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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 11-14-07, 02:14 PM   #1
jjiggajouncer
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Shoe Covers vs. Toe Covers

I would like to get something to help keep my feet warm. I have chronically cold feet, especially my toes, and I was wondering what your thoughts were on using shoe covers vs. toe covers.

fwiw, I went out on about a 45 minute ride the other day when it was about 50 to maybe 55 degrees. Most of the ride was in the shade and there was some wind. By the end of my ride my feet were quite cold. I was wearing my Specialized Taho MTB shoes and two pairs of socks (both were "high performance" light to medium weight hiking socks from REI).

Do the toe covers really work? If they do then I think I'd prefer going that route since it seems like they would be easier to take off and put on. Not to mention, they would be easier to pack away in my bag if not needed.

Also, I don't plan to ride in temps that are too severe, probably around the freezing point would be my limit.

These are the products that have caught my attention so far...

Nashbar Reveal Shoe Cover $19.99

Nashbar Toe Warmers $9.99

Prorace Neoprene Multifunction & Water Protect Overshoes $19.01

Last thing, if anyone has recommendations for sizing I would very much appreciate it. I wear a size 46 Specialized Taho MTB shoe.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:22 PM   #2
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I have poor circulation and have really struggled with this myself.

Size 46 = Large Toe Covers or Full Shoe Covers (most any brand)

I've gone back and forth between toe covers and full shoe covers. I notice no difference between the two in DRY weather and you're right; the full shoe covers are a bit more of a pain, especially if you have XL feet as I do. For instance the zippers on the Pearl Izumi Amfib shoe covers have broken on me twice because they are so difficult to get on.

All that said, if you are riding in wet and cold conditions, you will likely be better off with the full shoe covers to keep your feet drier. I don't think the full covers are much warmer in DRY weather. I've been comfortable with toe covers and chemical hand warmers (Toasty Toes, etc) in temps down to 10F degrees...again, in DRY weather.

Some other things to keep in mind:
-Don't wear your shoes too TIGHT. Often times, the full shoe covers are so tight that they will cause your shoes to be tight as well. If your current shoes fit perfectly, then they will be too tight with thick socks and chemical warmers.
-Place a nonconductive barrier (plastic, rubber, etc.) between the cleat and insole of your shoe. The cleat/pedal combination is a heat sink and sucks heat from your shoe.

I hope this helps. Mostly, it's trial-n-error and can get expensive but staying on your bike year round is what matters.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:26 PM   #3
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Toe covers on a MTB show may be a challenge to fit.

My PI's only go on my road shoes.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:34 PM   #4
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Toe covers on a MTB show may be a challenge to fit.

My PI's only go on my road shoes.
+1

Toe covers and full covers may be a challenge on the beefier MTB shoes. There may MTB specific varieties however...
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Old 11-14-07, 03:36 PM   #5
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Toe covers are like putting a band-aid on a severed finger.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:47 PM   #6
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Toe covers are like putting a band-aid on a severed finger.
Actually, I find them more to be like putting a cover on the toe of your shoe.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:56 PM   #7
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I could wear sandles at 55 F, so I don't know what to tell ya.
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Old 11-14-07, 04:49 PM   #8
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Simple common sense dictates proper INSULATED footware for any
outdoor winter activity and that includes riding a bike!!
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Old 11-14-07, 04:53 PM   #9
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Toe covers on a MTB show may be a challenge to fit.
Never had a problem getting my Performance Toasties over Specialized BG mtb shoes. Certainly much easier than getting full booties over them!

I actually find toe covers preferable to full booties. In addition to being harder to get on and off, I find the full booty keeps my ankles too warm, without keeping my toes appreciably warmer (than toe covers). My heels have never felt cold so that's a wash.
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Old 11-14-07, 06:39 PM   #10
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Toe covers

Up here in the frozen north, it depends on the temps and weather. When it 50 degrees and above, I wear toe covers. Above 60 I wear nothing on my shoes.

