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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 09-20-07, 08:30 AM   #1
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SPD and Winter Riding....

History: I've been riding 365 for over 20 years, but as I get older my feet just seem to like riding in the winter less and less. I've done galoshes over my shoes, booties currently, but I want to get the real deal winter riding SPD compatible shoe/boot. I'm not really into winter boots and flat pedals. If I go out for over an hour I'm frozen. I'd love to be able to head out to an ice race and spend time on the ice, MTBing in the snow etc. Commuting isn't the issue but the fun rides are too short.

I've been looking into Lakes, Gaerne (polars and Eskimos) and Northwaves (Celsius and Fahrenheit)...someone said SIDI this morning.
I'd love to hear about ANY opinions on these. I've been told some interesting sizing stories, and some extra coatings to keep them waterproof. I think I'm leaning towards the Eskimos, but we'll see. Keep in mind this is Canada and I'll go out in -15C and colder. Thanks for any and all
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Old 09-20-07, 09:24 AM   #2
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I've been seeking feedback as well, on the Norhwaves in particular.

The cheaper winter shoes that MEC had caught my eye as well, but seem to be permanently out of stock.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:39 AM   #3
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I think I'm on the way to the realization cheap ain't going to cut it this time.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:53 AM   #4
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I've been seeking feedback as well, on the Norhwaves in particular.

The cheaper winter shoes that MEC had caught my eye as well, but seem to be permanently out of stock.
Do you mean these?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1190303384897

I was looking at these too. The MEC site indicate that they are only good to -10C.
I can go to -10C with my regular MTB shoes, wool socks and shoe covers.

I'm considering going to BMX flat pedals & winter boots on my Ice Bike commuter project. I will prolly hate them and go back to my CB egg Beaters. These boots may help and at $79, its not that big of an investment

Last edited by Tequila Joe; 09-20-07 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:57 AM   #5
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I can walk to the corner in flipflops in -10.
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Old 09-20-07, 10:14 AM   #6
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I can go to -10C with my regular MTB shoes, wool socks and shoe covers.

I'm considering going to BMX flat pedals & winter boots on my Ice Bike commuter project. I will prolly hate them and go back to my CB egg Beaters. These boots may help and at $79, its not that big of an investment
In winter I switch my pedals to Shimano PD-M424 (they are only $50 most places). http://bike.shimano.com/catalog/cycl...=1190304953645

Personally I use polarfleece socks and a liner, but yeah any shoe can hit -10c (14f) without much issue in my experience. On slushy days I use a gaiter over my booties just to keep everything drier and it keeps me very warm.

For the really cold or wet days I use a set of winter hiking boots on the platform. Not ideal, but I found it to be as effective as any other platform pedal in hiking boots. Most days I use my SPD shoes though, so switching entirely to a platform pedal doesn't seem worth it to me.
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Old 09-20-07, 11:28 AM   #7
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I can walk to the corner in flipflops in -10.

My commute to the office is 29km one way. In the summer it takes just less than an hour but on a few snowy/icy days last winter, it took over 1.5 hours. Toes were frozen on days colder than -10C after an hour on the bike.
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Old 09-20-07, 11:38 AM   #8
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Yea it seems to be after an hour for me as well.. I wondered about those 9V hunters socks too.
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Old 09-20-07, 02:26 PM   #9
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I've had the Lake winter shoes (301's) for two winters now. They're decent, if a bit snug. If I were in the market today I'd probably pony-up for the Gore-Tex Sidi jobs. Then again, I'm kind of a fan of Sidi. The Lakes are moderately insulated, but nothing to write home about. They are a bit warmer and more water resistant than a good shoe with booties and a wool sock.
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Old 09-20-07, 10:31 PM   #10
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I'm a big fan of Sidi too. (Action & 5.5 HT Carbons) However, $300+ for the MTB Diablo shoes is really steep.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:18 AM   #11
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I'm comfortable in my Lakes during the summer. Cold in the winter. Not enough insulation. They were tight until I got them wet a few times. The weird adjuster thingie keeps falling apart and I'm afraid I'll finally lose the pieces.

I can't recommend them.
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Old 09-21-07, 02:01 PM   #12
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I'm a big fan of Sidi too. (Action & 5.5 HT Carbons) However, $300+ for the MTB Diablo shoes is really steep.
It is steep. The Lake's aren't cheap either. But that and Nokians get me to work every day in the winter. It's about what the snow tires on my wife's care cost. Last as long too.
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Old 09-23-07, 08:44 PM   #13
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Pulled the trigger on the Exustar winter shoes from mec today. I tried them on in the store and they seem to have some quality about them. At a price of $79 bucks, its cheap enough to experiment.

