by Allen Daniels, SCI #032
Bowdoin College (ME) Department of Public Safety
he Bontrager Old Man Winter (OMW) riding boot has a removable inner bootie made of nylon and fleece, stuffed with 200g of 3M Thinsulate® insulation, with a quick-pull lacing system. The outer boot is made with a four-way stretch, waterproof, breathable OutDry® membrane. It has a water-resistant, laser cut zipper; two Velcro® straps; a gaiter hook; and Velcro® anchors on the heels for blinking lights. These boots are clipless compatible and are extremely scuff- and abrasion-resistant. The Vibram® sole provides excellent traction when off the bike. It has enough flex to make walking easy while still being stiff enough to deliver sufficient power to the pedal. As a bonus, the style looks great with a patrol uniform, which can be tough due to the scarcity of solid black bike shoes.
In past winters, I have had to give up my clipless pedals in favor of flats because I couldn’t possibly wear my summer shoes in the wet, cold winter riding season here in Maine. When I approached my LBS (Local Bike Shop) with this problem, they recommended these boots. Truth be told, they were the only winter boot they had in stock, but there was a reason for that that. These boots work, and at roughly $200 MSRP, they are on the lower end of the price range for comparable boots from companies like 45NRTH and Lake. They recommended a size up to accommodate for layering on the really cold days, and they were correct to do so. This boot fits a narrower foot, so I would recommend sizing up one size for that reason as well.
I have used these boots for three months (December through February) and have put about 100 hours and 300 miles on them in the harsh coastal Maine winter. I have worn these boots in temperatures as low as -15 degrees F (-30 with the wind chill) and as high as 40 degrees F for eight-hour shifts at a time. I have worn them working security details at hockey games, standing and walking on concrete for three or more hours at a time. They have been nothing but comfortable from day one, with absolutely no break-in period needed.
Now, all this warmth will be nonexistent if you don’t wear the right sock combinations and materials. Absolutely NEVER wear cotton socks in the winter for any reason, ever! I can’t stress this enough. Cotton loses the ability to retain any heat when it gets wet, and your feet WILL get wet from sweat, even on the coldest days. I wear a medium- to light-weight wool or wool blend (think Smartwool®) sock, and on the coldest of days, I will add a very thin sock liner (not cotton!). I have some with a metallic heat reflective thread that work really well. Also, be sure to remove and dry the inner bootie after each ride as that will greatly improve the boots’ ability to keep your feet warm.
These boots have been nothing short of amazing! The OutDry® membrane has been completely waterproof even when I literally hose them off at the end of the shift to remove the road salt that builds up throughout the day (I average 15 to 20 miles a day on patrol). And after 300 miles, they show little wear and tear, meaning I should be able to get at least two winter seasons out of them, if not more.
The attention to detail, the high quality insulation, the YKK zipper, the Vibram® sole, the “grippy” fabric on the outside of the inner bootie to prevent heel slip, the heat reflective sole of the removable insole, and the OutDry® upper all add up to a boot that has the ability to keep you warm and dry in the harshest of conditions. The high quality components used in construction, much like those on a good bike, make these boots a joy to wear.
- Competitive price point
- Does not distract from the bike patrol uniform
- Excellent durability
- Easy to maintain
- I honestly can’t think of one.
Bontrager boots can be purchased directly from Trek, or even better, at your local bike shop. Visit http://www.trekbikes.com for details and to find a dealer.
Allen Daniels is currently an IPMBA Security Cyclist Instructor (SCI #032) and Officer First Class at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He is also an Army veteran. As an avid cyclist, Allen’s enthusiasm is contagious to all around him. He can often be found checking avalanche bulletins for Mount Washington and Tuckerman Ravine or compulsively checking the latest and greatest bike and ski gear. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or somewhere in the woods.
(c) 2018 IPMBA. This review appeared in the 2018 IPMBA Product Guide.