Because most of the year is cold, wet, or snowy, we need proper gear while biking outside. And because most of us want to be careful when we spend money, it is important to find gear that overlaps the seasons and allows us to use it more than just a couple times a year. An essential part of that gear is shoes. Shoes see and feel the environment around us while providing us with the platform to keep moving.
Lately I’ve been spending time in northern California, which is a fair weather environment with average temperatures around 50 degrees in the winter. I was riding with the Giro Code’s and my feet were still getting cold or wet on most of my rides around Santa Cruz, San Fran and Walnut Creek. Because of this and the fact that I knew I was going back to Washington or Wisconsin for the rest of the winter and spring, it was time to get some proper cold weather riding shoes.
When picking out cold weather shoes it’s important to make sure they fit well, are durable, and keep the elements out. There is one shoe that I knew fit all of these criteria, the 45NRTH Japanther Boots. They are easy to put on, have several adjustments for proper fit, they are comfortable and are not too heavy or bulky. I typically wear a size 43 in cycling shoes, but with the Japanther’s I sized up to a 44. This allows me to throw on thick wool socks when the temp drops and still be a comfortable fit with regular socks as well. The Japanther’s feature a wind-resistant zipper and material while providing a protective membrane for moisture control to provide warmth while not over heating. The anti slip outsole on these boots is another great feature that keeps me upright while walking in slippery conditions. And because 45NRTH offers these boots in either 2 or 3 bolt cleats, they hit a large range of riders.
After testing the boots, I couldn’t be happier with the Japanther’s. It was a pretty mild winter in Wisconsin, but even when the temperature did hit the single digits, the Japanther’s kept my feet warm. I also tested to see how waterproof they are. Even though 45NRTH states on their site that these boots aren’t waterproof, I still needed to see how much wetness they could take. Standing in a small stream for over a minute with most of the boots submerged, I am happy to say that my feet didn’t get wet!
The 45NRTH Japanther boots are a great three season boot that can handle a large range of weather. I would rate them comfortable from around 10 degrees to around 45 degrees, which makes them perfect for spring gravel, cyclocross, fat bike, mountain bike and anything in-between. They are wind and water resistant and really they are pretty bomb proof! Unless you plan on trenching through deep water or heading to the artic, the Japanther’s are sure to keep you dry and warm.