The Northwave GTX boots are warm enough to keep your feet comfortable right through the winter.
Let's be clear: my toe game is weak. Bad circulation, bad chilblains, bad luck... just bad. Too often over the past few winters, I've almost sacrificed frozen toes to the cold. So the recent spell of cold weather has reminded me just how glad I've been to have been testing these Northwave winter boots.
The company makes an Arctic version of the GTX, with a thermal lining, that's recommended for use down to -35°C. These, however, are the standard GTX winter boots, designed for temperatures from -10 to +15°C. This seemed ample, and they've been able to take everything the UK weather gods could throw.
The upper is made from Gore-Tex, providing the reliable waterproofing you'd expect from that brand. There are two storm flaps which Velcro-close over the lacing system. The tongue, too, is completely integrated into the boot, so there's very little chance of water seeping in the front. They're certainly sprayproof, rainproof and puddleproof, and they rise fairly high up the leg, which helps to keep rain out and the ankles warm. As with all shoes and overshoes, there's very little you can do against a heavy downpour seeping down your leg via socks or tights. Suffice it to say that these do the job as well as any other method I've tried. And, if your toes do end up wet, the Gore-Tex will keep the wind off and help keep them warm, because that's what matters, right?
Warm they certainly are. I tested them in a 43 (I'm usually a 42/3), on the rationale that it's better to size up and leave room for winter (or even two pairs of) socks. They did come up slightly big, I think, but only a touch larger than expected. I rode them through sleet, a bit of snow, the Rapha Festive 500 and a 160km (100 mile) all-day ride when the thermometer barely topped 3°C. Throughout all that, my toes barely complained once which, it must be said, was something of a revelation.
What's clever, too, is the Speed Lace System (SLS) which is, essentially, a drawstring instead of laces. The advantage of this is that it's possible to tighten, loosen or take the boots off without removing your winter gloves. I had no issues with the SLS at all, and found it kept the boots securely on without any undue pressure - and this was helped by the soft, snug interior.
Why did I choose the SPD-equipped mountain-bike version? Aside from the fact that many of us commute in SPDs, it seemed a wise choice because performance takes a bit of a back seat in the winter,and grip, easy cleaning and ease of walking matter more. The chunky rubber soles inspired confidence, and were easy to clear of mud. The boots dealt with muddy lanes and the occasional field and bridleway, and came out the other side looking good. The midsoles of the Celsius boots apparently have carbon added to the mix for stiffness. It's impossible to say exactly what difference this made, but they were certainly stiff enough; not up to carbon road shoe rigidity, but good.
What didn't I like? I'm quite slender of leg; and the storm flaps could have been slightly tighter round the ankle. But this is a minor gripe. Overall, any product that makes winter riding significantly better is a winner, and these were good enough to inspire me to go out when I otherwise might have just stared out of the window with a cuppa and a biscuit instead. And for that, I reckon they're pretty good value.
Smart winter boots that'll keep you riding through even the coldest UK temperatures
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Celsius GTX boot
Size tested: Black - 43
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Designed for serious winter weather riding. The boots come in a road-specific version too, but these are the MTB ones, with SPD fixings.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CLOSING SYSTEM: SLS System + Velcro
HEEL: Ultra Y
SOLE: Jaws Carbon
REINFORCED FOOTBED: Special G.T.X.
Sierra membrane thermal lining indicative range: -10°C / +15°C
SIZE: 37 - 49 Half size: 39,5 - 45,5
COL. 10: Black
JAWS CARBON REINFORCED
A sole made of thermoplastic material enriched with carbon powder that thanks to its peculiar shape guarantees a high degree of rigidity while staying lightweight. The front end of the sole is divided into two parts: a mid-sole in fiber with added carbon powder and an outsole. The natural rubber rear part had been designed to ensure maximum grip also during descents."
Looked great and lasted well through the test. I expect to ride in them next winter and the one after...
Not 'performance' shoes, but they did a really good job of keeping my feet warm.
They're not light, but that's not the point.
Very nice. Quite a spacious fit, but you'll be wearing winter socks, eh?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lacing system, the warmth.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, aside from the point I mentioned about the relatively wide ankle.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed