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  1. #1
    Chasing Dave Stoller BostonRoadee's Avatar
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    Where's that Booties Thread?

    Within the last week or so, there was a nice long thread on the benefits and drawbacks of various brands of booties. I've searched and can't find it. The general conclusion was, "If you're serious about cold-weather riding, it's worth getting full-on cycling boots."

    In particular, there were comments about PI AmFibs (I believe) to the effect that they tend to *tear*. I think the gist was, the opening that stretches around the cleat isn't big enough, and the pedal squeezes it against the cleat over and over (each time you re-clip), which leads to deterioration, and then you have to trash the bootie. Also, that cutting it to make the opening larger was a bad idea.

    Does anyone remember where this thread is? Or have tips as to <$50 booties? I'm riding this winter for the first time, and loving it, but my feet are cold in my regular shoes + toe covers! Yet, I only have $40-50 to spend on the deal. (I need boots that work with "clipless" cleated shoes/pedals.)

    Thanks!
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    What kind of toe covers do you have? Do they cover just the toe box or the entire mesh area of your shoes?

    I would suggest trying either a DeFeet Slipstream shoe cover or go to Foxwear.net and buy a $5 PowerStretch XL sock. You have to cut a hole in the bottom for your cleat for both products.

    I remember seeing the same thread. My riding buddy has the same complaint. The zippers on his AmFib's are a pain. He had to get his wife to help remove them after our ride Tuesday night. If I remember correctly he also had the zippers rip out of a pair and PI replaced them. He is probably going to have someone take the zippers out and put in velcro. I have LG shoe covers that have velcro. The velcro strip is on the outside of your leg, so it is difficult to stretch the cover into place and get it closed properly. A 43 is the highest shoe size for a medium and I purchased a large so they can't be too small. They are just akward.

    After having cold feet all last winter, here is what is working for me and keeping my feet nice and warm.

    Either a SmartWool sock - $price? or PowerStretch sock - $5, oversized PowerStretch sock - $5 over the shoe and then Louis Garneau Protect shoe covers $19.95 (neoprene with no fleece). I just found and purchased some Side Trak toe covers that I have not used. They cover the toe box and the whole mesh area on my shoes. I am tempted to substitute them for the LG shoe covers and determine if I can use them instead. They would be more convenient. I like the fact that the shoe covers are neoprene so that I can wear them either individually or in conjunction with the oversized sock and vice versa. Oops - I forgot the Toasty Feet insoles - $price? that I put inside my shoes. Others in my group that have tried them agree that they work. Estimate that they add 10 degrees Fahrenheit of warmth-in other words you can ride comfortably in 10 degree colder weather with them versus without them.

    All the experienced riders in my group use chemical warmers that they buy in bulk from either Costco or Walmart.
    Last edited by dekindy; 11-29-07 at 09:21 AM.
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    http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=362247

    See #2 for the reference to his AmFib zippers ripping out.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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    Chasing Dave Stoller BostonRoadee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    What kind of toe covers do you have? Do they cover just the toe box or the entire mesh area of your shoes?

    I would suggest trying either a DeFeet Slipstream shoe cover or go to Foxwear.net and buy a $5 PowerStretch XL sock. You have to cut a hole in the bottom for your cleat for both products.

    I remember seeing the same thread. My riding buddy has the same complaint. The zippers on his AmFib's are a pain. He had to get his wife to help remove them after our ride Tuesday night. If I remember correctly he also had the zippers rip out of a pair and PI replaced them. He is probably going to have someone take the zippers out and put in velcro. I have LG shoe covers that have velcro. The velcro strip is on the outside of your leg, so it is difficult to stretch the cover into place and get it closed properly. A 43 is the highest shoe size for a medium and I purchased a large so they can't be too small. They are just akward.

    After having cold feet all last winter, here is what is working for me and keeping my feet nice and warm.

