Hey everyone. I just did 18 miles with an outside temperature of 34 with a windchill of 25. It was my first time riding in temps that cold. I had a blast! I think I have the layering thing down after searching the forums, but I have a couple of concerns. I wore a base layer of cotton/polyester socks and then another pair of wool socks on top. My toes were a little chilly when I started, but by mile 14, my piggies were pretty miserable. I am looking for a cheap pair of shoes to wear when I do my fitness rides. I will be doing 20 miles or so which takes a little over an hour with outside temperatures around 30 degrees. The windchill will obviously make it colder, but I'll figure that one out as I go. Any recommendations? I honestly don't want to spend a lot on shoes because they are honestly going to just be used for biking. Right now I am currently using a pair of cross training shoes with that nylon mesh stuff so obviously they're not good for cold weather. Would any non breathable "pleather" shoe work? Also, I have regular old alloy pedals because I also commute with my bike in uniform which means I wear combat boots so actual biking shoes are pretty much out of the question. Also, I snagged a pair of Seirus Innovation Ultralite gloves and they were fine for the most part, but my fingertips were getting cold. I didn't wear glove liners but I do have them. The liners are 100% polypropelene. Would wearing them help or should I look at getting a different pair of gloves? Thanks to all who reply!
Clipless pedals really don't keep your feet any warmer, they suck heat out through the metal cleat.
In very cold weather you need a shoe with a looser fit. Mesh shoes have obvious drawbacks. I just use basic athletic shoe with a non-mesh upper. Some carry a lot of foam which can soak up water in the wet. Winter cycling shoes and boots often use Lorica synthetic leather. A leather sports shoe will be fine in the dry but can soak up water.
A 2-sock system should be fine but I prefer thin woollen socks as an inner layer. They can be fancy merino or just plain everyday ones. You can also get waterproof socks such as Sealkinz which are good in the cold.
I have a pair of Timberland ankle-high hikers, leather tops, and I keep them loosely laced, and I wear polypro sock liners under smart wool socks. Over that I put a newspaper bag before I put on the boot. Over the tops, I have a pair of low gaiters, the tops of which that I put under my rain pants. I was comfortable in a 7 mile commute in 14F weather.
Gloves: polypro glove liners or neopene gloves below thinsulate padded mittens. This year I'm going to try a surgical glove over the polypro liner for kicks. Might be too tight tho.
I just bought a pair of Seirus eXtreme gloves, very warm, and waterproof. The inner layer pulls sweat away, though I imagine it would be sodden after an hour or so if you tend to sweat a lot, but it sounds like your hands are quite cold! Keeps the wind off, that's the most important thing. I can still work brakes and index shifters with them on, any thicker than them and I think I'd start having some problems with dexterity.
I just saw some reviews, mostly from runners, saying their hands were wet. I stuck my hand in the sink for 5 minutes, nothing. I think that they're just wearing gloves, and no waterproof sleeves. The elastic part above the wrist isn't water proof, so water could run down your arm, soak that, then run into the inside of the glove. Just wear a water resistant jacket, or spray that part with water proofing and you'd be good to go.
Wool socks, Defeet brand is great, ROCK. SO comfortable. I haven't had a problem yet with some thin ones, I just ordered a pair of Defeet Blaze, $12 on Amazon.