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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 08-30-10, 09:14 PM   #1
Chicagoan
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Experience with winter Cycling Boots?

Hey guys,

So last year I rode my aluminum fixed gear through the winter with hiking boots and $10 BMX pedals. Since then, I've sold that bike....started messengering and delivering food, and gone clipless.

So this winter I will be messengering in the day and delivering food at night and some weekends. I have two bikes one light freestyling fixed gear frame with a cyclocross fork for bad weather and a second track frame.

Anyway so I love riding clipless and in no way shape or form want to do the platform/hiking boots setup again.

What shoes have you guys had good experience with? I'm thinking Winter cycling boot+booties+waterproof socks+wool socks. I want to be absolutely waterproof. I've had friends complain about some higher end cycling boots not being waterproof (Sidi and Shimano in particular)

What shoes have you guys hadgood and bad experiences with?

Frank
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Old 08-31-10, 10:51 AM   #2
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I use the Lake winter boots. I wear a pair of wool socks and on days colder than 15 I put a pair of wool cycling socks under them and I've never had an issue.
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Old 08-31-10, 06:06 PM   #3
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I had a pair of Northwaves. Not warm enough for this weenie.

Bought a pair of Lakes last year, and while I didn't wear them out in real cold weather, the times I did get out, they were a big improvement over the Northwaves. Bought them a few sizes larger to accomodate multiple pairs/heavier socks, but the Boa lacing system took up the slack when I wasn't wearing the extras.

I like the Boa system for this, as you can adjust them up to not be too tight, allowing a little space around the foot for warm air to collect, and make sure tou have good circulation in your foot. I think a bit of the problem with the Northwaves was that they were just a bit too snug with my preferred sock ensemble, and so circulation was cut off a bit, and so my feet felt cold.

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Old 08-31-10, 08:35 PM   #4
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None really, i'll use a bootie and clipless to -5c or so and then switch to a real winter boot. The boot wins because it covers your ankles and lower leg, this will keep your feet warmer because the circulation zones are insulated, most of the winter clipless i saw only had a neoprene cut near the ankle... brr.
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Old 08-31-10, 09:44 PM   #5
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Lakes.

Echoing what bigfo and rufus said, the Lakes are the warmest winter boots I've ever owned. They're too warm to wear above freezing. Absolutely waterproof too. I wear regular socks down to 12F or 15F (-9 to -11C) or so, then add a second pair of regular socks. That gets me down to at least 2F (-17C), the coldest it's gotten around here since I bought them.
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Old 09-02-10, 12:38 PM   #6
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When it gets cold here I have to use boots and overboots like NEOS so I can't speak to Lakes directly, but if waterproofing is an issue it can't be too cold.. . If Lake shoes are good, then I would simply add the caveat that it's important to get them large enough to not have any tightness at all. I have to sets of biking shoes. One is way big. I use them with two sets of wool socks and I put tape on them to prevent air flow. When it gets colder than that I put NEOS overboots over them. When it's colder than that I use mukluks.
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Old 09-02-10, 07:50 PM   #7
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I've used Terra steel toed workboots with thinsulate. I have varicose veins and have used compression stockings with wool socks inside the boots. I feel like Frankenstein's monster wearing them, but have not had a problem down to 0 F (-18). I occassionally drive a truck in the bush in Northern Alberta and use the same combination quite successfully. They don't hold the heat if you're standing around on a oil lease waiting to off load chemicals. If you're cadence is quick, they do a pretty reasonable job. But then, I only have to ride about 9 kilometres to my warm office if I'm not driving. I haven't tried those compression tights they sell in the high end bike stores(too friggin' expensive), but literature on the net suggest a compression base layer covered by a wool blend long underwear is just about foolproof. I'm not a qualified fool yet,so don't take my word for it. I use pedals off my old 10 speeds for grip, but have had some problems keeping my foot tight to the middle of the pedal. Praire winds are the real problem. My face takes a hit and I can't talk for about ten minutes, cause my lips are stiff after I get to the office. Suggestions on that issue?
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Old 09-02-10, 10:04 PM   #8
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I use the Lake winter boots. I wear a pair of wool socks and on days colder than 15 I put a pair of wool cycling socks under them and I've never had an issue.
love the Lakes...MT style...happy with 'em
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Old 09-09-10, 10:39 AM   #9
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I've used Terra steel toed workboots with thinsulate. I have varicose veins and have used compression stockings with wool socks inside the boots. I feel like Frankenstein's monster wearing them, but have not had a problem down to 0 F (-18). I occassionally drive a truck in the bush in Northern Alberta and use the same combination quite successfully. They don't hold the heat if you're standing around on a oil lease waiting to off load chemicals. If you're cadence is quick, they do a pretty reasonable job. But then, I only have to ride about 9 kilometres to my warm office if I'm not driving. I haven't tried those compression tights they sell in the high end bike stores(too friggin' expensive), but literature on the net suggest a compression base layer covered by a wool blend long underwear is just about foolproof. I'm not a qualified fool yet,so don't take my word for it. I use pedals off my old 10 speeds for grip, but have had some problems keeping my foot tight to the middle of the pedal. Praire winds are the real problem. My face takes a hit and I can't talk for about ten minutes, cause my lips are stiff after I get to the office. Suggestions on that issue?
http://www.psolar.com/id5.html
http://www.outdoorresearch.com/site/...balaclava.html

