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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-17-02, 07:57 AM   #1
MtnBikerChk
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Gore tex socks

Anybody have them? Should I get some? I live in New England and have never mountain biked in the winter before - but I plan to this year. I ordered a pair of those performance booties ($19.99 on sale if anyone is interested).

I've only found a few gore tex socks online and they are all like $45. YIKES.
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Old 12-17-02, 08:45 AM   #2
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Mtnbikerchk, I'm interested in the replies to your question, I've often thought of getting some goretex socks for commuting but was affraid to spend dollars on gear that was not effective, The money could be better spent on repairs or other warm clothing.
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Old 12-17-02, 07:42 PM   #3
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I have a pair of Seal Skinz socks that I only use when it is raining, or there is very wet snow. They keep my feet dry, although I do not think they add any insulation value. I also have some socks that I got from Adventure Cyclings "Cyclosource" that I have to say are total losers, they leak within 20 minutes of riding, and are not insulating either. They were only $20 so I had gotten them first. After they proved to not be worth 2 cents, I got the Seal Skinz. Be sure to get socks large enough to wear a thin liner sock under.
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Old 12-17-02, 09:56 PM   #4
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I can't imagine that any gore-tex socks can do $45.00 more than a good pair of wool socks can (or a one cent plastic bag).

The most critical thing for keeping your feet warm is wiggle space for your toes. Make sure your shoes are big enough to accomodate your feet, one pair of thin socks, and one pair of fairly thick wool socks.

When the temps get to freezing, I switch to old fashioned pedals - no clips, no clipless hardware. Just some nice, big platform pedals that you might find on a kid's department store mountain bike.

When it is REALLY cold, I wear swampers; otherwise known as pack boots - such as Sorels. They have felt liners, rubber outers for the feet, and leather around the ankles.

Feet get colder bicycling in winter than any other sport I know including hockey and skiing. For real winter bicycling, speed is abandoned.

Last edited by mike; 12-18-02 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 12-18-02, 07:44 AM   #5
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Mike... not a "plastic bag", an advanced composite polymer-based heat retention system for terminal appendanges. THat way, we can charge $45 per bag!
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Old 12-18-02, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jean Beetham Smith
I have a pair of Seal Skinz socks that I only use when it is raining, or there is very wet snow.
...
I have the Seal Skinz too. I use them for riding in the rain and for running in snow and slush.

They are not made of Gore-Tex. They are more like neoprene (the stuff they make diving/waterski suits out of). They keep your feet dry in the worst of conditions. I don't believe that they insulate that much, but for me, warm is dry. You will need to make sure that your shoes will still fit when wearing the Seal Skinz. They are moderately thick, so I would bring the cycle shoes with you and try the socks on with the shoes.

I think I paid about 20USD for these and I think they were definitely worth it.

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Old 12-18-02, 11:51 AM   #7
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Gore tex is always best if its the most outer layer.Maybe we need a shoe just for are needs. If the gore tex is trapped under other garments it loses most of its ability to breath.Go for wicking first layer then a wool layer.
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Old 12-18-02, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gojohnnygo.
[BMaybe we need a shoe just for are needs. [/B]
well, lake makes a winter shoe - but I don't want to buy another paif or mtb shoes

I am to cycling shoes what most women are to street shoes.
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Old 12-18-02, 01:06 PM   #9
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I am to cycling shoes what most women are to street shoes.

I am not going to touch that,I have seen my girl friends shoe collection .Happy holidays MtnBikerChk.
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Old 12-18-02, 01:06 PM   #10
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I use Smartwool socks. You need shoes/boots which are a tad oversized...but they are very warm and wick well.
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Old 12-18-02, 06:39 PM   #11
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I especially like the Smartwool liner socks. In colder weather adding a 2nd pair of their thin cycling socks is warmer than thicker wool socks and they still fit under the Seal Skinz & let me wiggle my toes. My feet sweat a lot and when I've tried plastic bags after 40 minutes my socks were soaked and then my feet got cold. Too bad, I really liked how easy it was to slip on my shoes with the plastic over my socks. Did I ever mention I was lazy? I find a water-proof vapor permeable outer layer to be very helpful on long rides on cold, wet days. If plastic bags work for you, great. If they don't, try gore-tex or Seal Skinz. It's just like bike fit, it depends on what works for you.
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Old 12-18-02, 07:07 PM   #12
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Gore Tex socks??


Aren't those what Al wears when campaigning for president in Texas?

Looks like he is going to be giving them away. You might write him.
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Old 12-19-02, 12:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jean Beetham Smith
I especially like the Smartwool liner socks. In colder weather adding a 2nd pair of their thin cycling socks is warmer than thicker wool socks and they still fit under the Seal Skinz & let me wiggle my toes. My feet sweat a lot and when I've tried plastic bags after 40 minutes my socks were soaked and then my feet got cold. Too bad, I really liked how easy it was to slip on my shoes with the plastic over my socks. Did I ever mention I was lazy? I find a water-proof vapor permeable outer layer to be very helpful on long rides on cold, wet days. If plastic bags work for you, great. If they don't, try gore-tex or Seal Skinz. It's just like bike fit, it depends on what works for you.
I was half joking about plastic bags. Actually, they will trap in moisture and heat and will work until you slow down. However, plastic bags are not really the way to go.

