November 20th, 2012
For those of you who decide that just because there are leaves on the ground and its below 10 degrees out doesn’t mean that mountain biking has to stop, how many of you have come back from a Fall, Winter, or Spring time ride with cold wet feet? What’s that? all of you… not surprised. Right here in B.C. we have what are called Coastal Temperate Rainforests. That translates to wet trails in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. And when it gets cold, wet feet are the worst!
In order to combat the cold, wet feet I decided to invest in these Shimano MW80 Gore-Tex shoes. I still like riding my bike all year long, I was just sick of not being able to feel my toes, even on dry days. And there was no chance in hell I was wearing something called a bootie!
The MW80’s you see above are now in their 5th season! A lot of people bock at the price of these kicks, but to me the 300 bills was well worth the comfort. I only wear these shoes for 4 months of the year, so they don’t get the same amount of wear as my other shoes, and for 2 or 3 of those 4 months I am not riding as much as I would be when there is more day light and warmth. For those reasons my shoes have lasted me 4 years of riding in them so far, and will likely last me another 4 at this rate.
I must not be the only one that likes these little feet toasters, because Shimano has improved my MW80’s in the new Shimano MW81’s. I know the UK could put these shoes to good use as well, and I’m sure anywhere else in the world with cold, damp weather would be happy to drop their toes into a pair of these. I’ll be honest though, these shoes are not perfect. It’s not like you can submerge your feet into 2 feet of glacier fed water and not get your feet wet. In heavy heavy rain, or when there are serious puddles about, you will get water into your shoes. What I found usually does it is going through a series of puddles that splash water up onto your shins and soak your socks. That water both runs down your shins, and in through the top of the tighten neoprene cuff at the top, or slowly soaks down your socks. On long rides with heavy accumulation you can get a fish bowl effect.
Even if the shoes do take on water, the insulation in side, paired with a good pair of wool socks you feet will stay warm for a good period of time. Either way these shoes are a huge improved over standard SPD shoes for winter riding. They will outlast booties, they will keep your feet warmer, and drier.
The new MW81’s have made some subtle improvements over the MW80’s that I have. They run a fleece lined insole for added warmth and comfort, they have reinforced the toe and heel with rubber that looks like what you might find on a climbing or approach shoe. The sole is made of a more durable material that will outlast the old soles, and will stand up well to hiking through the muck.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have to worry about the improvements to the new shoes, mine are lasting just fine. I’ve dried them out, and by the look of the weather forecast for my next couple days off, I’ll be needing them!