2015 Mavic Drift Winter Shoe Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Nov 23, 2014

Winter riding isn’t any fun when your feet are cold. When they start to numb it becomes difficult to ride well and soon the love is gone. Toasty feet will keep you smiling – and the expectation of comfort will have you on the trails more often.


The sole with its wide-spaced lugs provides excellent grip – a rare feature in the clipless shoe market.

The Mavic Drift shoe is equipped with a Gore-Tex membrane designed to keep the water out, along with some insulation to banish the cold. Another distinctive feature is the neoprene gaiter that wraps around your ankle for extra protection from water, mud or snow.


I have skinny ankles and I worried I wouldn’t be able to wrap the neoprene securely – but it worked just fine. There looks to be enough velcro to accommodate big boned folks as well.

What I first noticed however was the aggressively lugged sole. There’s no mistaking this for a road shoe, and the grip in slippery conditions is better than any clipless shoe I’ve used.

Pressure on your foot is the enemy of cold weather performance so I opted for a size up. Choosing the wrong size puts footwear at a disadvantage but the Drifts fit well enough to overcome this handicap. The three velcro straps allow you to cinch things down as firmly as you’d like when performance is needed but I can back them off when it’s too chilly.


Build quality is excellent and there is good protection in the toe box and heel. Mavic’s web site and other literature indicate the Drift comes with a dual density insole – but the examples we were sent included a simple single density insole.

My first few rides wearing the Drift were below freezing and, wearing only one pair of socks, my toes never felt cold. I haven’t experienced any temperatures below -3˚ Celsius (27˚ Fahrenheit) so I can’t be much help there yet but the performance thus far has been encouraging. Once I get into some colder situations I will update this article.

Once the cold snap was done the monsoon was on. Warm temperatures with lots of precipitation can make dressing a challenge and I wondered if the shoes would be too warm – but they were just fine. Riding in wet conditions, through puddles and with water splattering up from the front tire, my feet stayed nice and dry – but I needed a nastier test.


The Drift upper is synthetic with mesh inserts – to help the Gore-Tex beathability. I have worn these shoes on warmer days and they remain quite comfortable.

I started out on a ride that never would have happened if I wasn’t testing these shoes. The sun was already low in the sky and it was raining. Hard. Sideways. The trails were empty and I questioned my sanity more than once. To begin with everything was fine. I climbed in the rain for 45 minutes and my toes were dry and happy. At the 60 minute mark my forward descending foot started to feel damp. Once I got home and removed the shoes both feet were damp, but my front (right for me) foot was significantly wetter. I’ve seen comments elsewhere blaming the water entry on the gap between the gaiter and the shoe – which I was quite careful to wrap securely. I can’t yet be sure the water came in there – but the fact that any water got in on a 90 minute ride is disappointing.


These are good looking, comfortable and well-constructed shoes that perform extremely well, but their wet weather performance wasn’t up to par.

Riding performance is excellent with one small exception. The sole is stiff but not unforgiving and it’s comfortable to walk in as well. Power transfer is great and the sturdy velcro straps allow you to move the bike with subtle inputs on the way down. Unfortunately the cleat channels are aimed at the XC market and I wasn’t able to slide the cleat back to my preferred location, heel-ward from the ball of my foot. I haven’t yet determined if I can modify the shoe without compromising the water-proofing to accomplish this.

In Canada the Drift shoe is available at MEC for $230. They can be found online in the US for under $200. The performance, fit, warmth and construction of the shoe could justify this price tag, but the disappointing wet weather performance might make it tougher to swallow. For shorter rides in moderately wet conditions you’ll likely stay dry but if you regularly go for long rides when it’s raining hard you may end up a little soggy.

Do you just deal with wet feet or do you have a solution that keeps the water out?

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paulc  - Nov. 24, 2014, 10:28 p.m.

I've used Gore-tex socks for a few years and used to always end up with wet feet from water running down my legs. Now I overlap a wrap of waterproof medical tape on my ankle and the top of the sock and it keeps almost all the water out. I push the sock down a bit so it doesn't pull as my ankle flexes when pedalling or walking. For cold weather I wear Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier booties but I like the simplicity of an insulated and waterproof shoe.


james  - Nov. 24, 2014, 5:02 p.m.

i'm betting the aqua came in from the top not through the shoe. water is pernicious that way… good review. i'm sticking with goretex socks (and Mavic Alpine xl's) for now, but these rigs look the right solution for those that want their proofing built in.


Malcolminthemiddle  - Nov. 24, 2014, 12:12 p.m.

Thanks Cam for being straight up!


megrim  - Nov. 24, 2014, 11:20 a.m.

Nice review Cam. I had the same issue with my SealSkinz socks. My feet were dry and warm for the first 45 min or so on the ride, but when it came to riding downhill with lots (lots and lots) of rain and puddles, my feet ended up soaked at the end of the ride. The socks were full of water and acted more like a wetsuit keeping the warm water in. I figured it was water creeping or pouring in from the top of the sock rather than going through it. I would think it would be pretty hard to keep all the water out of these shoes, unless you sealed the top like a dry suit, but then I'd think you'd have some circulation issues. Sounds like a great shoe if they could just make the cleat channel longer…



Shoredad  - Nov. 27, 2014, 7:04 p.m.

Ive got mavic scree shoes also goretex for winter riding. They are completely waterproof the only water that gets in is through the top. I got a pair of mec mini gaiters for winter riding keeps my feet very warm and dry. with some line socks under woolie boolie merino socks.


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