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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 11-23-10, 12:38 PM   #1
FastJake
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Has anyone grafted SPD cleats onto winter boots?

I know this may be more appropriate for the winter forum, but the only reason I want foot retention is because I'll be riding FG this winter. Otherwise I wouldn't care.

I don't want to use clips and straps because I can't cram my bulky boots into them. Plus, they're a pain with mittens on.

I don't want to use my SPD shoes, cause they're really not appropriate for snow. So the obvious answer seems to be winter boots with SPDs. Anyone done this? Even if there are boots already available for clipless use, I would bet that they're far out of my price range. I won't be spending much money on this if I do it. Thanks!
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Old 11-23-10, 12:47 PM   #2
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Old 11-23-10, 12:47 PM   #3
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I've seen several hacks like this, w/pics over on MTBR. (in the FatBikes or ALaska forum??)
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Old 11-23-10, 02:03 PM   #4
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None of those booties work especially well, and absolutely none of them hold up to commuting use.

As stupid as modding SPDs on to sneakers is, I think it makes sense with winter boots. You will have to get some pretty small profile SPD pedals (like these) and a big profile boot, with lots of room. Unlike with the sneakers I think youre also going to have to carve out where the spindle will be going through, as well as enough room to twist our of the pedals.
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Old 11-23-10, 02:27 PM   #5
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I've used Pearl Izumi shoe covers for commuting use and they performed fine. Admirably, even. I suppose it depends on how much you plan to use them -- they won't last forever, and they're admittedly a bit of a pain to put on. If I lived somewhere that involved daily riding through the snow, they wouldn't cut it; but in that case, I'd sooner invest in a cycling boot or just ride without retention than hack up a boot for what I can only imagine would be meh results.

To the OP, how much will you ride in the snow? Are you sure it's enough to bother with clipless boots?
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Old 11-23-10, 04:49 PM   #6
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...If I lived somewhere that involved daily riding through the snow, they wouldn't cut it; ...

To the OP, how much will you ride in the snow?
Every day. The winters are quite snowy here and winter boots are a must (for me anyway.) If I have to ride without foot retention I'll do that. But I like these sorts of projects, so if I can get a cheap pair of boots (used?) and cut them up to mount the cleats I'll do it.

I'm mainly concerned with how I'm actually going to screw the cleats in. I'm assuming the rubber sole won't be adequate. I was trying to look at my SPD shoes and it seems like there's a metal plate about halfway inside the sole. I need to figure out how to get one of these inside the sole of the boot.

Kayce, why will I need low profile pedals? Wouldn't anything work?
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Old 11-23-10, 06:15 PM   #7
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Shoe covers don't last, are a pain in the ass, and don't really work anyway.
Just get these and be done with it.....
They will keep you cycling all rear round for several years, making them a worthwhile investment. A big thick pair of socks with a pair of these and you are ready to go. Any boot that you mod up isn't going to work as nicely as the real thing and you are going to spend more time ****ing around with it than its worth, and its probably not going to hold up well anyway.
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Old 11-23-10, 06:36 PM   #8
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How to do it. I also have heard about using a shimano spd adaptor to make homemade spd.
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Old 11-23-10, 06:55 PM   #9
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The reason I suggested a small profile pedal is that with boots you will need to cut away a large section of your shoe, much more than with sneakers.
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Old 11-23-10, 08:04 PM   #10
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My booties work just fine. Must be user error or impatience.
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Old 11-26-10, 08:34 AM   #11
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http://icebike.com/Clothing/footwear.htm
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Old 11-26-10, 10:25 AM   #12
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My booties work just fine. Must be user error or impatience.
i vote user error. clearly, since you live in new westminster bc, you have no idea what people are talking about when they say 'winter'.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
I know this may be more appropriate for the winter forum, but the only reason I want foot retention is because I'll be riding FG this winter. Otherwise I wouldn't care.

