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Old 02-20-14, 11:56 AM   #1
PatrickGSR94
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"Windstopper" socks, am I doing it wrong?

I purchased some "Windstopper" neoprene socks from a local outdoor sports store awhile back. It wasn't that exact brand (is that a brand name?) but pretty similar. Neoprene with something like a thin fleece inner lining. I bought the XL size because I wear size 13 shoes.

First of all the socks are VERY hard to get past the heels of my feet. It's almost a workout in itself getting them on and off. But the other morning I tried them out when it was 21 degrees outside. I just wore the socks, and my normal SPD shoes. 2 pairs of tights came down over the tops of the socks.

Before mile 10 I could feel my toes getting cold and by the time I got to work at mile 15.5 they were straight up numb.

So did I use these things incorrectly? Should I have worn my Smartwool socks and then put the neoprene socks over them? I'm afraid I may not be able to get them on over the wool socks, or the combination might be too large to fit inside my shoes.

If it wasn't user error, then I need to return these things to the store and get my $25 + tax back, because right now they don't even seem worth 25 cents to me.
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Old 02-20-14, 11:59 AM   #2
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My guess is that they are supposed to stop drafts, not insulate. I would definitely depend more on Smartwool for warmth. Maybe covers that go over your shoes would be a better idea? Or toe warmers- either chemical or electric, when the temps drop that low.
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Old 02-20-14, 12:02 PM   #3
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I have some neoprene toe covers that are okay above freezing into the 40's, but don't do jack squat below freezing. Like they're not even there.

Freezing toes has been a real problem for me this winter. I would entertain boots and platforms if I had a shorter commute, but I really prefer to be clipped in for a 31 mile round trip.

I will try to see if I can coax my shoes a bit wider (they're plenty long) to accommodate 2 pairs of socks.
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Old 02-20-14, 12:06 PM   #4
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There may have been a circulation reduction from the tight sox. (+tight shoes for that Clipless pedal performance.)

my most comfortable kit .. toe clip-pedals, and loose fitting shoes .. then insulated shoe covers over those shoes .


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I will try to see if I can coax my shoes a bit wider
do you have 'shoe trees' to do this with something other than your Feet?
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Old 02-20-14, 12:12 PM   #5
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Wool socks (1 or 2 pairs), loose winter MTB shoes and Sugoi Resistor shoe covers keep my toes warm for an hour in temps to the upper 20s. I have good circulation to my hands and feet, so that also helps. Tight neoprene socks are not going to be very warm. My feet would sweat and get even colder without any way for the moisture to escape.
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Old 02-20-14, 12:12 PM   #6
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No, just going to experiment with pulling the straps out and see what happens.

The neoprene socks themselves aren't really tight once I get them on. It's just getting past the heel that's tough. Shoes themselves aren't all that tight, either, with just 1 pair of socks. I tried a pair of crew socks on top of my Smartwool socks one time and it felt much too tight, but maybe I had pulled the straps too tight or something.

I use Shimano PD-A530 pedals so toe clips are a no go with those I think.
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Old 02-20-14, 12:15 PM   #7
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I have never been a fan of Neoprene socks, gloves, etc. and not at all for biking gear. Neoprene is best for wetsuits, and wet suites really only insulating when you are wet. Neoprene is generally very tight and not easy to get on and off.

Windstopper - if using a TM or something like that, is a GORE brand like GORETEX designed to shield from wind while still being breathable. It is also water resistant, but not water proof like GORETEX. I personally have been very happy with Gore Windstopper products for their wind blocking capability, but windstopper itself is not at all insulating.

You could look at some other windstopper socks, though most are not very insulated. You could also layer windtopper with smartwool for warmth, though it may not work very well.