When it gets down into the 40s or below and it is damp and windy, I wear neoprene boots. Keeps my feet warm. Here's your sock problem solved: for the first layer, wear a light weight synthetic sock, something that wicks away the sweat. For the next layer, wear a heavier wool sock. That will keep you warm. After each ride, hang the wool socks up to dry.

The only draw back with wool socks is that they do get a little odorferous after awhile. Wash them in cold water in your sink with some kind of mild detergent and they will be fine.

Stay away from anything cotton. As others have noted in these forums, in the winter, cotton kills. It will make you colder and if it gets cold enough down there in the Tarheel State, cause frost bite.
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Old 11-14-07, 07:07 PM   #11
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My biggest problems are wet and cold. It rains in Seattle quite a bit, and it can get down near freezing, although it seldom gets below. I wanted something I could put on over my shoes that would keep the rain out and, if possible, give me some additional warmth.

I use the Gator All-Terrain Mountain Booties. I tried the ones from Nashbar and really didn't like them as well. They didn't come far enough up the ankle, so water got in over the tops.

Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 11-14-07, 08:04 PM   #12
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If your feet are cold, make sure there is sufficient air space inside your shoe around your toes and add insulation to your SHOES, not more socks on your feet or covers. Get better shoes, in other words. More socks will just cut ciculation in your skin and help the cold find its way in.

But it's all relative. I can easily go with light shoes until the ice makes spiked boots essential. My feet don't get cold unless they're directly in contact with lots of ice and snow.
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Old 11-14-07, 08:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
Simple common sense dictates proper INSULATED footware for any
outdoor winter activity and that includes riding a bike!!
I run all year long with no change in footware, - down to 15 below.

A bike is definitely a different story.
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Old 11-15-07, 02:21 PM   #14
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I like them a lot. I use toe covers on my Sidi's in temps of approx. 55F - down to 40F. That range may sound narrow, but around here there are lot of commute rides that fall in that range.

They give me just enough wind protection and extra insulation to keep my toes comfy.
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Old 11-16-07, 04:45 PM   #15
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Shoe covers aren't about keeping warm. They're about keeping dry. Wet shoes = wet socks = wet feet = cold = sickness. If its dry outside, then by all means follow the advice about socks and the like above. If it's raining or snowing, get covers.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:01 AM   #16
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Another thread showed a Louis Garneau toe cover that also covers the whole foot but does not come extend above the shoe like full covers do. MTB shoe wearers say that it will stay on their shoes when regular toe warmers will not.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:13 AM   #17
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Toe covers for under 50 degrees. Shoe covers for under 40.
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Old 11-17-07, 08:17 AM   #18
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For riding at +20 - +30 or so for any distance, shoe covers weren't doing it for me. After 10 miles my feet would start to freeze. So I picked picked up some Lakes...they are really pricey, but they will keep your feet nice and warm at any temp.

http://www.lakecycling.com/ProductIn...oductid=CXZ302
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Old 11-17-07, 10:05 AM   #19
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Shoe covers aren't about keeping warm. They're about keeping dry. Wet shoes = wet socks = wet feet = cold = sickness. If its dry outside, then by all means follow the advice about socks and the like above. If it's raining or snowing, get covers.
Depends on where and when you ride. At temperature lower then 35 F for me, it's about keeping my feet warm. Seldom do I need to keep my feet dry...we get less rain per year here then Georgia is getting this year in the middle of a 'drought'...26" of rain! Give me a break! That's a 1000 year level here! We'd be up to our armpits!
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Old 11-17-07, 10:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjiggajouncer View Post
I would like to get something to help keep my feet warm. I have chronically cold feet, especially my toes, and I was wondering what your thoughts were on using shoe covers vs. toe covers.

fwiw, I went out on about a 45 minute ride the other day when it was about 50 to maybe 55 degrees. Most of the ride was in the shade and there was some wind. By the end of my ride my feet were quite cold. I was wearing my Specialized Taho MTB shoes and two pairs of socks (both were "high performance" light to medium weight hiking socks from REI).

