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  1. #1
    Its a Mountain not a Hill Big Lug's Avatar
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    Whats the best way to keep my feet warm?

    I live in FL and the morning temps are starting to get into the 50's and the problem is that when I get to where I am going I can no longer feel my toes!!! This is bad! So I use Bontrager MTB shoes and SPD Road pedals. I have tried standard socks, and a pair of short smart wool socks so 2 pair, and that’s it. It was no help at all! I was told I need like a wind breaker for my shoe? I was also told to use chemical warmers or thermal wool socks? What do I do?

    Also what about gloves?
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  2. #2
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Lug View Post
    I live in FL and the morning temps are starting to get into the 50's and the problem is that when I get to where I am going I can no longer feel my toes!!! This is bad! So I use Bontrager MTB shoes and SPD Road pedals. I have tried standard socks, and a pair of short smart wool socks so 2 pair, and thatís it. It was no help at all! I was told I need like a wind breaker for my shoe? I was also told to use chemical warmers or thermal wool socks? What do I do?

    Also what about gloves?
    They sell all sorts of booties and shoe covers and what not, but the basic problem is that most road and MTB shoes are designed to be lightweight and breathable. You could buy insulated cycling shoes - Lake makes a number of them - or put flat pedals on and wear hiking boots. Living in PA and using flat pedals already, I personally favor the second option.

    What about gloves? Simply get some long fingered ones.

  3. #3
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    I live in S. Alabama and I ride down to about 40 degrees with toe covers. They slip over the toe of your cycling shoe and cut the wind. There are full booties available from most cycling stores (Nashbar, REI, or your LBS is where I would start.)

  4. #4
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    Wool socks work great for me.. just make sure they aren't too tight, that really reduces their effectiveness.
    I use these rain covers with merino wool socks and they are good for me up to -5c or so. After that I think it's a loosing battle until you get a winter shoe/boot.
    Make sure your legs/ankles are warm also as that directly impacts on your foot temp.

    Gloves are hard for me because I have lots of open finger cycling gloves and lots of winter gloves which are good around freezing and lower. Something like this would probably bridge that gap.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I have actually worn my Keen bike sandals in high 40's with performance DeFeet thin socks and have been quite comfortable. The bike sandals have a front rubber "bumper" that blocks wind, and the socks are densely woven. Your toes MUST have wiggle room to keep warm .: thin socks allow more room inside the shoe.

    Usually below 50F I will wear my SPD MTB shoes and thin socks.

    For much colder days, I have jerry-rigged some Glad "Press-n-Seal" wrap over the socks in the toe/forefoot area ONLY (inside my MTB shoe).

    My bike commute involves walking over some rough terrain for about 100 feet getting across some train tracks. That stretch would tear up booties or toe covers pretty quickly and I need the good traction that I get from the MTB shoes/sandals.

    For even colder days, I put platform "campus" pedals on - SPD cleat on one side, rattraps on the other. My thinking was that I could wear warm boots. Well - it never got THAT cold (below 25F) here and I hated the pedals (not as easy to clip in as my others). I also bought some SPD "inserts" that convert a SPD pedal to a platform + toeclip cage. Never used those either. After slipping off the pedals on damp days, I am a complete convert to clipless. But the platforms/inserts are options you may consider, could work for you.
    Last edited by nkfrench; 10-25-09 at 07:56 PM.

  6. #6
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    In summer weather like that, I find that I can get by with just wiggling my toes occasionally

    You might look into getting "toe covers" or "shoe covers" for use with your cycling shoes.

    For gloves, I really like Pearl Izumi's Cyclone model. They're a light-weight full-fingered glove that's truly wind-proof. They don't have any insulation to speak of, but the fact that they're wind-proof may be all you need. I find that they're about all I need until temps get into the 40s.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Make sure your shoes aren't too tight! If they are too tight you are cutting off the circulation and your toes/feet will get cold fast. There are some very warm shoe covers that should keep your feet warm. Most of the major clothing manufacturers make them. Pearl Izumi makes them, Voler makes them...
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  8. #8
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    First of all, you're lucky that the Clyde forum is a friendly place because I was considering some choice words for someone complaining about lows in the 50's. I've been watching it snow most of the afternoon here.

