10th March 2021 / Comments (1)

Winter cycling boots group test: SPD shoes

From autumn into deep winter, and now riding into spring, our ADVNTR team have been putting these winter cycling boots to the test in the worst conditions. 

These winter cycling boots are all compatible with two-bolt SPD style cleats, and range in price from £169.99 to £280 RRP. As winter boots are certainly a bit of an investment, we hope this guide will aid you to choose the best one for you.

Don’t want to splash out on new shoes? Check out our Spatz GravlR overshoes review here.

Here they are listed in rating order, with the best performers first.

  • Specialized Defroster Trail MTB shoes
  • Shimano MW7 Winter SPD shoes
  • Northwave Magma XC Core shoes
  • Fizik Terra Artica X2 winter boots

Specialized Defroster Trail MTB shoes

Specialized Defroster MTB boots

The reflective Defroster boots from Specialized came out best on test

Clearly our best on test, the Defroster shoes from Specialized seem to have it all: warmth thanks to the Thinsulate® insulation and heat loss reduction barrier in the sole, waterproof from the seam sealed construction and high cuff, and durable, due to the rugged rubber sole and rubber protection on the toes and heel.

The reflective outer won’t be to everyone’s taste, but when you’ve got feet this warm and dry, who cares?

  • Price: £220 $250 €205
  • Rating: 9.7/10
  • Pros: Outstanding build quality, took on all conditions thrown at them, no wet or cold feet
  • Cons: Not the best looking, BOA dials close in opposite directions
  • Specialized Defroster full review here

Shimano MW7 Winter SPD shoes

Shimano MW7 review

Shimano’s deep winter offering impressed on test, standing up to both wet London commuting and chilly Canadian conditions

The second cheapest and second best on test: Shimano’s well-loved MW7 MTB shoes. Durable, comfortable and (mostly) waterproof, Taylor really pushed these to the limits with subzero windchill in Ontario! The only real thing we’d like to see improved here would be more sizes at the lower end of the range.

  • Price: £190 €240 $250
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Pros: As waterproof and breathable as they come, durable and well made, super comfortable on and off the bike
  • Cons: Sizing options are lacking at the smaller end
  • Shimano MW7 full review here

Northwave Magma XC Core shoes

Northwave Magma XC

The Magma XC Core shoes are optimised for cold weather riding

With quite a few different winter boots available from Northwave, we opted for these Magma XC Core shoes to test, built for colder weather rather than wet conditions, and in the middle of their price range. These felt more like shoes with an added cuff compared to other boot models on test, and were more race-orientated with stiff soles better for pedalling than hike-a-bike. If you like to mix up your off-road with plenty of road pedalling and tend to avoid wetter riding, these could be a great option for you.

  • Price: £169.99 €189.99
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Pros: Excellent insulation, dependable and easy to operate closure system, quality materials and construction
  • Cons: Pricey option, neoprene cuff reduces water resistance, stiff sole reduces grip off the bike in tough conditions
  • Northwave Magma XC Core full review here

Fizik Terra Artica X2 winter boots

Fizik Terra Artica X2

Rugged, robust and good looking, the Terra Artica X2 from Fizik

Unfortunately our top priced boots on test, the Fizik Terra X2, came out bottom compared to the other options on test. In themselves, their certainly not bad boots, with a very strong construction, great resistance to splashing and water ingress, but the near £300 price tag will put many off, as well as how difficult it can be to get these on and off!

  • Price: £280 €280 $299.99
  • Rating: 7.5/10
  • Pros: Prevents most water ingress from rain and puddles, rugged construction and soles, quality BOA closure system
  • Cons: Getting on and off is tricky, pricey investment, flexy sole good for walking but not as comfortable on the pedals
  • Fizik Terra Artica X2 full review here

For more winter cycling boots, check out the Lake MX145 winter boot review here.

Last modified: 10th March 2021

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Mike G
2 years ago

I reckon winter boots are a great investment for anyone looking to ride regularly in colder weather. I must have spent a fortune on overshoes over the years before bit the bullet and invested in a decent pair of winter boots, always find with 4 bolt shoes you’re often walking on the fabric of the overshoe and that doesn’t hold up too well, plus spray makes its way from the bottom of the shoe up. Rate the Northwave Celsius R Arctic GTX that I have now but before that Fizik Artica X5 were a great pair too until the zip… Read more »

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