Product Review : Winter Boots – Shimano MW7 2017

Since a solid cold spell hit Portland, I will be putting the MW7’s through their paces. First Look seems good, they are fully featured with Goretex uppers, abrasion-resistant toe caps, adjustable neoprene ankle cuff and grippy rugged sole.

teaser

Testing Log

19 degrees and dry – Used with a thick tall wool sock, cold and dry. Temps between  15 -19 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 Celcius). Kept my feet warm for approx 1hr and my toes started to get cold for 20mins after that. That was with some wind on a brisk pace ride. – I rate that as a pretty good performance by the MX7’s. Yes I could have worn thicker socks and probably a shoe cover. But -10 is darn cold and the boots worked well.

38 and wet – Used with a mid weight wool sock and rain pants. Rain intensity was light but consistent for a 10mile / 45min bike commute

43 degrees and wet – Used with a mid weight wool sock and not pouring rain, but mid-heavy intensity and consistent for a 10 mile bike commute these boots performed great. No water in boot, no sweat.

40 degrees and very wet –Using a mid weight wool sock, full on rain for about 2.5hrs. The boot got wet on the inside, but it was warm and never cold and uncomfortable.  My reasoning behind why the inside were wet so much were because I was wearing legging/ leg warmers which were over my socks and inside the boot. As the legging got wet, the socks wicked the water into the boot, where my feet heated the wetness and it stayed warm. Im sure there is a trick here that could prevent wicking. For these types of conditions with constant rain, the boots would be perfect with rain specific pants, cuff over tops of boots.

45degrees and many mixed conditions (read on) – using a lightweight wool sock I wore these boots for about 7hrs. A while was spent hiking with the bike onrough terrain, up a loose gravel / mud / boulder road. Also several miles were hiked through snow, up to about 16″ deep snow, so the boots really sunk in. Then several river crossings where my feet got exposed to water and scrambling up loose dirt the other side of the river bank. During the ride it misted but towards the end it was pouring rain. – The MW7’s were great for hiking on uneven, rough, soily, slippy surfaces. Equally suited for scrambling up mud banks and stomping through a few miles of snow, even when the cuff’s were slightly below the snow surface. The boot was warm and dry. Now as the above review, when faced with a downpour and worn using tights, rainwater was wicked down into the boot, maybe the slightly loose upper cuff lets a bit of water in also. In this downpour rain pants would be a good choice.

37 Degrees and raining hard and constant – using a mid weight sock, I wore the boots for about an hour with rain pants. The rain pants just covered the tops of the boots but not much more (long legs) My feet were warm and dry at the end of the ride, but at the tops of my socks I can feel a little moisture, I suspect if I had ridden longer the moisture would have wicked down to the footbed. Considering it was raining hard all the time, the boots faired well.

37-50 degrees, on and off rain, short trips – these boots are excellent, they feel great and protect your feet.

 


Key Features

Grippy sole, soft sole lugs – if you are used to regular mtb lugs, well these are a dream, soft and grippy made from a low durometer elastomer, they grip much better in slush, icy conditions and generally any smooth surface. The cleat is perfect height and needs no shims when used with Shimano pedals – tested with old XT mtb pedals.

shimano_mw7_002

Walkable sole – the MW7 has been designed to flex a little more, it’s not a carbon sole or even a super rigid nylon. The boot notably flexes in a comfortable way at just behind the toe as you walk.

Large reflective accents, especially on the heel counter (below).

shimano_mw7_006

Goretex inner sock. Top of foot velcro strap and corded cinche down for the top of foot securing. The cord has a velcoro end tab that can be ticked on the flap (as shown below). Most of your foot heat comes out of this mesh area near the tongue, under the cinche cord

shimano_mw7_004


Drawbacks

The velcro at the top of the cuff is hard to adjust / make tighter while riding, partially because it is attached to the main flap. Make sure you adjust well before riding.

The ankle cuff does not quite go snug enough, I would say that I don’t have unusually skinny ankles, but it would be nice to snug the gap close an extra 0..25″

Flex – when comparing directly with a higher end mtb shoe like a Shimano XC70 , you will notice the weight penalty and the flex penalty. Horses for courses right. But don’t expect a stiff sole with massive power transfer here, it’s not their main game. (the flex could be also seen as an advantage, see my summary)

I wear a size 45, I would say I have skinny ankles and I would say that the neoprene tops could have been tighter.

shimano_mw7_005

Coming soon – some pictures after a few months of use.


Fit Details

I normally wear a 44 or US10.5 this is my fit for a summer shoe. For this boot I chose a size 45 which is a US11.5, but from past experiences I know that Shimano shoes run about 1/2 a size too large, this I really knew I was getting a 44.5 or US11.

I opted for 1/2 size bigger, some people say 1 or 1.5 sizes bigger for thicker socks, but since this boot already has insulation and I really do not like the idea of sloppy cycling shoes that pull up at the heal, its the worst, trust me. I opted to go 1/2 size bigger. And I can say this was a great decision. They are great with thicker wool socks but also good with lighter weight socks. Any bigger would have been a disaster and would have felt like they were pulling off.


Manufacturer Specs

Straight from the shimano site:

  • Waterproof GORE-TEX® Insulated Comfort liner for maximum comfort
  • Lace shield design and high cut cover construction
  • Insole with fleece liner for added insulation and heat retention
  • 360-degree reflectivity for high visibility
  • Torsional midsole “TORBAL” allows natural rider “flow” motion during downhill descents
  • Rubber outsole improves grip in wet and slippery conditions
  • Single density extra-cushion insole with fleece liner
  • Speed lacing system allow fast, easy adjustments and a secure fit

Stay tuned because coming soon, a full review on the winter / foul weather Shimano spd boot.


Summary

This is a great shoe,  The shoe does well in managing temperatures down to just below freezing and affords you to ride for about an hour at even colder temps. A great shoe for colder , arid conditions.

With a Gore-Tex upper and the amount of boot like robust materials and pvc flaps you may feel like this is invincible, and it is to some things. But not the rain, don’t expect it to be totally waterproof on longer rides. I rate the waterproofness of this shoe as on par with the best shoe covers. Part of the reason why waterproofness is not higher is due to the cuff. The cuff (which you can see as a different looking material) could be a little higher and made from a material that doesn’t retain / wick moisture. This might be something Shimano should consider modifying if they wish to attract more all weather commuters.

The construction and sole are top notch. They are built durable, well made and have a really good grippy outsole sole made from a softer material than most that works well in mud and even sticks great on shiny supermarket floors for grocery runs.

Now to the “flex”, as I said earlier, these shoes are heavier and flex more than a regular mtb shoe. This is noticable when you compare shoes back to back. But, off the bike walking in these shoes is amazing, they act a lot more like a hiking boot, flexing in the right places where normal mtb shoes don’t. This makes a big difference if you are going to use this as an all purpose shoe or a an exploring trails shoe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s