Lake Cycling's MX145 is a great, durable waterproof shoe for encouraging outdoor training rides on cold, rainy days. The sole's traction on ice and mud is impressive, but is very flexible for racing.
Springtime in many areas of the country can be a headache for choosing attire: Layer up in winter gear and feel yourself sweat under the sun, dress too light and feel goosebumps in the shade. As Cyclocross Magazine prepares to cover the iconic Barry Roubaix gravel race this weekend, my decisions only multiply. Michigan in the spring, after all, can mean ice in the morning and humidity in the afternoon.
After an extensive review of Lake Cycling’s MX145 shoes in the late-fall and winter, I’ll be bringing them along to the 62-mile race, knowing exactly what to expect from them.
Lake Cycling, started in 1982 in the Netherlands, changed ownership in 2012 although remained in the country. Their goal over the last three years has been to grow their market of leather and cold-weather based shoes both globally and in North America through their distributor, Stage Race.
Material and Sizing:
Initially designed as Lake Cycling’s cold-weather shoe, the MX145 has since been supplanted by the newer MXZ303 as the dead-of-winter model. The company also has a cyclocross specific MX331 that we saw at Interbike 2014 and reviewed in Issue 26. These additional models should not drive us to relabel the MX145 as an early-spring, non-cyclocross shoe. Far from being limited to a one-month period, the MX145 can easily act as a versatile three-season shoe, standing up to the harshest of conditions for most areas of the country.
The body of the shoe is built from a combination of waxed canvas, leather and a waterproof membrane, and fits to a rider’s foot by use of a Dual Side mounted BOA lacing system. The reviewed pair, size 45, came with a width of 104mm, although Lake Cycling also offers a wide version that measures out to 118.9mm.
I have slightly arched feet that are more on the narrow side, and compared to the Giro, Specialized and Sidi shoes I’ve worn in the past, the sizing of the MX145 is slightly large, with the 45 feeling a little more like a 45.5. This is coupled with a toe box with ample room. However, putting the shoe on my foot felt like I was trying to squeeze into snowboard boots with its narrow mouth.
As a shoe that I could see myself wearing on training rides and races between late-September and the milder days of May, this extra room came as something of a blessing in disguise. For starters, a constricting shoe is a recipe for a cold foot in the winter. I found that I could easily put on a thick wool sock and still have enough space in the front of my shoe for a toe warmer. On the other hand, I could also crank down the BOA laces just enough so that my foot would not be sliding around when I was only wearing a thin sock beneath.
Unlike the thick outer widths of many winter-dedicated shoes, the MX145 is more of a thin-walled shoe: A huge benefit as I was glad to find that all of my shoe covers were able to fit around it. I only found that such additional measures were needed when the temperatures fell to ten degrees below freezing or worse.
Sole and Grip:
The sole is the biggest difference between the MX145 and the road version, the CX145, which we also received as a test model. The former has what Lake Cycling calls their Mountain Race X non-marking rubber outsole. Earlier this month, I tested the shoes in the heavy snow, on trails that forced racers to run as much as ride. The soles, imprinted with “Hyper Grip ICE Lock,” live up to the name as the shoes held well against the snow and ice. For the steep run ups, the shoes also allow for a pair of spikes near the toe (which are sold separately).
The rubber outsole is impressively grippy, but the MX145 is an extremely flexible shoe. Racers who obsess over power transfer may find this flexibility limiting in race day situations, yet on the other hand, performance can deteriorate far more if a rider can’t feel their feet.
I tested these shoes with both the Crank Bros. Candy and Eggbeater models. Both in the user manual, and on a large sticker covering the cleat mount, I was warned that using Crank Bros. cleats without a plastic shim or shoe shield would damage the shoe and void the warranty.
The MX145 excels at protecting feet from getting wet, which is arguably the biggest factor in keeping warm. After discovering that my feet felt unusually warm after a boggy, early-winter cyclocross race, I put the shoes to the ultimate test. After submerging the shoes in a bucket of water beyond the highest BOA, and leaving them in there for a half-minute, I pulled the shoe off with a completely dry sock.
The waterproof nature of the shoe, coupled with the fact that my feet didn’t feel suffocated while wearing the shoe, makes the MX145 a better option than most summer shoe/shoe cover combinations. The waterproof membrane of the shoe is thin and non-restrictive while riding, and kept my feet dry even on rainy rides.
My biggest complaint is how far back the cleat mounts are set on the shoe. I installed my cleats in the middle of the mount for a quick test, but when I hopped on my bike, the cleat felt like it was sitting in the middle of my foot’s arch. After measuring the proper distances from my personal pair with a cleat tool, I discovered that I was forced to install the cleat at the maximum forward limit of Lake Cycling’s mount. Such a position could be limiting for those who are used to mounting their cleats more forward toward their toes.
The MX145 is not designed for the blistering heat of summer. The model would look somewhat ridiculous without being accompanied by leg warmers: It couldn’t serve as the lone, do-it-all shoe for the four seasons. Riders who spend most cold and rainy days on a trainer might find it hard to justify the $259.99 for a secondary pair of shoes.
Having said that, the Lake Cycling MX145 shoes are an ideal, three season training shoe for off-road adventures. Between getting tested in the mud of Austin on my practice laps at Nationals, longer outdoor rides, and racing in the snow, the MX145 have taken a beating with noticeably little wear. Even the BOAs held up to the toll of the test. While some might find the CX145 inadequate for open road riding in the middle of January, the slower pace of cyclocross and mountain biking makes the MX145 a very practical shoe for the demands of cyclocross and cold-to-mild-weather gravel races.
Lake Cycling MX145 Specs:
North American Supplier: Stage Race Productions
Weight: 571g (size 45)
Sizes: Men’s: 39-46.5 (in half size increments), 47, 48, 50
Women’s: 36-43 (in half size increments)
Country of Origin: China
More Info: lakecycling.com