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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 02-15-10, 06:07 PM   #1
voldemort
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Booties or neoprene socks

Your preference-and why?
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Old 02-15-10, 10:40 PM   #2
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Booties, feet stay dry... at least with mine since there is a little airflow up the sides and i don't have to buy new over-sized shoes.
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Old 02-15-10, 11:04 PM   #3
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It would depend. Some booties are all neoprene and just stitched together on the bottom. I had a pair like that and they started falling apart before the end of the first season. I was able to get them through a second season via liberal application of duct tape. I think they're intended for periodic use rather than for commuting. Neoprene socks may be preferable to those from a durability and economic sense although your shoes are still getting wet.

This year I got some Performance booties that are fleece lined and have an actual rubber sole. You have to order them at least 2 sizes too big but other than that they're the greatest.
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Old 02-15-10, 11:17 PM   #4
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I don't know why people would use a neoprene sock when they could get a goretex sock.
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Old 02-16-10, 10:00 AM   #5
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Neither. I tried Neoprene socks and I hate the way my feet float in my own sweat. I tried booties and the durability and the price I pay to replace them on a regular basis wears me out. Finally bought a pair of winter shoes, PI Caliente toe covers, thick Smartwool socks, and a smartwool sock liner. That combination finally worked for me down to 10 degrees. Below 10 degrees I throw a foot warmer under the PI Caliente toe covers. I have ridden to 15 below up to an hour each way. If your going to ride in the winter, spring for a pair of winter shoes. Seems like every time I turned around I was duct taping another pair of booties to extend their life. I figure the $165 I spent on my Specialized BG Defrosters pays for itself in three winters. I tried Lake, Shimano, Specialized, and PI winter shoes and the Specialized and the PI's fit me the best. I went with the Specialized because they were a $100 bucks less than the PI's. Let's see if they make it 3 winters. Second best thing I have puchased behind my Nokian W106 studdded tires. One winter almost down with very little wear showing, 2 to go.

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Old 02-16-10, 10:25 AM   #6
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Walking nowhere - Booties.
Walking anywhere - Socks
Better than Either - Winter Shoes
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Old 02-16-10, 11:17 AM   #7
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You guys need to try better booties The all fabric ones don't last, - I agree.

The problem that I have with winter cycling shoes is that they're expensive and not really designed for temps as cold as I ride in. If I have to use toe covers in addition to the winter shoes to keep my feet warm, well, I'd rather just use a good pair of booties and my regular shoes.
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Old 02-16-10, 12:01 PM   #8
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I say use everythign in your arsenal so long as you don't restrict blood flow. I've been disappointed with neoprene socks. they don't do anything a good set of wool sock liner and socks can do.

don't forget the advantages of chemical toes warmers - they work!
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Old 02-16-10, 12:16 PM   #9
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Winter MTB shoes. For all the reasons posted.

They're a whole lot more waterproof than booties and regular shoes because winter shoes don't have to have a hole in the bottom for the cleats to go through. And no, they're not quite as warm as the same socks, regular shoes, and bootes. Of course not, as you've eliminated one of your layers. So just wear more pairs of socks.

And I use MTB shoes because I gave up on booties because they were always wearing out because icy conditions were forcing enough walking around really bad spots. That much walking ruled out road shoes.

But if you're not out that much in the cold/wet, winter shoes probably aren't worth the $$$.
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Old 02-16-10, 01:35 PM   #10
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You guys need to try better booties The all fabric ones don't last, - I agree.
Longevity was only part of the problem, since they last a full season with my limited walking and only run 25 bucks at MEC.

As I mentioned in another thread, the big problem was that it with every step I took in snow, a truckload of snow would get jammed in the cleat-hole. It would squish right up between the sole of the shoe and the sole of the overboot. I had no chance of clipping in once I got going.

Then there was the issue of getting them on and off, which wasted a lot of time.

But for absolute ride-in-an-inch-of-water-ten miles-with-no-fenders waterproofness, the MEC booties were hard to beat.
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Old 02-16-10, 04:08 PM   #11
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Longevity was only part of the problem, since they last a full season with my limited walking and only run 25 bucks at MEC.

As I mentioned in another thread, the big problem was that it with every step I took in snow, a truckload of snow would get jammed in the cleat-hole. It would squish right up between the sole of the shoe and the sole of the overboot. I had no chance of clipping in once I got going.

Then there was the issue of getting them on and off, which wasted a lot of time.

But for absolute ride-in-an-inch-of-water-ten miles-with-no-fenders waterproofness, the MEC booties were hard to beat.
I ride platforms in the winter so I didn't even cut a hole in the bottom of my booties. I also leave them on the shoe, only rolling them down far enough to get my feet in. Using them with cleats may very well suck compared to a winter shoe. I don't know.
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Old 02-17-10, 09:15 PM   #12
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Are Goretex socks worth $35/pair? How cold can you go with them?
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Old 02-17-10, 09:18 PM   #13
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Are Goretex socks worth $35/pair? How cold can you go with them?
The socks are just a shell used to turn your runner into a water-proof/wind-proof shoe. So the answer is, as cold as the insulation you put underneath them lets you.
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Old 02-19-10, 04:23 PM   #14
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I have both booties and neoprene socks. Actually I have a few different booties.

The neoprene socks do great at keeping my feet warm even in wet sloppy conditions. Downsides are they get nasty and wet from my sweat and they're thick enough that they make my shoes a bit tight.

