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45NRTH Evicts Fasterkatt for new Japanther Wet Weather Cycling Boot

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45nrth japanther cycling bike rain boot (8)

If you listen to all of the #crossiscoming hashtags (#crossishere?), it’s pretty clear that fall weather is on the way. Not just the sloppy mud associated with cyclocross but the cold wind and rain “shoulder” seasons are known for. 45NRTH is preparing for colder weather with their all new Japanther cycling boots. Taking the place of their previous Fasterkatt boots, the Japanther rocks out with a redesigned upper for better fit while maintaining the same level of protection for wet and cold climates…

45nrth japanther cycling bike rain boot (10)

45nrth japanther cycling bike rain boot (9) 45nrth japanther cycling bike rain boot (6)

Key to the performance of the Japanther is a new upper with a waterproof membrane and a rubberized shell that extends above the ankle. When combined when combined with a rubberized lace cover and water resistant zipper, the boot should provide excellent protection against wetness in temperatures from 25°F to 40°F.

The Japanther also has a new adjustable ankle pipe that is responsible for a better fit for people with different sized lower legs. The fit around the ankle is critical to keep the boots dry since water could enter the top if it is loose. Of course being a fall/winter boot the Japanther has plenty of reflective accents for the darker times,

45nrth japanther cycling bike rain boot (7)

Available in both two bolt mountain and three bolt road soles, the mountain sole continues the use of a Hypergrip outsole. Hypergrip uses Microglass filament lugs to increase grip on wet and icy surfaces, and continues to do so even as the tread wears. Bonded to a nylon midsole, Japanthers should be good for longer rides and even cyclocross.

Inside the boot, there is a three-piece foot bed with waffle EVA foam, a heat reflective aluminum layer, and a covering of  1mm wool felt. The three parts combine to create a foot bed that offers additional warmth between you and the pedals or the ground.

Sold in men’s wide 36-50 (no 49) and in full sizes only, Japanthers will sell for $225 for both the road and mountain versions and will be arriving at dealers in late September.

45nrth.com

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Papi
Papi
8 years ago

$225 for winter bike riding shoes? No thanks. I have Netflix.

fbhidy
fbhidy
8 years ago

@Papi
…get off the couch (or trainer) and ride (outside!)

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Sweet! this might be exacltly what I am looking for this winter! I’m sick of my feet freezing

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 years ago

$225 is reasonable, my Shimano MW-81 were $250 in 2011 and worth every penny.

NaturBoy
NaturBoy
8 years ago

Or flat pedals and a winter boot (e.g. snowshoe boots)

Collin S
8 years ago

The million dollar question is if they improved their zipper situation. The fasterkatts used some super thin zipper that would eventually break, sometimes in the matter of just a few rides. A lot of the time if road grime or mud got in the zipper teeth, when you tried to take them off, they’d break. My LBS had just about every pair they sold returned with the same problem.

45NRTH “fixed” the issue with a recall giving them a stouter zipper only to suffer from the same thing. Why have a zipper at all?

Handsome Dick Manitoba
Handsome Dick Manitoba
8 years ago

My question is what does the band Japanther think about its name being ripped off for some shoes?

Volsung
Volsung
8 years ago

I got some of the first Fasterkatts when they cam out. They broke the first time I zipped them up. I pointed this and a few other flaws on a bike forum and 45nrth responded with a blog post teaching people how to operate a zipper.

A combination of poor design and poor customer service makes me hesitant to try any of their stuff again. Their tires are great, but their soft goods were designed on computers and tested in coolers and ice rinks. That’s not the real world.

MSP_Greg
MSP_Greg
8 years ago

@Collin,

> 45NRTH “fixed” the issue with a recall giving them a stouter zipper only to suffer from the same thing.

Problem with the ‘new’ shoes with the heavier zipper. Very tight across the top of the foot.

They still work, zipper is (sort of) workable, but not as it should be, and seems to leak.

Wonder if 45NRTH will exchange old shoes for the new ones?

Greg

Moby
Moby
8 years ago

I ordered a pair of fasterkatts last year and promptly returned them due to the poor ankle fit, which seems to be a common problem with winter cycling shoes. I’ve gone through 3 different brands, and yes, I have small ankles, but come on, this is one of the most critical aspects of making a winter shoe actually work. Hopefully these will be better without turning it into a boot (I hope the lacing and inner doesn’t extend over the instep).

Mitch
Mitch
8 years ago

@Collin S- The problem with the zipper was the severe bend going from the foot to the ankle. The new Japanther has a different zipper that has less stress on the individual zipper links that should make for a more durable zipper.

titeass
titeass
8 years ago

Ever since Waitrose announced they’re going to start charging 5p for their plastic bags I’ve been looking for an alternative. I think at $2.25 these represent good value.

GreenGiant
GreenGiant
8 years ago

I know $225 seems expensive, but as Slow Joe said, my Shimano MW-81’s are maybe one of my favorite things that I own. Having warm and dry feet two hours into a winter night ride in the rain (or just when its cold) is priceless.

Bob
Bob
8 years ago

I second Slow Joe Crow, a good pair are worth the money. Don’t remember what I paid for my Diadora Polaris but the cost was soon forgotten when I did a 25 degree MTB nite ride.

s
s
8 years ago

I have the Fasterkatt version 2 with the stronger zipper. While my pair lasted an entire season, I had to be really, really, really careful about zipping and unzipping those shoes. As others have said, it was also weirdly tight around the ankle.
The zipper was anything buy waterproof – it leaked like crazy.

