Mavic winter cycling shoes with Frost road bike shoe and Drift mountain bike shoe

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…

2012 Shimano SHMW81 winter cycling shoe for road and mountain biking

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.


  1. It’s a bit sad that the Gore-Tex brand is so powerful that everybody still puts their fabric in shoes even if it’s actually a 1980s’ technology. There are so many better options, such as eVent, which are WAY better than Gore-Tex but hardly anyone uses them because the name is not as well known.

  2. mkrs,

    I agree with you. I just read a study in my economics classes where Gore-Tex basically requires companies to not sell products with a competing technology; otherwise they drop them from being a Gore-Tex customer. I’m sure Gore-Tex is good, I have their products, but I also like eVent and other technologies, and own products with those technologies as well. I won’t say that one is better, but I don’t like how Gore-Tex monopolizes the market. You can argue that they are just protecting their brand, which is a valid argument. I personally see an issue with their business tactic if they are preventing competition by giving their customers an ultimatum, instead of relying on the Gore-Tex product itself to do the talking and maybe improving the product (I’m sure they have an impressive R&D) to compete with newer technologies. This is just my opinion and there are other valid points that disagree with mine as well.

  3. Yes, Gore makes some great products. The current gore tex membrane is nothing like the 80’s, 90’s or in fact the 2005 version, they constantly change it increasing breathability,olio-phobic properties, etc. They just don’t update name or version for the membrane when they change it. I agree with Sevi though, Gore’s monopolistic practices have led to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and The European Trade Commission for unfair (monopolistic) trade practices. Both Colombia Sportswear and REI are actively pursuing it. Gotta say I love their cables and housing though!

  4. OK, maybe I wasn’t precise enough: of course Gore-Tex is frequently updated and improved. However it’s still less breathable than eVent or other membranes which is a result of different construction (one more layer is needed to create a complete Gore-Tex fabric than it is in the case of eVent fabric which automatically means less permeability). What is more, Gore-Tex still requires a big difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of your jacket to work properly. eVent, on the other hand, is almost insensitive to this kind of a difference.

    Finally, I’ve used several jackets with both membranes. In both cases one can’t say “it keeps you dry” (I’d rather say: it lets you get dry again fast when you stop sweating), but to me, the difference is gigantic and eVent is WAY better.

  5. To jtg,

    Vittoria offers its winter cycling shoes in a all four widths including a wide and super wide as well as its low and high volume that Marc has mentioned in his review of the Supra.

    Oh, and for those asking about Gore Tex, it’s as simple as name recognition. Everyone knows the name and it leads people to buy your products if you have it. It’s a sad case, but very real. We do not use Gore Tex but one of the other waterproof, wind proof and breathable membranes available.

  6. I can’t give much feedback on the Mavic model, but that new Shimano one is AWESOME. It fits me perfectly and offers far more flexibility in the upper sole than most other winter shoes I have tried. They keep my feet plenty warm, and I’m able to regulate the temperature a bit from different socks too (such as thin cycling socks or thicker wool ones). As someone that is a daily commuter and also uses these for colder MTB or CX rides, I can’t reccomend them enough.

  7. I have both Gore-Tex and eVent jackets and I’d be hard pressed to pick one over the other. The construction, design and fit of the jacket seems to play a much larger role than which of these two materials is used (in my experience at least).

    I own the current generation of Shimano winter shoes and I still can’t figure out what is “Gore-Tex” about them… they are great for cold weather and snow, but use them in the rain and your feet get just as wet as they do in any other cycling shoe. If I had to guess, the Gore-Tex is just meant to help wick away moisture than keep moisture out.

  8. Thanks Mavic guy that recommends ‘try them at your local bike shop” and “order them a half size bigger”. We should all utilize IBDs for information and then order online. That is until all the IBDs are gone…

  9. Why can’t we get a performance winter shoe with a stiffer sole? Every winter shoe I have tried has a crap plastic sole that flexes and isn’t comfortable.

What do you think?