45North Wolvhammer Review

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photo John Watson

I’ve been wearing the 45North Wolvhammer boots all winter, and have been wanting to write a review but felt I needed to get at least a full season on them to have an educated opinion.

And here is that opinion
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My friends, these are the jam.

Since my opinion of this boot is heavily informed by my experiences with my old winter riders, let’s quick talk about them.
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These are my old Lake boots. They are probably circa 2004, but I don’t know as I got them second hand. They have seen me through nine Minnesota winters, and are still kicking, so they’ve got longevity on lock. Please do not take this as a critique of the current generation of Lake boots. I have no idea how good or bad they might be. My pair is a decade old.

My system with the Lakes was to wear a thick sock until ten degrees, then add a neoprene booty for anything under that. It got me through, but cold feet definitely happened on the regular. Also of note is that they are heavy and have no ankle support to speak of and thus pedal like total crap.

The 45North’s however are physically lighter, and I only needed a light sock down to ten degrees and then a thick sock to go as low as -30 windchill with warm tootsies as long as I was moving.

The ankle support is great and I actually think they look pretty good too. They feel way more like a regular cycling shoe than my old standbys.

At $325 they represent a pretty sizable investment for anyone, but I can’t recommend them enough. In my book totally worth the money to never have to worry about cold feet as long as you make an intelligent sock choice.

The only negatives are that I wish the cutout in the sole for the cleat was wider, as you can sometimes “feel” the edges during clip out and the laces are starting to get a little gnarled up due to the plastic speed buckle (you can kind of see it in the above photo). Also, of crucial importance to the comfort of the shoe is where you locate that speed buckle before zipping them up.  If it’s right in front of your ankle, it’s bad news when you flex, you have to make sure it’s high and on the side.

Oh, I almost forgot my favorite thing, they are darn near waterproof.  Twice I put my foot through thin ice and submerged most of the boot in water but my feet never felt it. On those wet cold icy days, it’s damn reassuring to know that you ain’t going to get wet.

I really feel like 45North made a huge contribution to cold weather cyclists everywhere with the Wolvhammer.  Super proud of those guys.