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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 10-05-08, 10:13 AM   #1
nayr497
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shoe covers - cold/moderately cold options

I've checked out the various threads on shoe covers and gathered that toe covers are nice to cover vents in cool weather and full booties are best for cold weather.

I'd like some suggestions (or links) on actual products that people use and that work. I'm after two things:

1) shoe covers/oversocks/toe covers for 50-35 degrees F (my feet don't get that cold but the vents and wind will make them chilly and a bit stiff)

2) shoe covers/booties for cold weather, say under freezing (I rarely ride in actual snow/rain on my road bike, so windproof and cold protection are the key)

I'm thinking that I need two types of covers, one for cool weather, and one for cold weather.
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Old 10-06-08, 02:17 PM   #2
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C'mon, someone must have at least one suggestion!
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Old 10-06-08, 02:36 PM   #3
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Quick background: I use some old New Balance "cross-training" (not running, not basketball, etc) type shoes year round. They aren't really vented, but also have some sections that are just thin nylon.

Last year I used inexpensive Neoprene booties from Bike Tires Direct. It looks like they don't have them anymore, but were only $20. They worked okay for when my feet got colder, but don't think I wore them above 30 degrees.

Yesterday I ordered some Sugoi Resistor booties from REI (on sale this week for $35). They look pretty good and have generally positive reviews. Some people were saying they aren't great for wet weather, but people on this forum seemed to say they were fine.
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Old 10-06-08, 03:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nayr497 View Post
I've checked out the various threads on shoe covers and gathered that toe covers are nice to cover vents in cool weather and full booties are best for cold weather.

I'd like some suggestions (or links) on actual products that people use and that work. I'm after two things:

1) shoe covers/oversocks/toe covers for 50-35 degrees F (my feet don't get that cold but the vents and wind will make them chilly and a bit stiff)

2) shoe covers/booties for cold weather, say under freezing (I rarely ride in actual snow/rain on my road bike, so windproof and cold protection are the key)

I'm thinking that I need two types of covers, one for cool weather, and one for cold weather.
For 50 F to 40F you can get by with regular shoes and fairly heavy socks. Get a pair of mountain bike shoes or touring shoes that have less ventilation like these



Get them in a size or 2 bigger than you normally wear. I'd suggest something with a smooth sole for the next temperature range.

From 40 F to 15 F, neoprene shoe covers work extremely well for me. The Performance brand covers are tough and durable...mine are over 5 years old. As the temperature gets lower, add more socks. You want a smooth shoe, by the way, so that they fit in the covers easier. Putting covers over thickly soled mountain bike shoes is difficult

Below 15 F, you are on your own. I'll do it if I have to but my feet are the least of my worries at that point
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Old 10-06-08, 06:57 PM   #5
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You know I got these last April and it was the end of winter really so I didn't test them well in under 50 degree weather, but I rode during a couple heavy showers in August, and my feet stayed completely dry and actually a bit toasty for my liking (it was 75 and heavy steady rain). I had my entire gear on -- waterproof jacket, waterproof pants, a waterproof liner for my helmet (this was a bit excessive actually) and these booties.

http://www.teamestrogen.com/prodGB_FCITY.html

I know they are discontinued at that site but I can't recommend them enough. It was a great find for me!

I have to say that Sugoi stuff doesn't work for me. I have Sugoi gloves and Sugoi socks -- both are claimed to be waterproof, but they leak through, and I paid a pretty penny for them. Construction quality-wise, Sugoi stuff is mid-range, has nice looks, but I don't think they work as advertised at all.

Definitely get booties that are both windresistant and waterproof at the same time -- you won't regret it. I am actually looking forward to colder temps so I can test those GoreTex out.

Last edited by pomor; 10-06-08 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 10-07-08, 08:23 AM   #6
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Just about any decent shoe cover (designed for warmth, not aero) will do the trick above freezing temps.
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Old 10-07-08, 08:30 AM   #7
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http://www.kucharikclothing.com/toe-...614f959a449b69

http://www.kucharikclothing.com/boot...614f959a449b69

These are from Kurcharik -I think that they are a sponsor here.
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Old 10-07-08, 03:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for these useful replies everyone. This was just what I was looking for and appreciate it.

