Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (1)

Winter has officially started, the New Year is about to be rung in, and for a lot of us – it’s cold. For me, a good pair of winter boots has always been one of the most important pieces of Winter equipment. If your feet are cold, you’ll be cold. Not to mention that even when our trails are frozen, the stream crossings are often still wet. Keeping your feet dry and warm is critical for end of the ride comfort.

No stranger to winter boots, Lake has been making SPD compatible shoes to handle the cold for years. Stepping in at the latest and greatest, the MXZ303 is Lake’s true Winter boot. Rated to temperatures below zero (f), water resistant, and fitted with a chunky Vibram outsole, the MXZ303 looks ready for snow business.

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (12)

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (13)

At the same time both sleek and chunky looking, the 303 uses a Pittards WR100 Full grain leather upper which Lake calls water resistant. From the looks of the boots you would have to stand in a stream for a while before water made its way through the dual layer construction, but that’s something we’ll test in the long term. From the side the boots look a bit bulky, but looking at the boot from behind you notice how slim the profile is which should help with pedaling.

Lake has become a big fan of the Boa retention system and the 303 makes use of a single 30A closure to cinch up the lower part of the outer tongue. Instead of a second Boa like the MX145, the 303 uses a quick release buckle that is easily adjusted with the velcro strap on the back. The neoprene cuff makes a pretty effective barrier to keep snow out of your boots, while the generous leather pull tab makes it easy to pull them on. Due to the design of each it’s pretty easy to adjust the fit of the 303s even when wearing heavy gloves.

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (2)

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (8) Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (7)

While the Pittards WR100 provides protection from the elements, inside there is a second layer of Outlast and 3M Thinsulate lining. The temperature regulating Outlast material is found in the heel and tongue liners with the toe box insulated with Thinsulate to keep your toes toasty.

Built on Lake’s Z last which is shaped specifically for Winter riding, I find the fit to be very similar to the MX145s. This meant that while I normally wear a 41.5 in Lake shoes, I went with a 42 for the 303s which is the right size. The boots are offered in wide sizes from 39-50, but I found the wides to be too wide when I tried on the MX145 Wides. Obviously everyone will be different, so you may need to try on a few pairs before you find the right size.

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (9)

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (10) Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (11)

Instead of the HyperGrip Ice Lock outsole found on the MX145s, the 303 opts for a more aggressive Vibram Mountain V rubber outsole. SPD compatible, the boot uses a fiberglass injected nylon midsole for a boot that can be pedaled but still is plenty walkable. The 303s do not ship with any toe spikes, but the sole does have two replaceable studs per shoe which will probably be useful down the line.

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (5)

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (6)

As one last barrier from the cold, the insoles are a 3 layer design with Thermosol composite insulation in the middle. Think of it like an air bubble between your foot and the bottom of the shoe. Air is one of the best insulators, so if you can keep a pocket of air between the contact points it should work quite well. We’ll see how well these hold up over the Winter. The insoles also use a heat reflective material on both sides to help cold out and the heat in.

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (3) Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (4)

Likely owing to the amount of material and glue holding these things together, the boots have a 12g difference between the two, though we’re guessing you won’t notice the difference. Compared to the MX145s which are actually pretty light, the 303s are just over 100g more per boot.

Available through Stage Race Distribution, the MXZ303 boots retail for $299 which if they perform as advertised – should be totally worth it.


  1. Bob Wallace on

    Just bought a pair and was extremely disappointed. I replaced an old pair of Lake boots and found these to be good only down to about 20F. Below that requires vapor barrier and wool sox and only then can you almost keep your toes warm to 0F.

  2. Tandem Guy on

    My wife and I each got a pair for Christmas. My only regret is that I didn’t get a pair of Lake boots years earlier. These boots are super easy to put on, very comfortable to wear and pedal in, and most importantly, keep our feet warm. Highly recommended!

  3. wheelz on

    Can’t recommend these boots enough! Make sure you follow the advice I was given and size up one size and get the wide version. I actually have somewhat narrow feet, but the wide boots are not all that wide and give the feet a bit extra space to keep warm. I’ve tested these down to 15 F / -10 C while out for 7 hours and my feet stayed warm when previously they were frozen. Normally I wear 45 in cycling shoes, but the 46 Lakes (wide) were perfect.

  4. Sevo on

    3 days of sub zero riding for hours on end. Love them. I’m with tandem guy above, should have picked up a set years ago. A must have if you ride in fhe cold. And if you don’t ride in the cold these boots will make you want to.

  5. Mattbyke on

    Oh Matt ! You haven’t lived , till you get a frost bitten toe or two !
    In all seriousness , buy these. I even studded mine , for the ice biking here in New England.

  6. Craig on

    My Lake winter shoes are twelve years old and they still keep my feet nice and toasty. Way better than any shoe cover! Well worth the money!

  7. will cuira on

    I fooled around with shoe covers for years and still suffered lots of frozen toes. I bought them one size too large and add socks as it gets colder. Have worn them down to -10F with double smart wool socks. They are not just warm, but very comfortable to ride in.

  8. Don on

    Curious if anyone is using these for road riding (with mtn pedals) or if anyone can recommend a winter road shoe, as highly as these. On the road we mostly avoid deep water and snow/ice, but I’m dealing with higher speeds and/or 30+ knot headwinds. Thanks.

  9. Mike on

    @Don – these are suitable for road riding with MTB pedals in really cold climates.
    In Toronto I use mine from December to February, then go back to CX145 water-proof boots as soon as the temperatures climb back above freezing.
    While the 145 is lighter, the MXZ303 is without a doubt the warmer model.
    Let me know if you have any other questions at all, and yes, going one size up is usually the key for maximum warmth!

    Mike Yakubowicz
    Stage-Race Distribution

  10. Jack on

    @Don – I have a pair of winter boots ( mine happen to be Peal Izumi ) and I ride Road, CX and Mtn in them. I wear them on any ride from about 45′ on down. Using my winter boots across 3 different bikes is the main reason I use Crank Brothers pedals across all my bikes so one set of shoes can connect to any of them.

    They may not be as efficient or light as road shoes – but being able to stay out for 2-3 hours on a chilly day is a lot better training than not going out at all!

  11. Liz on

    I also live in Toronto and trying to find a boot that will fit in my toe cages. I dont like clipless pedals for commuting which is mostly how I use my bike. I need something wind/waterproof and warm. Concerned that with the tread, it might be too bulky for toe cages.


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