This is a new mini-series of blogs I’m going to do over the coming weeks where I’ll pick some of the best bits of bike kit I own and share the reasons why. I’m lucky enough to have cycled for 30+ years and owned a cycle shop so I’ve seen and tried a lot of stuff. This is the stuff I stick with because its good.
No in-depth, impartial reviews. These will be short and biased because its my choice, I own it and I use it.
As its winter, I thought for the the first one I’d talk about my Northwave Arctic GTX boots. So good, I own two pairs!
So a bit of background first. Northwave are an Italian company producing shoes and clothing. When I had my cycle shop, Northwave featured heavily in the early days. I stocked a lot of cycling kit and shoes but as with any new business you begin to understand your customers and realise some stuff you don’t need and other stuff you need to focus on. Northwave shoes were a hit. They were popular. They offered good quality at a decent price but they also did some nice high end stuff too.
If you have wide feet. Consider Northwave, they’re one of the widest fitting shoe brands on the market
I initially became attracted to the garish designs on their high end road shoes. You know the £150+ shoes most of us MAMILs drool over. Bright orange, yellows and blues usually complimented the more conservative black and white shoes. Being a dealer, we had to stock a certain number of shoes and that ‘stock-in’ determined the band of trade discount you would get. So what I would do is stock a couple of high end versions but in my size so that if I sold them great. Good sale, nice profit. If not, I’d have a nice pair of high end shoes to wear but cheap.
Northwave sizing is ‘normal’. Im a 43 and size 8 in normal shoes/trainers and its the same as other brands like Shimano too
Now obviously, for Winter, it was a bit different. All gloves, overshoes, hats etc. Shoe choice was very limited to the Winter boots which were expensive at £170+. The stock-in for them was simple, just buy 10 pairs. So I did this for the first winter and did what I normally did and got a couple in my size. I think the boots came in 4 models. Road or MTB, Black or Day-Glo yellow. Although I bought my day-glo MTB version for commuting a couple of years after my first pair. I bought a mix for the shop and began using a set for the road. Oh my! They were f**king brill! I fitted some insoles for a bit of extra comfort and to take up a bit of the wider fit. They are just snug now. The latest versions have a boa retention system which makes them easy. Mine which are probably 5 years old now have a manual boa you pull tight and hold in place with a clip. You fold the excess cord up and hide it under the main flap on the front of the boot and then you have a another flap which goes round the front of the ankle. The key to that one is to keep it loose otherwise the bend of the foot upwards as you pedal can interfere with it.
I do have to raise my saddle 5mm when I begin to use them in the winter though to accommodate the extra height in the sole
I can honestly say, in all the years I have used them I have NEVER, EVER had cold feet. They are that good. Once I had used them and found this out, it was easy to sell them to customers because they trusted what I said. No-one ever came back and told me I was a liar. Even if I had paid the original £170+ RRP price tag, I’d argue they are still worth it. In the coldest of riding conditions I pop a pair of DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks on and I know, I can guarantee no matter how cold it will get my feet will stay warm.
They’re not waterproof but I can say I have ridden them in biblical rain and they’ve filled up with water. Other than feeling the water slushing around, my feet still stayed warm!
Forget overshoes, toe covers, doubling up your socks. Don’t waste your money. Save up and get a pair of these and you’ll never have cold feet again.
Pound-for-pound one of the best bits of cycling kit I own. Hands-down a winner.