Northwave says that its GTXs offer the ultimate in winter protection, with thermal qualities to keep the chills out – down to a claimed –25°C – and materials to keep the dry in.
They are built upon Northwave’s NRG carbon-reinforced sole, which is suitably stiff with only the slightest discernible flex when stomping through a sprint out of the saddle. What surprised us about the sole was its mesh insert vent sections, when you’d expect a winter boot to be as well sealed as possible.
But sandwiched between the upper’s outer and lining, and sitting between the insole and sole, is ‘Pique’, a sock-like membrane from Gore-Tex. The range-topping, water-resistant-yet-breathable material works very well.
Your feet stay warm when it’s chilly, but the breathability means you don’t get that boil-in-the-bag feeling that can be the case when you wear waterproof overshoes with standard road shoes. A lace covering flap, which also forms part of the adjustable neoprene cuff, helps to keep things in place and stop water getting in – especially from running off your legs into your shoes.
But the upper’s large mesh swathes do retain moisture when they get wet, and the windchill can be a little over-cooling, though it never gets uncomfortable. The microfibre lace and push-button retention system means you can get the fit right, but we found the laces too long, and so we ended up stuffing the excess wherever we could fit it.
The 928g weight isn’t light, but is comparable to a pair of mid-range road shoes paired with waterproof overshoes. Unlike oveshoes, however, we’d expect to get a few winters’ wear out of the Arctics. They may be expensive for a single-season item, but if you’re serious about winter riding you could do a lot worse than these tough high-performance boots.