I think I will in fact grab a pair of toe covers first and see how those work. I'll try pairing these with some heavier socks.

Then I'll check into a pair of the full shoe covers. Pomor, I think that is a good idea to get both water and windproof together. Sounds like good logic.

I think right around 20/15 is my cutoff, so no worries, Cyco!

Thanks again everyone.

****One more question: what about sizing? I'm guessing toe covers should fit true to sizing. Anyone have suggestions on bootie sizing? Just follow manufacturer suggestion? I wear a size 43 road shoe. Not sure if I should order Medium or Large booties. Seems like that is a Medium by most charts, but I have read that some people suggest going up a size.****

Last edited by nayr497; 10-07-08 at 03:05 PM. Reason: sizing question
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Old 10-07-08, 03:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nayr497 View Post
****One more question: what about sizing? I'm guessing toe covers should fit true to sizing. Anyone have suggestions on bootie sizing? Just follow manufacturer suggestion? I wear a size 43 road shoe. Not sure if I should order Medium or Large booties. Seems like that is a Medium by most charts, but I have read that some people suggest going up a size.****
Go bigger. It's easier to get them on
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Old 10-07-08, 11:30 PM   #10
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I use the PI toe covers on my sidi lorica's all fall, and spring (like today for instance) I like them they allow me to stretch the season with those shoes which are my favorites and they provide just enough extra cover to keep the chill off and they can be left on the shoes with no fuss.

For really cold I wear PI Amfib covers and Sidi storm boots, they work pretty well. But honestly my feet are the only thing I just cant' keep warm enough when it gets below 0 F. I still ride but they get colder than I'd like.
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Old 10-08-08, 12:29 AM   #11
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There's a number of threads on this; probably one of the best deals right now are the Sugoi Resistors for $35 at REI:

https://www.rei.com/pwr/product-revi...e-Booties.html
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Old 10-08-08, 03:12 AM   #12
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I use these and they work well



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Old 10-08-08, 10:37 AM   #13
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I'm still on the fence about a full coverage solution for the coldest/wetest days. I had some Gator booties last season that kept my feet reasonably warm but the zippers didn't stay up for schidt. This year I got Pearl Izumi Amfib booties but it hasn't been cold enough to try them yet. And I have a pair of Lake winter cycling shoes, but I only wore them 2 or 3 times last season so the jury is still out on whether that was cost-effective (although they were so cheap they'd have to completely suck not to be).

But for toe warmers, I can unquivocally & without hesitation recommend Performance Toasties. They're like $10/pair and they keep my toes as warm as they would ever have to be on a ride; the only reason I'd forgo them for booties or winter shoes is if I needed my ankles warmer.
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Old 10-08-08, 11:25 AM   #14
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i'm going to use my pair of Airwalk boots for winter, good for -20C
they look like those snowboard boots, but they are very comfy and warm
i tried them on once already the other day it was almost close to Zero here.

Waterproof, easy to put on and take off, and the sole design works so well on the pedals, that it was like almost designed exclusively for biking.

it just steps on, and it stays, it doesn't move anywhere, just like your specialized biking shoes+pedal systems.

When i bike with my regular shoes/snickers i often miss a crank of two, because the regular shoes just slides off.

so i'll highly recommend these for biking, rather than using cumbersome shoe protector, etc, etc..
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Old 10-08-08, 12:41 PM   #15
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Can I be blunt and caution you about those Sugoi Resistors?

Nothing against the posters here who suggested them but I have bad experience with Sugoi stuff in general, and then, secondly, those Resistors are only water-resistant (not waterproof). If you follow the link and read the replies, you will find that many people claim they are so so, more importantly -- they leak through.

I have to admit that I like the design -- the combination of black and yellow is awesome. I definitely WOULD consider getting these -- they would match my yellow helmet and yellow jacket. HOWEVER, they sound like they are high-maintenance, they leak through, they have a zipper instead of a velcro (a big minus for me), and they also look very tight -- I would probably have to get a much bigger size than my actual shoes. So...
I would either a) try to find them in a brick and mortar store and see them in person

b) order them online and make sure I can return them if they don't work for me.

