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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 10-22-09, 07:12 PM   #1
Vince868
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Getting cold feet!!!

My first season is coming up for riding in cold weather. I have a entry level Pearl Izuma MTB shoe which is vented on the top. I don't really want to buy another pair of shoes at this point. What would be recommended to keep my feet warm? Socks? more than one pair? What type? Merino wool? Other types of socks? and use shoe covers too?
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Old 10-22-09, 07:30 PM   #2
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wool socks, but make sure they are not too thick...cramped feet get cold easier than feet with lots of space for circulation and air for insulation.

Booties or toe covers to block the wind.

I usually duct tape over the cutout for the cleat (inside the shoe, not over the cleat) too.
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Old 10-22-09, 07:41 PM   #3
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From my What Works For Me portion of my website .... my article on what works for me to keep my feet warm, entitled Cold Feet:

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

Maybe there are some ideas in that article that would work for you too.
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Old 10-23-09, 08:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince868 View Post
My first season is coming up for riding in cold weather. I have a entry level Pearl Izuma MTB shoe which is vented on the top. I don't really want to buy another pair of shoes at this point. What would be recommended to keep my feet warm? Socks? more than one pair? What type? Merino wool? Other types of socks? and use shoe covers too?
Socks, yes. Wool ones that go at least midcalf. Over the knee socks if it's really cold. Adding a light sock, like a cycling sock, under the wool ones increases the temperature range

But you may also want to consider different shoes. Get one size larger for winter use. That way you have more room for the extra socks. I have a set of touring shoes that have very small lugs on the bottoms that make putting on neoprene shoe covers easier, which will help with the cold feet too. Performance sells some that are excellent and very durable. Mine have lasted about 10 years now.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
From my What Works For Me portion of my website .... my article on what works for me to keep my feet warm, entitled Cold Feet:

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

Maybe there are some ideas in that article that would work for you too.
Those are all good ideas. One that worked for me was to use gel sole inserts which seem to hold a fair amount of heat for cold riding. Dont get the athletic/double thick kind which can make things too tight.

Duct tape over the vents works every bit as good for me as toe covers, but booties help keep the wet off in sloppier weather.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:45 AM   #6
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I stopped using my bicycle shoes and went to a "boot" like shoe that I could where multiple socks. Wasn't the greatest, but worked fairly well. Bought them at Sams and plan on wearing them again this year - getting cold enough to where I'm going to have to do it very soon.

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Old 10-27-09, 11:57 PM   #7
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Well I have been using the Chemical toe warmers now and my toes and feet do not get cold any more period. When it gets really cold and wet switch to platform pedals and wear water proof boots. I buy a case of the Toasti Toe chemical warmers with adhesive and they are worth the small cost. They keep my toes warm without getting too warm. If you use the ones without adhesive they will bunch up and move around and drive you crazy.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:19 AM   #8
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I cheat. I bought the Hotronic foot warmers and never had cold feet again. They were cheaper (around $140) when I bought them two winters ago. These must be some newer model.
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Old 10-28-09, 11:07 AM   #9
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feet

I use flat pedals and insulated winter low boots with rubber on the bottom half. Wool socks and toasty feet inserts. Good down to 5 F, works for me. I don't see the need for clipless pedals on the road.
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Old 10-29-09, 04:45 PM   #10
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It is good to have a pair of winter shoes a size or two larger-than-normal to accommodate extra insulation. Start with a (Spenco) neoprene insole.

Just as with torso, use a wicking base layer against the skin, followed by a thicker wool or poly sock. Extremely wet conditions might call for a waterproof sock, like SealSkinz.

Over the shoes, I add a neoprene bootie. If it's much below freezing or very wet, I add a second sealed nylon shoe cover. Colder than that, it's time for platforms and "snowmobile" boots.

More winter cycling tips here.
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Old 10-29-09, 09:20 PM   #11
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DeFeet wool socks and neoprene booties.

