Specialized Defroster Review by Trevor MacKenzie
Trevor MacKenzie is a husband, father, teacher, Cat3 roadie, elite mtb and CX racer. He logs a ton of West Coast mileage year round. You can follow him on twitter at @
This winter I’ve invested in saving my feet from our cold and damp West Coast weather. Cue the
Putting the Defroster on, I knew I was in for a treat. These shoes scream inclement weather. The first
thing I noticed was the insulated fit. A nice, snug, warm inner is protected by the BOA system. I’m a big
fan of the BOA as it disperses load evenly across the top of your foot and it’s super comfy. The last layer
of the shoe is a fold-over flap that covers the full front of the shoes, just leaving the BOA wheel on the
side exposed. Getting this cover stretched over the BOA took a few efforts but once I got it I could
instantly see how the Defroster would hold up in the wet. Bomb proof. And the fact that the BOA
remains accessible on the side is a perk allowing you to tighten or loosen the fit mid ride without
opening up the cover and letting the cold in.
One initial concern I had with the Defroster was forking over the cash for a shoe that wouldn’t get used
as often as my summer pair. This was easily forgiven once I saw how durable and efficient the shoe is.
The treads are tough and the outer material is amazing. I don’t see me replacing these until my kids are
in college. When I consider how many shoe covers I have gone through over the years buying these
shoes was a no brainer. In the past few months I’ve ridden in mud, snow, ice, rain, and negative
temperatures. The Defroster (and my feet) were unflinchingly up to the task.
Out on the trail the Defroster felt just like a regular shoe. They’re not a carbon soled race shoe so I
wasn’t expecting a similar platform to my summer shoe. That being said they performed quite well.
After a solid 4 hours through mud, muck, and mire, including stream crossings and a rinse off with my
hose, my feet were bone dry and comfy.
Gone are the days of the needling pain in the shower as the circulation reaches my abused extremities.
Gone are the days of worrying about putting on soggy shoes and booties.
Gone are the days of using the weather as an excuse NOT to go and ride.
One feature I’d like to see Specialized address is the ankle cuff. This is a high ankle Velcro cuff meant to
keep water from entering the shoe from the top down. One thing I noticed was the cuff didn’t stay
consistently snug throughout a ride. This wasn’t a problem on the trails as much as it was on the road.
Even with fenders I found water spray would find its way in to the shoe causing some dampness inside.
That being said, my feet were so warm and well insulated that this was more of a mild nuisance than the
typical foot numbing experience I have grown used to. And I only noticed this on one particularly
biblical day where the rain was coming down in buckets and I was out for 3 hours.
- Lightweight injection composite sole with sturdy co-molded lugs for traction in the nastiest conditions: 5.0 stiffness index
- Performance-enhancing BG contours in the outsole and footbed
- Waterproof and seam-sealed upper with low profile waterproof cover to lock out cold and moisture
- Lightweight Boa® L4 rotary closure for dynamic fit and on-the-fly tunability
- 400 gram full-shoe insulation for added warmth
- Thermal fleece-lined BG footbed uses a reflective metallic barrier to trap heat around the foot
- Reflective heel accent for visibility on dark training rides
- Snug-fitting neoprene collar forms a gusset to lock out cold and moisture
- Compatible with all major MTB pedals
- Approximate weight: 400g