BTW, steel toed boots are awful in the winter... only wear they when the site requires - the steel toe sucks the heat from your toes quickly.
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Old 09-10-10, 01:24 PM   #10
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Shimano MW80.
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Old 09-11-10, 10:38 PM   #11
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How's the weather where you live? Personally I ran some Specialized MTB Comp shoes last year with the neoprene cover and a pair of tight socks (the ones that are made for running and enhance blood flow). That's it. Minus 35(celcius), fingers were frozen, feet were fine. Not once do I recall arriving with wet feet. That includes riding through freezing rain and walking part of the MUT after getting stuck in 2+ feet of snow.
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Old 09-11-10, 11:46 PM   #12
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How's the weather where you live? Personally I ran some Specialized MTB Comp shoes last year with the neoprene cover and a pair of tight socks (the ones that are made for running and enhance blood flow). That's it. Minus 35(celcius), fingers were frozen, feet were fine. Not once do I recall arriving with wet feet. That includes riding through freezing rain and walking part of the MUT after getting stuck in 2+ feet of snow.
Never heard of tight socks enhancing blood flow, i'm also skeptical that at -35C a pair of neoprene covers were enough for those shoes.
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Old 09-12-10, 04:08 PM   #13
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Never heard of tight socks enhancing blood flow, i'm also skeptical that at -35C a pair of neoprene covers were enough for those shoes.
Hey, I also live in Ottawa... Not too far from you. I may have specified, when the radio says -35C it's with windshield. I'm not trying to exagerate here. I've got no reason to lie, the guy asked for advice and this is what I'm offering.

Found it, they're called "compression socks": http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2010...ion-socks.html

shoe covers: http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...enuItemId=9591

It's more than enough, and it wasn't tested on "just one ride". I did 10km morning/night commute all winter... and yes on some days my co-workers acknowledged I was "manner" than them
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Old 09-12-10, 04:29 PM   #14
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Hey, I also live in Ottawa... Not too far from you. I may have specified, when the radio says -35C it's with windshield. I'm not trying to exagerate here. I've got no reason to lie, the guy asked for advice and this is what I'm offering.

Found it, they're called "compression socks": http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2010...ion-socks.html

shoe covers: http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...enuItemId=9591

It's more than enough, and it wasn't tested on "just one ride". I did 10km morning/night commute all winter... and yes on some days my co-workers acknowledged I was "manner" than them
Ohh, -35 w/ windchill.

Well, that is different... i'm not sure how those compression socks would keep you warmer, everything i've read and actually been recommended involved wearing socks and shoes which aren't tight.
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Old 09-13-10, 07:27 AM   #15
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I was gonna say - can't imagine there being rain in -35C! Coldest weather I've been out in was -14C, and water drips froze in seconds.

Our 'cold' weather is below -5C, down to -10. Seldom colder than that. I've used shimano spd sandals with 2 pairs of thick hiking socks (wool blend) + neoprene overshoes and that's ok in that weather for rides of several miles.

Biggest problem I hit is when riding on main roads that are gritted - so covered in wet slush. That soaks the feet. Usually doesn't get through the overshoes and socks unless there are puddles.
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Old 09-13-10, 07:34 AM   #16
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I'm in the "no clipless" camp here... platform pedals and normal winter/hiking boots in winter. The exact kind of footwear depends on weather - that's one advantage of using platform pedals. The colder it gets, the more wool I have inside the shoes, both in socks and in felt/wool insoles. I've got a couple of Goretex winter hiking boots that are good for maybe -25C (without windchill) with proper socks and insoles. Colder than that, I can always put on the Finnish army boots that weigh a ton. Each.

