Review by - Chris Hyde
1. congealed by cold; turned into ice.
2. frigid; very cold.
3. crazy; for not having the right footwear.
1. comfortably or cozily warm.
2.characteristic of or resembling toast
3.characteristic of one’s feet in Northwave Celsius Boots
There are many adjectives that described my feet whilst mountain biking during the hours of darkness in the recent inclement weather we have been having. Wet, chilled, frigid, cold, numb to name but a few, damp, sodden, uncomfortable, muddy, soaked, to name a few more. Enough of the English lesson however, we are here to discuss the merits of having the correct footwear whilst partaking in the often muddy (especially here) and cold (yup, that too) pastime of Mountain Biking in the UK.
My previous footwear, a trusty pair of Shimano SPD shoes had seen me through a few good years of riding mainly in the summer and, to be honest, mainly in the dry but the nights had now drawn in and my MTB bug was fully back with me. Night rides from the TGB (our secret meeting place) had become slightly less popular due to the weather and certainly more cold and muddy meaning the old Shimanos were starting to show their lack of waterproofness (is that even a word?) and insulation. My ensuing cold, numb, frigid, damp, you get the idea toes started me thinking it might be time for a change.
A chance eavesdrop on a wet, dark wooded conversation heard mention of ‘toasty feet’ and this time it was not someone extolling the virtues of seal skin socks (the poor seals) but the NW Celsius Boots. Some Googling later and a few enquiries to our local friendly bike shop, a pair was ordered in size 11 (the size I take for every pair of shoes I have owned in the last 10 years). I must mention 2 separate people told me “they come up small” but I ignored them.
Boots arrived at said bike shop and I went up to try them on…… Of course the 2 people were right and they were too small. “If you get some, they come up small. Trust me” Another pair were ordered and another 24 hours waited.
Boots pickup, take 2; This time they fitted like the proverbial glove and felt like them too, extremely comfortable from the outset with the neoprene collar gently hugging my ankles. I was impressed with the speed lace system and Velcro top covers, both contributing to the feeling of warmth, we were however still in the shop. 20 minutes spent arseing about with attaching a new set of Crank Bros cleats (my fault it took time, not the shoes) which were easy to set up and off home I went.
Clean Bike? – ‘Check’
Several thousand lumens? – ‘Check’
Camel back full? - ‘Check’
Clear lenses? – ‘Check’
Waterproof shoes? Let’s hope so…
So off we went into the darkness, my feet now covered in a pair of snowboarding socks and my new Celsius boots. The first thing I noticed was the stiffness of the soles which are ‘Jaws Carbon reinforced’ according to the blurb. This was definitely an advantage on my Egg Beater pedals which only have a contact point around the cleat and remained stiff under even hard pedaling. The down side to the stiff sole is walking without looking a bit silly but that’s a small price to pay in my opinion, walking is for ramblers anyway.
The boots felt great, noticeably warmer and more comfortable than my old shoes (that will be the thermic insulated construction and Gore-Tex Upper) even without seal skin socks (I’m not killing the poor little things). The test would come when we ploughed through the brook which although only about 6 inches deep always managed to soak my feet previously. Brook splashed through, I awaited the inevitable cold damp toes but they did not come, my feet were still toasty warm. Waterproof – ‘Check’
After about 16 miles in the dark, we arrived back at the secret meeting location, my boots covered in cold wet mud, my feet still lovely and warm and my gloating of others in full swing. After a couple of beers and more gloating, agreement was made between the toasty feet gang that the Northwave Celsius boots were worth every penny of the list price of £149, certainly worth the cheaper price paid by members of the club through the discounts offered by our local shop.
In summary if you are a damp footed MTBer looking for something to go on your Christmas list then you can do a lot worse than the Celsius boots. If you are planning a trip to the North Pole they do an Arctic version too which are even toastier…..