Test: Winter shoes for bike

Against cold feet in winter help classic way overshoes. Some cyclists also resort to the proven “aluminum foil wrapping of the feet”. However, as the cycling market and its sales have grown strongly in recent years, there are now more and more special winter shoes for the cold season from many cycling shoe manufacturers. While overshoes sometimes represent quite a fumble when putting them on, winter shoes are quickly put on and taken off. When wet and dirty after the bike ride, the dirt also remains there and is not distributed as with overshoes. Especially commuters appreciate the easy change of shoes after or before the ride. Winter shoes with SPD cleats are available in greater numbers than shoes with 3-hole receptacles for road bike cleats, however, the selection of the latter is also growing steadily. I would like to introduce two brands that I have used as winter shoes for years: SIDI and NORTHWAVE. All shoe models have reflective elements that contribute to visibility in the dark. In addition, the models I wear have a waterproof Gore Tex membrane, which also provides very good breathability. Despite many similarities, there are differences especially in terms of thermal performance, which means that the areas of use do not completely coincide. Special women’s models are unfortunately not available from either brand. For women with smaller shoe sizes then remains possibly only the possibility of the shoe by inserting an additional sole to reduce one to one and a half sizes. SIDI shoes have Italian sizes and are therefore one to two numbers smaller than the usual shoes with EU size labeling.

Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX (source: https://www.mantel.com)

My first pair of winter shoes I bought in the winter season 2016/2017. It is to this day by far my warmest pair: Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX. Right away: the model is available as a discontinued model only in a few bike stores in selected sizes. However, the price is quite moderate compared to the current models on the market. Who fits the shoe, I can only advise to strike! Northwave now offers numerous models of winter shoes. The most expensive model “Flagship GTX” is listed in the MTB division.

Northwave’s “Celsius Arctic model” with 2-hole SPD cleat mount is available in two versions in 2022: X-CELSIUS ARCTIC GTX and CELSIUS XC ARCTIC GTX. The latter model is available in different colors. In terms of price, both are listed at 269.99 Euros (as of 07/12/2022, reductions excluded). The X-CELSIUS ARCTIC GTX shoes have – like the Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX tested by me – a Gore-Tex® Koala membrane, which provides special protection against the cold. The CELSIUS XC ARCTIC GTX feature a Gore-Tex Rattler® membrane that excels at flexibility. The newer models both have an Arctic 4Layer insole made of EVA and aluminum and EVA and Pile. The Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX that I tested do not have an aluminum sole. However, I helped myself and inserted a thin aluminum sole. A new feature on the ARCTIC shoes is the SLW2 twist closure. A twist closure is found on almost all newer shoe models from Northwave and is very popular with many riders, but has the disadvantage that it is relatively sensitive and quickly stuck with dirt. Northwave has 2022 the new more robust MTB model HIMALAYA again without rotary closure and with old proven S.L. system and Power Strap closure system brought out, which has my Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX. For ruppig rides in the terrain the better choice, but the mobility is somewhat limited by the firmer shoe construction. The shoe soles have a different profile. Like the CELSIUS XC ARCTIC GTX, my model has a Jaws Carbon sole with a coarse profile to which dirt adheres less well, but provides less grip when walking. The Explorer sole with Michelin sole profile of the X-CELSIUS ARCTIC GTX offer better grip. The Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX is the shoe of my choice in icy sub-zero temperatures.

EXTREME R GTX, source: https://www.northwave.com

Für Ausfahrten auf dem Rennrad nutze ich mittlerweile Schuhe mit 3-Loch-System für Rennradcleats, die erst seit ein paar Jahren auf dem Markt sind. Mein Schuh der Wahl für frostige Minusgrade ist der EXTREME R GTX von Northwave. Der Schaft aus Neopren bietet beste Beweglichkeit. Beim Einstieg in den Schuh und beim Ausziehen ist der Easyfit Climaflex Kragen manchmal etwas nervig, aber er schützt uverlässig vor Wind und Nässe. Er ist allerdings nicht komplett wasserdicht. Da ich den Schuh ohne Wärmestau nur bis maximal 5 Grad plus tragen kann und bei geringeren Temperaturen unter 5 Grad meist Schnee anstatt Regen fällt, ist die Gefahr nasse Füße zu bekommen eher gering. Bei stärkerem Schneefall bin ich nicht mit dem Rennrad unterwegs. Der Schuh besitzt eine sehr gute Kraftübertragung. Er ist deutlich bequemer als mein MTB-Modell Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX, dennoch merkt man beim Pedalieren deutlich, dass der Schuh ein fester Winterschuh und kein Sommerschuh ist. Die Wärmeleistung ist im Vergleich zum Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX geringer.

SIDI ZERO GORE 2 (source: https://www.sidi.com)

Since my the Northwave shoes are very warm, I sometimes had that problem that I SChuhe became too warm during the day. For example, with a cold start in the morning and slight plus degrees around noon or longer sunshine at a higher sun level in autumn and spring. I wanted a waterproof shoe that could be worn in temperatures around freezing as well as in cool rainy weather. At SIDI I have found what I was looking for. Unlike the numerous models of the brand Northwave, the manufacturer SIDI has only one winter shoe each for road bike or MTB in the program. This is the upper part of the shoe the same structure. The model for road cycling is the SIDI ZERO GORE 2 and for mountain biking the SIDI MTB FROST GORE 2. The soles of the two models differ, however. The SIDI ZERO GORE 2 for road cycling has a newly developed MILLENNIUM 5 sole, which consists of carbon fiber in a nylon matrix. This increases the stiffness, makes it more durable and robust against temperature fluctuations. The power transmission of the SIDI ZERO GORE 2 is very good. The SIDI MTB sole is made of nylon with PU (polyurethane) inserts. Screws in the toe area allow the installation of suitable crampons for better grip in the terrain. The sole offers the perfect blend of stiffness and flexibility for riding and walking off-road. I find the SIDI MTB FROST GORE 2 to be extremely comfortable. Admittedly, I was initially somewhat skeptical about the wearing comfort of the SIDI GORE 2. The shoes have a Velcro closure on the shaft, which felt a bit tight on the first ride. However, this has quickly given and meanwhile I feel the SIDI winter shoe approximately as comfortable as summer shoes. In addition to a Velcro closure on the shaft, there is another Velcro closure over the bale area. The main closure is a TECNO-3 SYSTEM twist closure, which allows the shoe to fit perfectly. I love the easy entry and closure of the shoe, which allow for quick on and off. The SIDI winter shoes have their weakness in heavier frost and longer rides. Without sunshine, at lower effort and thin socks rides are feasible at up to 10 degrees without heat accumulation. Thus, the shoes have already accompanied me on several hour rides in continuous rain.


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