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  1. #1
    Senior Member trailmix's Avatar
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    Cold weather footwear?

    What do you guys do to keep your feet warm on long rides. I am planning on doing a 200k in one week and the temps will range from 25 to 35 degrees F.

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    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Northwave winter boots (mine are an older version, but you can see the current model here), with BBB water/windproof overshoes, plus Lenz socks that have an integrated battery-powered heated sole.

    With this setup, I've done 6+ hour rides in temps of 20-30 F (-5 to 0 C). I'm sure that other people are tougher than me and ride in those temps with far more minimal footwear, but I like being comfortable and my feet get chilly quite easily. With my current setup my rides are not limited by temperature because it very rarely gets colder than that here; road conditions at those temps can keep me indoors though, so maybe I need to get a trike with studded tires next
    Last edited by Chris_W; 02-24-14 at 01:53 PM.

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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I use two pair of insulated cycling shoe covers with smartwool socks and fleece footbeds: http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/s...or_Shoes/26655 . This allows me to retain my perfectly fitting cycling shoes and remove layers as temperatures warm. I'm good down to about 20f or -5C. I changed to these for the BBB outer covers, these provide plenty of room for my size 11 shoe and the the inner cover: http://www.wiggle.com/bbb-arcticduty-shoe-cover/



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    One strategy is that if you can get a pair of relatively oversized "shell"-type shoe covers, such as Gore-Tex with no insulation, you can insulate them yourself by cutting a hole in the bottom of a pair of socks. The benefit of doing it that way is that you can fine-tune how thick your insulating layer is, extending their comfortable range.

    I've found that one of the most critical parts of keeping my feet warm is making sure my shoes and socks aren't too tight and that I have room to wiggle my toes (and wiggling them often). That means buying shoes on the larger side to make room for double layers of socks. If your shoes, socks, shoecovers, etc, are too tight, you don't have good circulation and your feet get colder.

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    I will echo the advise to keep the entire setup from being tight.

    My setup =
    Two pair nylon socks. Nothing special, thin black dress socks. Take care to keep the wiggle - room when putting on the second pair.

    Then shoes.

    Then neoprene booties. I have the ones from Performance Bike (cheap), but I imagine any work fine.

    This layering works with my pants. Socks, then windproof tights (over the tops of socks), then socks, then bib - tights (now over second pair of socks).

    Finally, a pair of runners windpants over the tights. The windpants are for colder, or windy days, and optional. I like them below freezing, as I'll be going slower anyway.

    If you are new to this, I would caution you to test your gear. Also, if you layer using my method, make sure to keep your flexibility at the ankle. Especially the front of your leg, where it meets your foot.

    Bunching or friction there will show up late in the ride, and can ruin your plans as bad as a blister for a runner.

    Be sure to come back to the thread and update us on your decision.

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    Senior Member trailmix's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I am a bit nervous about this. I should mention that I cannot wear cycling shoes, my feet are way too wide. I am leaning toward hiking boots and platform pedals. The weather is supposed to be dry but cold and if I keep my feet warm it will be no problem. Any opinions on riding in hiking boots?

    I really appreciate the advice.

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    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Shimano offers many of their road and MTB shoes in an extra-wide fit as well as a standard width. The wide version may have to be custom ordered, but should be available.

    I can't bear to ride for more than a few minutes without my feet clipped in - I hate the feeling of my feet moving all over the place and if I push down hard and at the wrong angle then my foot slips off and I get whacked in the shin by the pedal - no thanks!

    Someone mentioned above the idea of windpants over cycling tights when it's below freezing. I do a similar thing with a pair of lightweight, waterproof cycling pants that I put on over my regular winter cycling pants - keeping the wind off when it's below freezing is essential. They can also be taken off without removing my shoes if the temperature warms up.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    lake boots. get em wide. get em sized up for thicker socks.
    or platforms and hikers / snow boots.

    and don't discount the simple plastic bag. if your setup doesn't work out, get some bags from a store and tuck them over your socks inside your shoes.

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    We could be overthinking it. Just pick footwear that you could walk for the same number of hours in the same conditions.

    having too many choices can confuse the matter. These men didn't consult the forum, before they suited up for the day......



