Cold-weather specialist 45NRTH, which has a new UK distributor, Charlie the Bikemonger, offers element-beating boots for rides ranging from wintry commutes to hardcore Arctic expeditions. We’ve got the chance to get hands-on with the brand new Japanther transition season boot and completely redesigned winter fat biker's choice, the Wölvehammer.
Japanther transition season boots
The Japanther boots (£205 / $225 / AU$TBC) replace 45NRTH’s Fasterkatt as an autumn/spring transitional boot for either side of snowy winter seasons in northern regions, and all-winter for milder climes. They're also recommended by 45NRTH for commuting and cyclocross as well as MTB use.
With an emphasis on water protection rather than extreme cold, they're still rated to a lower temperature comfort rating of -3ºC in part thanks to an insole that boasts a mixture of aluminium, foam and wool to keep heat in and the cold out.
The Japanther is 45NRTH's new transition season boot
The upper membrane is claimed to be both highly breathable and waterproof, and is sealed off with a high Velcro cuff to keep out seepage from above and maintain a full range of movement.
A diagonally running zip is said to ease pressure on the foot
A pull cord and toggle replace laces, and are tucked away behind the weatherproof outer and a diagonally laid water resistant zip that runs from above the big toe to the opposite ankle. The thinking here is that it will reduce the pressure from the zip compared with a top-to-bottom closure, increasing comfort and allowing for a wider range of foot shapes.
The Japanthers are available with a choice of three-bolt road and two-bolt MTB soles in full sizes; our EU46 MTB versions weigh in at 584g each. Reflective detailing adds to the winter features for when the nights draw in.
Wölvehammer winter cycling boots
45NRTH has been back to the drawing board for the latest iteration of what's arguably its flagship winter boot, the Wölvehammer (£280 / $325 / AU$TBC). It borrows heavily from mountaineering boot design and incorporates proven cold weather features from the previous Wölvehammer, resulting in a boot that looks like it means business. A high collar easily reaches mid calf height to keep loose snow out and a gaiter hook allows for an added level of protection for when snow gets really deep.
A gusseted tongue and drawstring laces replace the previous zip, eliminating an entry point for water while increasing heat retention.The ballistic Cordura and leather outer have had a complete makeover and are now complemented with a rubberised toe cap for added protection, durability – and general ass-kicking of winter.
A deep tread pattern in the Vibram soles offers grip in snow and on ice for hike-a-bike efforts and pushing through unrideable areas. A removable cleat plug makes it easy to convert from clips to flats. Incorporating almost seamlessly into the rest of the tread, it should make riding on flats as comfortable and reliable as a dedicated flat-pedal boot.
Beneath the outer shell is a breathable waterproof membrane to keep the 200g PrimaLoft and fleece lining warm and dry. An Aerogel footbed creates a final barrier preventing cold induction through the clips or pedals. Each boot weighs in at 826g (EU46) and has a temperature comfort rating of -3ºC down to -18ºC.
We're now dreaming (or daydreaming at least) of a white Christmas, and will be back in the New Year after some serious cold weather testing and fat bike fun for a full review of the Wölvehammer boots.