Saturday, May 14, 2005

Shimano W101 - Winter Boot

Anyone who rides in summer shoes during the depths of winter and has experienced icy tooties even though they're wearing winter socks will appreciate a decent set of winter boots. True, it's possible to make do but as I commute throughout the year I soon decided that dry and warm feet were essential.

I tried on a number of winter booties from the likes of Northwave, Diadora and Shimano but it was only the latter's W101 that felt comfortable. I normally take a UK size 10 and these needed to be a size larger (euro 46) to still allow a good thick sock or even a couple of mid layers to help keep the cold at bay.

There are no shoe laces to get soggy and the dual velcro straps have been 100% reliable. You also get a 3rd velcro fitting which wraps a semi waterproof neoprene "entension" around your ankle that helps to prevent water running down your leg and filling up your boots. These aren't 100% waterproof and will eventually allow water to ingress over longer rides but they will still be toasty inside. The tread isn't very aggresive and does clog up in deep mud but then what doesn't ? The compound seems durable they're actually ok to walk in, even with the ankle strap. The boots feel rubbery rather than plastic-y and have survived many a rough and tumble with hardly any marks. The SPD fitting doesn't need cutting and hasn't given me any problems i.e. hot spots on the sole of my foot.

If you have a 2nd set of cycling shoes then you'll find that both pairs last twice as long !

Overall, I'm very impressed with just how warm these keep your feet although they'd be better if they were 100% waterproof. 9/10.