To keep cycling throughout a British winter requires key items of kit to make it comfortable, or bearable at least. Lake says its CXZ 176 winter shoes provide both comfort and ease because they allow you to head out without overshoes. A bold claim indeed!
Features that are designed to keep the cold, wind and wet out include a 200g 3M Thinsulate (thermal insulation) with an additional waterproof membrane that lines the toe box.
The upper is made from Clarino microfibre that’s been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to shrug off rain and road spray. After several wet rides, I did find the DWR finish needed to be reapplied to maintain its waterproof performance. It’s a pity there’s not a full waterproof liner.
The CXZ 176 is designed to hold the foot securely with a “precisely fitted toe-box, high arch and mid-width ball girth”. The outsole is Lake’s Road Sport model, crafted from fibreglass-injected nylon. I could feel the difference compared to a high-end carbon version, but it is still plenty stiff enough for my winter base miles.
It’s compatible with three-bolt road cleats and has a small non-replaceable rubber bumper to protect the sole when unclipping at traffic lights.
A single side-mounted IP1 Boa lacing system is used to fasten the shoes, allowing incremental adjustment with a twist to tighten and a pull to release. This is particularly useful if your feet tend to expand and contract during rides, or if your winter training involves intervals so you can tighten the shoes on the fly before a sprint or climb.
A reflective Velcro strap completes the fastening system.
The heel cup could be a little more snug to help increase power transfer. I found I needed to tighten the shoes after warming up on the bike, but this could be because I have a fairly high instep. Using Lake’s in-depth size guide it seems I have wide feet, but despite this, the shoes were very comfortable.
The large reflective elements lift their otherwise fairly plain looks and I was pleased to see visibility has been taken seriously given they are winter shoes.
According to Lake, these shoes are “comfortable down to -3°C” however, I found temperatures of +3°C and below were too cold to venture out without neoprene overshoes. So, for me, Lake’s claim sadly doesn’t hold true.