8 Best Winter Cycling Shoes 2021 Review

Footwear for bike riders comes in different shapes, sizes, and materials to make sure that there’s a perfect pair for everybody. However, foot size and skill level aren’t just the only factors that should be considered carefully. Cyclists should also think about the temperature outdoors, especially during colder months. Since insulation is crucial for that, we’re going to focus on the best winter cycling shoes.

Insulation is all about trapping body heat. The liner should be thick enough to keep the heat inside the shoe but still super-comfortable to prevent blisters. However, that’s just one of the features you should pay attention to. Winter cycling shoes should also ensure that you can pedal flawlessly.

To learn more about the features you can possibly enjoy with high-quality bike shoes for winter, check out the following products we highly recommend.

Best Winter Cycling Shoes Review

Lake Cycling MXZ303 Men’s Winter Boot

Lake Cycling MXZ303 Men’s Winter Boot

As expected, the Lake Cycling MXZ303 Winter Boot has a lining that can control the temperature inside simply through insulation. Even the toe box has a liner but in a thinner form to avoid hurting your toes in an overly tight space.

The lining doesn’t end there; the insole is made of a composite material as well that can serve as an effective insulator. And, the best part, the tongue and the heel help in reflecting body heat to ensure that there are no cold spots in the shoe and the warm temperature can last longer just in case of emergencies.

While the interior is all about body heat, the upper aims to resist water and block wind. It has a special leather flap on top to prevent different environmental factors from disrupting temperature regulation inside.

Despite the effective features of the top half in blocking wind, the outsole can be a problem if you’re using a recumbent bike. It’s not thick and solid enough in stopping the wind from penetrating the midsole.

We all know how these winter cycling shoes can be super-warm, but they’re still not good enough for people whose feet get too cold easily. Those people can definitely wear two socks on each foot or an excessively thick one, but that leads to another problem.

These shoes aren’t wide enough for bigger feet wearing thicker socks. The fit will be so tight and can even be downright painful. Each shoe will eventually loosen up, but you might have to wait for several weeks.

Pros:

  • Controls temperature through insulation
  • Total coverage of the liner
  • Warms the toes without the tight fit
  • Reflects body heat
  • No cold spots

Cons:

  • Outsoles can’t completely block wind
  • Not warm enough for some people
  • Not wide enough for thicker socks

Fizik R5 Cycling Tempo Shoe

Fizik R5 Cycling Tempo Shoe

 

Purely made of synthetic materials, the Fizik R5 Cycling Tempo Shoe is more affordable than some quality winter shoes for cyclists. Despite the lower cost of this product than other good options in stores, it’s extremely durable no matter how frequent you’re riding your bike in the snow.

One of the main reasons why these winter cycling shoes have a world-class quality is their design based on Italian standards. Italy is known for its handmade shoes and excellent craftsmanship among others. That’s why these shoes can meet the expectations of professional cyclists.

Worried about loose laces while you’re outdoors during winter? We can’t blame you; just imagine adjusting shoelaces while you’re wearing mittens or gloves.

Fortunately, these shoes use Boa technology for their closure system. You just need to turn the dials to tighten or loosen the cables. This will only take a few seconds and you can even do it while you’re on the go.

Knowing that the outsoles are made of carbon, it’s only natural to expect that they’re very stiff. Unfortunately, some cyclists still think that the soles are too flexible.

Not only that; the outsoles don’t have any ventilation at all. That’s acceptable for winter, but it makes these shoes less versatile for long-term use.

These bike shoes have cleats, of course, but they can be tricky to handle. Some users find it difficult to position them since the markings aren’t readable enough.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Extremely durable
  • World-class quality
  • Convenient closure system
  • Adjustable on the road

Cons:

  • Too flexible
  • Only comfortable during winter
  • Inconvenient cleats

Northwave Celsius Artic GTX

Northwave Celsius Artic GTX

Not just great for the winter season, the Northwave Celsius Artic GTX is also perfect for autumn. The temperature in those months isn’t freezing yet so you still need some airflow to avoid overheating. These shoes guarantee both insulation and ventilation because of their versatile design.

While the special polyester liner called the GORE-TEX Panda is highly breathable for normal weather, it can also protect your feet from sudden wind and rain. It’s one of the major reasons why these shoes are multipurpose.

Once winter begins, there’s no need to worry about insulation. The upper is composed of a synthetic fabric that can help the liner trap body heat.

However, since the closure’s design can significantly affect insulation, a hook-and-loop system is used to really ensure that there are no gaps right after the shoe is tightened. Because of that, these shoes are expected to stay warm between -35 and 5 degrees Celsius.

However, the laces are longer than necessary. Some users find it a hassle to adjust and conceal the strings.

Also, for some reason, a number of users find the interior chilly despite wearing thicker socks. And, if the temperature’s not the problem, the fit can be too tight for people who have wide feet.

