In the deepest winter we tend to stop using standard road shoes and pedals, and switch to mountain bike-style shoes and double-sided SPDs.
This is mainly because if the roads (or trails) are icy enough to force you to get off and push, mountain bike shoes are a lot easier to walk in — you’ll be far more sure-footed in them than you would be wearing stiff road shoes with non-treaded soles and big, pronounced cleats.
If, like us, you like to keep riding whatever the weather (since anything is better than turbo training, right?), then Northwave’s Himalaya might just be the ultimate bad weather boot.
Make no mistake, these are substantial boots at 545g each in a size 45. But when you consider the amount of protection they have, that weight starts to look pretty svelte.
Each of their uppers is constructed around a leather boot, which is bonded and stitched to a rubberised toe protector and a heel cup with a reflective panel. The ankle is protected by a neoprene cuff that’s armoured on the outside with a heavyweight Cordura fabric.
The inside of the boot features a full 400g Thinsulate lining that’s as soft as cotton to the touch and quilted. Each boot is tensioned up using a lace that you tighten by pulling on a toggle (so you don’t have to try and tie a knot wearing thick winter gloves).
Their interiors are protected by a waterproof GTX membrane and you stand on Arctic GTX footbeds made up of four alternating layers of fleece and aluminium. All this combines to form what are probably the warmest boots I’ve ever tested.
Their water resistance is impressive too: even after a two and a half hour ride in the rain and a diversion along a chainring-deep, flooded road I arrived home with dry feet.
Northwave has also included loops on the toes so you can hook on waterproof hiking gaiters for maximum protection around the neoprene ankle cuffs (where almost all winter boots eventually let in water).
The Northwave Himalayas do exactly what you’d hope: they keep your feet dry and warm in the worst of conditions. The question you have to ask yourself is do you ride enough in such conditions to justify the high price?
You could make do with normal cycling shoes and some shoe covers. Or you could look at the Himalayas as an investment that provides some motivation to get out and ride when the weather’s dreadful.
Northwave Himalaya Boot specifications
- Upper: Leather with a protective water-repellent film
- Upper inner: Thinsulate 400 g lining
- Footbed: Arctic GTX footbed with a four-layer aluminium and fleece construction
- Sole: Michelin Rock’R sole
- Closure: SL2 super-quick lacing
- Protection: Reinforced rubber heel
- £230 / €252.09 / $252.99