Nobody likes to ride with cold, wet feet in winter. And while overshoes are an option, there are also purpose-built alternatives such as the Shimano RW5 .
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This takes Shimano’s new Road Performance line and adapts it to a winter boot. The main similarity is the sole, as the RW5 shares the hybrid nylon-carbon unit. The main body of the sole is reinforced nylon, with the cleat plate made from carbon fibre moulded into the nylon. This adds rigidity to the foot just where you want it, over the cleat.
The sole does have a little more give at the mid-foot than Shimano’s pro-level shoes, but that’s welcome on longer rides where a bit of foot flexing is more important than efficient power transfer.
Weight-wise the RW5s are 800g a pair, which may sound heavy but when you take a standard pair of shoes and add in heavy-duty waterproof overshoes, these are in the same ball park overall.
Like their summer compatriots, the RW5s use cleat fittings that are compatible with both standard three-bolt road cleats and two-bolt mountain bike-style SPD cleats. So, if you prefer the convenience of a double-sided pedal for commuting these will be ideal for wet, winter rides to work.
The sole does retain vents but any concerns about water getting in are put aside by the full Dryshield membrane that encapsulates the whole of the upper and above the outsole. This impenetrable rubber-like thick membrane keeps water out and Shimano has lined the boot with a soft-touch fleece-like material that adds plenty of warmth. The retention drawcords make them easy to get on and off.
The upper is protected by a wrap-over Velcro flap, which is part of a full wetsuit-like neoprene cuff, that seals the drawcord from rain. In the foulest weather this can get a little damp but providing you’ve cinched it up tight around your ankle it doesn’t allow water into the shoe.
We’d prefer a little more visibility than the predominantly black upper with hi-vis flashes, especially for night riding.
For the price you may be thinking why not just get a decent pair of overshoes and save some cash? If you’re like us, however, our overshoes get beaten up, torn and need replacing year-in year-out, and they’re always a struggle to get off when you’re cold and wet. Investing in winter boots this good will keep you riding and keep your feet warm and dry for years to come.