    Now, to answer your question. I don't mean to sound rude, but I do wonder why you're feeling cold feet in the 50's with two pair of socks including wool socks? I know everyone is different, are you going on pretty leisurely rides? Maybe just getting the heart pumping some more will help. I usually don't do anything different for my feet until it gets in the 40's, thin socks and MTB shoes. Maybe warmer socks in the low 50's.

    Below that here is what has worked for me so far. A little bit thicker coolmax socks in upper 40's, wool socks below that, and thick wool socks in the 20's and 30's. I also wear these booties in those temperatures. I also have shoes sized at least one size (European size, that is) too big so the socks fit and don't restrict. I also bought a pair of aspen aerogel insoles and wear those in cold weather. My feet start getting cold in the 20's though. Below that I'm not sure what to do, I'm considering chemical warmers for those few days where it's that cold and I want to commute and there's no snow or ice.

    Gloves, I'm still working on it but mittens or lobster gloves help. I'm considering some pogies too for use with my mountain bike.

  9. #9
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    I wear basically the same wool socks year 'round. I wear them with sandals down to the mid 40's, and hiking boots below that. They are Columbia light hikers, an ankle length sock with good thickness. On a ride a couple weeks ago, I was wearing a compression t, thermal, and thermal jersey, shorts and tights...my feet were the warmest part of me, in sandals and wool socks.
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    Shoe covers. It was 38 this morning and the piggies were toasty with one pair of thin socks on.

  11. #11
    Its a Mountain not a Hill Big Lug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
    First of all, you're lucky that the Clyde forum is a friendly place because I was considering some choice words for someone complaining about lows in the 50's. I've been watching it snow most of the afternoon here.

    Now, to answer your question. I don't mean to sound rude, but I do wonder why you're feeling cold feet in the 50's with two pair of socks including wool socks? I know everyone is different, are you going on pretty leisurely rides? Maybe just getting the heart pumping some more will help. I usually don't do anything different for my feet until it gets in the 40's, thin socks and MTB shoes. Maybe warmer socks in the low 50's.

    Below that here is what has worked for me so far. A little bit thicker coolmax socks in upper 40's, wool socks below that, and thick wool socks in the 20's and 30's. I also wear these booties in those temperatures. I also have shoes sized at least one size (European size, that is) too big so the socks fit and don't restrict. I also bought a pair of aspen aerogel insoles and wear those in cold weather. My feet start getting cold in the 20's though. Below that I'm not sure what to do, I'm considering chemical warmers for those few days where it's that cold and I want to commute and there's no snow or ice.

    Gloves, I'm still working on it but mittens or lobster gloves help. I'm considering some pogies too for use with my mountain bike.
    I definitely am not a leisurely rider. I will tend to average 19-22 on a 5am morning commute ride. I think that i am just so used to warm weather i dunno. I am normally fine until i get into the 50's. And it is mainly just my hands, and toes. I think that it will get better with jsut some wind breaking. I normally wear no winter attire. Recently i was just wearing a short sleeve jersey and shorts, thin moisture wicking socks, and shoes. My heart rate will average 130-160 depending on the terrain.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Lug View Post
    I definitely am not a leisurely rider. I will tend to average 19-22 on a 5am morning commute ride. I think that i am just so used to warm weather i dunno. I am normally fine until i get into the 50's. And it is mainly just my hands, and toes. I think that it will get better with just some wind breaking. I normally wear no winter attire. Recently i was just wearing a short sleeve jersey and shorts, thin moisture wicking socks, and shoes. My heart rate will average 130-160 depending on the terrain.
    Yeah, that makes sense the more I think about it. I usually have to start changing some small things about what I wear when the temperature hits 55 degrees. Like you said, it's the toes, fingers, and for me the ears that get cold first. Do you have flat pedals now or clipless pedals?

  13. #13
    Its a Mountain not a Hill Big Lug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
    Yeah, that makes sense the more I think about it. I usually have to start changing some small things about what I wear when the temperature hits 55 degrees. Like you said, it's the toes, fingers, and for me the ears that get cold first. Do you have flat pedals now or clipless pedals?
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  14. #14
    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
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    toasty feet insoles
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    and I cannot lie.

  15. #15
    Bikesman RedWhiteandRed's Avatar
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    I live in Canada.

