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  1. #1
    The Land of Living Skies
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    How do I prevent cold toes?

    I bought a pair of North Face hiking boots and I wear polypropylene or wool socks but my feet are just barely warm and it is only -5 celcius. I don't want to have an excuse when it hits -30C. I have read some people use some type of neoprene boot covers. What are these and where can I find them? I suppose another alternative is to shell out more cash for actual winter boots. What are the best bang for the buck? Someone here also suggested maybe using putting a plastic bag over the socks inside existing shoes to keep the wind out. What do you think?

    Thanks in advance for the feedback.

  2. #2
    bac
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    You have MANY options! However, I have found that chemical toe warmers to be a great addition to whatever you put on your feet when it gets really cold out. These are the brand that I have found to work well:

    Grabber Toe Warmers

    I only use these on the VERY cold days. They are a bit pricey, but your toes will thank you over, and over again! I run Lake MXZ 300 winter clipless mtb shoes. They are also a bit pricey, but man do they ever work. I use wool, or thick, wicking-type socks underneath. Sporting both the Lakes, and the toe warmers, I can ride all day in the coldest temps, and my feet are always warm.

    There are a variety of neoprene booties that also help, but I've only used them over my road shoes to date. They can be found @ you LBS, or any of the on-line shops.

    Good luck, and keep those toes warm!!!

  3. #3
    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    i'm in calgary and have had the same winter so far, i wear (from the inside, going out) - socks, safeway grocery bag, running shoe. so far so good to -7c on a 4km commute. i can see myself looking for a new solution when it gets to -20 or if my trip distance increases.

    edit: i rode home one day last week with one foot in a bag and the other foot bagless and definately was getting chilled-out on the bagless foot. test 1 foot tomorrow morning, and if you find yourself walking in a big circle once you get to the office, you'll know that foots frozen hehe.
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  4. #4
    The Land of Living Skies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfheir
    i'm in calgary and have had the same winter so far, i wear (from the inside, going out) - socks, safeway grocery bag, running shoe. so far so good to -7c on a 4km commute. i can see myself looking for a new solution when it gets to -20 or if my trip distance increases.

    edit: i rode home one day last week with one foot in a bag and the other foot bagless and definately was getting chilled-out on the bagless foot. test 1 foot tomorrow morning, and if you find yourself walking in a big circle once you get to the office, you'll know that foots frozen hehe.
    My commute is a little longer at about 10K but I am going to try your suggestion before it gets too cold.....I am concerned that my feet will not breath and will end up wet and subsequently frozen solid. Nothing ruins a good winter outing like frozen toes.
    Last edited by SaskCyclist; 10-27-04 at 03:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member westman2003's Avatar
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    For my feet I wear (inside to outside)

    1. White cotton socks
    2. Wool Socks
    3. Gortex Socks
    4. Runners

    I plan to buy some winter boots (light weight lace up kind with a thinsulite lining) for when the temp drops.

    In the military I know guys who have worn electric socks (battery powered).
    Westman

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  6. #6
    Vermonticus Outdoorsus CommuterKat's Avatar
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    I tried my pair of neoprene booties over my running shoes for the first time this morning, and they drove me nuts. I am actually going to see if I can return them to the store I hated them so much. First of all, I had an EXTREMELY hard time getting the suckers on over my shoes, although the guy at the store swore that they are supposed to go on that hard. Second of all, they made my toes go numb. (compression?) Third of all, I couldn't use my toe clips with them. The ends of the booties stick out a bit from the toes of my shoes, so when I put my feet in the clips, I only ended up with the tips of my toes on the pedals. Not a good thing. I think I am going to try the baggie trick and see how that works. Maybe a pair of warm hiking boots, if I can find a pair without leather.
    "Methinks my own soul is a bright invisible green" H. Thoreau

  7. #7
    Senior Member cdale56's Avatar
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    I also suffer from cold feet.

    I use a polyprolene liner sock with a thick smart wool sock.

    I bought a pair of shoes on E-bay that was one size larger for winter, I like to stay SPD.

    I also got a pair of neoprene booties. The brand I got was Sidetrack(Ebay for $20,LBS $30) because they are one brand that is big enough for my feet.

    I use chemical footwarmers too, you have to trial and error those for a good brand because some are better than others.

    All in all, gives me heavy feet, but so is the rest of me.