I don't want to use clips and straps because I can't cram my bulky boots into them. Plus, they're a pain with mittens on.

I don't want to use my SPD shoes, cause they're really not appropriate for snow. So the obvious answer seems to be winter boots with SPDs. Anyone done this? Even if there are boots already available for clipless use, I would bet that they're far out of my price range. I won't be spending much money on this if I do it. Thanks!

This is a winter cycling issue. Please post it there: http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...Winter-Cycling. They won't care if you have 1 gear or 20.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:47 PM   #14
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Welcome to Winter.
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Old 11-27-10, 12:54 AM   #15
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You should try powergrips. The x-long ones were more than enough for my size 14 winter boots. Also, they are zero hassle, with no moving parts and nothing to freeze. http://powergrips.mrpbike.com/index.php?section=index
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Old 11-27-10, 01:42 AM   #16
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I'm using extra sized Shimano SPD sandals. Up to four socks tested in conjunction so far, very comfy at 15F. Thin sock, Sealskinz, Big cotton sock, all inside the sandal, then a bootie outside of the sandal. Lots of room for toe circulation.
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Old 11-27-10, 05:53 AM   #17
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Applying SPD cleats in the usual manner by drilling the sole and using a metal back-plate will compromise your winter boots and put a heat-sink inside.
Boot soles are usually too wide to position the cleat correctly in the centre of the sole, unless you use a pedal with an extra long axle.

I would reconsider toe clips, metal ones with leather straps. Why do you need to use your hands with toe clips, there is no need to tighten the straps, they work pretty well lose and are quicker and safer than tightened straps. Tight straps were only ever used by race/high performance riders.
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Old 11-27-10, 07:53 AM   #18
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funny, i suggested this once on this forum, modding sneakers to use with SPD cleats, and i was immediately shot down by all the forum users. people were PISSED at the audacity of such a thing. I never ended up doing it, but i still want to try it with a pair of football cleats from a thrift store.
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Old 11-27-10, 09:27 AM   #19
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Applying SPD cleats in the usual manner by drilling the sole and using a metal back-plate will compromise your winter boots and put a heat-sink inside.
This is why my Lake MXZ302s came with an insulated insole, which cures that problem entirely. A popular aftermarket brand is Toasty Feet. Some silicone sealant will take care of any water leakage.

While I absolutely love mine, I completely understand that not everyone can afford a set of Lakes. A homebrew pair using old hiking boots, Toasty Feet and some silicone sealant may be a perfectly valid alternative.

I'd like to hear how it works out for the OP.

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Old 11-27-10, 09:38 AM   #20
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I'm using extra sized Shimano SPD sandals. Up to four socks tested in conjunction so far, very comfy at 15F. Thin sock, Sealskinz, Big cotton sock, all inside the sandal, then a bootie outside of the sandal. Lots of room for toe circulation.
Putting six things on each foot requires more patience than I can muster. I use plain old regular socks, step into my Lakes, and go. I use two pairs of plain old regular socks when it's under 10F.

I'm not sure where you are, but the OP is in Wisconsin. I worked in Wisconsin one winter. When it got UP to 15F, it was sufficient cause for celebration that we broke out the palm trees and hula skirts.
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Old 11-27-10, 11:27 AM   #21
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I'm in MN. 15F today, and yep, plenty toasty =)

It is a bit inconvenient, yes. I leave the bootie on the sandal when I'm not using, it stays put for easier application later.
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Old 11-27-10, 11:35 AM   #22
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platforms + powergrips
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Old 11-27-10, 01:35 PM   #23
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I'm in east-central WI (Manitowoc) and just don't bother with clipless or clips. My commute route is usually plowed okay but there are plenty of days where due to the unpredictable timing of storms, plowing, and other variables it just wouldn't be wise to attach the feet to the pedals. I use studded tires (Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106) and still have to quickly get off the pedals once in a while. The studs are a life-saver. But when the brown sugar is deep enough, even studs aren't always enough to keep the wheels from quickly kicking out from under me.

