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Shimano MW81 Winter Boots review

Shimano MW81 Winter Boots review

The Goretex lined and fully sealed MW81 Winter Boots from Shimano have been the perfect solution to keeping the feet warm and dry through the winter months.

Shimano MW81 Winter Boots will keep your feet warm and dry.
Shimano MW81 Winter Boots will keep your feet warm and dry.

Most mountain bike shoes are designed for use in the summer and often have many mesh panels to aid cooling. Great when it’s hot, not so good when you’re splashing through puddles. The MW81’s, however, are fully sealed from the elements, with a Gore-Tex membrane lined inner, along with a large neoprene ankle cover; there’s no way for the water to get in. Even on really soggy rides, I didn’t experience any problems with water seeping down my legs into the boots. The leather upper is polyurethane coated so water and mud just slips right off.

They’re warm too, thanks to the Polar Fleece insulation. Slipping into them reveals a very comfortable, good fitting shoe. I tested a size 45 (my usual size) and they came up just right. There’s enough space to allow you to wear thicker winter socks. I’ve been using them for plenty of winter riding, I’ve have been out in the snow, and they’ve been fantastic. Nothing, so far, has breached their defences. I’ve been nothing but impressed.

The fibreglass sole is stiff but not so stiff that walking is an unpleasant experience. Good job too, because there’s more chance you’ll have to push up steep muddy climbs and snow covered ascents at this time of year. The sole is reasonably aggressive, and clears quickly when stomped on the pedal. There’s also provision for a pair of studs at the front if you need more purchase.

Takes regular two bolt cleats with plenty of fore-at adjustment.
Takes regular two bolt cleats with plenty of fore-at adjustment.

They’re a really well made pair of boots. They’re reinforced around the toe and heel area, so you can comfortably (within reason) wallop rocks and bash the ground without painfully stumping your toe. They do feel a little more bulky than regular shoes, but after a few minutes of riding you really don’t notice any difference. Furthermore, they’re easy to wash down after a ride, just a quick hose pipe and brush down and they’re ready for the next ride.

That only leaves the price. £149.99 is the thick end of a lot of money. The main argument against them is using cheaper overshoes over your current shoes, or investing in purpose built winter boots. I’ve never had much joy with overshoes, they never fit well nor last long before they’re falling apart, so the MW81’s look the more appealing option. Certainly a lot less fuss than fitting overshoes.

A Gore-Tex liner membrane keeps the water outside and away from your feet.
A Gore-Tex liner membrane keeps the water outside and away from your feet.


Put an end to cold and wet feet and embrace all the benefits of Shimano’s excellent MW81 Winter Boots. They may be expensive, but they’re a worthwhile investment.


Weather proof
Grippy sole


Pricey, but a good investment for anyone who wants to ride through the winter

Price: £149.99
More information:

What Shimano says:

  • Waterproof Gore-Tex® Insulated Comfort Footwear liner
  • High visibility reflectors on rear and side of shoes
  • Triple offset straps prevent pressure points
  • Fleece liner insole for added insulation and heat retention
  • Volume performance last accommodates fit with thick socks
  • Fibreglass reinforced polyamide sole with optional spike mount
  1. Jez

    I’ve also been riding in these boots for the last couple of months and concur with everything David said in his review. If you shop around you can get them for a bit less; I paid £120 in a sale. Still a chunk of money, but better than £150. However, if you regularly ride in the winter they are worth the cost. I did two hour a sub-zero night ride a couple of weeks ago through mud and water and my toes were still comfortable at the end. All of my buddies were complaining of frostbite! I hosed my feet off at the end and my socks were still dry. Great product.

  2. George Budd

    These boots transformed winter riding for me – no more overshoes that come undone, no more soaking wet feet and no more freezing toes. Love them so much I bought both the road and Mtb versions. Combine with Woolie Boolie socks for ultimate warmth.

  3. Nobby

    Ditto the above – a fantastic piece of kit that does exactly what it’s intended for.

  4. Cris

    Yes the Shimano boots are good but they are not the best (IMO) gnore the Lake MXZ302 boot and you’ve missed out on an even better boot. I have both, and find the Shimano lacking in the real depths of winter here in the Peak District. the Lake have a far superior sole for the inevitable walking required in deep snow and icey conditions. plus it’s much warmer when needed. I choose shimano boots when it’s cool and wet, and Lake when its winter.

  5. ddraver

    Hmm, I’m going to spit in the soup a bit here. I ve had two of these over the ages and have nt been impressed. If you wear waterproof trousers that can go over the top then you have a chance of leeping your feet dry, but in shorts or anything that does nt cover the top then water simply pours over the top. Now, this is a problem with all winter boots granted, but I ve found that Seal Skin Socks and (if neccessary) a cheap pair of shoes, or alternatively a different style of shoes work much better for UK winter (ie wet) riding.


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