    Still looking for goretex SPD bicycling shoes.

  8. #8
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I personally get rid of SPD for winter months and use heavy Goretex hiking boots with platform pedals. I find an additional isolating insole in the shoe is a must. That combined to max. 2 pairs of socks has kept my feet toasty down to -30C or thereabouts. I have not ridden in much colder temps.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  9. #9
    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterKat
    if I can find a pair without leather.
    Is leather bad for temperature control? Or is it an animal rights thing? Because I'm a vegetarian also looking for animal-friendly winter boots.
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  10. #10
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    inner to outer layers in icy rain

    Powder
    Fox Poly Pro liner
    Thick wool sock
    safeway bag
    shoes
    Totes Rubbers (boot style)
    make sure you can wiggle toes! (compress everything as least as possible, but still snug)

    can you beat that?

    sure with sorel boots and toe clips
    but i love the stiffness of spds

    if it gets to be unbearable, get off the bike and jog a little for more warmth/circulation to the feet

    and i cant believe i actually saw someone here using a core matierial as a white cotton sock.

  11. #11
    ewitz3
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    Pearlizumi Am Fib Shoe Covers to cut the wind and for days down to 5-10 degrees celcius.

    On colder days match those with a neoprene cycling sock for added warmth. This combination will be good down to at least -10 degrees celcius. Any colder than that and its time for the trainer.

  12. #12
    Senior Member westman2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=solewheelin
    inner to outer layers in icy rain
    and i cant believe i actually saw someone here using a core matierial as a white cotton sock.
    Well, I like the feel of the cotton sock as opposed to the feel of wool next to my skin. As for "coldness" I've had no problems. I'll do what works for me you do what works for you, kay?
    Westman

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  13. #13
    Enjoy
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    OK all you experienced mushers!...This morning's 50min ride, was 38F. At 25mph on the hill, wind chill was closer to 10F. I felt fine but my feet never did warm up. Very deceiving, cuz upon changing at work, my mid-section was red with cold. Legs felt cold to the touch.

    Had the weather been just 5F colder, there might have been frost-bite issues. Long john seem to be binding about the knees. There's no place to stop and remove layers. Any suggestions?


    =========Was wearing=========
    baraclava
    mid-weight ski gloves
    Showers pass rain jacket
    DuoFold long sleeve shirt (thin practically see thru)
    Sport top
    ShowersPass Ultrex Rain pant
    Biking shorts
    Seal-skin type sock
    Microfiber sock

  14. #14
    Banned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    OK all you experienced mushers!...This morning's 50min ride, was 38F. At 25mph on the hill, wind chill was closer to 10F. I felt fine but my feet never did warm up. Very deceiving, cuz upon changing at work, my mid-section was red with cold. Legs felt cold to the touch.

    Had the weather been just 5F colder, there might have been frost-bite issues. Long john seem to be binding about the knees. There's no place to stop and remove layers. Any suggestions?


    =========Was wearing=========
    baraclava
    mid-weight ski gloves
    Showers pass rain jacket
    DuoFold long sleeve shirt (thin practically see thru)
    Sport top
    ShowersPass Ultrex Rain pant
    Biking shorts
    Seal-skin type sock
    Microfiber sock
    I don't think you were in any danger. 38 F is really not very cold as many on here will attest.

    At 38 F I typically wear:

    Head

    Earband, Helmet

    Torso

    Cycling Jersey (LS), Wind Shell

    Hands

    Thinsulate gloves (from Walmart)

    Legs

    Tights with very light fleece lining.

    Feet

    One pair wool socks.

    Standard cycling shoes.

    My suggestion is to start recording what works with what temps. Once you get it down you won't have to remove layers. My ride typically lasts nearly two hours and it is unusual that i stop to take anything off. I start out cold and then warm up.

    That is a bit uncomfortable sometimes so I acquired a trunk bag this year that i plan to use for carrying extra layers. I think it might be better to start out a bit warmer and then take a layer off. Time will tell. IT is yet to freeze here in Kansas, but i have had a couple of 35 F rides this year. One was over 30 miles on unpaved roads and i was totally comfortable the whole time.

  15. #15
    Vermonticus Outdoorsus CommuterKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfheir
    Is leather bad for temperature control? Or is it an animal rights thing? Because I'm a vegetarian also looking for animal-friendly winter boots.
    I don't know about temperature control, but I am a veggie and although I have a few pairs of leather shoes that I inherited as hand-me-downs, I will not buy any that have leather in them because I just feel wrong wearing it. I have been looking everywhere for something though.

