A tidy twist on the classic winter shoe cover.
In the past, pulling a neoprene bootie over your shoe was a cheap way to get winter protection. The Giro Blaze is more sophisticated and a lot more expensive, but the premise and physical appearance are very similar, and that helps it onto our list of the best winter boots. Giro has wrapped the Blaze with a loose material, which consists of a stretchy face fabric, a waterproof and breathable membrane, and a Primaloft synthetic fleece interior. To stop water ingress, it’s fully seam-sealed, and there’s a water-resistant YKK zipper with internal storm flap down the front of the shoe. Unlike some here, the waterproof layer does extend all the way to the top of the shoe.
To cut bulk, Giro runs a Quick-lace system – essentially a thin looped draw cord with a securing toggle. With the zip fully open, getting into this shoe is easy, but we tended to stand on the inner part of the shoe and end up having to wiggle our feet into place.
The Blaze has a good size cleat pocket and clipping in and out was as clean as the Shimano MW702. Mud never built up round the cleat, and the rubber sole offered a good balance between grip and stiffness. There are a couple of fitting holes for toe studs, although none are included with the shoe.
It was a close-run thing between this and the Shimano MW702. Both are excellent winter boots, and in terms of feel, stiffness and ease of engagement, we found it hard to separate them. The membrane in the Blaze extends further up, but the size range is smaller (there are no half sizes) and it has less clearance, but it is cheaper.
The feature that swung it though, was the Blaze zip. Out of the box it glided up and down easily, but after one ride it started to bind and the material also bunched as we drew up the zip. Zip lubing, which isn’t something we’ve ever had to recommend, is essential.