Racy winter boots more suitable for mile munching and gravel than hardcore mountain biking.
As you can see from the shape, the Gaerne Icestorm is more of a XC-style winter boot with a sleek clipless sole and a tapered toe. It’s built using Gore-Tex Duratherm shielding, which uses a waterproof and breathable laminate with a hollow fibre backing. At the ankle, there’s a wraparound, stretchy, neoprene baffle, and this also gets a Gore-Tex Rattler membrane. This flap dovetails with the gusseted tongue, but obviously you’ll need to wear a waterproof trouser to keep all of the water out.
The Icestorm features BOA IP-12 closure system – so rather than pulling up on the dial to release the tension on the micro cable, you just twist it off like a bottle top. BOA systems are easy to adjust, but we found getting this one really tight was tricky without gloves, and this is something you may want to do because it has quite a loose fit.
The sole stiffness is similar to both the Giro and Shimano boots, but back-to-back pedalling felt less efficient – again a consequence of the loose upper. We also struggled getting out of the pedal in the Gaerne shoe, and a few times we did end up on the floor having not been able to disengage.
The Gaerne sole is also the hardest rubber on test, so when we mistimed our engagement, the shoe would often skate around on the pedal binding. Cleat clearance is excellent, there is a ton of space to evacuate mud, and you also get stud fittings on the toe for extra grip, but the hard rubber didn’t offer a lot of purchase on wet rock and roots.
The Gaerne Icestorm has supportive foot beds, so it feels genuinely comfortable. It’s easy to get your foot in and out, and the shoe has excellent waterproofness, but the Giro Blaze and Shimano MW7 both are tighter fitting, more efficient and crucially better value for money.