    I have found New England Overshoes, but they seem pretty big as you put them over your own shoes. They are supposed to be rated down to -20F, but I would really like to find an alternative that isn't so cumbersome. I still want to be able to use my toe clips.

    If you find anything let me know, and I will do likewise if you want. It seems that everything that is warm just doesn't work!! Grrrrr....

    Kat
    "Methinks my own soul is a bright invisible green" H. Thoreau

  16. #16
    Enjoy
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    yeah, it's hard to strike a balance. While cycling some parts are freezing others sweating...my poor bod doesnt know whether to heat or cool

    It's cold out there campers! -the movie Groundhog Day

  17. #17
    go go go go -=solewheelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westman2003
    Well, I like the feel of the cotton sock as opposed to the feel of wool next to my skin. As for "coldness" I've had no problems. I'll do what works for me you do what works for you, kay?
    Kay.
    Your in Calgary so im not going to argue in the users opinion sence, but i will in the scientific.
    what happens when your feet perspire? the sweat transfers to the cotton, (unless your feet dont sweat)
    the threads of the cotton absorb the water compress, lose their breathability freeze and your feet WILL go numb. especially if you were to hit those precious feet in a puddle.
    I agree that wool isnt very comfortable next to skin (except smartwool) but the reason people swear by them is because of the woolen threads. they dont absorb water!
    do an experiment with a cotton sock and a wool/ polypro sock and you will see what i mean.
    i would think cotton would be a decent second layer, but only if your wearing shoe covers

    but i never said anything about wool being my core layer because it isnt.

    (totes rubbers are vegan too! (and they cost next to nothing) CommuterKAt!)

  18. #18
    The Land of Living Skies
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    I tried the sandwich bags on my feet and to be honest, this morning my feet were colder then before. I am already wearing smart wool socks and light boots but I think I am going to buckle and buy a pair of "good for 40 below but only weigh 3 lbs and cost $150" boots. On the upside, today I got the wheels turning to sell one of our two cars so I guess I can afford it. It just sits there being driven maybe once a month.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Try silk sox instead of cotton next to the skin, then wool.
    There used to be battery heated sox on the market. A pair of old wool sox OVER your shoes or plastic bags will add a nice layer.
    Wiggle them toes as you pedal!
    Admire you norhtland Canucks! Have ridden in Regina . . . nice in summer!

  20. #20
    Enjoy
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    Fast cycling, Wind-chill from the cars and decents are freezing my legs out! I thought I could just go by current wind and weather conditions! NOT!

    This AM my feet froze at 45F. Slowing down to 8mph for a mile or 2 they warmed back up. So it took for-ever to get into work! On the way home at 50F the extra coffee-filter baggie over the seal-skin and microfiber socks really made the differance!

  21. #21
    Enjoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    My suggestion is to start recording what works with what temps. Once you get it down you won't have to remove layers.
    Will do! Last years' charts are not working probably because I'm faster, the traffic wizzing by is heavier, and this newer helmet has more vents.

  22. #22
    been ridin? shaq-d's Avatar
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    neoprene booties are warm. if you get hte right size (unlike the guy up there who obviously has booties that were too small) they slip on easily and are very warm. also i think they look kinda cool.

    sd

  23. #23
    Gone ridin' Joeagain's Avatar
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    This may seem obvious but it helps a lot: If you're wearing a lot of layers of socks, bags, etc., keep your shoes tied loosely so you don't slow circulation.

    Personally I switch to platform pedals and insulated boots when it gets cold enough to warrant that. It's worked well for me but I haven't done much riding below 12F/ -11C, though I'm sure you can find boots that are suitable for whatever temperature you find yourself riding in.



    Joe.

  24. #24
    Vermonticus Outdoorsus CommuterKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=solewheelin

    (totes rubbers are vegan too! (and they cost next to nothing) CommuterKAt!)
    What are these?
    "Methinks my own soul is a bright invisible green" H. Thoreau

  25. #25
    Enjoy
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    While reading this, I'm trying to do the home-made shoe. The plate is cut out but I can't seem to get smooth slots like his picture...back to the garage.

    http://johnschreiber.tripod.com/icebikeshoe/id2.html

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