Smart winter boots that'll keep you riding through even the coldest UK temperatures
Northwave Celsius GTX boots
8 10

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?

Northwave say:

"UPPER: Gore-Tex®


HEEL: Ultra Y

SOLE: Jaws Carbon


Sierra membrane thermal lining indicative range: -10°C / +15°C

COD. 80102051

SIZE: 37 - 49 Half size: 39,5 - 45,5

COL. 10: Black


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."

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Looked great and lasted well through the test. I expect to ride in them next winter and the one after...

Rate the product for performance:

Not 'performance' shoes, but they did a really good job of keeping my feet warm.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

They're not light, but that's not the point.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Very nice. Quite a spacious fit, but you'll be wearing winter socks, eh?

Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well

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

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 65kg

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



Spangly Shiny [200 posts] 6 years ago

Brilliant boots. I got mine from Wiggle at the start of winter for £119, so it appears that there has been a significant price hike!
The stated temperature range is a bit wide in my opinion. Sub -5C should only be attempted with liner socks and I at least get a bit sweaty above 10C.
I also use these as a roadie with Look Quartz pedals, nice and simple AND Light.
These are perfectly sized at 44 and suited to my broad feet (G fitting I think). I never had an issue with the size of the top of the boot, having a, shall we say, more generous calf. Besides my tights are stretchy enough to zip up over the top of the boots.

mrchrispy [505 posts] 6 years ago


I have a pair of the Arctics (wiggle for about 120 a few months back) and they are brillaint, summer socks were more than enough when it hit -2 the other morning...wind chill is no longer a factor. havent had them out in the rain yet but I'm not worried.

Shugg McGraw [28 posts] 6 years ago

£80 at CRC for the Farenheit! That is value. Mine are three years old I reckon. The waterproofing wore off after 6 months but they continue to keep my feet warm through winter. Northwave I salute you.

BuiltForComfort [29 posts] 6 years ago

Can anybody comment on how they compare to the Shimano product?

Glossies [29 posts] 6 years ago

I have the fleece lined Arctic version. We did two hours in -5 degrees off road last night and my poorly circulated toes were warm as toast! I can honestly say that in thirty years of cycling these boots are one of the best pieces of kit I have ever bought, they have transformed my winter riding!
The only thing to bear in mind is the fit. They don't fit like a foot hugging race shoe, and are a bit looser and floppier but in the middle of winter that's very much secondary to toasty warm toes.

jeroenc [2 posts] 6 years ago

My "Speed Lace System" lace broke after a month. Still like them though  1