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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 11-25-10, 10:01 AM   #1
kayakplayer
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Poor man's Neos Overboots: Tyvek booties over boot liners?

My NE Wisconsin commute is about 1 1/2 hours each way with snow, so I've resorted to bus racks through the best segments of the ride to allow my feet to thaw when temperatures drop. I've read about Neos Overshoes, larger cycling shoes, winter bike shoes and just don't have the cash. My pac boots are too big, heavy, and bulky for that long of a ride. I hate frozen feet! There is nothing like an online community to provide ideas, feedback, and reality checking on a project idea!

I keep thinking about the spare pack boot liners I've had for years and rarely use! I'm thinking of picking up a set of Tyvek booties to pull over them, and covering that with my neoprene booties. I ride on platforms in the snow.

Would you suggest something firm with a little traction under the heels and the balls of the feet, or do you think something stiff like a cycling shoe is needed on the platforms? I'm thinking of sacrificing a pair of approach hikers to slip inside the neoprene booties and under the Tyvek. They didn't keep my feet warm or dry in spite of being goretex, agravate my plantar fascitis when I walk in them, and the color is ugly. Perhaps I could cut the uppers off, use a belt sander to grind off some of the wedge to narrow them up for the booties, and duct tape the soles to the Tyvek booties where the neoprene booties cover the sole? There is plenty of room to put insoles inside the boot liners for support as well

Keep in mind, it must be cheap or I won't be able to afford my internet connection. I'm looking for ideas, critical thoughts, and encouragement.
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Old 11-25-10, 01:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kayakplayer View Post
My NE Wisconsin commute is about 1 1/2 hours each way with snow, so I've resorted to bus racks through the best segments of the ride to allow my feet to thaw when temperatures drop. I've read about Neos Overshoes, larger cycling shoes, winter bike shoes and just don't have the cash. My pac boots are too big, heavy, and bulky for that long of a ride. I hate frozen feet! There is nothing like an online community to provide ideas, feedback, and reality checking on a project idea!

I keep thinking about the spare pack boot liners I've had for years and rarely use! I'm thinking of picking up a set of Tyvek booties to pull over them, and covering that with my neoprene booties. I ride on platforms in the snow.

Would you suggest something firm with a little traction under the heels and the balls of the feet, or do you think something stiff like a cycling shoe is needed on the platforms? I'm thinking of sacrificing a pair of approach hikers to slip inside the neoprene booties and under the Tyvek. They didn't keep my feet warm or dry in spite of being goretex, agravate my plantar fascitis when I walk in them, and the color is ugly. Perhaps I could cut the uppers off, use a belt sander to grind off some of the wedge to narrow them up for the booties, and duct tape the soles to the Tyvek booties where the neoprene booties cover the sole? There is plenty of room to put insoles inside the boot liners for support as well

Keep in mind, it must be cheap or I won't be able to afford my internet connection. I'm looking for ideas, critical thoughts, and encouragement.
I think you have come to the right place for feedback. I would encourage you to try out your idea. You will want some kind of a thin stiff shoe inside the felt liner. An old pair of road bike shoes would be ideal. Because there is very little mass or thickness to the sole. But, I don't know what your normal bike commuting shoe attire is in warm weather. The Tyvek just might be a good outer material since it is breathable but wind resistant. The wool liners are warm but light. You can use black duct tape to reinforce the bottom of the Tyvek. The only thing is to think of some cheap way to add a non slip surface to the bottom. You could tape some pieces of wet/dry sand paper to the bottom and then just tear it off and replace as necessary. Another option would be to get some cheap cycling sandals large enough to strap in with the boot liners and tyvek. That would give some kind of a sole. They even have ones with SPD mounts in them. If you use platform pedals you might try to get an over sized pair of teva's or something similar at a thrift store or Walmart. Another option that might work is an oversized pair of watersport shoes over the felt and Tyvek. That would give you a thicker sole for walking around in.

Something like this in a very large size would be cheap to try out.

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1843.htm

You could also use a cheap pair of the water shoes inside the felt boot covers. You could wear something like a thick wool sock then the aqua shoes then the felt boot liners then the Tyvek covers. Use some string to wrap your foot to hold the boot covers and tyvek in place.

I would not go with the neoprene covers unless it is a cold rain. They will make the felt liners less warm. Loose fitting and breathable is what you want for below freezing conditions. The sandals idea is good because it can leave a lot of room in the toes.

For really cold long rides on platform pedals the old moon boots might well be the ultimate in warmth. Only Technica makes them now and they are expensive. Try to find a used pair on e-bay or something. I had a pair of these when I was a kid and they are pretty light and the ankle moves easily. Very warm.
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Last edited by Hezz; 11-25-10 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:01 PM   #3
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an alternate to NEOS overshoe are USAF mukluks.

you can use them with felt liners, or slip low profile shoes inside. quite the trick for very below freezing. they are less useful in the slop of near freezing temps. a person could coat the canvas uppers to make them more water resistant.

aternately and cheaper still, galoshes!