Finally you could wear warms sock with windstopper shoe covers, like these http://www.goreapparel.com/gore-bike...vid=xsellpdprp
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Old 02-20-14, 12:23 PM   #8
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I have Adidas GoreTex Nordic Walking shoes and they're quite nice ... to use on the bike and when off the bike:

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Old 02-20-14, 12:26 PM   #9
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My shoe covers are moderately windproof and, with a pair of thin wool socks (so as not to reduce circulation that thick socks would do), I've been toasty warm down to -16C (4F). As far as I am concerned, wind resistance is vital as an outer layer, then insulation and then blood flow (not in order of importance but from outside to inside). For blood flow, I did not tighten my shoes as much as I would during the summer but kept them somewhat loose. Also, I got a new pair of gloves this year, lobster-style overmitts, that were very tight at the cuff (and therefore, around my wrist) which probably restricted circulation and, despite wool gloves inside, my hands and fingers got very cold. The cuffs have since stretched and are less tight on my wrist and my hands are good now.

The other thing I have found, although it was with hands, is that if there is an opportunity for my arms to get cold, either because of insufficient insulation or a gap between my gloves/mitts and the sleeve of my coat (even if the cuffs go over the sleeve of the coat but so loosely that there is an opportunity for cold air to get in), then my hands get cold. If you have exposed skin around the ankle or poor insulation around the ankle or on the legs, this might also affect you: my tights have a heel strap to keep them down around my ankles.
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Old 02-20-14, 12:28 PM   #10
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Actually I read an article about winter riding where the guy said he would keep the lower leg opening of his tights down around mid-foot. I thought it interesting, and since my tights are a bit long anyway I tried it out this week, although it was 10-20 degree warmer that morning than the day last week when my toes froze.

Like so:

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Old 02-20-14, 02:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Actually I read an article about winter riding where the guy said he would keep the lower leg opening of his tights down around mid-foot. I thought it interesting, and since my tights are a bit long anyway I tried it out this week, although it was 10-20 degree warmer that morning than the day last week when my toes froze.
When it gets down to around 24 or 25 that's when my fingers and toes go numb. That's only happened twice this winter. If I lived someplace where this happened regularly I would use chemical handwarmers. I scoffed at them before but one evening a co-worker gave me some half dead ones that she had used on her commute in. She was driving but she is very cold blooded and a relative had gotten her the handwarmers for Christmas. It was around ~30 which is a temp that my regular gloves can handle but the warmers definitely made a difference. Neoprene is neoprene. Whether it goes on over your shoes like the Adidas booties that I have or whether it goes inside your shoe like the socks you bought or Seal-skinz or something else, if it is going to work, it is going to work. Hands and feet are difficult to heat. There has to be heat there from your circulation. Some people have naturally good circulation to their extremities, some don't. It doesn't appear that you do. I have gone out on identical 28* mornings and on one my fingers froze and another they didn't. If I had to mess with a tire or brake with my gloves off and then put the gloves on over nearly numb fingers then they could be ski gloves, it is going to be a miserable ride. Try not to let your hands get too cold before your ride starts. Feet are not that different. Heat must be input from somewhere (batteries or chemically) if there isn't enough natural warmth from excellent circulation. FWIW.

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Old 02-20-14, 04:17 PM   #12
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What others here have told me works:

Foot -> light sock -> plastic shopping bag -> thermal sock -> shoe

Did it in 'teens weather in sneakers. Worked fine, even in the snow.

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Old 02-21-14, 03:16 PM   #13
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21 F , regular summer shoes, are you expecting magic? Flats and insulated winter boots here in the arctic of New England. Must be clipped in? 45 north, Lake and a few others make insulated winter bike shoes.
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Old 02-21-14, 08:13 PM   #14
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The wind-proof stuff goes on the outside, just like everywhere else.

You wouldn't wear a windproof undershirt, then your insulating layers on the outside, right? The wind would blow the heat all away. No, you wear a wicking undershirt, insulating layers, then the windproof jacket on the outside. Same for your feet. Wind/waterproof layer on the outside, insulating layers inside.

I'm with Leebo. You're expecting too much from shoes that are specifically designed to keep your feet cool. It's working, right?