Pros:

  • Also great for fall months
  • Breathable even with insulation
  • Versatile design
  • Protects feet from wind and rain
  • No gaps once the closure is secure

Cons:

  • Long laces
  • Defective insulation
  • Too narrow

ROCKBROS Cycling Shoe Covers Warmer Water Resistant

ROCKBROS Cycling Shoe Covers Warmer Water Resistant

Don’t worry about the long zipper of the ROCKBROS Cycling Shoe; it’s tested, rated, and guaranteed to last for up to 10,000 uses under normal circumstances. Another highlight of this product is its elastic thermal covers. Even though the material is elastic, it’s still thick enough for insulation and protection from certain environmental factors with its 0.6-millimeter fabric.

When it comes to convenience, these cycling shoes can make your life so much easier if you want an adventure any season. It won’t even matter if you’re going to try muddy trails once winter is over; you can still use these shoes since they’re so easy to clean. Most of the time, you can just wipe their surfaces with a wet cloth.

However, even though this product is recommended for all seasons, it’s just too uncomfortable for hot days. Once your feet start to sweat, the covers of these shoes absorb moisture and don’t dry out.

And, despite claims that the zipper is extremely durable for constant pulling and dragging, it’s actually breakable through impact. Some users who pedal aggressively instantly notice damage on the zipper after the first few rides.

Another durability issue is in the toe area. The fabric there can be easily punctured by your toes.

Pros:

  • Highly durable
  • Elastic but warm
  • Great for any season
  • Can handle any terrain
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Doesn’t dry quickly
  • Breakable zipper
  • Holes in the toe area

SWISSWELL Men’s Road Cycling Shoes Compatible Mountain Bike with SPD/SPD-SL

SWISSWELL Men’s Road Cycling Shoes Compatible Mountain Bike with SPD-SPD-SL

With mesh and leather combined together for their upper material, the SWISSWELL Men’s Road Cycling Shoes have excellent ventilation while ensuring a more secure fit. To keep the fit snug enough for maximum support without the hassle of tying laces, these shoes use dials.

Speaking of support, the insole and the heel are designed for most foot shapes. They aim for a better fit of the foot arch and heel to keep your feet from slipping while pedaling.

The outsole is obviously stiff for power transfer. But, it’s so much more than that. Its stiffness is also essential for the cleats.

A potential problem with the cleat system, however, is the tricky placement of the screws because of the cheaper materials of this product. Some users have noticed that the plastic and metal components of these shoes aren’t very durable. The cleats might not even attach to the pedals all the time.

Pros:

  • Composite material
  • Reliable ventilation despite the tighter fit
  • No laces
  • Comfortable foot arch
  • Non-slip heels

Cons:

  • Inefficient cleat system
  • Flimsy plastic parts
  • Inconsistent attachment of the cleats

Santic Cycling Road Bike Shoes

Santic Cycling Road Bike Shoes

Polyurethane (PU) is used for the upper of the Santic Cycling Road Bike Shoes. The coverage of the perforated sections is quite big to ensure better airflow.

To make the interior warmer for the coldest months of the year, the insole and liner are both made of thermoplastic rubber (TPR) for insulation.

When it comes to versatility, the cleat system of these shoes is compatible with most bike pedals. That’s why this product is ideal not just for outdoor cycling but for spin classes as well.

However, these shoes aren’t exactly perfect for spin classes because they lack a little bit of flex due to their tough plastic components. They can also be painful if the closure is too tight since the buckle has some edges that can put so much pressure on a certain spot on your foot. That’s more possible if you have wide feet because these shoes have a narrower shape.

Pros:

  • Durable upper
  • More ventilation holes for summer
  • Insulation works for winter
  • Versatile cleat system
  • Great for spin classes

Cons:

  • Needs more flex for better spin performance
  • Sharp edges
  • Not wide enough for some feet

USHTH Black Waterproof Rain Boot Shoe Cover with Reflector

USHTH Black Waterproof Rain Boot Shoe Cover with Reflector

If you already have a pair of cycling shoes and you’re more confident as a cyclist when wearing them, we suggest using shoe covers like this particular product instead. Completely made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the USHTH Rain Boot Shoe Cover is purely elastic, waterproof, non-slip, and resistant to dust. The waterproof zippers will also help in keeping your shoes dry.

These shoe covers have a wide mouth as well. This ensures that they can totally cover almost any kind of footwear.

The wider form of these shoe covers leads to a certain problem, though. Some people find it really unappealing.

The waterproof feature isn’t perfect as well. These covers tend to store water if you’re going to stay in the rain for hours.

Pros:

  • Elastic material
  • Waterproof
  • Not slippery
  • Dust-resistant
  • Wide shape

Cons:

  • Unappealing style
  • Can store some water
  • Not effective for longer hours outdoors

Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot

Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot

Made of leather and other high-quality materials, the Timberland White Ledge Ankle Boot looks versatile especially in terms of style. It can be worn casually, not just for winter cycling. It has an oiled finish to give the leather upper a timeless rugged look.

