Best Winter Mountain Bike Shoes of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

best winter mountain bike shoes
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With the best winter mountain bike shoes, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle anything.

You’ll want to make sure you have access to top-tier grip as well as insulation for comfort.

These pairs of shoes are highly rated for intense bikers who need protection with their winter thrills.

Best Winter Mountain Bike Shoes Reviews

1. SHIMANO SH-MW501 Cold and Wet Shoes

SHIMANO is one of the most notable cycling brands in the world due to its high-quality products.

What makes these mountain bike shoes unique is that they offer optimal protection from cold and wet environments.

Not to mention, they also contain several essential features for your comfort.

Product Highlights

These shoes are one of the top recommendations for all-weather wear, especially in the winter.

They are designed to keep your feet warm and dry without being too overbearing for the summer.

The most notable feature is the waterproof DRYSHIELD membrane built into the shoe.

It is designed to keep water out while the fleece liner provides optimal insulation.

Riders will appreciate the added lace and ankle cover to keep them warm while also deterring water.

When it comes to traction, these shoes are a remarkable fit for the majority of mountain bikers.

The outside features specialized grippy rubber that allows you to keep your feet upright and secure.

Whether you’re traveling through wet or muddy terrain, you’ll never lose your grip and inadvertently slip.

Riding at night can also become much safer while wearing the SH-MW501.

On the outside of the shoe, there’s a 360-degree reflective print that allows for optimal visibility.

When lights are shone on the shoes, the branding lights up, alerting motorists that you are in the area.

For your convenience, the lacing system is another advanced token of these shoes you’ll love to have.

The speed lacing system helps to take the hassle out of finding the ideal tightness for your shoes.

You can quickly find a secure fit without having to worry about lacing up your shoes.

What to Like About It

If you’re heading out in light rain, these are the shoes you’re going to want to grab.

Their grippy sole is ideal for wet riding, and you’ll find they’re comfortable for walking in wet weather, as well.

The insulation is moderately comfortable in cold weather, though it’s not ideal for freezing temperatures.

What Not to Like About It

If you enjoy tucking your pants into your shoes, these aren’t recommended, as the water will flood the boots from your pants.

Also, if you’re traversing in freezing temperatures, it’s best if you pair the shoes with wool socks for added warmth.

Pros:

  • Highly waterproof
  • Very grippy
  • Ideal for walking and riding
  • Great for light rain

Cons:

  • Floods with tucked-in pants
  • Will require wool socks

2. Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes

If you are not a fan of full-coverage shoes, these cycling shoes can be a better alternative.

The Giro Rumble VR Men’s Mountain Cycling Shoes have a more athletic appeal that makes them great for outdoor adventures.

Product Highlights

Giro adapted the inspiration for off-roaders’ shoes, which means you can guarantee they’re perfect for mountain biking.

They are very comfortable without sacrificing support, making them ideal for rough terrain.

The upper is made from synthetic suede and mesh that allows for flexibility and breathability.

Even so, they are also incredibly supportive to help reduce the likelihood of strain and injury.

Finding the perfect fit with these shoes is much easier than with others, allowing you to achieve an unrivaled fit.

All you have to do is take advantage of the innovative closure system to tighten the shoes correctly.

Pedaling is one of the areas of improvement you’ll notice when wearing these shoes.

There’s an injected nylon plate in the bottom of the sole, letting you have optimal power transfer.

You’ll also appreciate the Vibram Ecostep rubber on the outsole that allows for optimal stability.

If you’re a cyclist who loves traveling in wet weather, the rugged outsole helps you maintain adequate grip.

These shoes are perfectly designed for two-bolt cleat systems, including Crank Brothers, Shimano SPD, and more.

For internal comfort, the die-cut EVA footbed is highly adaptable to specialized orthotics.

Even without inserts, the medium arch support helps to reduce foot fatigue and discomfort.

What to Like About It

Fortunately, there’s a removable cleat hole cover on these shoes, so you can wear them how you want.

When worn, you’ll notice they have a generously sized toe box as well as a flexible rubber sole.

