LAKE MXZ 300 Review:
I have been riding for a few winters simply using insulated hiking boots and platforms for my foot/pedal choice in extreme cold temps. I have never had any foot coldness at all, but longed to be able to use my clipless pedals in any conditions. Before I had to switch to platforms when it got below freezing.
Last month i saw a good ebay deal on a pair of used Lake MXZ 300 winter boots. They were just like new and i only paid $75. Then the warm weather hit and i really haven't had a good chance to wear them in any real cold temps. Prior to today, the coldest i had ridden in was 20 F.
Today the mercury dipped down to 11 F with a very strong 20 mph North wind that was gusting much higher. Windchills were well below zero. I was cautious about wearing the boots because i had felt mild discomfort at 20 F and i knew today's conditions were much worse. Still I wanted to test them out.
So i headed out and the weather did not disappoint. The strong North wind was particulary fierce today. I think the warm weather we have had made it even harder to take. However, I quickly got pretty comfortable on the bike and rode on. About 1 hour into the ride, my toes started to ache a little. I knew that the ache would quickly intensify, because i have been at this winter cycling deal for a few years and hundreds of rides by now.
The pain grew worse as expected and i spent the last hour of my ride mainly thinking about how much my toes hurt and how poorly designed these shoes are. They really did a LOT of things wrong when they made these "Winter" cycling shoes.
What i think they did wrong"
1. Tried to make a cycling shoe into a winter boot. I think they should find a warm winter boot and try and make it into a cycling shoe. In other words, find a warm winter boot, stiffen the sole, and attach a cleat to it.
2. Pretty much relates to number one, but the shoe is simply cut too narrow. I bought a shoe that was two sizes too big because i had read similar complaints from others. They too said the shoe was too narrow in the toe box. In fact it is pretty much too narrow everywhere. It is said that the new model of this shoe is wider, but i wonder how much.
I have lots of room at the end of my toes but there is still some constriction on the other parts of the foot. Especially the top and bottom of the toes. Just because i have room on the end doesn't mean i have enough on the sides and top, and bottom. I don't.
It might be worth mentioning that i have a pretty narrow foot. I am 6'2" and 150 lbs so pretty much everything on me is narrow.
3. Price. These shoes are WAY to costly for what you get. I can't imagine if i had spent $200 or more on these as is suggested retail. I would likely be very upset. These shoes are just a little bit better than my normal oversized high top Shimano Mountain bike shoes and I spent $30 for them.
Bottom Line: This shoe is overpriced and is too narrow and constricted to be considered a good cycling shoe at very cold temps. The key to warm feet is room. LOTS OF IT! Many people claim that they wear just sandals in the winter with warm wool socks. I believe that it can be done although i have never tried. Sandals are very roomy and not constricting.
I read all sorts of threads on the internet where people are butchering these shoes trying to make them roomier. Some people tear out the seems and try and sew more in. Some lenghten the straps, some stretch the heck out of them. That is a lot of fuss for shoes that cost over $200. It also shows that they don't work great for extreme cold.
Strengths: These shoes are good in temps below freezing down to about 20 or so. Maybe a little lower if the wind isn't high. Also there is a real cool Star Wars factor with these shoes. They have a cool little flame emblem on the side and a piece that wraps around your ankles. (I've never had cold ankles!)