I switched to BMX pedals to accommodate my hikers.
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Old 11-27-10, 02:47 PM   #24
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I know this may be more appropriate for the winter forum, but the only reason I want foot retention is because I'll be riding FG this winter. Otherwise I wouldn't care.

I don't want to use clips and straps because I can't cram my bulky boots into them. Plus, they're a pain with mittens on.

I don't want to use my SPD shoes, cause they're really not appropriate for snow. So the obvious answer seems to be winter boots with SPDs. Anyone done this? Even if there are boots already available for clipless use, I would bet that they're far out of my price range. I won't be spending much money on this if I do it. Thanks!
I have done it and it can work very well with the right boots. The question of what the right winter boots are is the problem. The best winter boots for this are ultralight mountaineering boots or hikers with a stiff sole. A boot that is meant to work with crampons. Generally winter boots like pac boots are too heavy and bulky and the sole is too flexible to work properly unless you stiffen the boot with a nylon midsole. This is not very hard to do and I will explain the process. In fact the best approach may be to use the ultra cheap pac boots that have a thin sole since they are cheap to experiment with.

You will need a pair of light as possible winter boots two or three sizes over your normal foot size. First you need to find some 1/4 in thick engineering plastic. Nylon works well as will ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. Other plastics will work but it need to be a plastic that is very stiff but slightly flexible and is not super rigid and hard. Acrylics and polycarb will not work well. An even better approach is to make your own custom foot bed from fiberglass and epoxy resin. You will need a little of this anyway for another part.

Take a router or knife and cut out the lugs on a small portion of the sole under the ball of the foot. Only remove enough to make a flat area large enough for mounting and SPD clip. If the remaining lugs on the sole are deep enough you will be able to walk around normally with the SPD clips installed. You need to make a small plate out of fiberglass and epoxy resin so that the SPD clip has a hard surface to be tighened against. You can also use aluminum here but it will make the shoes colder and not as warm. THe original outer sole material is too soft for the SPD clip and binding interface and will not transfer force properly. So you need this small hard surface under the SPD clip. Then you put your stiffening midsoles inside the boot and drill holes all the way through the sole and through the custom midsole. You will need to then counter sink the holes in the midsole and use a flat head cone shaped bolt so that you have as little bolt head sticking above the midsole surface as possible. T nuts also work well and better in some cases.

Then you just put a little silicone glue on the outer SPD plate and tighten the hole thing together. You may have to put a small amount of padding over the midsole to cushion the bolt heads. Generally the thick felt boot liner is sufficient if you have the bolts countersunk enough.

This method works best if you start out with a lightweight boot to begin with. And the more layers of foam that the sole of the shoe has the warmer it will be. The right sole is the most important part of having a warm shoe since the rest of the foot can be easily insulated with wool socks if the boots are not too tight fitting.

Last edited by Hezz; 11-28-10 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 11-28-10, 09:43 PM   #25
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I'm in MN. 15F today, and yep, plenty toasty =)

It is a bit inconvenient, yes. I leave the bootie on the sandal when I'm not using, it stays put for easier application later.
I'm in MN too. I've been fighting with a pair of Gaerne Polar boots with SPD cleats and I just can't seem to keep my feet warm. I use wool socks, an extra insulating insole, some homemade fleece toe covers and a neoprene outer boot. The heat just seems to escape through the top of the toe box. I finally put one of those liquid crystallizing hand warmers between the top of the toe box and the fleece covers and had warm toes in cold weather for the first time.

What kind of outer boot do you use over the sandals? I picked up a pair of oversized LAKE SPD sandals last summer to try something like you are describing. I was planning on wearing a felt pack boot liner with a homemade gore-tex overboot and then strapping the whole thing into the sandal. How does your setup work if you step into some 1 or 2 inch deep water?
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