Category Archives: Gear

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Shimano SH-MW81 Winter MTB Shoes

Although these are MTB boot the Shimano SH-MW81 shoes have been designed the while thinking about us road bikers who like running SPDs through the wetter and colder months of the year.   The cleat fits neatly inside the wide tread which provides good grip when walking.  The fully reflective upper strap and other well-positioned details on the sides and back provide 360 degree visibility so I found these really good for my commute home in the dark.

Shimano MW81 winter boots

There is also a tread-less road version (SH-RW80)  which are Look, SPD-SL and SPD compatible.

I was warned that the sizing is on the small side so I ordered a size up at 43.  I should have gone for 44.  With anything more than thermal undersocks the boots are too restrictive.  However, being a lazy fecker and not having enough motivation to return them I found the boots way more comfortable if I removed the bottom liner.   This isn’t an issue as the cleat fitting is below yet another liner and it doesn’t appear to effect the low temperature performance.  With thermal undersocks and a winter bike sock (GripGrab’s Foot Love) the chunky offset straps allow for loads of adjustment and the ankle surround which also has vecro makes for a good seal. Weight is approx 400g each shoe but they feel lighter and are not overly bulky.

I’m mainly using the shoes for my 30km each way commute on the road with my winter bike (GT Aggressor).  I do use the Felt Z95 on occasion when it’s really dry but then I use my normal shoes with neoprene covers.

The tread on these shoes has a decent amount of grip even in the wet and are great for getting on and off the train (I have 30 mins train ride to add in to my total commute).

The MW 81s are rugged, and shrug off mud and seem suited to heavy use. The solid construction includes reinforced toe and heel area, and a durable Polyurethane coated leather upper which is both scuff resistant and easy to clean.

At anything above 0 Centigrade these shoes perform very well indeed with toasty toes without associated sweatiness – these shoes have breathable gortex which also helps keeps the wet out but as there are vent holes in the top the rain does get in eventually. Down to about -5 C I do get chilly toes but only chilly, not numb and frozen like with my normal bike shoes.  Below 5 C and the numbness sets in although only after 45 mins.


Good solution for all-weather types looking for quality low maintenance winter shoes.