    Either a SmartWool sock - $price? or PowerStretch sock - $5, oversized PowerStretch sock - $5 over the shoe and then Louis Garneau Protect shoe covers $19.95 (neoprene with no fleece). I just found and purchased some Side Trak toe covers that I have not used. They cover the toe box and the whole mesh area on my shoes. I am tempted to substitute them for the LG shoe covers and determine if I can use them instead. They would be more convenient. I like the fact that the shoe covers are neoprene so that I can wear them either individually or in conjunction with the oversized sock and vice versa. Oops - I forgot the Toasty Feet insoles - $price? that I put inside my shoes. Others in my group that have tried them agree that they work. Estimate that they add 10 degrees Fahrenheit of warmth-in other words you can ride comfortably in 10 degree colder weather with them versus without them.

    All the experienced riders in my group use chemical warmers that they buy in bulk from either Costco or Walmart.
    Dekindy, thanks for the plentiful info. I like the cheap/simple sock-over-shoe approach, though I don't know that it would suit my needs, as part of the problem is also cold achilles tendons, which are starting to get stiff and achy even off the bike. No good -- have to keep those puppies warm and supple. And various combos of socks have failed to do so. (I live in Boston, and the wind off the Charles River is just icy, icy, icy.)

    So, I'm stuck with some kind of bootie, or a real cycling boot with cleat (but so much money!).

    I have tried on a pair of LG booties that are fairly heavy duty all around -- neoprene all the way up the ankle/calf, and full rubber (somewhat thin) on the sole (not the "rubberized" AmFib approach). You cut out a hole in the bottom for your cleats. Price isn't much diff't from AmFibs. I'm drawn toward those, except a) damn, they're ugly -- they look like my father's galoshes, and they make my feet huge; but moreover, b) they seem heavy -- both weight-wise, and also like they might make me sweat too much.

    Winter!!! If it weren't for the floods, fires and mud-slides, I'd move to Cali! :-D
    Two-wheeled philosophy, sports psychology, and the roadie life:

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    I used the Foxwear XL power stretch socks over shoes one time before my left knee crapped out this week. Worked pretty well. I think that part of my problem with cold toes could be shoes that have a toe box that's too small. I've got a wide toe box and a narrow ankle so it's kind of hard to find shoes that really fit well. I bet that extra socks plus a toe box that's too narrow have contributed to poor circulation to the toes and consequent cold.

    That said, the foxwear socks worked one helluva lot better than my bad packing tape on the shoes hack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.lloyd View Post
    I used the Foxwear XL power stretch socks over shoes one time before my left knee crapped out this week. Worked pretty well. I think that part of my problem with cold toes could be shoes that have a toe box that's too small. I've got a wide toe box and a narrow ankle so it's kind of hard to find shoes that really fit well. I bet that extra socks plus a toe box that's too narrow have contributed to poor circulation to the toes and consequent cold.

    That said, the foxwear socks worked one helluva lot better than my bad packing tape on the shoes hack.
    I agree. My Toasty Feet insoles and SmartWool socks used to be too tight and were contributing to my cold feet last winter. After a full summer of cycling my shoes must have stretched out some because I can now wiggle my toes easily and my feet do not feel pinched like last winter. I guess I could not wear my PowerDry oversized sock and see how much difference that additional space makes. Not!


    BostonRoadee.
    Place a chemical warmer pack around the heel of your road shoe or on your leg. The toe warmer has sticky material (if memory serves me correctly since I have only used them a couple of times and not since last year) and that and the shoe covers or oversized socks would probably hold it in place. The oversized sock comes up to my calf. That might solve your achilles problem.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonRoadee View Post
    In particular, there were comments about PI AmFibs (I believe) to the effect that they tend to *tear*. I think the gist was, the opening that stretches around the cleat isn't big enough, and the pedal squeezes it against the cleat over and over (each time you re-clip), which leads to deterioration, and then you have to trash the bootie. Also, that cutting it to make the opening larger was a bad idea.
    I had a similar problem when I was riding Time Impact pedals with my PI Toesties. I haven't worn them out but you could see damage being done. I have since switched to Crank Brother Quattros and love them. They are without a doubt the easiest cleat I've found to walk in and they fit through the opening in a manner that effectively prevents such damage. I can even drive in them when I have to. It's well worth the extra once or two.