If you require medical orthotics, the insole is perfectly designed for your specifications.

What Not to Like About It

The largest issue with these shoes is that the insole is very hard without comfortable inserts.

Also, the sizing runs at least one size smaller than expected.

Pros:

  • Removable cleat hole cover
  • Generous toe box
  • Flexible rubber sole
  • Useful with medical orthotics

Cons:

  • Run small
  • The insole is quite hard

3. ZOL Raptor MTB and Indoor Cycling Shoe

It’s essential to find a pair of cycling shoes that are highly versatile.

Whether you bike indoors or outdoors, the ZOL Raptors are a fantastic addition to your gear.

They are adaptable for fitness, leisure, and professional riding.

Product Highlights

The ZOL Raptor MTB and Indoor Cycling Shoes are a straightforward option for cyclists looking for quality.

They have all of the essential features as top-shelf products, like reflective logos and a specialized sole.

You’ll find the shoes are compatible with two-bolt cleats, making them ideal for Crank Brothers, SPD, and other MTB shoe pedals.

Instead of laces, there are three Velcro straps for safely securing the shoes on your feet.

If necessary, you’ll also be able to adjust the straps while riding to improve your stability.

On the front, you’ll notice there’s no stitching on the leather components, making the shoes lightweight and comfortable.

When riding at night, you can rest assured you’ll have optimal visibility with the reflective ZOL logos.

There’s also an independent, reflective stripe on the shoe’s heel for 360-degree protection.

Out of all of these MTB shoes’ features, the sole is one of the most impressive.

It is made of a double-injection fiberglass-injected nylon material.

You’ll find the bottom feels rigid as you’re pedaling while also remaining comfortable for long-distance journeys.

There’s a pre-installed spike on the sole for optimal traction when you off your bike, which can be removed.

With a sportier design, you’ll find these mountain bike shoes are similar to other athletic methods.

The majority of the shoe is covered with synthetic leather and features perforated holes for breathability.

What to Like About It

The ZOL Raptor MTB and Indoor Cycling Shoes are an excellent option for indoor and outdoor activities.

The faux leather material is very durable and relatively easy to keep clean, especially in rough terrain.

You’ll also find the sole offers an optimal grip for moderately wet conditions.

What Not to Like About It

The Velcro on the shoe seems to be the most significant disadvantage, as it’s challenging to tighten accurately.

Also, it’s likely to split away from the strap, which means it might have to be superglued.

Pros:

  • Comfortable for spin class
  • Durable material
  • Useful for rough terrain
  • Offer optimal grip

Cons:

  • Poorly constructed Velcro
  • Challenging to fasten

4. Fizik R5 Artica 47 Shoe

The Fizik R5 Artica 47 is designed for serious mountain bikers.

It has a sleek and discreet design that makes it comfortable to wear even for extended periods.

You’ll find several exceptional features akin to some of the top-tier designs.

Product Highlights

Getting the perfect fit with your new mountain bike shoes has never been simpler than with this lacing system.

It’s an internal lacing system that is easily accessed and sits comfortably against the top of your foot.

You’ll be able to create a more customized and accurate fit within seconds.

Riders who need exceptional support are bound to appreciate the Microtel reinforced shell in these shoes.

You’ll feel like your feet are supported with a breathable membrane that allows for the perfect amount of airflow.

Whether you’re biking in the summer or winter, there’s optimal insulation with the addition of the cozy fleece.

Another unique feature of these shoes is that they have an aluminum foil membrane on the underside.

You’ll find the shoes will keep your feet at the perfect temperature throughout most outdoor conditions.

In terms of the outsole, it’s made from heavy-duty lightweight carbon composite for stiffness and optimal power transfer.

It can be a good idea to invest in waterproof mountain bike shoes, especially as conditions can change unexpectedly.

With the Fizik R5 Artica 47 Shoe, you’ll have a waterproof zipper and a waterproof outer that ensures water is repelled.

The smooth exterior also makes the shoes incredibly easy to keep clean.

