Last year, Minnesota-based 45Nrth launched a winter biking boot, the Wölvhammer, which we rocked for months of snow-riding and eventually gave a “gear of the year award.” The beefy Wölvhammers kept us warm in the most extreme of winter days, including below zero. Our review was appropriately titled “No More Cold Feet.”
The news this week from 45Nrth is a bike shoe made for autumn and mild winter days. Called the Fasterkatt, the shoe/boot is a SPD-compatible model made for days between 25 and 45 degrees F.
I got a first look at them last week. According to David Gabrys, a 45Nrth brand manager, the Fasterkatt was made to be “a performance boot designed to replace the need for shoe covers.”
They weigh 21 ounces (Euro size 46) a foot, which is a third or so lighter than the Wölvhammers, though they are not as warm.
“We’ve been watching people modify their shoes and shoe covers for years, telling us there was a clear need for something better suited for transition-season cycling,” Gabrys added.
For many climates, including the coasts, the shoe will work all winter long. They tie inside and then zip closed to seal out the weather and the wind.
It stands out from similar transition-season setups by being what the brand calls, “highly water resistant.” There’s an insulated inner bootie inside and a watertight rubberized fabric outer.
To keep muck and cold from seeping in through the SPD cleat, 45Nrth sealed the bottom with a membrane as well.
For added warmth, the inside of the boot has an insole made of felted wool and aluminum weaved in a waffle pattern. Gabrys states this combination “reflects and stores heat” to help ensure feet stay warm.
Like the Wölvhammer, the Fasterkatt is made for walking in addition to pedaling. The above-noted “micro-glass” technology adds grains of glass to a rubber outsole to increase traction. The extra grip will be appreciated on slippery pavement (wet or snowy) or on a muddy cyclocross course.
The Fasterkatt is scheduled for release in bike shops in October. We’re eager to spin in them before our home base of Minnesota turns frigid and white.
They will cost $225. This is $100 cheaper than the Wölvhammers. For cyclists looking for a performance shoe to keep their feet dry and warm without having to wear shoe covers, the price might be worth the warmth, water resistance, and convenience the Fasterkatt boots add.
—Amy Oberbroeckling is assistant editor.