    I've been looking at another set of MTB shoe covers in a larger size for the Lake MX255 3/4 top shoes I ride in colder weather. One question: Do y'all think the Amfibs likely to be about as warm as I'm going to find? Waterproofing is not important. I also have a pair of Sugoi Resistors that aren't as warm but are relatively waterproof. I don't ride in the rain when it's below 40F.

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    i've had the best luck with LLBean snow sneakers.
    thin base layer and midweight outer layer of smart wool socks when the temp is below 20,
    one layer with temp above 20.
    two midweight layers below zero F, comfortable to -25.
    need platform pedals, however.

  9. #9
    Spazzy Member zippered's Avatar
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    i picked up a pair of these at a recent bike show for 1/2 price and i've been pretty happy with them. although i haven't used them enough to talk about longevity, i did chat with another cyclist on a commute recently that had the same kind. he said the front part under the toes do wear quickly if you walk in them on pavement.

    fyi: i put the booties on *before* the shoes, so i don't have to stretch them too much!
    "Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics."

    "His first words were 'did you bike today?' I hesitated before admitting that I had, thinking I was going to get a lecture on how bad the roads were and how I shouldn't try to bike home. Instead he said 'man, you're lucky! I've been sitting in traffic for over 1/2 hr, and I've only gone about 2 miles. Some guy on a bike passed me about 20 minutes ago and I'm sure he's home by now'."

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    Señor Member ericy's Avatar
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    It is interesting that this comes up today for me. I rode to work today, and this is the coldest weather that I have ridden in (previously I was doing fun rides, and if I started getting cold, I could just turn back). By the time I reached the office my feet were quite cold.

    Somewhere I was reading on the web that cold feet can be a symptom of the core body itself getting cold. And as it happened, I felt chilled most of the day at work - I happened to have an extra sweater in the office, which helped a lot. Thus my gut tells me that I need an additional layer of some sort around the chest, and perhaps the feet won't get quite as cold.

    The way home from work was much better - it was about 10 degrees warmer in the evening than it was in the morning.

  11. #11
    Chasing Dave Stoller BostonRoadee's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. Zippered, those Sugois look about like the LGs I'm pondering which are at my LBS. The ones with the full rubber sole which you have to cut out for the cleat. After all the posts, I'm thinking in that direction. So I look like Frankenstein's monster, so what? It seems to me that in winter, some of the style issues get put on the back burner.
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    Spazzy Member zippered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonRoadee View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. Zippered, those Sugois look about like the LGs I'm pondering which are at my LBS. The ones with the full rubber sole which you have to cut out for the cleat. After all the posts, I'm thinking in that direction. So I look like Frankenstein's monster, so what? It seems to me that in winter, some of the style issues get put on the back burner.
    these don't have rubber soles, they have velcro on elastic that closes around the cleat, and a nylon toe. with this style i can pull them high on my calf first, put my (lake winter 300) shoes on and then secure the booties around the shoe, rather than trying to stretch them on over my shoes.

    and yes, they feel very conspicuous even though they're snug tight. rather like batman, particularly in the full bike kit.

    ps. there are also the gortex kind that are much baggier and have a full zip at the back too - they're more like "gators", but i have never tried them.
    "Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics."

    "His first words were 'did you bike today?' I hesitated before admitting that I had, thinking I was going to get a lecture on how bad the roads were and how I shouldn't try to bike home. Instead he said 'man, you're lucky! I've been sitting in traffic for over 1/2 hr, and I've only gone about 2 miles. Some guy on a bike passed me about 20 minutes ago and I'm sure he's home by now'."

