Riding off-road in winter becomes a much more pleasant experience with the Fizik Terra Artica GTX shoes, says cycling journalist Mark Bailey…

Fizik Terra Artica GTX Off-Road Shoes

Price $259.99 / £249.99, fizik.com 

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Pros:

  • Warm and waterproof on cold days
  • Confidence-boosting grippy soles
  • Good versatility

Cons:

  • High price may be an obstacle
  • Narrow toe fit might not suit wider feet

Comfort: 4
Durability: 4
Stability: 4
OVERALL: 4

From chilly mountain bike loops to gravel rides over icy trails, cyclists are missing a trick if they don’t embrace the joys of winter riding. Rather than hibernate indoors, the cosy, waterproof Terra Artica GTX from Venetian brand Fizik will embolden you to explore off-road in winter, with their warm GORE-TEX membrane and impressively grippy sole. See how they compare to the rest of the best cycling shoes.

I’ve experimented with winter cycling shoes over the years, with mixed results. It’s admittedly a tough ask for manufacturers, with a cyclist’s fixed foot position and the speed-induced wind chill factor exacerbating the issue. But Fizik’s feature-stuffed Terra Artica GTX is as strong a winter-warmer as I’ve found.

Fizik Terra Arctica GTX Off-Road Shoes features

Available in grape purple for extra visibility, or a black model which evokes a military boot, the Terra Artica GTX certainly boasts more style than its clunkier winter rivals. But winter shoes should be judged above all on function. I tested these on some frosty winter days and they did not disappoint.

The shoe has a warm fleece lining, and the BOA L6 dial and cable closure ensures a snug fit, while the Velcro ankle fastener locks in warmth and locks out spray. The key, however, is that insulated, waterproof and windproof GORE-TEX membrane. In wintery conditions, my feet stayed nicely warm and dry. Don’t expect miracles here, though: there is no radiator inside. You’ll still need to stuff newspaper inside to aid drying after riding in a storm. But these served up a much warmer and drier ride than I was used to.

Product shot of Fizik Terra Actica GTX shoe

A GORE-TEX membrane and velcro ankle fastener lock moisture out

I was concerned that the higher ankle fit might restrict my pedalling motion, but the ankle area is made from a flexible material, ensuring a comfy yet sturdy ride. Some wider-footed cyclists have reported a narrow toe fit, so consider sizing up or try before you buy.

Fizik Terra Arctica GTX Off-Road Shoes performance

All that warmth comes at a cost: these weigh 432g per shoe, so around 75g heavier than a standard off-road shoe, like Fizik’s Terra Atlas MTB. But in winter most riders would accept that compromise. Durability is also vital over winter, and these are made with a robust high-density PU upper and ripstop fabrics.

The sole has a recessed space for standard two-bolt off-road cleats, and there are reassuringly chunky grips on the sole, which felt steady on rocky surfaces. Two bolts near the toes allow you to add toe-studs if you want extra grip.

There is a road-specific version of these shoes, called the Tempo Artica GTX, which fit three-bolt road cleats. But although I’m primarily a road rider, I’d be tempted to switch pedals and cleats and choose these off-road shoes instead, because the soles have more grip. Also their versatility would allow me to use the same pair on road, gravel or MTB trails, making the high outlay more justifiable.

A good pair of winter cycling shoes can have a transformative effect on your riding. The price of the Terra Artica GTX will put off some riders, but those with the budget or desire will be rewarded with longer and warmer winter rides.

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