Further, three-seasons shoes are designed to be worn tight. In winter, this squeezes out the blood flow that brings the heat to your feet. Compounding this, stuffing an insulating later in there further reduces circulation. And insulating layers are supposed to stay fluffy, not get all the air squoze out of them. They don't work when compressed.

It's probably too late in the season to re-do your footwear. For next year, think about a winter cycling shoe/boot. You don't have to go whole hog with the Lake MXZ303. I love my older 302s. Seven winters of toasty feet, even this year. I don't even bother with two pairs of socks until it's below zero.

There are others that are considerably less expensive, and probably make more sense for Memphis.

Winter cycling shoes are designed to keep your feet warm and dry. The cleat backing plate doesn't come all the way through the sole like on three-seasons shoes. Then with the insulated mid-sole and insole, you don't have the heat-sink effect of the cleat sucking warmth from your foot. Personally, I love clipless, and wouldn't ride any otehr way. This goes double-plus good in winter when slippery pedals make pedaling both a chore, and a pain when my feet slide off.

Whatever you buy, make sure it's a couple of (metric) sizes larger than you wear in the three-seasons. This keeps the loft in your insulated socks and such, which keeps that working, and it keeps the blood flowing to your feet.
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Old 02-22-14, 05:36 PM   #15
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Yeah that's the problem, my feet (toes specifically) are so blasted long that I wear US size 13 shoes and so it's difficult finding stuff a size or two larger.

I saw some SPD shoes at the LBS that look sort of low-top hiking shoes with a more standard-looking rubber sole. I thought about picking those up, and still might for regular commuting.

Perhaps next winter I'll look into these: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/lo...FTIV7Aodsg0Apg

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Old 02-22-14, 10:26 PM   #16
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Just a thought, and like everything else posted here this isn't for everyone. I really enjoy wearing a pair of Muck Jobbers (in the cold, snow, and rain) and riding with Power Grips year round. I really don't feel like I lose a ton of efficiency (although I'm sure I lose some). I feel the Power Grips are far more efficient and more comfy than toe cages, and the Mucks keep my feet really warm with some wool socks. They're also and definitely dry for all your wet conditions (almost rubber everything).

Not to brag, just to let you know what conditions I ride to work in: 40 miles daily in the Pacific NW. I also rode in this configuration in Kodiak, AK and Traverse City, MI for similar distances and was quite successful daily no matter what. I also ride a Surly LHT with waterproof paniers, so I'm not breaking any land speed records either. It's probably why I don't mind the loss of efficiency so much.
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Old 02-23-14, 07:25 AM   #17
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I have a windproof undershirt from Castelli I think, and I found it useless. It was like wearing a plastic bag on your chest.

I also have a pair of neoprene glove and I find those useless for warmth also.

But the cure to all of this is Spring.
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Old 02-23-14, 09:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
Foot -> light sock -> plastic shopping bag -> thermal sock -> shoe
I tried the shopping bag (loaf bread bags fit better) in all possible combinations. I found the best to be foot, thermal sock, then bag, shoe and finally....toe covers. Not good without covers and then marginal. The sneakers were probably why they worked---loose fitting. But as tsl said, the wind stopping is the outer layer and insulation is next to skin. Otherwise it's like wearing a shower cap under a skull cap then cramming a helmet on and wondering why your head is still cold, or why latex gloves under insulated gloves produce nothing but cold, sweaty hands.

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There are others that are considerably less expensive, and probably make more sense for Memphis.
Right, Lake boots are not cost effective for as little use that we'll give them in the south. I want to stay with SPD options. I'm not going to use booties, as much a pain in the butt as the toe covers are, booties are out of the question. They would be fine if you get on the bike then ride a decent distance and get off. For stop and go errands--they suck.

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Perhaps next winter I'll look into these: Louis Garneau 0 Ergo Grip Shoe
The Garneau boots that Patrick showed were my exact conclusion as to top of the limited use/limited time (as in bike/winter specific) option in mild climates. Even more justified by the distance that he rides each way.

I'm gonna keep my eye out for end of winter sales and "see how low they go". Patrick and I won't be in competition for the last pair, my foot is small enough to use double digit metric sizes.

