Quick preview: Winter cycling shoes – North Wave Celsius Arctic

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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By Markus Sandelin

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.