That keeps me very warm from about 35 degrees and up. Below that, I either go with an extra pair of very thin liner socks or just opt to suffer a little bit.
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Old 10-30-09, 06:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Vince868 View Post
I have a entry level Pearl Izuma MTB shoe which is vented on the top. I don't really want to buy another pair of shoes at this point.
Of course you realize this is like asking how to keep your feet warm while wearing ventilated beach shoes all winter...
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Old 10-31-09, 10:46 PM   #13
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I just bought a pair of Pearl Izumi Barrier GTX shoes two sizes larger than my Specialized Pro Road summer shoes. Tried them on with two pairs of socks. I think the reason I needed two sizes bigger is that the PI sizing runs small. The shoe is constructed very nicely. It's basically a shoe inside a bootie. Will need to switch to SPD pedals to use them. Expensive, but if they work it will be worth it.
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Old 11-01-09, 06:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince868 View Post
My first season is coming up for riding in cold weather. I have a entry level Pearl Izuma MTB shoe which is vented on the top. I don't really want to buy another pair of shoes at this point. What would be recommended to keep my feet warm? Socks? more than one pair? What type? Merino wool? Other types of socks? and use shoe covers too?
here in northern New England it can pretty cold in the wintuh............minus 20 deg F. The major problem with winter pedaling for me is the metal cleat transmitting the cold through the sole of the shoe.........An insulated sole works initially and then when it gets colder I need to go with something warmer to insulate against this heat robbing cleat/shoe setup:

For my feet I agree with the use of wool socks-try to use different thicknesses, actually all year round as I find wool most comfortable for all temps.........any wool works

Above 32 deg F I just wear thicker wool socks and insulated sole (probably start when the temps start getting below 50 deg F). Agreed that the socks shouldn't be too thick as to dec the circulation.


When it is just plain cold 32deg F to about 10-15 deg F what works is an insulated foot bed and neoprene booties. I use clipless pedals all year round........

For below that range I have a pair of very large shoes with a sorrel boot liner inside and that works for the rest of the cold weather.........in my mind the advantages of a boot with the advantages of clipless pedals............looks goofy but works great..............as I get older and older I turn to this earlier and earlier in the season............


This setup is way cheaper than Lake shoes or Pearl Izumi special winter shoes.
The sorrel liners I got at Mardens for 10 bucks and the bike shoes were on sale for 30 bucks........ for 40 dollars I have a system that keeps my feet toasty

Last edited by UberIM; 11-01-09 at 06:13 AM. Reason: to add something
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Old 11-02-09, 12:32 AM   #15
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vince, where/in what part of the country are you located?
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Old 11-06-09, 07:42 PM   #16
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Old 11-06-09, 08:04 PM   #17
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Had a 20 degree ride just yesterday with no toe issues at all. Roomy shoes, thin wool socks, baggies, thicker wool socks. Good to single digits. Chemical warmers after that.
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Old 11-09-09, 12:29 PM   #18
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Had a 20 degree ride just yesterday with no toe issues at all. Roomy shoes, thin wool socks, baggies, thicker wool socks. Good to single digits. Chemical warmers after that.
I think a lot of it has to do with circulation. My feet get cold after about 10 miles in 20F weather and it doesn't matter how much or little insulation my feet have. Although everyone is quite right that tight is worse than loose - it just reduces circulation even more.

I read somewhere that folks actually do use sandals in winter, with many loose layers of socks. A bit counter-intuitive perhaps but supposedly it works. I'll stick with the Hotronics.
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Old 11-09-09, 12:56 PM   #19
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I did a three hour ride on sunday with my Sidi winter boots. Stopped at a forest lodge halfway and put on new socks and gloves. My issue is that I sweat a lot on hands and feet and no matter what I do I will get cold after a while. With new socks I'm good for the ride home.
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Old 11-11-09, 09:47 PM   #20
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I also have vented MTB shoes and tonight I wrapped some packaging tape around the toe; along with wool socks my feet were quite a bit warmer than usual.
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