What to Like About It

Compared to other winter mountain bike shoes, these have a warmer interior.

They are also entirely adjustable and are relatively easy to fasten securely within a matter of seconds.

As an added benefit, they arrive with cleats, which makes them ready to use immediately.

What Not to Like About It

If you encounter a torrential downpour, these shoes will let some water in slowly.

Also, for optimal warmth, you will need to pair them with high-quality wool socks.

Pros:

  • Warm interior
  • Highly adjustable
  • Fasten securely
  • Arrive with cleats

Cons:

  • Will require wool socks
  • Rain leaks in slowly

5. Louis Garneau Klondike Winter Bike Shoes

It’s best to be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you, which is why these shoes are ideal.

Because of their optimal insulation, the Louis Garneau Klondike Winter Bike Shoes are made for serious outdoor adventures.

Product Highlights

At first glance, you can tell these are some of the best shoes to deal with muddy winter conditions.

By combining prestigious insulation with exceptional power transfer, you’ll feel like you have the highest level of control.

To keep you warm, there’s 400g Thinsulate insulation packed into these shoes even when it’s the coldest outside.

You’ll also find two additional layers of felt insulation on the insole, which helps block the outside cold.

For MTB safety and longevity, a Cordua 1680D upper helps to prevent abrasions from rocks and debris.

Compared to some other mountain bike shoes, these have exceptional durability because of the T-Flex rubber outsole.

The added stability means walking on rough and slippery terrain becomes much simpler.

One of the more unique features is at the front of the shoe, where you’ll notice a hook near the toe.

This addition is convenient for attaching a gaiter if you encounter deep snow.

If you’ve been searching for shoes with the most precise fastening system, the Louis Garneau Klondike Winter Shoes are a great choice.

Instead of traditional laces, they have a Boa IP1-S two-way micro-adjustment closure system.

With this, you’ll have a tailored fit to ensure your shoes fit as close to your skin as possible without being overbearing.

What to Like About It

These mountain bike shoes have plenty that you will love, especially for winter riding.

They are a significant upgrade from your existing shoes because they are very comfortable and have remarkable traction.

If you typically ride in freezing temperatures, you would be glad to know these are perfect for the winter.

What Not to Like About It

The felt insoles aren’t as high-quality as expected.

You’ll notice the material slips around easily after one or two trips.

Also, the Boa tightening system has questionable integrity and can break easily.

Pros:

  • Significant comfort improvement
  • Reliable and sturdy snow traction
  • Very warm for freezing temperatures
  • Generous toe box

Cons:

  • Insoles slip easily
  • Questionable Boa integrity
best winter mountain bike shoes

Buyer’s Guide

There’s a lot of engineering that goes into the perfect pair of winter mountain bike shoes.

Not only will you need a pair that fits, but it must also be warm, allow for cleats, and be weatherproof.

Let’s discuss some of the most important things to look for in the perfect pair of biking shoes for winter.

1. Sole

The sole of your shoes is imperative for ensuring you have optimal power transfer.

It is also the component that gives you reliable stability and slip-resistance in wet and snowy conditions.

Winter mountain bike shoes typically have a more flexible sole that accommodates colder conditions.

Always make sure you opt for a grippy sole that will stop you from sliding on ice and snow.

You’ll want to have just as much traction as with any other pair of outdoor shoes.

However, the sole must still be lightweight so that you can comfortably wear them for long-distance rides.

2. Closure System

There are multiple closure systems to choose from with mountain bike shoes.

Each has its benefits, with some being better than others in terms of a tailored fit.

Boa closure systems are the most popular, as they offer a more precise tightening system than laces.

However, internal lacing systems can also be beneficial for quick and efficient tightening on the go.

One of the least expensive closure systems is Velcro, and it’s also the most elementary option.

With that said, one significant issue with Velcro is that it offers poor longevity.

Also, if the Velcro happens to get wet, it will be challenging to tighten over time.

3. Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing is essential to any pair of outdoor shoes, much like it’s essential for your folding bike or mountain bike.

