Winter boots offer the function of a shoe and overshoe – but are quicker to put on and remove and keep your best road shoes in good nick. There are several on the market, usually with a nylon or reinforced nylon sole, but these from Northwave, updated from last year, have a full-carbon sole.
The sole has a three-bolt fixing, and is Speedplay compatible with a replaceable heel bumper and four small vents. The upper features a Gore-Tex membrane beneath a nylon outer, with microfibre reinforcement and a toughened toe box, while the ankle’s padded surround has a neoprene layer that extends across the fixed internal tongue. There’s a generous pull loop at the rear, and the Velcro-fastened pleated ankle opening allows easy entry.
Speed Lace Winches (SLW2) offer security and micro-adjustment. Their knurled low-profile wheels are easy to use even with gloves on and the top-mounted lever allows single click tension release for on-the-fly adjustment – much easier than trying to fumble through overshoes.
The lining is perforated around the ankle, with a soft knitted fabric elsewhere. We opted for half a size larger than usual, and found them roomy, with plenty of space for the thickest socks, which we reckon you won’t actually need that often. The stiff carbon soles mean you can train in the rain without compromising on efficiency.
The ankle isn’t too bulky, but when fully tightened there’s always a slight gap. Tall socks prevent draughts, but in torrential rain some water will trickle in, and unless you’re wearing something like Pearl Izumi’s Elite AmFib, the best thing to do is keep your moist feet warm – which is something these do exceptionally well.
Temperature regulation is very good, the vents drawing heat out, and wet-weather performance in direct spray and rain is impressive, although the neoprene may not dry overnight. They’re fast to remove, the SLW2 winches unreeling in a second. Our size 45.5s were a respectable 888g.