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To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Winter Shoes Review: Garneau Klondike and Mudstone

With NYC trapped in the grasp of winter we have been relying heavily on gear from our list of Our Favorite Winter Cycling Kit. However this year we have also been testing some new equipment not currently featured on that list: hardcore winter shoes from our friends at Garneau - specifically the Klondike and the Mudstone. How did they perform training and commuting in NYC? Read on to find out.

The Klondike: Reviewed by Scott

As an Australian and recent transplant to NYC the idea of having a winter cycling shoe was certainly a novel idea to me. However after a few morning rides that dipped into the teens (yes Fahrenheit, I am fluent in both languages) it was clear that my usual cold riding combo of merino socks and oversocks were no longer going to make the grade.

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Enter the Klondike; winter specific cycling shoes from Garneau. The Klondike features an inner bootie with a BOA closure system and a velcro adjusted wind-proof outer for insulation from the cold. The insole of the inner bootie is features a Thinsulate construction which is designed to insulate the inner shoe from any coldness of the outer sole. The soles are treaded and super grippy (technical term) from well known barefoot shoe provider Vibram. The shoes are designed for use with MTB pedals only which is not an issue as most of the team have adapted their Steeples as winter training bikes.

With all the marketing descriptions out of the way, let’s cut to the chase, how do they actually perform?

I usually suffer from cold feet especially from 40 degrees and below but since riding in the Klondike I haven’t had that feeling once. I have done 4 hour+ training rides in 32 and below with no issues except for my feet getting a little too warm when the day “heats” up. In fact I haven’t had to use my merino socks once with Klondike, rather opting for normal cycling socks, and in fact it would have to get close to sub zero for me to do so, in which case I probably shouldn’t be riding outdoors anyway!

The fit is true to size and with the BOA closure system you are able to dial up the tightness to your choosing and without any hot spots. Now the shoes are a little on the chunky side and they aren’t winning any weight weenie awards but nor are they trying to. The extra bulk and weight is 100% worth it in my opinion to avoid the dreaded cold feet. Whilst the winter has been devoid of much snowfall I have been able to test how grippy the sole is by walking up and down many a pre-war building staircases with supreme confidence and can only assume that this grip would translate to hike-a-biking in the snow as well.

Overall the Klondike is an extremely well constructed shoe that has become my only winter option to keep my feet toasty warm and avoid long rides on the trainer.

The Mudstone: Reviewed by Corey

I have poor circulation in my hands and feet. The fall-into-winter transition here in the Mid-Atlantic usually sees me scrambling for the proper layering combination of shoes, socks, and booties that will keep my toes warm without sweating. Once, I went as far as keeping a journal of meteorological conditions and clothing choices, thinking that I could create some hyper-scientific method of selecting my gear. This failed, of course. Most days, I simply consider frosty digits an inevitable outcome and simply hope to delay the onset.

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In search of a new solution, I was happy to test out Garneau’s Mudstone Winter Shoes. Garneau bills the Mudstones as “great for mountain biking, fatbiking, or any type of riding done in cold and wet conditions.” The insulated, inner-bootie is sized to allow for wearing a thicker sock (more on that later) without needing to go up a shoe size. It features a boa dial for tightening the shoe to your foot along with a zip-closure/velcro-flap combination to keep wind and water at bay. The flat outsoles are designed for easy walking and sure-footed traction and include a recessed plate for 2-bolt cleat attachment (I prefer Crankbrothers).

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Though the weather in NYC this winter has been atypical, not allowing for a full test of the water/snow-resistant capabilities of the Mudstones, we have been “blessed” with a few frigid days that sent me scrambling for the right combination of clothing to stave off numbness in my toes. I have been using the Mudstones on my early morning commutes to work, and the best complement I can give them, or any article of clothing for that matter, is that I didn’t think about my feet at all on those rides. These boots allowed me to commute to work in regular socks without wanting for more. The high cuff was initially quite noticeable, especially when compared with my normal footwear, but I stopped finding it obtrusive after a few rides. I am able to detect some flex in the soles, but that aids in the “walkability” of the shoes. I’m also not sure that race-ready stiffness is the best option for workday commutes.

Tough enough for NYC streets, and happy toes all around. You can have these Mudstones when you pry them from my cold dead hands, or just buy your own.

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