Do the toe covers really work? If they do then I think I'd prefer going that route since it seems like they would be easier to take off and put on. Not to mention, they would be easier to pack away in my bag if not needed.

Also, I don't plan to ride in temps that are too severe, probably around the freezing point would be my limit.

These are the products that have caught my attention so far...

Nashbar Reveal Shoe Cover $19.99

Nashbar Toe Warmers $9.99

Prorace Neoprene Multifunction & Water Protect Overshoes $19.01

Last thing, if anyone has recommendations for sizing I would very much appreciate it. I wear a size 46 Specialized Taho MTB shoe.
50F isn't that low a temperature for cold feet. Some things to try are warmer socks...wool... and the next size up in shoes. Give your feet some room to move.

You could also try a less well ventilated shoe. Most shoes are made for use in hot summer conditions. When it gets cooler, that ventilation works against you. Look for a shoe that has less mesh and is built more like a running shoe. Look at Nashbar for something more like this. It's going to be warmer than a shoe with open mesh. Look at the causal shoes rather than the performance shoes.

You also want to look at shoes that have a smoother soles if you want to use them with shoe covers. Heavily lugged mountain bike shoes and any kind of cover are difficult at best.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:33 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I run all year long with no change in footware, - down to 15 below.

A bike is definitely a different story.
Tell me that when you're older and you've got circulation problems.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:40 PM   #22
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I don't have much problem with cold feet. Maybe it's got something to do with what I wear, maybe not. For one, when it gets cold, I wear wool socks. SmartWool socks are good in the 40s, but DeFeet Wooly Boolies are best when it's really cold -- below 40. They really keep your feet warm and are very breathable, so they don't sweat. Plus, if you do get wet feet, wool will still insulate.

Second, I've used Pearl Izumi toe covers (Calientoes) for years, and they have been all that I need for riding in temperatures down to the low 30s. I put them on in the fall when it starts cooling off and leave them on until spring. Unlike shoe covers, you can just leave them on your shoes. I just bought some PI Cyclone shoe covers because I plan to do more sub-freezing rides this year bike commuting, however, I haven't received the order yet so I don't know how well they work.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:41 PM   #23
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This is what I use. http://www.shopatron.com/product/par...9.56.16431.0.0 I use them in the summer when it rains, and for cold rides down to about 32f. Lower, I switch to my Snow Sneakers from LL Bean. I would use the $$ you spend on Toe covers and put it toward a good pair of Shoe Covers.
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Old 11-18-07, 05:50 AM   #24
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We had a surprise freaky, November morning. When we took off at 8:30 AM, it was like plus 3 degrees. I used my toe warmers. One toe cover did not fit well. INterfered with the cleat. In a rush since all the other club members had left ;I took the left toe cover off and jammed it into my jacket pocket. . Kept the right one on. My right toes were toasty warm, the left, I felt as it had turned to ice.So glad I tool my windstopper jacket. My upper body felt toasty warm also.
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Old 11-18-07, 07:59 AM   #25
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I just started cold weather riding this year - before that I would stop riding in October. When it got in the 40s I started riding with a paif of thin ski socks covered with a pair of expedition weight fleece socks. As it got in the lower 40s I added a sandwich bag over the socks, that worked into the upper 30s. I just got a pair of Descente shoe covers with kevlar reenforced bottoms. I took them out at 30 degrees and my feet were toasty. I had the same sock combo as above so today when I go out I will switch to a single pair of wool socks, it will be in the mid 30s. This should be ideal. Now I do wear a warm fleece beanie which covers my ears and forehead. Many times your feet or hands will get cold if you loose too much heat from your head, your body shunts the blood flow.
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