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Old 12-17-13, 10:00 AM   #1
BadBurrito
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winter biking shoe question?

Hello

I was communting 3 times a week (9 miles round trip), occassionally more often, up until mid october, it was about then I switched from a road bike, using biking shoes (very stiff sole) to a mtn bike with platform pedals. Part of the reason I switched is my feet were getting pretty cold in the mornings and my biking shoes were on the narrow side making it tough to wear heavy socks plus they are super ventilated. with the platform pedals I was planning on using an insulated ankle high boot with heavy wool socks. well I developed a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis so I quit commuting until it healed up. I don't want to blame the switch in pedals/shoes, since I do other workouts beside commuting, but it occurred at the same time.

Anyway, it's almost healed up, so I'm thinking I want to start commuting again. but I'm wondering if I should get a winter mountain biking shoe. I wondering how warm they are, how stiff of a sole? they are pretty spendy - which I don't mind getting new gear but then again I'm sort of frugal and spending $200+ for a pair of shoes - yikes.

This would be the first winter, that I'm bike commuting.

So looking for reccomendations.

Thx
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Old 12-17-13, 10:07 AM   #2
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If you look in the winter forum it seems pretty evenly split between riders who use a winter cycling shoe and those who simply use a strap/clips with winter boots. Some of the determining factors are things like how much snow you might have to walk over and how much you value the stiff sole.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:08 AM   #3
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The winter cycling boots are very expensive. If you have a long commute 10+ miles one way and you plan to go all winter in very cold temps then they are worth it. I broke down and got some this year so I could continue using my spds. but had previously just used platform pedals and insulated hiking boots which worked fairly well for those cold months. I now spend 3 hours per day on the bike commuting weather permitting that is, so I wanted to continue using the clipless pedals for efficiency. I'll have to say if you decide to get some get them 2 sizes larger for thicker socks. I got 1 size larger and it wasn't enough for my really thick wool socks.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:09 AM   #4
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Just speaking for myself, and I am on vintage racing bikes that I outfit with toe-clips and straps. Lately I have been wearing Converse leather high tops with two pairs of socks.. I am warm at 20 degrees for about 7 or 8 miles...My commute is like yours about 8 miles, and sometimes I make it longer..
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Old 12-17-13, 10:14 AM   #5
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I use summer mtbx shoes all year around. In the winter I take two sandwich bags and cut a sock in half. I put the sandwich bag on the outside toe of my shoe and then use the sock to hold it in place and add a little warmth. It is cheap, works well and when they wear out they are easy to replace.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:45 AM   #6
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Keeping in mind that my commute is less than 10 miles one way, the temp only drops below 20 degrees a handful of days each year, and I ride in snow, ice and freezing rain, I prefer my Shimano MT60 Goretex shoes with light wool socks and Performance toe covers. On the really cold days, I throw on a pair of neoprene booties. In effect, with this "system" I can layer. With full winter boots, that's not so easy to do.
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Old 12-17-13, 11:07 AM   #7
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I have Shimano winter MTB shoes, which are much warmer than regular MTB shoes. When it gets cold, I'll add wool socks, another pair of wool socks, Sugoi Resistor overshoes, and then when even that is not enough (in the teens F), I'll use regular hiking boots on platform pedals. Right now, with temps hovering around freezing, winter shoes, a single pair of wool socks and Sugoi Resistors keep my feet nice and warm.
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Old 12-17-13, 11:19 AM   #8
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I don't think I could justify winter cycling shoes for my commute. Since I ride long distances all winter recreationally, I have two pairs of winter shoes. I really hate cold feet, and neoprene booties weren't hacking it. My warmest shoes are the 45nrth Wulvhammer, which are expensive, but very warm, rated down to zero Fahrenheit. I have intermediate warmth shoes which are lighter weight, and they have done fine down into the '20s.
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Old 12-17-13, 11:22 AM   #9
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Depending on your distance, conditions, and tolerance for cold and wet, you might want to try some of the less expensive ideas above, especially on your first winter. There may be other things you'll discover that make winter cycling unsuitable for you. I used plain old winter hiking boots and platform pedals in my first winter.

