As we head into winter and the weather starts to change, you’re probably reaching for different layers to keep you warm and dry. But What about your feet? Maybe it’s time for thicker socks, or even shoe covers, but if you really want to keep your feet comfortable this time of year, you need some different boots.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

The concept of a ‘shoulder season’ boot is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements that can be made. Shoulder season typically refers to the months at the tail end of Fall and the beginning of winter, or the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. Those months are usually wet and sloppy, but not cold enough to warrant a full on winter boot. For 45NRTH, those temperatures start at 25ºF/-3ºC, though your mileage may vary.

Personally, after riding the Ragnarök boots down to 21ºF on a cold, wet night ride, I’d have to agree with 45NRTH’s recommendations. The boots are quite a bit warmer than your average summer shoe, but they’re not hotboxes for your feet. With that said, it wasn’t until the temperatures dipped below freezing that I ever felt the need to wear anything other than a summer weight sock. Once temperatures dropped into the 20’s, a mid weight pair of wool socks was all that was needed to keep my feet toasty.

The fit of the Ragnaröks is pretty roomy, so if you run colder than most, you could probably get away with even thicker socks. Just remember that one of the easiest ways to make a boot feel cold is to wear too thick of socks in a boot that’s too small, which cuts off circulation to your toes.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

Actually, one of the best parts of the Ragnarök is the fit. Boots like this can be tricky. It’s difficult to find the right line between roomy for thicker socks, and not so loose that the heel slips while pedaling. To dial in the fit, the Ragnarök uses a two pronged approach with a Boa IP1 reel, and a velcro neoprene cuff. The two work in tandem to keep your heel snug, and the resulting performance is incredible.

Personally, I’m usually running a 41.5 shoe for the summer, and since half sizes are not available in the Ragnarök I went with a 42. This turned out to be the right move as it gave just enough room for thicker socks.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

Add in the fact that the boots are pretty light, and you have a shoe that provides great protection from the elements without feeling like you’re pedaling in a clunky moon boot. This is especially important for folks that have heel clearance or foot rub issues – if your normal shoes work well with your bike, these probably will too.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

Speaking of weather protection, I got to find out just how water proof the shoes were by accident after an unplanned foot-down in a creek. 45NRTH states that the shoes have a 3/4 waterproof membrane, but that the shoe isn’t totally waterproof if the water comes up high enough. You can see the water mark in the photos above, and my foot stayed completely dry.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

On another ride in pouring rain, my feet also stayed dry and warm inside without issue. No need for poorly fitting shoe covers that are a pain to put on and barely do their job anyways! The shoes might not be considered completely waterproof, but you have to really try to get the insides wet. Other than completely submerging your foot up past your ankles, you’re gonna stay dry.

While my Ragnaröks are often covered in mud, they seem to clean up pretty well with water – which is important if you want the reflective feature of the boots. On a night ride recently, a friend surprisingly stated that my shoes were reflective! Yes, yes they are, which is always a good thing if you’re out riding this time of year when daylight is limited. Though if you’re not a fan of the reflective grey look and only plan to ride offroad, there is an all black version as well.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

On the underside, a real rubber outsole with micro-glass filament lugs (five diamond shapes above) seem to provide decent grip in mucky conditions. The micro-glass lugs don’t seem to magically make those moss and algae covered rocks sticky, but the sole seems sufficient overall. The ability to add toe spikes is a nice touch.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

Really, my only criticism of the Ragnarök comes from the performance of the Boa system. Over time as the boots have gotten dirtier, the single Boa dial seems to struggle to evenly tighten the lower part of the boot when you’re putting it on. To overcome this, you have to pull on the lace a bit to put tension on the system and gradually tighten it down. It seems that either the lace guides don’t handle dirt and grime all that well, or the shape of the boot would just benefit from dual Boa dials instead of a single.

However, I should say that I love the convenience the Boa system provides, and how easy the Ragnaröks are to get on and off (the sturdy pull loop on the back helps a lot). There’s nothing like struggling to get off your mud covered boots when you’re cold, wet, and tired after a long ride.

Review: 45NRTH Ragnarök boots step in when the weather starts to turn

Final Thoughts

When it comes to riding this time of year, it’s easy to find excuses. It’s too wet, too cold, too… whatever. Having a pair of shoes just for the time of the year between your summer and winter shoes is certainly a luxury, but if you ride a lot, it’s a luxury worth spending your money on. Especially if it gets you riding more.

At this point, I’ve ridden a lot of different boots in this category, and the Ragnaröks have easily been my favorites. The combination of fit, light weight, and weather proofing makes them an easy choice in a sea of options. The reflective boots are more pricey at $235, though the black version comes in under $200 at $195.

45nrth.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. I recently got these boots as well and agree with the review. The one possible issue I’m having is that the inside of the shoe comes up over the bone on your ankle instead of being below the bone as it is on the outside of the shoe. The material is pretty stiff and I’m finding it tends to rub and is a bit uncomfortable after a while. Hoping the material softens up with additional miles.

    • Mine were rubbing my ankle, too, but I figured out the source of irritation was the edge of the tongue. I just cut away a bit of the tongue with some scissors and that seems to have done the trick.

    • Bump, wish these reviews would include a few comparison notes with other popular options, esp. Shimano Specialized, Mavic, Fizik etc.

  2. The reveiw is pretty spot on. These are the best shoe/boot that I have used so far. However, when its gets really cold in the winter, here in MN, I switch to the Wolvhammer. One thing that I have been playing with is various sock systems to extend the temp range of the Ragnarok into colder territory. I love the weight of these and how they feel pedaling, so to get warmer in colder I have played with a with a liner sock underneath a Showers Pass H2O proof sock. So far I have gotten down to the high teens F with this system and it works for rides around rides around 2 hrs in length. Anything longer gets a bit chilly but tolerable for me. I wear a 45 mountain shoe in the summer and went to a 46 for the specific versatility of various sock combinations. Because the toe box is roomy, it still allows warm air to circulate. With just a mid weight wool sock, i am plenty comfortable in the stated temp range by 45NRTH. The BOA systems and neoprene hook/loop allow for a great fit from lightweight wool socks to a dual sock system. Well done 45NRTH. Everyone’s foot comfort is different, but this has worked for me and the price point is awesome!

    • I find that the key to warm feet is warm legs. The blood must stay warm all the way to the foot or nothing I have on my foot will prevent the cold from taking over. It’s easy to overlook because legs aren’t as sensitive to cold as feet are. Same goes for arms & hands.

  3. All these winter shoes have a neoprene cuff to guard against the elements, but neoprene is a synthetic rubber that doesn’t breathe, so your ankles get hot and sweaty. I have Mavic winter shoes with the same problem.

  4. I agree with mudrock, I wish a winter boot would come along that is not waterproof. If it is below freezing water is usually a solid anyway. I recently go the LOUIS GARNEAU ls-100. They do not keep my feet all that much warmer than shoes with covers and I need to put them by a fan after a ride because the neoprene does not breathe at all.
    Overall pretty good shoe though.

  5. It’s so weird that 45Nrth thought a road cleat mounting boot was too niche of a product but this insanely niche boot is perfect. Would rather go with the shinano boot for half the price at least that would allow riders with leg length discrepancies the ability to add cleat stackers.

  6. Has anyone noticed that the soles are drilled for 3 hole road and then there are plugs in place? You can see it in the pictures above. Makes me wonder if they are planning a road version?

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