I'll let you guys know what they are like once I get another set of cleats.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1190602419724
http://www.exustar.com/sm450.php
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Old 09-24-07, 01:05 PM   #14
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i got a good deal on some lake winter boots last winter and used them with some success. they're not as waterproof as they claim to be, but when its dry they're pretty warm till the teens, and below that i add chemical foot warmers and i'm pretty comfy down to at least -5 (f).

the foot warmers have 4 hours of life in them and my commute is just under an hour so i actually take a snack sized ziplock bag with me to work and take the the warmers out as soon as i arrive and put them in the bag and squeeze all the air out of it. i usually get at least three hours out of them this way.
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Old 09-24-07, 02:29 PM   #15
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I've the Lakes (MXZ-301's) and enjoy them. They have plenty of room in the toe area so that even when wearing an extra pair of socks, you have wiggle room.

The BOAź adjuster thingy hasn't been a problem for me at all, I can recommend them fully.
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Old 09-27-07, 06:09 PM   #16
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History: I've been riding 365 for over 20 years, but as I get older my feet just seem to like riding in the winter less and less. I've done galoshes over my shoes, booties currently, but I want to get the real deal winter riding SPD compatible shoe/boot. I'm not really into winter boots and flat pedals. If I go out for over an hour I'm frozen. I'd love to be able to head out to an ice race and spend time on the ice, MTBing in the snow etc. Commuting isn't the issue but the fun rides are too short.

I've been looking into Lakes, Gaerne (polars and Eskimos) and Northwaves (Celsius and Fahrenheit)...someone said SIDI this morning.
I'd love to hear about ANY opinions on these. I've been told some interesting sizing stories, and some extra coatings to keep them waterproof. I think I'm leaning towards the Eskimos, but we'll see. Keep in mind this is Canada and I'll go out in -15C and colder. Thanks for any and all

I have tried three different types of winter cycling boots and all I can say is that if you get ones that fit right for winter. Meaning loose enough for a couple of pair of wool socks. That they are no better for keeping your foot warm than a standard loose fitting shoe, which also is loose enough for two thick socks and a shoe cover. THe cycling boots are more convenient because you don't have to put on a shoe cover. Neither are much good for extended rides in below freezing temperatures. For me they can go about 60 minutes at 20F and 90 minutes at 35F.

I think a better solution is to just buy an oversize standard cycling shoe and wear thick socks and make a breathable but insulated shoe cover. No one makes these so it is a DIY project. Unless it is really wet the breathable cover will keep your foot warmer as all the neoprene types trap moisture and limit the insulation value of your socks. Also, most of the cycling boots are not breathable which is their weak link. They are all lined with neoprene. Great for wet 40F but not so good in colder dry conditions.

Of course with chemical foot warmers the cycling boots can keep your feet warmer and this combination seems to be the ticket for longer rides.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:37 PM   #17
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...I think a better solution is to just buy an oversize standard cycling shoe and wear thick socks and make a breathable but insulated shoe cover...
Of course with chemical foot warmers the cycling boots can keep your feet warmer and this combination seems to be the ticket for longer rides.
Last year I got a pair of nashbar mtb shoes(in a deal w/dual-sided spds). They are 45s and I wear 43s, normally. Cycling socks, 100% wool socks and PB neoprene booties. When it got down to 15f I broke out the toe warmers. My commute was 19.8 mi each way. Never had a problem. Plenty of wiggle room, too. I found a pair of sealskinz socks at a thriftstore for $0.49 this summer and am going to try them out in place of the wool socks this year. Was looking seriously at the Lakes and decided on this option instead.
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Old 09-28-07, 09:57 PM   #18
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Last year I got a pair of nashbar mtb shoes(in a deal w/dual-sided spds). They are 45s and I wear 43s, normally. Cycling socks, 100% wool socks and PB neoprene booties. When it got down to 15f I broke out the toe warmers. My commute was 19.8 mi each way. Never had a problem. Plenty of wiggle room, too. I found a pair of sealskinz socks at a thriftstore for $0.49 this summer and am going to try them out in place of the wool socks this year. Was looking seriously at the Lakes and decided on this option instead.
I would wear the sealskins under a wool sock as they will help keep the wool socks dry and warmer.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:01 PM   #19
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Regarding the OP,

It should be noted that any winter cycling shoe that will be used in snow and ice conditions needs to be of the mountain bike kind with tread on the soles. Unless you plan on never having to stop. I can guarantee the first time you stop in road type winter shoes on a slick surface you will fall on your ass and curse the day you got the road version of the shoe. THe hard plastic of the sole is like wearing ice skates on ice and hard packed snow. THey are of no use for real winter activities. Be forewarned.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:36 AM   #20
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I finally got my cleats and it was cold enough to try these winter boots this morning (1 C of 34 F)
As noted previously, here is my review of the Exustar E-SM450 Cold Weather Cycling Shoe.