About tight socks... in my experience too, loose clothing is better in cold.

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Old 09-13-10, 07:45 AM   #17
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I dunno man, all I can say is give them socks a try. Don't just get tight socks, these are more specific. They don't feel tight but you feel more pressure. If it increases bloodflow, and your blood gets warmed up when it moves back to your core, it makes sense that faster moving blood would keep your feet warmer.

Anyways, I like them and can only recommend from my experience. Try them if you want, doesn't affect me.
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Old 09-13-10, 07:46 AM   #18
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I was gonna say - can't imagine there being rain in -35C! Coldest weather I've been out in was -14C, and water drips froze in seconds.
Of course there's no rain at -35C(even if that includes windshield). I'm just stating all the different conditions I've ridden in over the past few years with this setup
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Old 09-17-10, 06:50 AM   #19
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I've got a pair of Answer winter cycling shoes that are decent (not great, not terrible), but when it gets really cold I still put neoprene full-coverage booties over the top of those. Thick wool socks are mandatory; sometimes a thinner wool sock liner under those too. FWIW, I found that neoprene socks suck, not worth it.

But if I wanted "to be absolutely waterproof" I'd probably wrap my foot in a plastic bag before I shoved it into any boot. And then of course my foot would sweat and I'd be wet anyway.
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Old 09-18-10, 02:09 PM   #20
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Compression Stockings

This is a very interesting discussion. Oddly enough, my father who had circulation problems in his feet wore compression stockings. But his issue was fluid building up, and the compression stockings were to help with the return circulation. If compression stockings are prescribed for people with poor circulation, perhaps they aren't cutting off flow to the extremity which is downhill, but helping with the return up through the veins and against gravity? Any doctors out there who want to weigh in are welcome! Has the military researched this? They'll try anything on their troops.

In any case, tight shoes crammed with too many layers of thick socks are not a great idea based upon my own experience.
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Old 09-18-10, 10:09 PM   #21
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I'm guessing the socks need to be very specific to the individual... I can see swelling feet and pooling blood being and issue with cold, but i can also see not being able to get a high enough flow through the feet due to excessive squeezing as another issue for cold.
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Old 09-19-10, 12:31 AM   #22
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The Lake 302s are the warmest cycling boot that I have worn. I don't size up and still have room for double socks. These are good down into the Twenties F., maybe a little lower. These stay pretty dry even though they do not have Gore-Tex. The soft toe is nice to have when it's cold.

For warmer temps, say ThirtyF to FiftyF I like the Shimanos. Size up at least One full size. They run small.

I've also used the Pearl Izumi Barrier boots. They are good to about ThirtyF as well. They run small too. Not my favorite.

Neither the Shimano or Pearl Izumi shoes are good much below freezing IMO.

Below Twenty, I go with Neos overboots and platforms.
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Old 09-21-10, 09:57 AM   #23
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Is anybody using the Lake 140 models? How effective are they for cold weather?

I would like to have a somewhat versatile boot and the 302's seem like they would be overkill for all but the coldest of weather. Not to mention they are expensive as heck.
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Old 09-23-10, 08:18 PM   #24
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Shimano MW80. I got these last year on clearance. Only pair left in stock at local store was exactly my size and I saved a ton. They work great with wool socks. Down around 5 degrees F I still got cold toes but I have a problem with that normally at much higher temperatures in my regular shoes. I ordered a set of slip on covers to put over them at 5 degrees and below. Worked well. The slip on covers have to be about 2 or more sizes larger than the shoe size due to the size of these boots. They are heavy, but relatively easy to walk in. Completely water proof (gore-tex). I walked through deep snow many times and my feet always stayed dry.

I don't have any experience with the Lake winter shoes but the regular Lake shoes are great, especially if you have wider feet. Lake makes quality shoes and I wouldn't hesitate to buy their winter boot either.
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Old 09-25-10, 08:10 PM   #25
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Lake boots 1 size bigger than the shoes I wear in the summer to accomodate thick socks. I use eggbeaters. Last year I used a Candy which has a small platform. This year I will use Mallets which have a much bigger platform.

I've never been cold with the Lakes. I've ridden at -10 F in those boots with no problem.
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