I took a lunchtime ride to Ned today to drop off some Discos headed for Ohio! Oh, and to ride my fatbike another time since winter has returned for a couple of days. The trails werealmost dry up here, now?…not so much. But perfect fatbike riding conditions! I headed over to Mag, down Doe Trail (just…perfect…) to the P.O, Ace Hardware and back the way of Sugar Mag to 355, etc and it was all rideable, even the steeper ups because of the wetter snow.
ANYWAYS, i wanted to share a winter shoe that is perfect for fatbiking with flat pedals – the Technica “NoStop” winter shoe. (I’m in no way affiliated with Technica BTW.) Just for background, I have had a pair of Northwave Arctic’s since 2000 and have loved them. I put a wool liner in there (from my Keen wool clog-like shoes) and that helped their warmth a bunch. But the Goretex wears out over time and they became not-so-waterproof even though they do breathe pretty well. Two years ago I got a pair of the Lake winter boots and really like them. They don’t breathe much at all, but are warmer than the Northwaves and have a higher cuff to keep out snow when off the bike. The cuff is kinda clunky and sticks out though if you have skinny ankles like me. Plus, I have a love/hate relationship with the BOA straps on the Lakes. They work, sure, but they will eventually break or just plain snap off. They have a great (free, lifetime, no questions asked) warranty and replacement policy if you happen to break a BOA buckle though so that’s a good thing. I had to send my whole left shoe back to them and they fixed it for free within a month of sending it to them! Awesome.
The other thing is that I’ve always used clipless pedals for winter riding and now I’m wondering why I didn’t goto flat pedals sooner. Enter this winter. The Technica NoStop is definitely not made for winter cycling but it’s pretty much spot on for it. It has Primaloft inside, and some kind of waterproofing on the outside that is definitely waterproof (“Technidry”) – at least this first season. I’ve stuck my foot in (accidentally) puddles several times and never gotten my feet wet. The down side is that it pretty much does not breathe, but I think that quality is overrated for footwear in winter. I’d rather have a vapor barrier and waterproof-ness than more breathability. I’ve only ridden in temps down to 10 degrees F and was toasty warm in these with a regular mid-weight ski sock (Smartwool PhD). I think they would go sub-zero with heavier socks no problem. We just haven’t had the coldest winter here in Colorado so I haven’t been able to truly ‘test’ them at lower temps yet.
They call it a “mid” top but the cuff is pretty high at 8″ from the bottom of the sole. They are really pretty light, but not at all stiff. But that’s what the big platform pedal is for anyhow, right? They also look pretty cool when you’re not riding in them. I find myself wearing them a lot when not on the bike. The sole is more for walking on hardpack but I’ve been surprised at how well they grip on whatever snow conditions you are huffing up. The biggest issue i’ve had with other winter boots or shoes is that their sole just sucks as far as their contact with the flat pedals. They usually have pretty large tread and the pegs of the pedals never fit well with the pattern of the shoe’s tread. The sole of most winter shoes or boots is also somewhat curved to aid in walking whereas these are just plain flat. The Technicas are simply just are like glue on flat pedals. I question other companies having big lugged soles for winter shoes. They will either pack up with wet snow or give you marginally better traction in dryer snow. The Salomon Snowtrip boots come the closest to the Techincas as far as I’ve experienced, but the sole is still less grippy on flat pedals than the Technicas. The Salomon’s also have a stiffer higher cuff and regular laces all the way up with no place to hide them. The Technicas have a big velcro ankle closure belt that makes it easy to hide the laces after tying so they don’t flop around and potentially get caught in your chainring.
Their longevity is in question since there’s lots of stitching between the fabric…but I’ll have to refresh y’all on that in a year or two. For this winter though, they are my primary winter shoe for riding and kickin.