As you might expect from hand-crafted Italian shoes, the fit of Gaerne’s Polar MTB boots is slim and narrow. The drawstring laces are easy to use even with cold numb fingers, and they ooze quality.
The smooth, storm trooper aesthetic outers make them a pleasure to wipe down, while the graphics on the side are reflective so you’re that bit more visible – although maybe only at the start of the ride before they get too muddy.
The Velcro lace cover can get overwhelmed on ultra long, deep bog trots, but smart lace setup means you won’t lose your boot to the mud. The waterproofing is really impressive – the Polar MTBs are like SPD wellies. As with many winter boots, the top seal around the ankles isn’t super tight so you’ll still get some water inside, but we’re talking the odd drip rather than a deluge.
Your feet won’t get cold though, as the boots are well insulated and toasty warm. They’re surprisingly breathable too; even hot-hoofed testers didn’t find them too warm. All that waterproofing does mean that if you get them waterlogged they take a while to dry out.
The stiff sole transfers power well. The tread grips in mud and on the soft stuff, and you can pop in a pair of studs for steep hikes. It doesn’t cope well on harder surfaces though. Look no further for pampered warm and toasty feet in grim winter weather.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.