That said, I really did enjoy riding in them, when it wasn’t wet. They’re warm, stiff, and comfortable on 50-70miles rides around 30F.

If you look at the picture of the Japanther above, you can see that the “waterproof” zipper is separating. In order for a zipper to be even vaguely waterproof, it must tightly seal up once zipped. The Fasterkatt definitely didn’t, and I see no indication this Japanther will be any different.

Alex
Alex
8 years ago

There is no such thing as a waterproof zipper. YKK, the maker of the best zippers around, advertise their wet weather zippers as water-tight. That’s a lower standard, but realistic considering what a zipper does and how easy water gets through small spaces. Looks also like they are using a semi-autolocking slider. Puller in the down position as shown in the pics locks the slider in place, flip it up and it moves. Lots of higher end jerseys/jackets use such an arrangement. Still not sold on zippers, they tend to break on footwear/shoe covers. Give me some Velcro for long lasting, easy to use, non-clogging closures.

Tomi
Tomi
8 years ago

Not sure why the author mentionned Cyclocross. A cyclocross event is too short for cold feets to be an issue. For the handful of events where it might be needed I just use disposable toe warmers.

Those winter shoes are more helpful to people commuting and training daily in very cold areas.

Jim Mac
Jim Mac
8 years ago

@Handsome Dick, we must be ‘Blood Brothers’…was thinking the same thing!

Quinn
Quinn
8 years ago

25 degree night rides- around here it’s 10 degree daytime rides, even if the Japanther can handle 10 degrees, at $225, 2 wool socks, Shimano MT-53 and Gortex shoe covers is a whole lot cheaper and works just as well.

ez
ez
8 years ago

I had the same thought about the band… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJmn59mizGQ

Saddlesniffer
Saddlesniffer
8 years ago

Just remember this is a Minnesota based company so anyone who lives in warmer weather climents these with be prefect for those 65 degree days when you already have on all your warmers and long sleeve thermals.

Dan Emmons
Dan Emmons
8 years ago

I just picked up a pair of the 2 bolt (SPD compatible) 45NRTH Japanthers. I’m from Milwaukee, WI — I’ll give a review later.

Joel
Joel
8 years ago

I ride in Sidi Eagle 5’s with Sealskin waterproof long socks, this seems to work for me riding the UK Lake District all winter and my feet are dry and warm-ish!

Graybeard
8 years ago

I bought a pair of Japanthers because I wanted a lightweight, insulated, fall/spring, light winter shoe. Booties are a hassle for me. I owned a pair of Fasterkatts – retuned them immediately because of poor fit. I gave 45N a second chance and bought the J-thers. Within 5 minutes of my first ride in driving rain, I experienced a serious pressure point on the top, inside part of my ankle. Had to stop several times and finally loosen the inner boot to eliminate pain. It has persisted on every ride. Only solution so far is to loosen the inner boot. These shoes are not for me. Bummer. Try them on before buying!! Not sure what my options are now….

John Adair
John Adair
8 years ago

Whether FasterKatt or Japanther, 45NRTH’s warranty process and customer orientation is seriously flawed. Not only did they evict FasterKatts, they evicted this customer.

After almost a year of hoops and patience trying to get our FasterKatt’s replaced, the RETAILER where we purchased FasterKatts break ties with 45NRTH. To my amazement, 45NRTH sees this complication as my problem, not theirs. All parties agree defective boots were under warranty, all parties agree they were returned, and parties agree that we were due a replacement pair of boots.

Ready for this? Since our retailer was now out of the picture, I asked 45NRTH to have one of their on-line dealers ship the replacement product to me…they refused! Then 45NRTH said they could not honor the year-old claim unless I took my claim to a local shop (60 mile trip). I understand them wanting to support LBS but to do this at the expense of the customer and LBS? That’s just so wrong!

They could have done something far more streamlined and customer oriented but instead put us through an endless series of bureaucratic obstacles.

Even if their Japanther product is superior to the faulty FasterKatts, their warranty has proven to be absolutely worthless to us. I may be old-fashioned in my thinking but to me, a POOR WARRANTY=POOR PRODUCT …

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

I had a completely different experience with my Fasterkatts. The zipper did break, but before that the laces got kinks in them I could no longer operate the sliding locks. I contacted 45nrth and Matt immediately got back to me. He sent replacement laces within that week. It wasn’t till a couple of weeks later when the zipper broke after only a handful of rides. I emailed Matt again and sent him a picture. He asked if I had a receipt and I did manage to locate it. (I sent h another pic. He told me to see if there was a dealer or a bike shop nearby, to give them all his contact info. and he would see to resolve this problem. I went to The dealer and dropped off the Fasterkatts. 2 days later the shop called and said that they replaced my Fasterkatts with the new Japanthers and that I could pick them up. In my experience their costumer service was stellar.

David Schlabowske
8 years ago

I picked up a pair of Japanthers on sale after I got sick of my three-year-old Lake’s, which are comfy and reasonabley, but seem to do a better job holding water in than keeping it out. I purchased the Japanthers because they are billed as very water tight. I only have 40 miles on them, but so far they are very uncomfortable at the ankle, as mentioned above. I cannot loosen them enough to stop the pressure point at my ankle as @Graybeard said he could do. I will try to break them in a bit longer and see if I can reverse the tongue so it doesn’t dig in to my ankle bones, but otherwise these are going up for sale. Luck I got a great price on them.

David Schlabowske
8 years ago

Oops, I meant “reasonably warm”

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