13 December 2007

bikefix Exclusive Review: Adidas ClimaWarm MTB Shoe Cover

Damn! It's gotten cold these last few days. Personally, it's hard to get on the bike if it's under 40 degrees. Something that makes it easier, though, is decent winter gear. If your winters are long or days short, bundling up is a fact of life. After freakish varicose veins resulted in a vein stripping procedure, I found that my toes (particularly in the operated-on left leg) would get cold awfully early. This meant that winter night rides and early morning commutes became uncomfortable very quickly. A pair of neoprene shoe covers made a huge difference- keeping wind out and heat in. Unfortunately, the soles were also neoprene and got torn up after just a few hike-a-bikes, letting the toe portion flip up and cold wind in.

So, when replacing the original pair, I paid a lot of attention to the bottoms of the shoes. Adidas (part of the same company that owns Mavic, who designs their cycling line) hasn't made a huge splash in the cycling world, but the few items that I have used have been very well thought out. Case in point: the company's ClimaWarm MTB Shoe covers.

A mountain bike specific bootie (a less sturdy road version is available), the ClimaWarms very stiff reinforced soles made out of a coarse Cordura-like material that is showing very little sign of wear after about 1/2 winter's use. As long as you remove any toe studs from your riding shoes, they look set to last quite a while, which is fantastic. The uppers are a neoprene material printed with Adidas' trademark three stripes which look like they could be reflective but don't seem to be (a missed opportunity, in my opinion- if you're going to have them, might's well make them useful). The logos are a bit garish, but we'll live. At the rear is a 1/2in wide hook & loop closure in sort of an inverted 'L' configuration- a long strip up the back of the ankle with a tab working it's way around the outside of the leg. The Velcro is backed with very reflective material, which ruined about half of our photos. I was initially worried about the Velcro's ability to keep everything in place (coming from a zipper), but it hasn't been a problem at all in use. It may actually be more robust, as it forces you to pull the covers around the shoe rather than relying on a zipper that is strongest when already closed.

Complaints? None, really. Not inexpensive at $50, but they seem to be quality. Less material would make them easier to stuff in a pack mid-ride, but it would no doubt compromise durability and/or warmth. The size medium here (the 'L' you see in the photos stands for Left) fit my size 44 Shimano mountain bike shoes snugly- 46 or bigger may want to go for the large. The branding may not be to every one's liking (I, for one, could do without it), but seeing as that's the worst I can say, that's pretty darn good.



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