Following the updates to their warm weather road and mountain bike shoes, the new Northwave Extreme RR2 GTX road and XCM2 GTX mountain bike winter cycling shoes bring lighter weight, improved fit and a sleeker design. Using the X-Frame construction with a simple, single ratchet dial closure, the shoes route the cable to provide a secure fit with no pressure points. The other major improvement is the upper neoprene sleeve, which loses the Velcro flap to become a sock-like barrier against the cold.

Technically, the soft cuff was introduced on last year’s models, but both road and MTB versions see a few updates. The bigger, literally and physically, news is the massive new Himalaya extreme conditions shoe shown further down.

northwave extreme GTX road and XCM mountain bike winter cycling shoes

Both the RR2 and XCM2 models use the same upper construction, including the Climaflex collar. This design uses a stretchable Gore-Tex Rattler membrane under a neoprene sleeve with no flaps or panels. The result is an incredibly soft, flexible design that won’t restrict ankle movement or bunch up.

The RR2 GTX (shown above) gets their carbon-and-fiberglass outsole with a stiffness index of 10, near the top of their range. Claimed median weight is 365g, available in sizes 39 to 48. Retail is $329.99. For winter 2018/19, it really only gets minor exterior textural updates.

northwave extreme GTX road and XCM mountain bike winter cycling shoes

The XCM2 mountain bike shoe uses their stiffer carbon XC sole, but with built-in medial zone flex to make them somewhat walkable. The tread lugs on the bottom are connected with a multi-panel TPU panel design to provide traction wherever you’re stepping. This additional grip and rubber panels on the bottom is the major update for winter 2018/19.

Both models use a Gore-Tex DuraTherm Kelvin membrane, which has laminated hollow fibers to both insulate and repel water, combine with a 4-layer aluminum sheet footbed to reflect body heat back to your feet.

Northwave Himalaya extreme winter MTB shoe

2019 Northwave Himalaya winter mountain bike shoes for extreme cold and snow conditions

If a typical winter cycling shoe’s -15°C (5°F) & up to 5°C (41°F) rating won’t cut it, or you know you’re going to be getting into slush and wet, the new Northwave Himalaya might be for you. It has a leather upper with water repellant finish and Thinsulate 400g insulation on the inside. Rubber bumpers all around prevent scuffs.

northwave extreme GTX road and XCM mountain bike winter cycling shoes

The Himalaya uses their pull-cord lacing system, which is easy to use with winter gloves on, but does leave you with cable to tuck into under the Velcro flap. That flap provides full wind protection, and there’s a gaiter attachment over the forefoot if you need to add extra protection.

northwave extreme GTX road and XCM mountain bike winter cycling shoes

Inside, the Himalaya adds thick insulation under the tongue and around your entire foot.

northwave extreme GTX road and XCM mountain bike winter cycling shoes

The Himalaya uses a Michelin tread with large blocks and shaping specifically to offer traction in all conditions. A cleat plate cover comes bolted in place to keep them sealed if you wearing them with flats, but they’re SPD compatible if not. Retail is $279.99, available in sizes 38 to 48, no half sizes. (We’ve inquired about temperature ratings for the Himalaya and will update this post when we hear back)


    • I have a pair of the Celsius boots from many years ago (6+ years old) and they are great shoes. They are not much colder then my Wolvehammers but unlike the 45North, they actually flex in the ankles. The other benifit of that flex is the cuff follows the leg where the 45norths “open” in the front on the up stroke and in the back on the down stroke, letting a little bit of warm air out/cold air in. When its above 20*F, I reach for my old northwaves over the 45North.

      And just for perspective, I ride throughout the winter in Michigan (I always laugh when someone from So-cal talks about the warmth of a winter shoe)

      • I have the road and mountain Celsius boots as well. Hugely versatile, I don’t mess around with booties anymore, under 50 and I’ll wear them with thin socks, around 20 I’ll wear nice wool socks. They ride like normal shoes almost.

      • I have a pair of 45 North. I wear them when temperatures are in the 30’s and below.
        I wear a pair of thin, Merino wool cycling socks and toe warmers in my Norths. That combo gives me as much time as I want cycling in cold temps.
        I agree that the 45North winter cycling boots do not allow ones ankle to flex, but that doesn’t bother me. Cycling in Michigan in winter isn’t about distance. For me, cycling in winter, is all about keeping up with my craft and maintaining for the coming cycle season!

      • Collin, I ride a Salsa Fargo mostly on gravel roads here in SW Michigan, and wondering what you recommend for shoes. My toes are freezing. I am tempted by their Extreme XCM GTX 2 (also comparing Shimano MW701 with Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort), but don’t know if I need the warmth of the Himalaya. I won’t be riding much in the snow or single track, but want to keep riding in cold weather.

    • “Those first two “winter” shoes look like a joke”

      It depends on what your definition of a winter shoe and winter riding is. If you’re standing around chatting about the trail conditions, your feet will get cold in anything less than a big boot. If you’re riding with some intensity, keeping warm doesn’t require a huge, heavy boot that’s not very good for pedaling a bicycle.

  1. I’m the US Brand Manager for Northwave. The Himalaya is rated for -20C to 3C (-4F to 37F). The Extreme models are rated to -15C to 5C (5F to 41F). Warmer socks can take these temps farther down as well.

    • Thanks for the clarification.

      I have an older pair of Grizzly (tie/zipper) and Fahrenheit (pull string) winter boots that are both awesome. I wear them without toe warmers into the low 30’s/high 20’s F and add some chemical heat if the ride is slow with more frequent stopping at lower temps. A pair of Extreme’s will be my next acquisition.

      I had Lake 302’s in the past (way too clunky / heavy) and some of my friends have 45NRTH that also look to be similar in that regard.

  2. I have the Raptor Arctic GTX which according to Northwave are good for down to -13 Celcius. In reality, I can just about make my ~45 minute commute at -5 Celsius, wearing extremely thick merino hunting socks. Below that I just wear my normal winter boots on the flat side of my touring pedals and I can even wear my office socks (down to -20).
    I haven’t tried 45North products and I doubt I will since clipping in for my commute in the winter just isn’t worth 250-300 euros for me when ~100e regular winter boots do just fine at any temperature.

    • I don’t mean to come off as overly critical of my Raptors though, they’re really good shoes for late fall and spring and I got them at a good price so I’m actually rather pleased with the purchase. It’s just that the temperature ratings are rather… optimistic, to put it more diplomatically.

      • It depends a lot on the person. My buddy who’s pretty tall and in his early 50’s wears his cluncky winter cycling shoes starting at like 50*F where most everyone else is still wearing their summer shoes without any booties.

        The other thing for everyone to keep in their heads is sock choice and more importantly, sock fit. If you put something that is tight or constricting then your feet are going to get cold quick as it will constrict blood flow. For all winter shoes, you should find something large/wide enough to allow you to wear thick socks without having your foot feel smushed. Assuming you have the room, your sock should not have too much compression to them.

        • Well I did go 1 size above my usual (44 instead of 43) to accommodate thicker socks and even the super thick hunting socks fit fairly well; my thinner but still “warm” Defeet merino socks fit with room to spare. I did notice last winter when I tried to wear multiple socks that it didn’t work at all, due to being overly tight just like you said.
          I don’t feel my regular winter boots are that much different w/ regards to fit but with them I have no problems at all at -20C regardless of the socks I use, so I’m not very convinced it’s a fit issue or issue with me getting cold feet easily.

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