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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 11-27-07, 11:41 AM   #1
modernjess
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Do warm legs = warm feet?

Does keeping your legs warmer result in warmer feet as well?

I have fairly chronically cold feet. It doesn't bother me much when my legs are feeling cold, but I'm wondering if that affects blood flow to my feet, either slowing it or somehow "cooling" it before it reaches them. This sounds kind of stupid I know.

I suppose I could just layer up a notch on my legs and do my own testing, but I wonder if there is any physiological theories or evidence out there.
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Old 11-27-07, 02:25 PM   #2
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I find the opposite, keeping the feet and hands warm allows you to use less layers on the body and legs as they are better insulated and have more core heat. Try switching shoes to allow thick wool socks or something with heated insoles.
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Old 11-27-07, 06:34 PM   #3
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It certainly helps. I wear Kodiak wool socks under my two layers of tights when I ride in the winter (among other things). These Kodiak wool socks come almost to my knees. When I wear shorter socks, my feet are colder.

Have a look over my article on cold feet for more warm feet ideas.

http://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm

You might also check out this thread on cold feet. In it, I talk about the duck who can stand in a frozen lake, and how we can be like the duck.
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Old 11-28-07, 08:29 AM   #4
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not really...

what will keep your foot warm is double footbeds, and a larger shoe. 2 euro sizes bigger,
and 2 wool socks. and after that you should still have lots of toe wiggle room.

key for warm feet is an open and loose toe box


if you are using spuds or other cleats they suck the heat from your foot,
hence the double footbed idea
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Old 11-28-07, 08:47 AM   #5
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Keeping your legs warmer will definitely help keep your feet warmer. Very little cover on your legs is needed to keep them warm after you get started. Bit it does need to be wind proof. More material is needed to cover the knees to keep them warm. That is why most cycling tights have extra material extending from slightly above the knee to slightly below the knee. Many cyclists make the mistake of wearing knee warmers, not realizing that the cold air hitting their lower legs contributes to making their feet cold. IMHO the feet are the most difficult to keep warm if you are using summer road shoes for winter cycling.

Toasty Feet insoles, Smartwool or PowerDry socks, a large oversize PowerDry sock over my shoes, and a pair of neoprene foot covers seems to be keeping my feet nice and toasty so far this winter. Last winter I was never able to keep them warm. The oversized sock is making the difference.

Chemical warmers are used by many in my group. They prefer the hand warmers because of their smaller size compared to the foot warmers, giving them more wiggle room inside their shoes. Many have success putting the warmers on the outside tops and bottoms of their shoe and nestled between the shoe and foot covers. Position them so that as much air as possible gets to them to keep the chemical reaction going. This is another reason that they are not as effective inside the shoe because the chemical reactions needs air. Opening the warmers up for 30 to 60 minutes before the ride is required to start the chemical reaction. They will last several hours so this should not be a problem.
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Old 11-28-07, 10:19 AM   #6
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No. My feet get cold while my legs stay nice and toasty. I think its a circulation issue.
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Old 11-28-07, 10:30 AM   #7
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Making one part of the body warmer has some effect on other parts of the body but the effects aren't linear, nor are they enough to compensate for a part that is inadequately protected.
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Old 11-28-07, 10:59 AM   #8
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Making one part of the body warmer has some effect on other parts of the body but the effects aren't linear, nor are they enough to compensate for a part that is inadequately protected.
It's true that you can warm up your fingers and toes by making sure your head (ears, neck) are warm. Certain body parts have priority, with fingers and toes getting short-changed if you're losing body heat somewhere.

But wool socks, looser fitting shoes, toe covers all help if you're wearing summer shoes.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:05 AM   #9
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The main arteries pumping blood to your feet are mostly buried deep in your leg muscles and the circulation is pretty fast, so the blood doesn't have much chance to cool before it gets there. So I don't think warming your legs is the answer. More likely the cold feet are due circulation being impaired by tight socks or shoes, or inadequate cover over your feet, or just the basic fact that feet are narrow and bony and simply don't have much fat or flesh to insulate them or hold heat.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:59 AM   #10
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THE most effective way to keep your feet warm is by keeping your head warm. Cold extremities is your body's way of providing more heat to your head and core. You may think that your head is just fine as it is....that's because your body considers it more important than your toes. Put an extra layer on your head and that'll keep your feet warmer. Remember that 80% of heat loss is through the head.
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Old 11-28-07, 12:08 PM   #11
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Not necessarily, but the converse is definitely true: Warm feet = warmer legs
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Old 11-28-07, 12:14 PM   #12
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Once the temp gets down to about fifteen degrees F., I just can't keep my feet warm. Once I've really gotten going and riding hard, I can be dripping sweat from my face, have warm everything, but be unable to keep my feet warm. This is while wearing thick wool socks with vapor barrier liners underneath (to keep the wool dry) in extra-roomy shoes with thick wool socks over the outside of the shoes and neoprene shoe covers over all of that. Partly, it may be bad circulation (though my hands are toasty); partly, the toe box may still not be roomy enough; partly, maybe my legs could be warmer. But mainly, I can just feel the warmth getting sucked out the bottom of my shoes through the SPD cleat. One solution might be double insoles, as someone suggested, but there isn't room. So this winter, I bought a pair of extra-long PowerGrips, and am going to try wearing regular boots instead of cycling boots. Will report later, when it really gets cold.
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Old 11-28-07, 01:42 PM   #13
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Use platforms and winter boots.
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Old 11-28-07, 01:44 PM   #14
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Use platforms and winter boots.
This is the ONLY solution for me when it gets REALLY cold. (Below 10F or so.)
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