Lakes CX 145 shoes do a good job of keeping out the water, but could use more insulation so they keep your toes warm too.
I hate getting cold feet. Almost nothing makes me want to turn round and head home more than that feeling of painful, chilled tingling, progressing to icy agony.
Wet feet are almost automatically cold feet, so Lake's CX 145 shoes look like a good first line of defence against frozen toes. They're made from waxed canvas and leather, with a waterproof membrane to keep out the wet.
They're closed by a pair of BOA dials, which nicely spread the pressure across the top of your foot, and can still be used with thick gloves.
The stiff plastic sole is threaded for a three-bolt, Look-pattern cleat and has a couple of lumps of rubber on the heel and toes that help a bit with walking grip. As with any cleated shoe, though, you don't really want to walk further than the distance from bike rack to cafe table in them.
There are slots for two-bolt, SPD-style cleats too, but you can't use them because there's no threaded insert and to fit one would involve cutting open the inner lining of the shoe, making it rather less than waterproof.
I find Lake's sizing generally on the small side and the CX145s are no exception. I can use a 43 in some manufacturer's shoes, but needed a 44 here, especially with the thicker socks I always reach for in winter.
The good news about the CX145s is that, yes, they do keep out the water. As long as you don't immerse them past the Plimsoll Line, and you're careful to arrange tights and socks so they don't conduct rain down into the shoes, they do a good job of excluding the wet stuff.
Problem is, what they don't do very well is keep your feet warm. I found my toes getting chilly after an hour or two, depending just how cold and wet it was.
I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, there appears to be no insulation between the outer shell of the CX145s and your socks, so your socks are doing most of the work of keeping your feet warm. Problem is, socks can only do so much, and in cold, wet weather, it's not enough.
The waxed canvas outer shell appears to be the other half of the problem. The first line of defence of synthetic waterproof fabrics is a durable water repellant coating that makes water bead up and flow off. But that doesn't happen with waxed canvas. Instead, the water wets the outer surface of the fabric. It can't get through, but it sits there.
As the air flows over the shoes, that water evaporates, magnifying the effect of the wind chill that's the reason your feet need more protection from winter. Result: cold toes.
The practical upshot here is that the CX145s will keep your feet dry, but work best when it's not too cold. But when it's cold as well as wet is exactly the time you want your feet to be kept dry AND warm.
Several shoe makers have insulated, waterproof shoes in their ranges, including Lake, though the thinsulate-lined MXZ303s are only available with a mountain bike sole. For horrid British cold and wet winters, Lake could do a lot worse than adapt that shoe for the road, or at the very least add some insulation and a DWR-coated synthetic shell to the next version of the CX145s.
Effective at keeping out the rain, but not warm enough.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lake CX145 Road Water Proof Boot
Size tested: 44, Black
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?
Lake's blurb is pretty sparse, but it's rather obvious these shoes are for people who don't want to get wet feet while riding in the rain.
My experience indicates they better not mind getting cold feet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Upper: Waxed Canvas, Leather and a Waterproof membrane for a highly water resistant upper
OutSole: Road Competition fiberglass-injected nylon outsole (3 hole compatible)
Closure: Dual Side mounted BOA Push/Pull lacing system with releasable guides
Sizes: Men's, Men's Wide, Woman's specific (M 39-48:50, 39.5-46.5 ; W 36-43, 37.5-42.5)
Effective waterproofing, but not very good in the preventing cold toes department
Fit and shape is very good and the BOA closures help get it spot-on snug.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
BOA closure, looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Getting cold toes.
Did you enjoy using the product? No.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
About the tester
Age: 48 Height: 5ft 11in Weight: 85kg
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.