Weatherproof Shoe Review
Mavic XA PRO H2O GTX Shoes
Mavic XA Pro H20 GTX
The name is a mouthful but the idea behind the Mavic XA Pro H20 GTX shoe is pretty simple. Take a durable trail shoe, hollow it out enough for a winter weight sock and add a GoreTex membrane to make it waterproof. The shoe should be comfortable and grip well for hiking while remaining stiff enough for long days pedaling.
Shoes for the wet will get gunked up so laces are a win. I'm not a fan of those Houdini moments trapped in a cycling shoe when the retention device won't open. On the same front they should be compatible with pedals with large platforms and pins, like the Crankbrothers Mallet DH and HT X2, so there's a chance to keep my feet planted if the clip-in mechanisms are clogged with mud or snow.
The appeal of the XA Pro H20 is the promise of a light weight trail shoe with just enough wet weather features for days that are moist but not frigid.
In hindsight my expectations for these Mavic boots were skewed by my experience reviewing the Deemax Pro shoes. I love the fit and the lacing setup of the Deemax and I think the performance to value is excellent. They are even quite decent in adverse conditions and for mild local summers they are rarely uncomfortably warm.
The lacing system on the XA Pro does not snug up as easily and the Velcro strap, which is thinner than the strap on the Deemax, makes the shoe's upper less stiff when pedaling hard out of the saddle. The sole of the XA Pro H2O is much stiffer and more wooden feeling both on and off the bike.
Every 'waterproof' shoe I've ever worn eventually leaks water through the giant ankle-insertion hole at the top. No articulating cuff keeps the water out for all that long in a pair of shorts and I hate riding in pants. Once fully saturated the boots tend to trap heat and heck, having my feet in a warm swamp is better than a cold swamp. The XA Pro H2O does the same, though to a lesser extent, but without the heavy stiff-in-the-wrong-way feeling of every other weatherproof boot I've tried.
During a torrent I threw on a pair of waterproof pants to go for an urban gravel ride. With the ankle holes plugged my shoes stayed dry inside long after my pants were soaked. I then hit a few more wet XC rides on my single speed hardtail and the stiff sole demonstrated where it's an obvious benefit.
Despite my initial feelings about the shoes I've realized they capture all the criteria I initially laid out. For XC riders, trail riders, commuters or even road riders running mountain pedals for the winter these would be an excellent choice. Or for any one who runs hot and wants a waterproof shoe without insulation.
If these look like the perfect companion for your adventures you can grab some here. SRP is 225 USD.