Then I bought a pair of Lake MXZ302. I'm beginning my seventh year with them, so they're now costing only $40 a year to own. But that $280 purchase price was indeed breathtaking. They're the most expensive shoes I've ever owned. But they've been worth every penny. There are other, less expensive, choices available these days.
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Old 12-17-13, 11:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't think I could justify winter cycling shoes for my commute. Since I ride long distances all winter recreationally, I have two pairs of winter shoes. I really hate cold feet, and neoprene booties weren't hacking it. My warmest shoes are the 45nrth Wulvhammer, which are expensive, but very warm, rated down to zero Fahrenheit. I have intermediate warmth shoes which are lighter weight, and they have done fine down into the '20s.
I concur and have the same set up, Wulvhammers and some old Sidi storms. But I do lots of rec rides of all sorts in winter which are generally a lot longer than my 14m RT commute. But if it is your first winter and the purpose is only to commute I'd suggest going with platform pedals (albeit not my favorite) and winter hikers. You'll learn a lot in the first year and then adjust as you go. Before you start throwing serious money at it find out if you really enjoy winter riding then upgrade your gear. The truth is not everyone likes winter riding and there is nothing wrong with that, it's easy to dislike.
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Old 12-17-13, 12:15 PM   #11
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I wear the same hiking boots I wear at work all day..
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Old 12-17-13, 12:37 PM   #12
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Platform pedals.. rubber bottom shoes, LL Bean has a wide range FS.


I can live without SPuD pedals for the winter..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-18-13 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 12-17-13, 02:07 PM   #13
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I have the Louis Garneau 0 degree shoes and they are nice and warm. Two things: Get them a size or two up to fit big, warm socks. They are VERY stiff. Like, they don't bend at all. Feels great while riding but walking can be awkward. The hard plastic is also not the grippiest stuff in the world. But I usually buy bike stuff based on how it feels while actually riding.
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Old 12-17-13, 08:48 PM   #14
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I just scored a pair of 45Nrth Wolvhammers (the retail gods have smiled upon me), in time for some rather nasty winter storms here. Absolutely fantastic, and miles above using straps/platforms with my wool-lined Keen winter boots. Once upon a time I got bona fide frostbite commuting Albany -> Schenectady in Garneau "winter" shoes with Pearl Izumi overshoes on top; never again do I want to experience the thawing process.

If you're doing a daily commute in sub-freezing temperatures on a consistent basis, I would heavily recommend considering either the Lakes mentioned above by tsl or the Wolvhammers.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:42 PM   #15
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I started commuting this year (65km round trip) and thought about getting some winter shoes. Instead I just used my regular road shoes and neoprene booties. The coldest I've ridden in is about -8 and they were fine for a little over an hour. Most of my rides are above freezing but the roads are often wet so the neoprene keeps my shoes clean (albeit not dry). I use wool socks.

Now that I've been commuting for a few months I wouldn't bother with heavier shoes. The booties work well and are relatively inexpensive. I'd rather have extra pairs of road shoes that can be used anytime than specific shoes that only work when it's cold.
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Old 12-18-13, 10:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBurrito View Post
Hello

I was communting 3 times a week (9 miles round trip), occassionally more often, up until mid october, it was about then I switched from a road bike, using biking shoes (very stiff sole) to a mtn bike with platform pedals. Part of the reason I switched is my feet were getting pretty cold in the mornings and my biking shoes were on the narrow side making it tough to wear heavy socks plus they are super ventilated. with the platform pedals I was planning on using an insulated ankle high boot with heavy wool socks. well I developed a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis so I quit commuting until it healed up. I don't want to blame the switch in pedals/shoes, since I do other workouts beside commuting, but it occurred at the same time.

Anyway, it's almost healed up, so I'm thinking I want to start commuting again. but I'm wondering if I should get a winter mountain biking shoe. I wondering how warm they are, how stiff of a sole? they are pretty spendy - which I don't mind getting new gear but then again I'm sort of frugal and spending $200+ for a pair of shoes - yikes.