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Old 11-27-10, 09:33 AM   #4
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I like the sandals idea

Thanks for the feedback! I really like sandals over Tyvek booties and boot liners.

It makes replacing breathable Tyvek booties simple if they shred in a crash. Duct tape on the sole, toe, and heal areas should protect them from wear without restricting vapor. Sandals and boot liners should be light enough to carry on the commute for changing conditions through Wisconsin's Winter. The boot liners can be removed to dry everything during the day and night. Tyvek booties could be handy overshoes if I'm caught in rain.

Anyone see a source of cheap cycling sandals large enough for size 12 boot liners? I'll try to figure out whether size 13 or 14 will be best. I'm afraid they'll be too narrow for this. Otherwise, it is off to GoodWill and local thrift shops to see if I can find large enough sandals for these toasty warm boot liners. Hopefully I can post some pictures next week to let you see and hear how they work.
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Old 11-27-10, 03:16 PM   #5
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You can make your own out of some old thrift store sandals or here are some with SPD clips for 50 bucks from Nashbar. I would check out all of the bike discounters. SPD sandals will be on sale this time of year.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...5_10000_200530
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Old 12-07-10, 09:32 PM   #6
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Sniped on E-Bay

Shouldn't complain, but I just lost a bid on e-Bay for a set of Keen Commuter sandals in the ultra-large size to try with the boot liners. Checked e-Bay and hoped to get lucky on some size 15's. They may have been too large, but they were affordable. I got excited when our local megasized-sports shop had Keen Commuters, but nothing large enough. Nobody else in the area stocks sandals this time of year and I can't swing full priced items right now.

Going to have to find something, so I'm still looking. I viewed the Ragsters suggested by Hezz which are close in price to what I would have paid with shipping for the Keens, but darn that sniper! I thought the Keens might offer better protection. Crashed the other day before I put on the studded tires and broke the bike mirror. Maybe I wouldn't have crashed without the mirror (I was taking a corner too fast for the patch of ice because I didn't want some cars to overtake me in the corner.) Tore up the knee of my Illuminite winter tights. At least the bike and I are OK.
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Old 12-07-10, 10:03 PM   #7
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Platforms w/Power Grips for your pedals. Power Grips are adjustable for any size boots. Knee high wool socks. Ankle straps...like for a sprained ankle. They'll keep your pulse point warm so your toes stay warm. Can get 'em at Wallyworld or Target. The knee high socks will keep your lower leg area heated which will keep warm blood flowing to your extremities. Gaiters are relatively inexpensive and will keep alot of snow, wet and gook off your feet. As long as as you've got fenders you're golden. I like the Moonboots idea, too.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:29 PM   #8
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Platforms w/Power Grips for your pedals. Power Grips are adjustable for any size boots. Knee high wool socks. Ankle straps...like for a sprained ankle. They'll keep your pulse point warm so your toes stay warm. Can get 'em at Wallyworld or Target. The knee high socks will keep your lower leg area heated which will keep warm blood flowing to your extremities. Gaiters are relatively inexpensive and will keep alot of snow, wet and gook off your feet. As long as as you've got fenders you're golden. I like the Moonboots idea, too.
I wonder if these might be close to the ultimate winter bike shoe with a platform pedal. Lower profile than regular moon boots but with leather upper. This can be treated with mink oil to make them both breathable and water resistant. Has better sole than regular moon boot. Probably not as much insulation though.

http://www.tecnicausa.com/collection...t/caviar-90058
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Old 12-11-10, 07:56 PM   #9
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Picked up some Neos Overshoes on e-Bay

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I wonder if these might be close to the ultimate winter bike shoe with a platform pedal. Lower profile than regular moon boots but with leather upper. This can be treated with mink oil to make them both breathable and water resistant. Has better sole than regular moon boot. Probably not as much insulation though.

http://www.tecnicausa.com/collection...t/caviar-90058
Thanks again for the tip Hezz. Those run about as much as a pair of used winter cycling shoes go for on e-Bay, so I narrowed down my options to a purchase on e-Bay.

While searching for sandals to use with tyvek booties and boot liners, I decided to expand my search for the best deal on e-Bay and found a decent pair of Neos Overshoes. I missed an opportunity to bid on a pair yesterday that went for a couple of dollars less, but who knows what the winner's top bid may have been? For a price below what I would spend on a pair of bike sandals, I just won a bid on another unused pair of overshoes in the same older model.

