Winter riding shoes

Some time ago, I got really tired of having cold feet. I’m the type of person that if my ears or feet get cold, I’m done. I also, paradoxically, like to ride my bike in the winter. So, it seems, that I am often dealing with either cold feet or cold ears. I solved the cold ear problem about 2 years ago (more in another post), but up until about a year and a half ago I was still dealing with cold feet. Not fun 😦
I decided that what I needed were dedicated winter biking shoes/boots. I started to look around, and found several companies that looked promising, Lake, Pearl Izumi, and several others. Then I looked at the prices, and just about had heart failure. I immediately began reconsidering and also looking on Craigslist.
The problem finally got solved when I went to the Seagull Century that October. Frequently, they have lots of gear and other bike items on sale, and so I was hoping against hope that they would have some shoes there.
There were all kinds of shoes, from all kinds of brands. I tried on Lake, Specialized, and Pearl Izumi. Fortunately for me, my feet liked the Pearl Izumi mountain bike winter boots very much.

pearl izumi boots

The colors work pretty well – your basic black is always good – and with a few red and reflective highlights, these boots are somewhat stylish even though they are some serious gear. I like their appearance because even though they are for winter, I don’t feel as if I am wearing a Sorel style boot or Eskimo mukluks. These boots do their job without being terrifically clunky or overwhelming your feet.
I have been wearing these now for two winters. They are absolutely great. They have a quilted inner liner, much like some regular winter boots, and the sizing is perfect for my feet. (I wear a 42, normally) I can put on a nice medium to heavy wool sock and wear the boots comfortably. They come up over my ankle, and the front part velcros over the zipper that shuts the shoe. Additionally, there is an internal lacing “system” that you can tighten before you zip the shoe up. On top of all this goodness, the boots have gore tex in them and are pretty waterproof and also windproof.
I generally start wearing these once the temps dip below 40-45. Much warmer than this and my feet are in a puddle of sweat. I’ve had them out in cold that was down to 28 degrees with a wind chill factor. While some people don’t ride in that kind of weather, I’ve found that these shoes are key for keeping me warm and comfy, and they do a fine job of it.
The only thing I don’t like is that the velcro part likes to catch on my socks and stop my foot from entering the boot. I have to make sure that I am really hanging onto the boot top when I stick my foot in.
One other thing that I didn’t like at the beginning of my time with these boots was the extreme chemical smell they exuded right after I bought them. The smell really hit me hard in the nose when I opened the box, and did not dissipate for a long time – I actually put them outside on the front porch for several weeks, since the smell was so overpowering in my bedroom.
I run spd pedals on all my bikes, and the spd cleats I have on these boots work perfectly. I have never experienced any issues with clipping in or out of my pedals.
Overall, I have to say that winter riding has gotten a lot more fun since I bought these boots. I was quite fortunate in that I got about a 50% discount at the time of purchase because they were the last pair that particular dealer had. So, the price was right, the fit is excellent, and the shoes are durable and do exactly what they are supposed to do. Not only would I recommend these boots from this company, I would recommend winter boots to anyone who can afford them. They will extend your riding season by quite a bit and also increase your comfort level as well.
***** Disclaimer – Not getting paid by Pearl Izumi to review their stuff – the boots happen to be what fit.

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