Bicycle and Gear Reviews

Quick preview: Winter cycling shoes – North Wave Celsius Arctic

10 Comments 02 November 2010

They are not as bulky as they look in the product photos

Have you ever woken up in the morning just to realize it’s minus two degrees outside, the ground is frozen and you’ll have to layer up in order to stay warm on the way? Yeah. It’s been like that for the last month and let me tell you, overshoes are really nice when you put them on for a four-hour trip once a week. Not putting them on and taking them off twice per day, five days a week. Especially when they’re a bit too small.

Also the problem with overshoes is that they’re not very convenient in the woods, they get muddy and they don’t solve the biggest issue of cold cleats, that people speculate are a big reason why your feet get cold. So, after trying for two months, riding with cold feet, I opted to get winter cycling shoes. There’s also the reason that you can wear these more than you wear normal cycling shoes in Finland, so money well spent.

Replacable spikes, carbon soles and sexy looks!

I had two options to go with, either Shimano’s SH-MW80 or North Wave’s Celsius shoes. The Shimano’s used to be the cheapest of solid winter shoes, costing around 99 euros before they upped the price without changing the shoe and made it about the same as the North Waves. There are “winter shoes” from Specialized and Sidi as well, but they’re really not made for a real winter, more like if you live somewhere in California or the South of France. Not Finland, the land of Santa Claus and polar bears.

Winter shoes, as they require more padding are even smaller on the inside that normally snug cycling shoes. The rule of thumb is to get one size larger than your usual cycling shoe, which are a size larger from your normal shoes. Example: You wear size 45 shoes, get size 46 cycling shoes and size 47 winter shoes. Most companies make their shoes up to size 48, as is the case with both Shimano and North Wave. Guess what my shoe size is? Yep, 47.

I went with the North Wave Celsius shoes because of two reasons: It’s bigger than the Shimano MW80, has a wider sole and therefore their size 48 will actually fit me unlike Shimano’s. The other was the Arctic version of the Celsius boots (that obviously come in two versions both called Celsius). While the normal Celsius is very similar to the Shimano winter shoe, the North Wave is supposed to keep your feet warm up to -35 degrees Celsius. (They won’t though, don’t worry, but -15 is enough for me.)

The Velcro isn't perfect, but the neoprene is warm

I’ve had the shoes for a week now and the best thing is that they fit nicely. They also have a few nice things in them that make them even more useful: The shoes have laces – while this might sound really cumbersome, they come with these hoops to tighten them with a single pull and it feels solid and functional. On top of the laces there are neoprene flaps that close with a Velcro strap, which are a bit loose and sloppy, but do their job. Something I’d want to be better though in shoes that cost a 150 euros.

Our verdict: ★★★½☆

Nonetheless, they feel good, solid and warm so far. I’ll report after the winter how they survived in the long run.

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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  • Anonymous

    Shimano MW80 shoes have been ordered as well – This will be a real (Finnish) Winter test! And no, we don’t do cross-country skiing…

  • skelle

    Hi, I have Specialized Defrosters for 4 years now and I am still very happy with them. Wind and water proof and very good velcro.
    Combine these with overshoes, plus Grabber toe warmers (http://www.warmers.com/) and you’re in for sweaty feet at -20C!

  • I hear they’re good shoes, but you need a toe warmer and overshoes – and if you need them, they’re not winter shoes :)

  • skelle

    oh no, toe warmers and overshoes are not really needed. At least not in tropical belgium..

  • Pingback: November sucks: Slippery when wet | Our biker lives | Coming thru! Bike Blog()

  • Sabbathox

    Hello,

    I checking on this pair of winter shoes for some days now. Decided to buy them.
    But unable to find a shop that have them. So I’m looking now for online shops… They all seems to stop selling the shoe. Are there any now reason? Do you have a shop that would sell those?

    (CRC still ave 2 sizes, Bike24.de don’t sell them, Wiggle.co.uk no longer have them, etc .)

    I’m from Belgium,

    Cheers,
    Olivier

  • Hey Olivier! You could try calling the Belgian distributor and asking where they sell them. It looks like CRC doesn’t have the Arctic version, but seems like they have the normal version in plenty of sizes (http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=57564)

    They may be coming out with a new model already, that would explain the low stocks.

    ACTION SPORTS SPRL
    Rue Mitoyenne 295
    B-4840 Welkenraedt
    BELGIUM
    Tel + 32 87 89 97 70
    Fax + 32 87 89 97 71
    info@actionsports.be

  • Rsb0731

    how did you end up liking these shoes? Warm enough?

  • Timbobent

    The shoe shown in the picture is the Northwave Celsius GTX, which is rated to -10 degrees celsius.  The Northwave Celsius Artic GTX, on the other hand, is rated to -35 degrees celsius.

  • Timbobent

    Oops, I just noticed what is probably a Northwave Artic tag in the picture.  Sorry, Marcus.  Nice review, by the way. Helpful.

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

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