These winter mountain bike boots from Leatt score well for waterproofing and ease of use
If you ride flats in the winter there are currently only a handful of weather-resistant shoes on the market, but Leatt has thrown its hat in the ring with the 7.0 HydraDri winter boot.
The design and construction of the 7.0 HydraDri is very similar to the Giro Blaze MTB boot. It features a sort of an attached overshoe, with a loose outer skin covering an inner boot. This skin is a laminate construction with the high-tech Hydradri membrane sandwiched between a heavy-duty Nylon face fabric and a semi-fleece inner core.
According to Leatt, the membrane has a waterproof and breathability rating of 10K. These figures wouldn’t be anything special on the label of a waterproof jacket, but when it comes to winter footwear, you don’t need the material to breathe very well. In fact, I’d say you want to keep most of the heat in and stay as warm as possible.
However, there is a caveat, and it’s that UK winters are becoming milder due to climate change, so there may be times when it’s a little too warm.
The 7.0 HydraDri does keep water out, especially at the ankle where there is a wraparound cuff with a press-stud fixing. There’s also a front-loaded waterproof zip, which runs diagonally across the boot, allowing you to glide your foot in or out really easily. Of all the shoes I tested recently, the 7.0 HydraDri is one of the easiest to get into, and that also means you put less stress on the shoe.
Now the bad news. The sole features Leatt’s RideGrip PRO compound, which the company claims ‘provides superb traction on flat pedals, whatever the weather’.
But it isn’t very soft compared to the Stealth blend used on the Leatt’s main competitor – Five Ten’s GTX. I measured the hardness of the sole and also tested the rebound characteristics and it’s nowhere near the Stealth rubber used on the GTX. Leatt says it’s hard-wearing, so can easily resist abrasions and tears, but in my mind the priority for winter riding is grip, especially when your pedals are covered in clag, or the conditions are such that they force you off the bike.
The toe and heel areas on the 7.0 HydraDri do feature mudflow channels and a more open tread, for off-the-bike activities, and the wide sole means it’s stable, but it’s simply too hard.
Over the last month, I’ve tested the Leatt 7.0 HydraDri back-to-back with the Five Ten GTX, and even in pretty dicey conditions the Five Ten is locked onto the pedal. However, it’s not that waterproof.
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The Leatt gets a gold star when it comes to waterproofness, and it’s also warmer, more comfortable and easier to get into than the Five Ten boot, but the wet weather grip is distinctly average. A pity because it scores highly in every other respect.