strap and all the velcro on the ankle gaiter. The stuff seems to jump up and grab your socks. As for warmth, well, I'd say they're a cool weather shoe, not cold. They have 2mm thinsulate. I ordered a size larger than normal and can fit heavy wool socks under them, but the socks alone are not enough when the temp dips below 30. I've tried chemical toe warmers with some success. Maybe I'll try Hotronic's, but they cost as much as the boots. Buying two sizes over might have been the way to go. The only downside for that is then you're getting loose and floppy when the temps begin to moderate.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

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