Barring a deal on those boots, I think I will look into electric options as a heat source since heat trapping doesn't seem to be an efficient southern US solution.
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Old 02-24-14, 05:59 AM   #19
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I bought a pair of thin sock lines (Outdoors, INC) to wear underneath my black Swiftwick smartwool socks (Outdoors, INC).

I wear a pair of Columbia Waterproof hiking shoes that are warm and keep my feet dry.

Hope this helps
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Old 02-24-14, 06:53 AM   #20
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I bought some goretex shimano winter shoes this year a size larger than I normally wear and I'm never going back to wearing normal cycling shoes in the winter again. I used to wear two pairs of socks and shoe covers over my normal MTB shoes and my feet froze every year, the problem was like others have said is the shoes were designed to keep my feet cool not warm.
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Old 02-24-14, 07:22 AM   #21
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I agree that things may have been too tight for you. I don't know how you can find size 15 shoes, but that's what you need. In the meantime, try wearing two pairs of socks and then a pair of sandals. Yes, I'm serious, but I've found it's better to be a little exposed than having shoes tight on my toes. I've worn my neoprene socks under my sandals in the winter, and it's fine. I have SPD sandals. What a great invention.
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Old 02-24-14, 07:46 AM   #22
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Quote:
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I tried the shopping bag (loaf bread bags fit better) in all possible combinations. I found the best to be foot, thermal sock, then bag, shoe and finally....toe covers. Not good without covers and then marginal. The sneakers were probably why they worked---loose fitting. But as tsl said, the wind stopping is the outer layer and insulation is next to skin. Otherwise it's like wearing a shower cap under a skull cap then cramming a helmet on and wondering why your head is still cold, or why latex gloves under insulated gloves produce nothing but cold, sweaty hands.
Woops! I transposed those two; light sock is supposed to be on the outside (prevents bag from ripping due to misc. things in shoe). Good catch

Also, when it's wet, I put another bag on inside the shoe but outside the light sock.

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Old 02-24-14, 09:43 AM   #23
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I too am blessed with sasquatch feet( size 15) Try keen shoes and boots, they make them up to size 15.
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Old 02-24-14, 09:57 AM   #24
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I tried the shopping bag (loaf bread bags fit better) in all possible combinations. I found the best to be foot, thermal sock, then bag, shoe and finally....toe covers. Not good without covers and then marginal. The sneakers were probably why they worked---loose fitting. But as tsl said, the wind stopping is the outer layer and insulation is next to skin. Otherwise it's like wearing a shower cap under a skull cap then cramming a helmet on and wondering why your head is still cold, or why latex gloves under insulated gloves produce nothing but cold, sweaty hands.



Right, Lake boots are not cost effective for as little use that we'll give them in the south. I want to stay with SPD options. I'm not going to use booties, as much a pain in the butt as the toe covers are, booties are out of the question. They would be fine if you get on the bike then ride a decent distance and get off. For stop and go errands--they suck.



The Garneau boots that Patrick showed were my exact conclusion as to top of the limited use/limited time (as in bike/winter specific) option in mild climates. Even more justified by the distance that he rides each way.

I'm gonna keep my eye out for end of winter sales and "see how low they go". Patrick and I won't be in competition for the last pair, my foot is small enough to use double digit metric sizes.

Barring a deal on those boots, I think I will look into electric options as a heat source since heat trapping doesn't seem to be an efficient southern US solution.
Actually I looked at the reviews for those LG boots and many of them were pretty bad. Poor construction, and didn't do much of anything below 35-ish degrees, which would be a no-go for me. I need something that will keep toes warm down to about 20F.

SPD sandals with say, wool socks and then neoprene socks over that sound like a decent option, albeit odd-looking. I might look into that.
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Old 02-24-14, 11:04 AM   #25
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I have the opposite problem of you guys - I have 6.5 EEEE (yes, four E's) feet. I don't even bother to look for specialized footware - hard enough getting good, regular ones!

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