Sizing
I wear size 42 Sidi Road & MTB shoes. The Exustar winter boots fit just slightly bigger. There is enough room for thick wool sock in the same size 42.

Fit
The 3 Velcro straps secured the boot very well. The heel cup isn’t as pronounced as my Sidi’s but, I had no heel lift when pulling up on the pedals.

Stiffness
The soles are nicely stiff. I wouldn’t say they are as stiff as my Sidi Carbon soles but stiffness is comparable to my Sidi MTB soles. I had no hot spots or numb toes.

Tread
They are very “walkable” due to the deep tread and my cleats do not cause any issues with the ground when walking. The tread is spaced wide enough and do not cause interference clipping/unclipping my egg beaters.

Warmth
Today, I wore light wool socks and these boots. I would say that these shoes felt as warm as riding with regular shoes, thick wool socks and shoe covers. My toes were not cold at all after my 1 hour commute today. The wide Neoprene ankle cover was high enough to go under my thermal riding tights and I felt no drafts. I would estimate that these would keep my feet warm for 1 hour at -15C or 0F with only thick wool socks and the boot.

Water proof
I haven’t tried these in wet weather yet but, the boot seems to have a good water proof lower. The area where the tongue separates from the lower is at the top of the foot, just below the ankle. Walking through ankle high puddles will get your feet wet. I will spray some Scotch Guard on the Neoprene upper so they will bead water off making them even more water repellent.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the boots and am waiting for the really cold weather to hit so I can see how these actually perform.
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Old 10-03-07, 09:45 AM   #21
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Regarding the OP,

It should be noted that any winter cycling shoe that will be used in snow and ice conditions needs to be of the mountain bike kind with tread on the soles. Unless you plan on never having to stop. I can guarantee the first time you stop in road type winter shoes on a slick surface you will fall on your ass and curse the day you got the road version of the shoe. THe hard plastic of the sole is like wearing ice skates on ice and hard packed snow. THey are of no use for real winter activities. Be forewarned.


No worries there.. I only ride MTB style pedals....road shoes suck for anything but road riding, messing or commuting gets the MTB shoes...MTB shoes cleats are the ****!.

Thanks TJ (haha another TJ) for the review. I'll take an hour at -15C. That's a really big improvement over what I'd suffer for that time period now. I'm leaning towards the Gaerne Eskimos at this point I think. I've heard good things about their water proofness.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:05 AM   #22
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I used Answer Kashmirs all last winter, no complaints at all. One pair of thick smartwool socks was plenty down to 15F or so...and just a thin polypro liner under those kept my tootsies toasty down to below 0.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:23 PM   #23
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I have Answer Kashmirs and they are wonderfully comfortable. My only complaint with them is that the sole is not as stiff as I would like. I would say the sole stiffness is comparable to low priced MTB shoes.

Maybe I will try the Exustars this winter as they seem to have a stiffer sole which can make the shoe a little warmer as it has fewer pressure points.

Just some hints to get the most out of your winter cycling shoes.

Wear Seal-skins or other thin neoprene socks next to skin or over a very thin sock as a vapor barrier. Then the thickest wool sock you can get on with the shoe without having the shoe be tight.

I would also order the winter shoes 1 1/2 - 2 size oversize to make room for the thick socks. Worn this way the shoes work pretty good down to 15-20 F for 60-90 minutes depending on your foots cold tolerance.

Last edited by Hezz; 10-03-07 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 10-22-07, 04:10 AM   #24
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I have used the Northwave road shoes and find them very warm in just normal socks, this year I'm getting the newer MTB ones as I don't like the road cleats. I've also started using Endura Thermolite socks which keep my feet warm in normal MTB shoes. I would say that a combination of the Northwaves, Thermolite socks and overshoes would be good to about minus 10-15 celcius. I've ridden the Northwaves at minus 5 celcius with normal socks. Oh and I hate the cold so much that it is 7 celcius here and I'm sitting on the computer in a hat and thermal trousers.
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Old 10-22-07, 04:17 AM   #25
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+1 on big enough shoes for extra socks. BUT, be sure to add an extra insole in the shoe. Cleats are a wonderful heat sink, so you choose to ride clipless in winter you need non-compressing layer(s) of insulation between cleats and your socks. This is one of the reasons I don't like to ride clipless in winter.

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