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    Señor Member ericy's Avatar
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    How tight are these booties supposed to be? I just bought a pair at REI (size XL, to fit my size 11-1/2 feet), and it took me a good 5 minutes of struggling to get the things onto my shoes. Do I need to try and find a XXL, or are these things supposed to be a real pain to put on?

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    Chasing Dave Stoller BostonRoadee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippered View Post
    these don't have rubber soles, they have velcro on elastic that closes around the cleat, and a nylon toe. with this style i can pull them high on my calf first, put my (lake winter 300) shoes on and then secure the booties around the shoe, rather than trying to stretch them on over my shoes.

    and yes, they feel very conspicuous even though they're snug tight. rather like batman, particularly in the full bike kit.

    ps. there are also the gortex kind that are much baggier and have a full zip at the back too - they're more like "gators", but i have never tried them.
    Zippered, what model are those Sugois?
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    Spazzy Member zippered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonRoadee View Post
    Zippered, what model are those Sugois?
    there's no model number on the tag, and i didn't keep the packaging i'm afraid, so i'm not sure.

    after google-ing for a few minutes, i realise that the picture i posted doesn't have the exact same logo as the pair i have, but mine do have the extra bit of cover at the top of the zipper, if that helps at all.

    i wasn't in the market for those in particular like i said, i just happened to notice the good deal at the bike show. by the way, i bought size large (i think my lakes are 40?) after trying on the medium...
    "Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics."

    "His first words were 'did you bike today?' I hesitated before admitting that I had, thinking I was going to get a lecture on how bad the roads were and how I shouldn't try to bike home. Instead he said 'man, you're lucky! I've been sitting in traffic for over 1/2 hr, and I've only gone about 2 miles. Some guy on a bike passed me about 20 minutes ago and I'm sure he's home by now'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonRoadee View Post
    Zippered, what model are those Sugois?
    They look just like my Sugoi Resistors. I have a pair of mediums that fit over all of my 40's and 40.5's and play well with mountain shoes, but they're an incredible pain in the a@@ to get over my size 41.5 Lakes with their Vibram soles.

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    lake boot, half a size too big, thin wool sock, eastman warmers from sam's club. 14 bucks for 32 pairs.

    i commuted last week at 12 degrees with the combo and it worked great .

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    I've been using sidetrak toe warmers. I've got a pair of their booties on order.

    They leave most of the sole open with a piece of elastic under the arch and a carpet type patch under the toes. I'm not sure how long they last, but just looking at them compared to other brands (without going full rubber sole) I think they should hold up quite well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonRoadee View Post
    Dekindy, thanks for the plentiful info. I like the cheap/simple sock-over-shoe approach, though I don't know that it would suit my needs, as part of the problem is also cold achilles tendons, which are starting to get stiff and achy even off the bike. No good -- have to keep those puppies warm and supple. And various combos of socks have failed to do so. (I live in Boston, and the wind off the Charles River is just icy, icy, icy.)

    So, I'm stuck with some kind of bootie, or a real cycling boot with cleat (but so much money!).

    I have tried on a pair of LG booties that are fairly heavy duty all around -- neoprene all the way up the ankle/calf, and full rubber (somewhat thin) on the sole (not the "rubberized" AmFib approach). You cut out a hole in the bottom for your cleats. Price isn't much diff't from AmFibs. I'm drawn toward those, except a) damn, they're ugly -- they look like my father's galoshes, and they make my feet huge; but moreover, b) they seem heavy -- both weight-wise, and also like they might make me sweat too much.

    Winter!!! If it weren't for the floods, fires and mud-slides, I'd move to Cali! :-D
    I reviewed the cloth LG booties in this bootie thread They worked great at the coldest ride so far this year: 33F, and are fine even over 50F.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
    They look just like my Sugoi Resistors. I have a pair of mediums that fit over all of my 40's and 40.5's and play well with mountain shoes, but they're an incredible pain in the a@@ to get over my size 41.5 Lakes with their Vibram soles.
    oops yes, they are resistors, i just wasn't sure exactly what model/season they were from.

    i'm not surprised you have trouble! i wouldn't consider myself as someone with large feet/shoes, but i definitely wouldn't want the medium size for fitting over the lakes!!

    whats a "vibram" sole?
    "Never do anything that you wouldn't want to have to explain to the paramedics."