Chilly temperatures can feel substantially worse if your feet get cold, and it can also be dangerous.

You’re going to want to shop around for MTB shoes that have waterproof membranes to deter water.

An added benefit of membranes is that they also help ward off wind, contributing to freezing feet.

Just as it’s important to find weatherproofing, you will also need to make sure you find a breathable pair of shoes.

Otherwise, your feet will feel like they’re trapped in a swamp the second they start to get warm.

Fortunately, most modern shoe manufacturers combine weatherproofing with breathability.

You’ll often find ventilation in the uppers, which adds airflow to the shoe without compromising integrity.

4. Cleat Type

You’re likely going to be in the market for shoes with MTB cleats for a mountain bike.

They’re highly compatible and have several advantages compared to other styles, like road cleats.

With these cleats, you’ll be able to clear mud from your tread to improve your grip quickly.

You’ll also find that MTB cleats are comfortable to wear and provide the perfect amount of power transfer.

One of the most important tips is to make sure the shoes you pick have cleats, as some don’t.

If you have to purchase them separately, be sure to factor them into your final cost.

5. Fit

Fortunately, having the perfect closure system can make it much easier to find a custom fit for your shoes.

It’s still important that you find the right size to start with, which can be challenging.

Every manufacturer has their sizing guide depending on the precise measurements of your feet.

Instead of buying cycling shoes that match your regular shoe size, it can be preferable to measure your feet.

You can then use those values to find the perfect MTB shoe fit and whether or not you need to go a size up or down.

Another thing to consider with mountain bike shoes in the winter is if you need extra socks.

Most cyclists like to wear wool socks to add moisture-wicking and warmth to their feet in freezing conditions.

You won’t want a pair of shoes that fit well with thin ankle socks and little wiggle room.

Winter Mountain Bike Shoes FAQs

1. Are MTB shoes worth it?

Mountain bike shoes are well worth the investment, especially if you come across pairs with plenty of features.

Not only do they protect your feet from debris, rocks, and accidental injuries, but from the cold, as well.

They are often made with weatherproof materials that keep your toes and feet warm for hours on end.

In terms of performance, MTB shoes are essential, as they grip perfectly onto your pedals.

You’ve never experienced as much power transfer as you would with a good pair of biking shoes.

You’ll also find it will require less physical strain to get the power you need from your bike.

2. What do mountain bikers do in the winter?

There are two available options for people who enjoy mountain biking when winter comes along.

They can either train indoors at a gym or venture outside to experience beautifully frosted trails.

Fortunately, most mountain bikes are well equipped to handle snow, sub-zero temperatures, and ice.

3. What do mountain bikers wear in the winter?

The most important aspect of being a winter biker is to make sure you wear enough layers.

You’ll want to make sure you’re warm to start, but you can adjust your clothing as needed as you get warmer.

A few of the top-recommended items to bring with you on your ride include:

  • A breathable tight-fitting base layer
  • Biking jersey or moisture-wicking shirt
  • Synthetic wool or fleece shirt
  • Waterproof and breathable jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Thermal cycling tights
  • Synthetic wool long johns

4. Do mountain bike shoes make a difference?

Wearing mountain bike shoes can make a remarkable difference.

With the combination of high-traction outsoles and cleats, you can get the most out of the energy you put into pedaling.

They are also an essential part of making sure you’re prepared for winter excursions, as they provide warmth and safety.

In the summer, you might be able to get away with wearing traditional athletic shoes, but specialty shoes are recommended in winter.

5. How cold is too cold to bike?

Deciding when it’s too cold to ride your bike has a lot to do with personal preference.

Some find that 50 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold, while others like to bike until 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

We highly advise that you skip riding outdoors if it’s incredibly slippery and icy outside, which can lead to injuries.

Our Final Recommendation

The best winter mountain bike shoes are the Louis Garneau Klondike Winter Bike Shoes, which offer exceptional quality.

You’ll love reaching for these versatile shoes whether it’s freezing, raining, or snowing outside.

The impressive insulation, power transfer, and anti-slip design of the outsole are sure to impress you.

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