Neither is neoprene or anything else that does not breath.

Jean hit it right on the head when she writes, "It's just like bike fit, it depends on what works for you."

I think Jean is from Wisconsin originally which gives her a great degree of credibility when it comes to winter dress.
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Old 12-19-02, 05:33 AM   #14
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My preference for winter footwear is a waterproof light hiking shoe or boot, used with platforsm, toclips or powerstraps. Wearing leaky shoes in cold, wet conditions, and compensating with a waterproof sock seems to me slightly crazy. I should be able to put my foot down, even into a puddle of cold water, without having to worry about wet shoes.
I prefer the insulation to be in my socks rather than in the boot, so they are more versatile, and they should be fairly roomy. Maybe arctic riders need more substantial footwear than for cold temperate regions.
SPD systems require a lump of metal inside your shoes, connected to a very efficient radiator. You cant make them totally waterproof, and they leak heat.
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Old 12-19-02, 02:56 PM   #15
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Once again very intelligent and informed information by MichaelW. Good points, Michael.
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Old 12-19-02, 03:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelW
My preference for winter footwear is a waterproof light hiking shoe or boot...
I agree. I use a pair of L.L. Bean insulated hiking boots. The coldest I have ridden in is slightly less than 0 F and with a single pair of mid-weight smartwool socks, I was very toasty for my 9 mile ride into work. I have also snowshoed with these boots in colder temps without a problem.
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Old 12-19-02, 04:00 PM   #17
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I think there are 3 issues here that may not affect everyone in the same way.

1 - Cold air getting in - Like Michael W says, proper footwear goes a long way in keeping the cold out.

2 - Keeping external moisture off feet - see #1

3 - My downfall in winter - sweaty feet that get too hot, get wet on the inside of the boot and then get too cold. Waterproof footwear doesn't help here, maybe Gore-Tex socks do, but are they worth the $45 or so they cost? I think that was the original question, which I'm not sure has been answered yet.
Are wool socks the answer?

Last edited by pinerider; 12-20-02 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:54 PM   #18
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I've heard that Gore Tex socks are the only way to go if you want to keep your feet dry. I'm not sure if they'll keep your feet warm, that's not really a concern in the great northwest rainforest
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Old 01-22-06, 10:07 PM   #19
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I have a pair of "Super Socks"... worthless keeping your feet warm!

Booties, Wool Sock, Silk Sock Liner should work.

I went all out and bought the Lake 301 Winter Shoes, I have warm toes ALL THE TIME now!
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Old 01-22-06, 10:17 PM   #20
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I dont ride in super cold, mid 30's to mid 40's in winter, but its been raining for over a month so i know al about cold and wet.

I use gortex socks (sealskinz) only when raining. They have no insulation and dont breath very great, but better than bread bags.

I wear a wool sock, then my gortex sock, then a thin (not the neoprene) bootie to block wind. Oh and i use shimano spd sandals. The sandals let me wear no socks in the summer, and 4 pairs of socks if I want in winter. I use them for commuting since they dry in about 10 minutes comprared to my cycling shoes which never dried before it was time to head home.

So short answer...if your using sandals in winter go for it, if your using boots/shoes id find a way to make them do the waterproofing.
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Old 01-23-06, 12:47 PM   #21
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Assuming you hate to wear booties like me, yes, they are worth the $45. While cheaper and resepctablly warm, wool socks just don't have the wind resistancecneeded for winter riding.
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Old 01-23-06, 05:44 PM   #22
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I've had mine for three or four years. In terms of warmth they're not a substitute for a neoprene overboot. They are, however, a lot lighter to spin on your feet and carry in your pack on days that heavier stuff would be overkill, in case the weather turns on you.

And since they're inside your shoe, they're protected from all the damage that mountain biking tends to do to overboots.
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Old 02-01-06, 10:53 AM   #23
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Hi all from windsor ont, this is my first post. GREAT SITE ! I have been using plastic bags and wool/nylon
socks with my spd mtb shoes .with good results on short commutes , I usualy just keep one foot fully clipped . The roads here are usual pretty salted ! my lips become white sometimes !
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Old 02-01-06, 05:48 PM   #24
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I bike commuted in Vancouver BC for several winters, one January it rained a full meter (evidently a record recently broken). Neoprene booties were the ticket with regular mesh top MTB shoes. Goretex socks are a silly marketing invention.
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Old 04-20-09, 05:45 PM   #25
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I'm a bike courier in toronto and I've been through 2 winters so far.
What I can tell you is this:

Plastic bags suck. your feet sweat and freeze

Sealskinz suck. your feet sweat and smell like fungus

Gore tex is great, but riding everyday they wear out. Mine only lasted 8 months.
But if you are only commuting, and not riding hard on the 8 hours a day, they'll be fine.
Even still, TOTALLY WORTH IT

These plus warm wool socks and good neoprene booties over my cycling shoes kept me warm and dry through the wettest and coldest days of a toronto winter.

As far as winter cycling clipless shoes go...
Very few will keep your feet dry, so do your research. The Lakes and SIDI's especially.

Really, unless you REALLY need the performance, good winter boots and maybe a set of gators work awesome as well.
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