    If your feet are cold the best first step is a hat - a thin quick drying hat. You lose most heat through your head and as your body cools blood flow to the extremities (your toes) is reduced.

    After the hat: examine the socks, the shoes and maybe a good layered approach to clothing. Cold feet are generally a symptom of heat loss from other areas.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Lug View Post
    I definitely am not a leisurely rider. I will tend to average 19-22 on a 5am morning commute ride. I think that i am just so used to warm weather i dunno. I am normally fine until i get into the 50's. And it is mainly just my hands, and toes. I think that it will get better with jsut some wind breaking. I normally wear no winter attire. Recently i was just wearing a short sleeve jersey and shorts, thin moisture wicking socks, and shoes. My heart rate will average 130-160 depending on the terrain.
    If you're just wearing a short-sleeved jersey and lycra shorts in 50-degree temps, I'm not surprised your hands and feet are cold! In those temps, I wouldn't do anything special for my feet but I would layer a Craft Windstopper T-shirt underneath my jersey. I might also wear arm and/or knee warmers if I thought I wasn't going to see the sun or it was going to be especially windy. Keeping your core warm may help prevent chills at the extremities...

  17. #17
    Senior Member funrover's Avatar
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    Warmer feet in winter:

    Wear a thin pair of liner socks, nylon or other synthetic, under your heavier socks. Also douse your feet with a spray on antiperspirant.

    Another warmer feet trick is to wear a pair of gaiters, the full length size. These hold in the heat to your lower legs and do a really good job of keeping your feet warm.

  18. #18
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Cold is relative. In FLA, 50 degrees may be what 30 is to us up in the PNW.

    When I start getting chilly toes, my first step is to wear a light Smartwool hiking sock. When that's no longer good enough, I've got a pair of Gore Bike Wear wind/waterproof booties. That usually does me OK for anything down to 30 degrees or so, at which point I'll switch to my Bellwether polarfleece insulated No-Aqua booties.

    For gloves, my PI Cyclones are usually all I need down to 30 degrees. Much colder than that and I go for some wool liners and a pair of REI Minimalist alpine shells.
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  19. #19
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    I ride in Oregon and the temps sit around 40 deg + rain during the winter. Thick wool socks + goretex socks work well down to about 50&deg for me. Below that, I use PI Barrier MTB shoe covers (plus the wool socks). Note that many road-specific shoe covers may not fit over certain MTB shoes so try them on before buying.

  20. #20
    Support JDRF b_young's Avatar
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    There is a product called Toasty Feet, maybe Toasty Toes inserts. They are in the shoe dept at Walmart. That with boot covers will amaze you. Do not over tighten your shoes with thick socks. It makes the problem worse.
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  21. #21
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    Go with Shoe covers- i use them when it gets down below 40 degrees- my feet are toasty
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  22. #22
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    A lot of times toe covers will do the job. I have both and never use the whole shoe covers. For one, they are too hot, but the main reason is that they cover the entire bottom of your shoe and they get torn up quickly when you stop and put your foot down.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedWhiteandRed View Post
    If your feet are cold the best first step is a hat - a thin quick drying hat. You lose most heat through your head and as your body cools blood flow to the extremities (your toes) is reduced.
    +1.

    I was a volunteer Ski Patroller for many years in MT, UT, & OR. Many people complained of cold hands or feet and skied without hats. We always told them to put on a hat. None of us (Patrollers) skied without a hat.

    Get a skull cap or helmet cover (or both). Helmets are made to vent air over you head to cool it off. When it gets cold you need to keep your head warm.

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  24. #24
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Too many socks, no air to hold heat.... lose a pair of socks and hit the booties. As I age I am less and less tolerant of the cold, as my circulation lessens in my extremities. OH and WORD a hat... even a thin one can make a world of difference.

  25. #25
    Senior Member n0vyy's Avatar
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    REI sells some poly-pro sock liners. Wear them under your smartwool socks. They help wick away moisture, and create a dead air layer for heat retention.

    You might also consider getting some cycling tights. Even the non-insulated ones would help slow down heat loss in your legs, so that the blood which reaches your feet is warmer.

    Lately here, I have been wearing some Pearl-Izumi anfib insulated tights, with the above mentioned poly-pro and smart wool socks. I also am now wearing a Turtlehead balaclava under my helmet. Keeps the extremities warm.
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