Vaude Tonale AM II 2016 Mountain Bike Review

Vaude Tonale AM II 2016

Reviews / Shoes

Vaude 115,507

At A Glance

A mid-high boot designed for 'Trans-Alp bikers and freeriders', the Tonale is designed to keep feet insulated from the weather all year round. Featuring a Vibram sole with a solid platform for pedaling, whilst also aiming to allow for comfort for times when there is no option but to shoulder your bike. The Nubuck leather and Ceplex Pro membrane keep the water at bay, and full laces and a Velcro closure keep the boots in place. With a high cut, big lugs in the sole and a rubber toe box, the Tonales are solid in construction and look like they can survive a lot of abuse. As with most of the Vaude range, you can expect some serious green credentials, in this case we see a 'PVC-free' label, meaning no plasticizers, which are considered by some to be harmful to health.

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On The Trail

Living in the North of England, I’m a big fan of winter bike shoes to make riding though the colder months more enjoyable. Swapping the vented mesh panels of lightweight summer shoes for wind and waterproof fabrics keeps a fair amount of wind-chill off the toes and even with wet feet provide more warmth up to a point.

The Tonale AM II is Vaude’s winter shoe offering. Resembling a mid-height approach shoe in discreet blacks and greys, it wouldn’t be out of place commuting or riding into town in your jeans. The demo shoe was size EU 45, which seemed to come up a bit small based on my usual brand so had to be tested out with thinner socks than I’d usually use in winter. Even with thin socks the toe box seems pretty small and doesn’t leave much room for waggling your toes to get a bit of heat going when the temperature drops. Be sure to try a pair on and get the right size and fit before heading straight out on a ride.

The metal eyelets can make it difficult to tighten the lower half of the laces and get an even tension. The Velcro strap however, keeps the laces tidy and away from your chainrings and does help to keep your foot in place, but for me was a little high up and restricted movement - I would have preferred it lower down over the arch of the foot. The Vibram sole is rugged and grippy off the bike and easy to walk in, but still offers a stiff pedalling platform. The cleats are recessed to save you click-clacking your way across the café floor.

The upper fabric is great at reducing wind-chill and keeping out splashes and shallow puddles, but obviously they're not designed to be completely watertight. Like any winter shoe they take a while to dry out post-ride when they usually end up soaked.

Overall

As with anything, if you push it to the extreme you will inevitably find its limits. Heading out into the wilderness in the depths of winter really tested the Tonale AM II, and in torrential rain and biting winds our feet certainly felt it, but as I said, that was pushing the limits and asking alot! The pedalling platform was good and for more average autumn/winter riding they make for a great, weatherproof, all-round shoe. It would be worth going a size up if you like room for a thicker sock, these would also make them warmer and better suited to colder climes.

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By Ant Cooper

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