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    Senior Member trailmix's Avatar
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    My foot is a 9.5 EE EE EE. Yes 6E. I have contacted both Bont and Lake and they are both too narrow. Lake is the closest at 112.9mm but my foot is 121mm wide. To get shoes wide enough I would have to get size12 or custom. At $1000 I'll pass on the custom shoes.
    I am going to try a couple of different setups this week and hopefully something will work out. I really appreciate all the advice, you all have been very helpful.

  11. #11
    Senior Member trailmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeAnon View Post
    We could be overthinking it. Just pick footwear that you could walk for the same number of hours in the same conditions.

    having too many choices can confuse the matter. These men didn't consult the forum, before they suited up for the day......


    Well, I don't usually go on 10 hour walks.

  12. #12
    kg1
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    Unless you have good access to water on the route, make sure your water bottles don't freeze. Put them in your handlebar bag if you have one or keep one under your coat.

    To keep you hands and feet warm, I think the most important think is to keep you corer and head warm. I think helmet covers work well for this. I'd recommend overdressing a little, maybe an extra wool t-shirt beyond what you think you'll need and the thickest wool hat that will fit comfortably under your helmet. Also I like wool for socks as they help to keep the feet warm even if your feet get wet from sweat. As others have said, make sure footgear and gloves are lose fitting, and it seems to me that both my feet and hands swell during the course of a ride, so start out with them really loose.

    Why a 200k in those temperatures?

    Good luck with the ride.

    Thanks.

    kg1

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Here's what I've found has worked for me on very cold rides ...

    My article entitled "Cold Feet"
    http://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm

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    I was going to suggest the plastic bag over wool socks approach, but for a 9.5 EEEEEE, maybe the best footwear for a freezing day would be slippers. In front of a fire. Reading ride reports on a tablet or laptop, if you must!

    Lovely day last week in the west end of your state -- 200k started out at 37 degrees, made it up into the mid 60s.

  15. #15
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    BTW, if you want to keep your head warm, then as well as the skull cap and buff, then instead of a helmet cover, I use a helmet that has no ventilation, the Limar Velov., which actually has panels that can be removed if you get too hot (but I've rarely used this feature because I basically use it as a winter/rain helmet, so just leave the panels on).

    big_97_velov placche.jpg

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    I've done nearly a 200k in insulated work boots on exceptionally cold days. I use toeclips if I'm not wearing cycling shoes (which is usually just for commuting ). Good work boots or hiking boots aren't too bad to ride in. At least they have relatively stiff soles. And they are warm. If you can't find toeclips your boots can fit into, you can try PowerGrips or one of the various toe straps that some messenger bag companies make.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I think Coluber42 has a great idea. I'd use toeclips. It'd be much easier to find a pair of them that will work with a normal shoe or boot.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    After 19 years of cycling in Alaska, I think I've tried just about everything. As other's have mentioned, wiggle room for your toes is paramount. Also, consider stepping off the bike when your feet begin to get cold and walk/jog for a bit. That'll increase the circulation quickly. Just don't wait until your toes are frozen. I've had good luck with heated insoles and, or heated socks with an insulated winter riding shoe or cold weather specific shoe cover. Enjoy.
    c

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    can't help with super-wide feet, but I have 45nrth Wulvhammers and Fasterkatts. So far, I've only ridden the Fasterkatts on brevets. The last one I did featured temps in the mid-'20s, and my feet did get a little cold, but not painfully cold. Been relatively happy with them so far except the zipper issue, which they have owned up to. I used to ride road shoes with neoprene shoe covers, but that combo isn't really that great below freezing.

    I have a friend that uses boots/platform, "infinite float" system. He also will wear rubber overshoes and cycling sandals, also with the infinite float pedals. Certainly doesn't slow him down at all.

  20. #20
    Senior Member trailmix's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the tips. Fortunately the forecast is somewhat better than it appeared when I first posted. Looks like 30s and 40s instead of 20s and 30s like they were predicting so I am feeling a little more optimistic about my foot warmth situation.

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    Below 20F, I wear neoprene booties. I went out yesterday in the high 20's and just wore my Mtb bike shoes on the feet. A neck gator and helmet liner is critical to keeping warm for me once it is below 30F

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