This would be the first winter, that I'm bike commuting.

So looking for reccomendations.

Thx
I actually developed a case of plantar fasciitis because I tried to ramp up my riding too fast and once I had it I didn't want to stop the riding. I wouldn't feel any discomfort on the bike but the next morning was excruciating... didn't really seem to get any better and had it even though I was off the bike for a couple of years and when I went back to riding on a trainer, I could still feel the irritation was still there... I actually fixed the problem using athletic tape of all things... if I were to encounter the problem again, I would immediately tape up my foot to allow for me to ride and to also allow it to heal up... I haven't had a problem with it since (knock on wood).
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Old 12-18-13, 10:57 AM   #17
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I wouldn't worry about using winter clipless footwear for a 9 mile r/t commute. I would just go with insulated hikers and platforms. I have winter mtb boots and really like them, but my commute is 30 mi r/t.
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Old 12-18-13, 11:23 AM   #18
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I think one of the most important parts of keeping your extremities warm is to keep your limbs warm, so that enough blood is circulating. Thanks to my AmFib tights and long-sleeved merino jersey, I can wear less-substantial gloves and regular sneakers with thick wool socks, and often find sweat when I peel those off.
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Old 12-18-13, 01:51 PM   #19
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I'm too cheap to buy Lake shoes. So I just wear big waffle stomper high top hunting boots, extra large with two pair of socks and platform pedals.

I'm currently experimenting with staying in my regular shoes but adding some DIY electric warmers under the sole, both feet powered from a 7.4v lighting battery. My first version is drawing about 3 watts per side, and it absolutely helped - my toes were a bit chilly but given the temps without it they would have been painfully cold. I think for a 2nd version I will probably go to 5 watts per side. That's still only about 1.2 amps total draw so a Magicshine battery will keep my toes toasty for 2 or 3 hours.

Maybe not practical, but it's fun to experiment.

I don't bother when it's warmer, over about 20*F just regular mountain bike shoes and warm socks is good enough.
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Old 12-20-13, 07:43 AM   #20
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I use hiking boots with thick wool socks. They're fine for my 7 mile ride down to about 15F. Don't worry about proper biking shoes and stiff soles and all that for a commute. Traffic lights and stop signs will slow you down more than floppy shoes ever will.
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Old 12-20-13, 10:31 AM   #21
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If you're doing a daily commute in sub-freezing temperatures on a consistent basis, I would heavily recommend considering either the Lakes mentioned above by tsl or the Wolvhammers.
I got frostbite commuting in Wisconsin. Lost my big toenail. There was no such thing as a winter shoe back then, I was out of the norm using shoe covers. If I was doing that now, I would definitely use the wulvhammers. Pacing around cursing while your feet warm up is no fun, I'm hoping that is past now
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Old 12-20-13, 10:41 AM   #22
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I got frostbite commuting in Wisconsin. Lost my big toenail.
so I have to ask, did the toenail grow back?
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Old 12-20-13, 11:16 PM   #23
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I got a pair of Grip Grab Arctic shoe covers this winter and they've been a revelation, allowing me to stay on the road bike and SPD's way below freezing. Awesome, well-built product. Below 25 or so I add chemical toe-warmers between my two pairs of socks. Get the size up from your shoe size. Only time I wear non-cycling shoes now is when there's snow on the ground and I'm on the MTB.
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Old 12-21-13, 07:16 AM   #24
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I'm using neoprene shoe covers and ski socks. Good enough for -5C for 1h-1.5h of riding.
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Old 12-21-13, 07:29 AM   #25
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I have a similar commute, and I've been using some fleece-lined, waterproof shoe covers on my regular road shoes (SPD). These are the ones that I have, and they're fantastic! I arrive at work with my toes still nice 'n' toasty. I've been using them in temps with wind chills down in the tens (Fahrenheit), and I haven't had any issues. Any colder, and I can just add an extra pair of thin liner-type socks.
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