My feet are more comfortable with booties. I have a Windstopper pair that is nice that they're thin and fit easily into my jersey pocket when it warms up. They haven't been very durable though. I have a heavy neoprene pair from Performance. They've last a long time except one of the zipper pulls broke off and it's a pain zipping it now. They're also very warm. Downside with booties is if you have to get off and walk much. If there's snow, it'll push up around the hole for the cleat. Even if it isn't snowy, walking tears up the bootie.
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Old 02-21-10, 04:23 PM   #15
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Neoprene booties and wool socks. The Performance brand neoprene booties with the rubber sole are great. They run one full size small though. The all fabric Nashbar booty started coming apart after two weeks.
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Old 02-24-10, 01:50 PM   #16
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This winter (and uh, last winter) I've been riding with only half a rear fender - the rear half. So I have no fender near the cranks. This has resulted in my feet getting wet far more often than they used to back when I had a full rear fender. I'm in the market for some kind of bootie or something, but I'm also planning on getting a full fender again before next winter - and hopefully before the spring rainy season.

just sayin'
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Old 02-25-10, 11:29 AM   #17
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Neoprene, big feet
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Old 02-28-10, 09:32 AM   #18
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Are Goretex socks worth $35/pair? How cold can you go with them?
Absolutely. When combined with sandals the best thing about Goretex socks is that you can essentially customize your footwear.

As others have noted:
-Good blood flow is the most important aspect of staying warm, especially when cycling. Remember 75%+ of the energy you create while cycling turns into heat (only 25% gets to the pedals) and, unless you undermine it, the human body is an extremely efficient at distributing that heat via the circulatory system. Sandals can be worn as loose as necessary to maintain blood flow.
-Using a Goretex sock as an outer layer allows you to put as much insulation underneath as necessary without compromising blood flow.
-Staying dry is the second most important aspect of staying warm. In extreme conditions boots inevitably get wet either from the outside or the inside. Socks can be turned inside out to dry, but boots can't. Sandals can't either so use a hydrophobic/rubbery sandal to prevent ice and water from accumulating on the outside and making your feet cold. Goretex is better the neoprene because it at least allows some moisture to escape.

It works so well I even use my goretex socks and cycling sandals for shoveling snow. I don't see myself ever using boots again if I can help it.

So in short:
Use a hydrophobic/rubbery sandal for structure/durability, a goretex sock as a moisture/wind barrier, and inner socks for insulation.

Last edited by chucky; 02-28-10 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 03-01-10, 05:43 AM   #19
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Performance booties, toastie feet insole, rei light weight hiking sock. Good to 10 degrees on me.
Also you have to think about the ride home. Mine is 40 degrees plus on the way home so being able to pack the booties works for me better than sweaty feet on the way home.
Everything depends on your weather to and from.
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Old 03-01-10, 01:12 PM   #20
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For me the cheap MEC booties at 25$ a pair cannot be beat!
I rode in slush, snow, rain, etc ... kept the wet out completely.
In -40 (c) thick wool socks, clipless shoes and the booties were all I had ... kept my feet warm and dry with no problems at all!!!
Now that it is warmer (0 c) I go for thinner wool socks, same shoes and the booties.

It comes down to personal taste and comfort. I tried the neoprene socks and think I have wasted 40$ because I cannot get used to them!!!
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Old 03-02-10, 11:34 AM   #21
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I rode in Vermont a couple of weeks ago. I have a pair of big trekking sneakers. I bought them a size too large because I need extra, extra width for my toes. To compensate for that, I make them small again by adding an extra insole inside.

On my Vermont weekend, I removed the extra insoles and wore wool socks AND a pair of neoprene socks.

It worked out extremely well. The toes were a tiny bit cramped, but overall, blood flow was good. My feet did NOT get particularly sweaty, nor did I get cold.

Oddly, I had bought these neoprene socks at Walmart at least eight years ago and had never removed them from the package. I'm glad I finally got to put them to good use. I'm going to try wearing them under my cycling sandals, which have SPD cleats on them.
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Old 03-03-10, 05:17 PM   #22
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My lowest temp foot system:

1. Smartwool Socks
2. Cabela's GORE-TEX® Stretch Oversocks, Thinsulate model

Now that combination is too big to stuff into a cycling shoe, but not too big for...

3. Shimano SPD sandal - gives better circulation and the very thick sole gives you great insulation from that cold, cold, heat sink known as your cleat and pedal.

4. Performance Neoprene/Fleece bootie, 2 sizes bigger than shoe size.

The above is for below 20 degrees and has worked great all the way down below 10.

20-35 I use an uninsulated GORE Bikewear Oversock in place of the Cabela's Oversock.

30-40 and dry - I use my other pair of Performance Neoprenes (1 size bigger than shoe size) over a Shimano touring SPD touring shoe with a Smartwool Sock

35-50 and wet - just 1, 2, and 3 above (No Peformance bootie)

40-50 and dry - Smartwool Sock, Regular SPD shoes and very thin Neoprene toe covers.

Above 50 and wet - Thin Smartwool Socks, Uninsulated Gore Oversock with Shimano Sandals

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Old 09-17-10, 06:56 AM   #23
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fwiw the neoprene socks I've used suck. They don't keep my feet any warmer than good wool socks, and they do trap moisture, which sorta defeats the whole purpose.

Wool socks, & neoprene booties over my shoes is my preferred MO.
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Old 09-17-10, 11:31 AM   #24
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fwiw the neoprene socks I've used suck. They don't keep my feet any warmer than good wool socks, and they do trap moisture, which sorta defeats the whole purpose.

Wool socks, & neoprene booties over my shoes is my preferred MO.
Neoprene takes a long time to dry-out also.
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Old 09-17-10, 01:12 PM   #25
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What do you mean by booties? I use some simple packcloth covers from MEC, they have lasted well, just about to replace with new ones, partly because they have an XXL now. Old ones look shabby now, still work though. Their primary function is for rain proofing, but they give a definite boost warmth, worth at least 5 degrees C. I use them over different shoes/boots, depending on what span of temperature expected.
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