Since receiving the Fizik Terra Nanuq GTX shoes, Scotland has provided the full spectrum of winter conditions to put them to the test, from some disgusting wet and sloppy trails to days on end of below-freezing temperatures. With a mix of trail, Enduro and eMTB riding thrown in there, I’ve managed to get a good feeling for these Fizik shoes, and my feet have been thankful for their effective weatherproofing.
The Terra Nanuq GTX shoes fit true-to-size, but getting them on is relatively tricky, especially with a slightly thicker sock. There’s plenty of room around the foot for a thicker sock, but the ankle area can feel quite tight for fitting and removal…at least for my relatively chunky ankles. Getting them off can be even trickier, especially if your hands have frozen up, but the comfort and security of the “locked in” feeling when they’re on your feet is worth the extra effort in fitment and removal in my eyes. Getting the cleats setup wasn’t an issue, with a fairly rearward position possible to give a more gravity-style descending position that kept me happy, but a load of forward adjustment possible for more conventional riders.
The BOA L6 system has been very effective and secures them well without any notable pressure points on top of the foot, even when they need to be cinched down a lot to work with a thin sock. With a thicker sock there was a notable process of bedding in that they had to go through before they remained tight, with two or three readjustments of the dial required. The shape and fit of the ankle and heel area means that even if they’re a little loose, it’s unlikely for your foot to come out accidentally though – they really lock you in.
Much to my relief given the wet and wild beginning to the Scottish winter, the Fizik Terra Nanuq GTX shoes have proven to be impressively waterproof, with light stream crossings and big puddle splashes not letting anything in. On some of the sloppier rides I was able to get some water in with the post-ride hose-down, but I can’t recall a single incident where my feet got wet on a ride. The warmth is not excessive though, so riders who are particularly prone to very cold feet may wish to size up to get a thicker sock inside, but they kept me warm enough and happy in temperatures down to -4C (26F) with a fairly standard cotton sock. The neoprene ankle cuff is just about long enough, but I’d like to see an extra ½ inch added to reduce the likelihood of ankle gap. I understand why they chose to run the zip of the ankle cuff up the inside of the ankle, but it means that riders who run close to the cranks will likely find themselves rubbing the crank arm with the zip, which is not ideal.
The benefit of these Fizik shoes not being overly insulated and bulky is that they give enough pedal feel and flexibility to let you ride at near enough 100%, both up and down the hill. They’re definitely not an ultra-stiff shoe, but on pedals from the Crankbrothers Mallet Trail (which were on the limit of comfort) to the Hope Union Gravity, I didn’t experience any excessive hot spots on the descents. Walking in them is a delight compared to most clip shoes too, with their chunky sole with grippy Vibram rubber and the slight flex allowing for a confident and comfortable time off the pedals. The breathability of the main shoe is appreciated, but the neoprene ankle doesn’t let air through as well and so sweat can begin to build up here if you’re pushing hard.
Through half a winter of abuse the Terra Nanuq GTXs have been holding up very well, with no signs of undue wear or change to the feeling or performance. They’ve developed quite the swampy smell over this time, likely from the couple of rides where they weren’t given a little blast on the boot drier afterwards, but it’s to be expected from a set of shoes ridden in the worst of the Scottish conditions. Aside from this, they’re fit for another winter or two of keeping my feet comfortable and happy. You’d hope so for that eye-watering price, but if you’re a rider who’s determined to keep on getting out through the worst weather, they may just be worth it.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Fizik Terra Nanuq GTX clip shoes offer excellent winter proofing without being overly clunky and impacting the ride. Their high price is undeniable and so riders who aren’t looking to splash out this kind of money may be better suited by opting to use their standard riding shoes with a waterproof sock. But it’s safe to say the comfort and control that these Fizik shoes offer is notable compared with the more budget solutions, so for deep-pocketed riders looking to tough it out on the trails through the winter, they’re likely to be a worthwhile investment.
Price: $299.99 /£289.99