Shimano’s MW7 mountain bike boots are its top-tier winter riding shoes. Featuring a Gore-Tex insulated comfort liner and a Boa lacing system, these should be able to resist some grim winter riding conditions.
The outer sole is constructed from a dual-density Michelin rubber, which I found provided good traction on the pedals, and when pushing up lines that were too steep to ride.
Even with their chunky tread pattern, locating the cleats was straightforward, and I never had difficulty clipping in or out.
The dual-compound Michelin rubber provides good grip on the pedals and on the dirt. Plus, the tread pattern makes it easy to locate your cleats. Lawrence Crossman-Emms
The cleat slots provided plenty of range for positioning, and the most rearward setting should be far enough back for those who like a more centred foot position.
The midsole uses Shimano’s TORBAL ‘torsional balance’ system, allowing more lateral flex towards the heel, which Shimano claims helps improve control on technical downhills and aggressive trail riding, and keep it stiffer under the ball of the foot for power transfer.
The MW7 has a flex rating of five out of 12. I found this provided a very comfortable shoe when riding and walking, but without sacrificing power to the pedals – especially for a non-competitive, trail riding MTB shoe.
Adding to the comfort and warmth is a fleece-lined insole, which provides excellent cushioning and insulation for your feet. Along with the Gore-Tex insulated comfort liner, this made the shoes great at suppressing cold weather.
The extended high cuff is useful for keeping out mud and loam, and the lace shield helps protect your feet from water ingress. Lawrence Crossman-Emms
On rides where my toes would usually be numb, they were kept cosy. Even though the MW7s are highly waterproof with an aggressive tread, I would choose to wear them on any dry day when the temperature sinks into single digits.
The Gore-Tex liner seals the entire inside of the shoe, even covering the cleat interface, which should make the boots fully waterproof. And they do an impressive job of keeping out puddles, mud, stream crossings and anything else that sprays up from the ground.
The extended neoprene cuff helps to stop splashes and rain from draining into the shoes too. I found wearing trouser to cover this was the best way to minimise water ingress, but it’s great at preventing mud and loam from filling your shoes.
The Boa system keeps the MW7s securely in place without any pressure points. It’s also quick to tighten and release and can easily be adjusted on the move. Lawrence Crossman-Emms
The integrated lace shield keeps the laces mud- and water-free, and the Boa ratcheting system is efficient and effective, creating a tight fit without any pressure points. You can easily adjust fit when riding too.
I finished most of my rides with warm, dry feet. However, after a six-hour photoshoot in persistent hard rain, there was no stopping the water from soaking through.
I expect these conditions are beyond what any shoes should reasonably be able to withstand (my other waterproof gear soaked through too), so I can’t mark them down, but don’t expect them to keep you dry in every circumstance.
The synthetic leather outers add to the comfort, and they are an easy wipe-clean material, so you don’t have to wash them under a tap to prepare for the next ride, which is handy because, once saturated, they take a couple of days to dry out on the radiator.
Finally, the toe and heel cups feel robust and provide protection when out on the trails.
Overall, the Shimano MW7 clipless shoes are a great winter riding boot. Lawrence Crossman-Emms
Shimano MW7 overall
The MW7s are an excellent winter boot that should keep you warm and dry in most conditions. They are comfortable enough to ride in all day, and hike in if needed.
Yes, they’re expensive for a shoe you’ll hopefully use only a few months a year, but having happy feet and toes will go a long way to making those winter rides more enjoyable.