Anyone actually have great experiences with these Sugois in bad weather? I just love my GoreTex -- rode in them this morning in moderate rain for about 45 minutes, and not only did they not leak, but they completely dried up in about 10 min. after I got home.

Last edited by pomor; 10-08-08 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 10-13-08, 03:40 PM   #16
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I use these and they work well



I really like these, I think I may have found a winner for me. How long have you used them? noticed any problems? I like the full coverage and open heel.
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Old 10-15-08, 03:33 AM   #17
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I've got a pair of Louis Garneau shoe covers - don't know the model, thought there was only one type until I checked their website! They are great at keeping out the cold. Temps get to about -5deg C here and I ride with Shimano RD75 shoes and lightweight summer socks and these booties and I'm fine. You can keep them on up to about +5 deg C too without cooking. No need for toe covers, should be able to ride in just shoes at this temp.
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Old 10-15-08, 03:26 PM   #18
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Winter boots make life simpler

I still use covers in cool weather, but 2 years ago I made the jump to a winter boot. it's the Lake mxz301. If you ride regularly in 30 or 40 degree weather and occasionally colder, this is a great investment. In the winter, I'm usually on the bike 3 or 4 times a week and I no longer have to jury-rig my regular bike shoes to be warm. Slip them on and go. My neoprene covers always eventually got dirty and eventually ripped. Now I save my shoes for summer and use my boots for winter....hmmm...almost like the rest of my life. You do it for walking...why not do it for riding?
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Old 10-17-08, 07:41 PM   #19
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I've checked out the various threads on shoe covers and gathered that toe covers are nice to cover vents in cool weather and full booties are best for cold weather.

I'd like some suggestions (or links) on actual products that people use and that work. I'm after two things:

1) shoe covers/oversocks/toe covers for 50-35 degrees F (my feet don't get that cold but the vents and wind will make them chilly and a bit stiff)

2) shoe covers/booties for cold weather, say under freezing (I rarely ride in actual snow/rain on my road bike, so windproof and cold protection are the key)

I'm thinking that I need two types of covers, one for cool weather, and one for cold weather.
Ya, you are basically right but it also depends on what you are calling cold weather. The standard shoe covers are not much good below freezing for extended rides. For riding at freezing and below you generally need cycling shoes 2 sizes large to accomodate thick socks and combine this with a cycling overshoe. How cold you can go with this depends a lot on the individual. The big problem here is that stiff light cycling shoes have a hard plastic or carbon sole that conducts heat out of your foot from the bottom. So combine that with the reduced blood flow in the bottom of your foot and you can only keep the foot warm with this method for so long.

Softer soled touring or mountain bike shoes are somewhat warmer but because the sole is less stiff you get more pressure on the ball of your foot which helps to shut down the blood flow so it is basically sixes. I prefer the stiffer sole.

For temperatures below freezing you actually don't want waterproof shoe covers since they will only make your foot cold in the long run by trapping moisture in the shoe and socks. But few if any cycling shoe covers are breathable and most are made out of neoprene or something similar.

I also have some dedicated winter cycling boots and while they are more convenient they aren't much warmer than the over sized shoe and shoe cover method.

The warmest method I have used so far was to get a pair of discounted superlight stiff soled hiking boots and mount SPD clips into the soles. However, you need to use a router to remove a few lugs in the sole and also mount a thin steel or aluminum plate since the sole material is too soft to work well against the SPD pedal. However, the problem here is that even light hiking boots are heavy compared to cycling shoes and the extra weight over time on a long ride make you tire more quickly.

I have a new idea that I am going to try this year. It's a system that anyone can put together for a reasonable outlay of cash and time. I will post the method later on in the year. And report on how well it works.

