While the Lake men's Wide MKZ303 Winter Boots are built with tech-heavy features that line them up more with weather-resistant mountaineering boots than your typical cycling shoes, one of the design choices that we like the most is surprisingly low-tech. The Wide version of Lake's Winter Last that the shoe is built around is an even more cavernous version of the already generous standard model, so the metatarsal area is just about the size of the sprawling winter landscapes of epic Russian novels. This added space allows for unrivaled layering potential that also recommends the boots for use while traversing those landscapes' frigid, unforgiving conditions by fat bike. Sometimes size matters.
As the boots' impressive exteriors indicate, though, layering ability isn't the only feature protecting your feet from the elements. The upper is Pittards full-grain leather, which is not only incredibly durable and protective, but it will break in for a perfect fit as well. The outsole comes courtesy of Vibram, with a high-grip rubber compound for walking through Zhivago-grade snow drifts.
Lake also employs Outlast heat reflective technology in the heel and tongue liner. The Outlast inserts retain heat from your feet, releasing it back into the boot when the temperature drops. In other words, they'll keep you warmer for longer. Granted, it shouldn't be an issue, thanks to the 3M Thinsulate insert in the toe box, which blocks wind and helps the insole's Thermosol composite insulation keep your digits warm.
Getting snow in your shoes can quickly get the better of even the warmest boots, but with an over-ankle neoprene cuff, that won't be a concern. The boots' wind- and moisture-blocking foot and ankle flaps are held tightly by a BOA ratchet and a buckle, respectively, which enable easy fine tuning of your fit without the risk of coming loose mid-ride. As you'd expect, the MKZ303 boots are compatible with standard two-bolt mountain cleats. If you refuse to hang up the bike just because there's a little snow on the ground, or if you're into Tolstoyan bikepacking treks, this could very well be the answer you've been looking for.
- Boots extend your cycling season into the cold months
- Thinsulate protects your toes from the chill
- Outlast material reflects your body heat
- Thermosol insole reduces conductive cooling
- Pittards leather is durable yet flexible
- Neoprene cuff conforms to seal out slush
- Vibram rubber provides traction on wet surfaces
- Wide last allows for layering