Anytime we can just throw on one piece of clothing rather than two (winter shoes versus super thick or double socks plus a wind blocking cover), we’re happy. And winter cycling shoes generally provide enough warmth and protection to let us do just that.
For 2012, both Mavic and Shimano have all-new versions of their winter cycling shoes. Mavic’s line separates into specific Drift mountain bike shoes (above) and Frost road bike shoes, while Shimano’s (pictured and detailed after the break) line gets a single, multipurpose piece of footwear.
Mavic’s line upgrades with a full waterproof GoreTex liner and beefed up heel and toe bumpers on both models, and they share a nylon/glass fiber outsole with neoprene cuffs. The Drift gets their ContaGrip tread lugs on the bottom, and the Frost gets a couple of small grip bumpers at the heel and toe to make walking a bit safer without the un-aero weight of full tread. Both retail for $199.90 and go up to a size 12.5 US. Mavic’s PR guy says they run just a bit on the small size, so our recommendation is order a half-size up since you’re usually wearing thicker socks in the winter anyway. As always, your best bet is to try them on in your local bike shop first.
Step through the wall to see Shimano’s skids…
We’re still waiting on the exact upgrades to this shoe from the 2010/11 SHWM80 winter model, Shimano’s PR guy says this is indeed an entirely new model, getting the +1 model number of SHWM81. Visually, it’s a lot sleeker than the old model (which is still showing up on their website, but this model is supposedly available now). It also gets a full GoreTex lining and neoprene cuff and, perhaps the best features, a fleece lined insole and larger volume to accommodate thicker socks. These last two probably justify the slight price premium, they run $230.
Shimano’s just offering the one model, so the lugs may not appeal to more southern based roadies, but the tread might be a welcome addition for riders that have to deal with less than ideal conditions when riding or commuting. It has 360º reflective bits for better visibility, too.