    "His first words were 'did you bike today?' I hesitated before admitting that I had, thinking I was going to get a lecture on how bad the roads were and how I shouldn't try to bike home. Instead he said 'man, you're lucky! I've been sitting in traffic for over 1/2 hr, and I've only gone about 2 miles. Some guy on a bike passed me about 20 minutes ago and I'm sure he's home by now'."

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    Vibram soles are often referred to as waffle stompers. They are seriously lugged and would be right at home on a hiking trail which is just what I wanted. I'll bet the size 41.5 Lake MX255 soles are as big as a typical size 43 or 44 road shoe. They look more like work boots than mountain biking shoes and the cleats are recessed enough that I don't clickety clack on the tiled floors here either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cachehiker View Post
    Vibram soles are often referred to as waffle stompers.
    That's the cliched impression. Vibram is simply a company name, not a style. They have a multitude of boot sole varieties.....and as a matter of fact, because of environmental concerns the original hard sole waffle print is not as readily available as a few years ago.

    I equate the large old-fashioned hiking boots more with the term waffle stompers.....and I seem to notice that style more and more in the modern market.

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    I just got a pair of these last week, and have worn them on 2 wet rides, one in the low 40's:



    They are full neoprene with an open bottom and velcro closures on the back that come up about 8" on the back. They fit easily over a pair of size 42 mountain bike shoes.

    I got them from an ebay store:

    http://stores.ebay.com/Mr-Pithers-Bicycle-Repairman

    I thought the price was quite reasonable.

    I had been wearing 2 pairs of socks and had to remove 1 pair before the second ride because my feet were too warm on the first one.

    Hope this helps someone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericy View Post
    How tight are these booties supposed to be? I just bought a pair at REI (size XL, to fit my size 11-1/2 feet), and it took me a good 5 minutes of struggling to get the things onto my shoes. Do I need to try and find a XXL, or are these things supposed to be a real pain to put on?
    I'm in the same boat. I bought a pair of Gators from REI, size large. I wear a men's size 9 1/2 or 10, depending on the shoe. The gators are neoprene with a zipper in the back. I could not get them on over my regular tenny non-bicycling shoes. Naturally, it rained today and my shoes filled with water Any suggestions? Well, other than the fact that I should have tried them at the store. FYI, I'm mostly interested in keeping my feet dry. Cold is not much of an issue here.
    Now I am terrified at the Earth! it is that calm and patient,
    It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
    It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
    It renews with such unwitting looks, its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
    It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
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  25. #25
    Señor Member ericy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky005s View Post
    I'm in the same boat. I bought a pair of Gators from REI, size large. I wear a men's size 9 1/2 or 10, depending on the shoe. The gators are neoprene with a zipper in the back. I could not get them on over my regular tenny non-bicycling shoes. Naturally, it rained today and my shoes filled with water Any suggestions? Well, other than the fact that I should have tried them at the store. FYI, I'm mostly interested in keeping my feet dry. Cold is not much of an issue here.
    I have half a mind to reach into my SCUBA bag, and get my neoprene booties from there, and cut a hole in the sole for the cleat. Those things seem a lot roomier (but then again, I am putting bare feet into those booties).

    Regarding the REI booties, I still haven't tried them out yet for real. We had some snow, and I only have slicks, so no cycling until the snow melts.

    When I was playing with it while sitting on the couch, what seemed to help was to turn the bootie mostly inside out and first pull the toe part over the shoe. Once I had that on far enough, then peel the thing back further, and finally pull the heel up and around. There is a little strap at the end of the heel that once can use for an extra tug when I got to the end.

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