Shimano MW-81 Winter Cycling Shoe Update

The original review of the MW81s is here.

This is an update.  Since the original review, I’ve put a couple hundred miles on the MW81s, in varied conditions, and I’ve continued to be very pleased with them.  Today, conditions stated out in the mid 20s, windy and damp, and I went out for a Mukluk ride.  The shoes performed admirably.  They were dunked in ankle deep water a couple times (the risk of riding along a creek), trudged through numerous snowbanks, across a few squishy marshes, and bushwhacked through some muddy and clay-ey forested areas.  With a pair of Smartwool socks, my feet were toasty warm, despite the 20-30mph winds.

The shoes continue to age well, and show no signs of wear, anywhere on them.  I’m impressed by how well they hold out the cold and water, and by how comfortable they are.  They strike a nice balance between a rigid base to pedal with, and a comfortable fit for all-day biking.  I do have a set of toe cleats screwed in, and find those are very helpful in winter conditions (although not very comfortable for hard surface walking).

With toe warmers, I haven’t found the ‘bottom end’ comfortable temperature with these shoes yet…because we haven’t had any really cold weather.  They’ve performed well in all conditions I’ve thrown at them.  Without toe warmers, my original conclusion (mid-high 20s) is still consistent for me: at or below that range, my feet get cold.

I’ve used these with Eggbeaters and Candy Cs; they’ve worked flawlessly with both sets of pedals.  I will note that putting a Crank Brothers shim under the cleats made engagement/disengagement of the pedals more consistent.

I still give these a solid A.

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7 thoughts on “Shimano MW-81 Winter Cycling Shoe Update

    • Yup…the regular metal tipped Shimano spikes. They’re great in snow/ice/mud, and especially great for walking up steep inclines. They really help with traction. They are not very comfortable for walking, though…

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