The QBP mothership sent us their new Ragnarök Boa transition season cycling boots in March. The Ragnaröks are targeted at days that I like to call Gnome Spring. I wore them on sloppy spring solo rides because they were not released yet. I knew that if I wore them to a group ride, somebody would take note because these boots are a bit flashy. 45NRTH released the new Ragnarök in September. The test boots have returned to duty now that autumn has decided to make an appearance.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica –
Ragnarök, (Old Norse: “Doom of the Gods”), in Scandinavian mythology, the end of the world of gods and men. The Ragnarök is fully described only in the Icelandic poem Völuspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”), probably of the late 10th century, and in the 13th-century Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson (d. 1241), which largely follows the Völuspá. According to those two sources, the Ragnarök will be preceded by cruel winters and moral chaos. Giants and demons approaching from all points of the compass will attack the gods, who will meet them and face death like heroes. The sun will be darkened, the stars will vanish, and the earth will sink into the sea. Afterward, the earth will rise again, the innocent Balder will return from the dead, and the hosts of the just will live in a hall roofed with gold.
Disjointed allusions to the Ragnarök, found in many other sources, show that conceptions of it varied. According to one poem two human beings, Lif and Lifthrasir (“Life” and “Vitality”), will emerge from the world tree (which was not destroyed) and repeople the earth. The title of Richard Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung is a German equivalent of Ragnarök meaning “twilight of the gods.”
They had me at “moral Chaos”. I feel like the elephant in the room is the ‘fashion’ aspect of these boots. In my mind, they’re a space-age Imperial stormtrooper go-go boot vibe. It doesn’t help that the size tested (47) is on the rather large side. I posted photos of the new boots on our Instagram in a classic “puff or pass” query and read all of the comments. I like mi amigo, Patrick’s comment, “they’re Yuuuge!” I think that hits the proverbial nail on the head for how I feel. However, full disclosure, I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you like the fashion aspect of the new Ragnarök that’s completely cool with me. I think that the black colorway has better curb appeal for my big feet.
Another thing mentioned in your comments was the Ragnarök’s BOA Closure. Greg Matyas from Corvus Cycles posted a very good (very Alaskan) point about BOA closures. “What if they break?” (and they do break). For what it’s worth, the BOA on the new Ragnaröks is probably the biggest pain in the ass part of these boots. The BOA is not very easy to open, and that makes putting them on more difficult than it should be. There is also no loop at the Achilles to assist in pulling them on. I swear that these things have made me wonder where the hell my shoehorn has gotten to, every time I try to put them on.
Once my feet enter the Ragnaröks, things get remarkably better. These boots fit me very well. I like the enlarged toe-box and the footbed feels like it hugs my feet. The BOA (that is a pain to open) does an about-face and cinches down easily for a comfortable fit. The velcro ankle strap works just ok at keeping contaminants from entering the boots. In my experience that velcro strap will be the first thing to wear out. Because of the 3/4 height of the Ragnaröks, both water and mud (etc) can enter along the sock line. Gaitors or long pants (or both) would solve that issue.
The soles of the new boots are mega-stiff. They’re great on the bike while pedaling but they’re too stiff for hiking or walking. There were a couple of comments about how waterproof these boots would be and that’s something really important for any boot designed for slurmy spring and fall (early winter) cycling boot. There are a couple of reasons that I don’t trust these boots to be 100% waterproof. They have two open slots on the sole for the cleats. Even with some sort of silicone sealant applied I just would not trust that boot compared to a boot without cleat slots. I feel that the collar at the ankle is where they’re most vulnerable. Rain flowed right down my calves and into my boots. Because of their relatively low height, they’re also vulnerable to puddle splashes. There are solutions that I already mentioned like Caulk, Gators, Rain Pants and Goretex socks. My feet got wet and I’m ok with that.
As far as warmth, I would say that I reach for these boots in temps between 35F and 58F. They fit into the slot where a pair of summer ride shoes with insulated (Gore-Tex Infinium) overboots usually thrives. (which by the way…doesn’t make a very appealing fashion statement either.)
I gave the Ragnaröks low marks on the fashion front. They get low scores for how easy they go on. They earned very high scores for pedaling comfort and fit. I’d say that they get moderate scores for waterproofness and a passing grade for warmth. These might be all the winter boots that riders from warmer climates need, but how many pairs of cycling boots does an avid cyclist really need to get them through a year? Only you can answer that for your own bad self.
The 45 NRTH Ragnarök Boa transition season cycling boots earn 3 out of 5 Danger Gnomes