This version appears to have a lighter Vibram sole than the Navigator, and the picture shows some foam insulation inside. They also cost far less than a pair of the warm winter cycling shoes available on e-Bay during this peak buying season. The overshoes should pay for themselves in saved bus fairs by the end of this Winter when cycling shoes would take at least 3 Winters.

I figure that if the insulation provided isn't adequate on a given day, I'll shove my boot liners inside of them, pull them on over some thick wool socks, and give it a go. The size I ordered should be large enough for varied options including pulling them over a pair of shoes. Now I'm just looking to make some cheap power straps to go with.
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Old 12-11-10, 08:08 PM   #10
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Picked up some Neos Overshoes on e-Bay

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Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
I wonder if these might be close to the ultimate winter bike shoe with a platform pedal. Lower profile than regular moon boots but with leather upper. This can be treated with mink oil to make them both breathable and water resistant. Has better sole than regular moon boot. Probably not as much insulation though.

http://www.tecnicausa.com/collection...t/caviar-90058
Thanks again for the tip Hezz. Those run about as much as a pair of used winter cycling shoes go for on e-Bay, so I narrowed down my options to a purchase on e-Bay.

While searching for sandals to use with tyvek booties and boot liners, I decided to expand my search for the best deal on e-Bay and found a decent pair of Neos Overshoes. I missed an opportunity to bid on a pair yesterday that went for a couple of dollars less, but who knows what the winner's top bid may have been? For a price below what I would spend on a pair of bike sandals, I just won a bid on another unused pair of overshoes in the same older model.

This version appears to have a lighter Vibram sole than the Navigator, and the picture shows some foam insulation inside. They also cost far less than a pair of the warm winter cycling shoes available on e-Bay during this peak buying season. The overshoes should pay for themselves in saved bus fairs by the end of this Winter when cycling shoes would take at least 3 Winters.

I figure that if the insulation provided isn't adequate on a given day, I'll shove my boot liners inside of them, pull them on over some thick wool socks, and give it a go. The size I ordered should be large enough for varied options including pulling them over a pair of shoes. Now I'm just looking to make some cheap power straps to go with.
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Old 12-28-10, 05:23 PM   #11
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The 11" high Neos Villagers from e-Bay saved me $15 compared to ordering the cheapest available Neos overshoes from Campmor while they had free shipping. They are new as advertised, and the Large fits perfectly over the size 12 boot liners I had. They are very wide to accomodate shoes, so I ordered 9mm wool felt insoles direct from LaCrosse Boots for $6.30 (including shipping!) to add under the sole of my boot liners. Boot liners would cost $26 through LaCrosse, and that would create another price point where you might just purchase an insulated set of Neos Overshoes.

Since the Neos Villager Vibram soles aren't nearly stiff enough for cycling, I carved insoles from cedar shims using a utility knife. They flex very little when walking and are stiff under the forefoot. I can pull the shims out before hiking far, but they should be fine from saddle to locker room. Cedar is prone to splitting, so this may be a temporary solution.

They are fairly light for winter wear at under 3 lbs with liners and insoles compared to 5 1/2 lbs of my old pair of Sorel Superiors . My approach shoes with neoprene shoe covers weigh as much as the Neos set-up. They work down to 25 Fahrenheit. Moisture build-up can be a problem in either case, so I'll keep wearing vapor barriers over liner socks. If not, the liners easily pull out to dry during the day. I hope that with boot liners, this system is as warm and light as needed for long winter commutes on platform pedals in Wisconsin.
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Old 12-28-10, 05:56 PM   #12
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I think that if the Neos overshoes are large enough you can make them as warm as you need. You might try and get a 1/8" thick piece of nylon plastic scrap from the local sign shop or engineering plastics seller to make the sole stiffeners. They will flex some but add some stiffness. They won't splinter like the wood. Often these small scraps are sold by the pound. And the amount you need can be had for a couple of dollars. I think with some insulation experimentation you will have a working solution.
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Old 12-30-10, 04:46 PM   #13
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Project complete and ready for the commute starting next week...

The felt insoles arrived from LaCrosse Footwear, so here's the photo I promised:



The Neos Villager overshoes (size Large) fit perfectly over a 1/4" hand carved cedar stiffener, a 9mm wool felt insole by LaCrosse Footwear (size 13), and a Sorel Superior thinsulate and wool boot liner (size 12). With a set of thick wool socks inside, there is plenty of width but I'm feeling pressure on the toes (size 11 feet). Perhaps the 9mm wool insole is overkill, but we'll see what happens as they wear in. I'ld order 6mm thick wool insoles if I had it to do again. I like the plastic scrap idea so I'll keep my eyes peeled for some material. Thanks again for your feedback Hezz. I'll post after I've ridden in some temperatures about how it is working.

Last edited by kayakplayer; 12-30-10 at 04:50 PM.
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