Last edited by Hezz; 10-17-08 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 10-20-08, 03:19 PM   #20
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I really like these, I think I may have found a winner for me. How long have you used them? noticed any problems? I like the full coverage and open heel.
I haven't had much time to use these covers. I bought them for winter use and oddly look forward to using these instead of the good ol' shopping bags. I used them in two rainy commutes and was pleased.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:42 AM   #21
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. . . 1) shoe covers/oversocks/toe covers for 50-35 degrees F . . . 2) shoe covers/booties for cold weather, say under freezing . . .need two types of covers, one for cool weather, and one for cold weather.
Number two seems to be well covered here. Regarding number one, I've found that layering one of those (sock-shaped) plastic sleeves that the newspaper is delivered in over the sock will handle the cool weather and wet slop. "Buys" you an additional 15 degrees F. or so of comfort. Good price, too.

This cold foot issue is an important one to conquer because it eliminates yet another excuse to stay out of the saddle. Same with hands.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:46 AM   #22
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Number two seems to be well covered here. Regarding number one, I've found that layering one of those (sock-shaped) plastic sleeves that the newspaper is delivered in over the sock will handle the cool weather and wet slop. "Buys" you an additional 15 degrees F. or so of comfort. Good price, too.

This cold foot issue is an important one to conquer because it eliminates yet another excuse to stay out of the saddle. Same with hands.

Sandwich bread bags work well too.

In the coldest days of winter (-20 to -30F), I layered up:

-Thin wool sock
-SealSkinz sock
-Heavy wool sock
-Plastic bag
-Answer Kasmir boot
-Plastic bag
-Bootie

Combo was pretty good, it kept my toastie for at least an hour, more than enough for the 10 mile commute.

Anything down to about 32F, I just wore my normal shoe gear. If it was raining, I'd throw a plastic bag on under the shoe.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:15 PM   #23
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Go bigger. It's easier to get them on
HUGE PLUS A MILLION!~!!!!!!

I've kinda ripped my bootehs in a couple of places and so I have a little seepage - bought them at the LBS for $25? Zumi's? Have had a few years of use out of them though - and I do use them hard in the winter - not only for commuting but for offroading so I am pretty sure I have gotten my use out of them with satisfactory results - so I'll be updating them either this year or during Spring sales.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:21 PM   #24
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Nobody has mentioned good ole baggies yet? Talk about a cheap option.

Some decent Smartwool socks and baggies. That's all I've been using recently around 30 degrees F.

As it gets colder the shoes need to get bigger as you layer more socks unless you want to slide in chemical warmers regularly.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:35 PM   #25
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Nobody has mentioned good ole baggies yet? Talk about a cheap option.

Some decent Smartwool socks and baggies. That's all I've been using recently around 30 degrees F.

As it gets colder the shoes need to get bigger as you layer more socks.
One member of our club - the oldest club member - nearly 80 yrs old - commuted everywhere till a few years ago when a medical condition (had a small stroke when riding) derailed him - (he is back riding as he attended one of my rides that I led this past Summer with his daughter who helped navigate him) - and this guy would hold a commuting section of outdoor expos year after year because he was the best. To ask him when he first started commuting - he would answer - 5 yrs old - he rode to school and never stopped. I've seen his winter gear and him riding in some bad weather - guy is an awesome bicyclist. Seen a pic of him taken at night after riding in wintery weather and his bike is coated in heavy slush and ice. Amazing guy!

Anyway - he is one of those dang fangled engineers - and he even said - when he grew up - they didn't have much so they made what they needed.

Which meant his bikes were efficient and totally working sometimes-hodgepodges of bicycles, etc. His trunk - that was waterproof - consisted of two Tide clothes washing machine soap containers - - one was cut longer than the other to overlap - but brilliant orange nevertheless. He had an Amish triangle hanging off the back of his bike as well as a vibrant orange flat hanging off an overly long (snowmobile?) flag pole that bent in the wind.

AND why buy stuff when you can make it ---- Dick never purchased booties, etc in any of the years, many years, he commuted. He bagged his feet up with baggies and/or grocery sack bags along with thick socks.

'k - I will shell out some $$ to be dry - as I'm out on and off road - and ... FINE ... don't want to deal with the bags and such - but I know one member of my club who would NEVER purchase them!
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