When it comes to comfort, the collar of these shoes is cushioned. Meanwhile, the  ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) footbed has a dual-density design to ensure that the crucial spots of your foot soles are perfectly supported. As a plus, it’s removable so you can clean it anytime you want.

Despite the overall comfort of the shoe’s interior, the heel section can still be very uncomfortable. It’s narrower than expected, which may cause blisters. The upper is quite small as well no matter the shoe size, making the fit tighter than necessary.

As for the lacing system, it’s not very durable. The eyelets are breakable, which might require a tedious repair just to secure the fit of the shoe.

Pros:

  • Versatile style
  • Great for casual wear
  • Classic rugged look
  • Comfort from top to bottom
  • Excellent support

Cons:

  • Narrow heel section
  • Small upper
  • Breakable eyelets

How to Choose Good Winter Cycling Shoes

Insulation

Upper

A perforated upper is a must for typical cycling shoes to ensure ventilation during hot days, but it can significantly affect the insulation. The tiny holes allow airflow for more breathable footwear, which is crucial for hot days.

However, in order to enhance ventilation, the upper should be more solid with zero gaps to totally prevent the entry of freezing air. This makes the shoes too hot for summer, but it will be so worth it during wintertime. The best solution for this is to buy separate cycling shoes for summer and winter.

Liner

The upper’s design for insulation is just to enhance the longevity of the interior temperature. The feature that really ensures insulation is the liner.

The fabric lining should be able to trap body heat inside the shoe. Fleece is best for that purpose, but it’s always referred to as polyester in terms of winter cycling shoes. That’s because it’s thinner for a more comfortable fit with socks on but still thick enough for insulation. It’s not the usual fleece you see and feel on most blankets and winter clothing.

Aside from thickness, coverage is also an essential factor. The insulation should include the cuff for your ankle, the toe box, heel cup, and footbed.

Weather-Resistant

Windproof

In general, as your bike moves forward, the wind all around you becomes stronger and cooler. This is helpful under the scorching sun, but it’s a totally different story when winter comes.

As much as possible, your skin shouldn’t feel the chilling wind for it can easily affect your body heat. That’s why the windproof aspect shouldn’t just be on your eyewear and layers. It’s an important factor for your winter cycling shoes as well.

The windproof feature is usually in the form of thicker fabric sections in the front part of the upper to block the wind from penetrating the thinner areas.

Waterproof

Moisture on footwear is usually unavoidable during winter, so your cycling shoes need to be waterproof. Aside from the upper itself, the zippers (if any) should also be highly resistant to water. There should be no gaps at all and the zipper should be perfectly attached to the upper.

Ventilation

If winter isn’t too extreme in your area and you just need extra-thick socks, you can buy cycling shoes with a breathable upper as long as their liner can serve as insulation. Those shoes are highly versatile for all seasons since they can keep your feet warm or cool depending on the weather.

Fit

Space

A secure fit is usually associated with tightness. The tighter the fit is, the more secure it is. However, when it comes to winter shoes, a bigger space is required so you can wear thicker socks without that suffocating feeling. If your shoes are tighter than necessary, you can’t move the pedals easily.

Closure

Any shoe will never be secure without a proper closure system. The most common one includes laces, but that’s not exactly ideal for winter cycling shoes.

With a lacing system, the laces can easily get stuck on the bike’s chain. It’s also impossible to adjust the laces while you’re riding a bike without risking safety.

The perfect closure system for cycling shoes is the type with dials and cables or strings. The strings are connected to the dials, hence the tidier look and the zero possibility of getting stuck on the chain.

It’s also super-easy to adjust the fit since you just need to turn the dials. That promotes multitasking.

Outsole

Flexible

A more flexible outsole is preferable if you’re all about comfort. With the thicker socks and the heavier weight of winter shoes, a stiff sole will only pinch your feet as it gets tighter with constant movement.

The downside? It’s uncommon to see a flexible sole with a cleat system. If you need cleats, choose winter cycling shoes with stiffer outsoles.

Stiff

The main reason why most cycling shoes, especially for road bikes, have stiffer outsoles is to improve power transfer so you can save more energy to pedal longer.

As for the other important benefit, stiff soles are perfect for cleats. Cleats need a tougher base so they can securely connect to the pedals.

Conclusion

Specifically designed for satisfying bike rides in the snow, the Lake Cycling MXZ303 Winter Boot is our top choice among the amazing products we’ve introduced. It has superb insulation and weatherproof properties without stopping you from performing like a pro on your bike. However, it’s not the best option for recumbent bikes because of its slightly thin outsole. It’s also quite narrow, which can keep you from wearing thick socks.

When looking for the right pair of shoes for your bike rides during winter, simply prioritize insulation. That’s what makes winter cycling shoes different from standard road bike footwear.