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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 09-23-13, 05:25 PM   #1
milesofsmiles
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Winter Footwear

I live in the upper Midwest. This is my first year back on a bike, the warm months sure were lovely. But now it's getting cool and I was wondering about cycling footwear. I haven't bought any official cycling shoes yet. I was wondering what people here wear on their feet in cool/cold weather. I know about layering socks but you have to have a big enough shoe/boot to fit them. Is there a recommended light boot for cycling? I have a mountain bike and will be riding on all kinds of terrain if that matters.
P.S. I hate the cold but want to keep riding. I could start riding South and not look back.
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Old 09-23-13, 05:41 PM   #2
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Im using LL Beans boot , You might consider one of their insulated ones , oversize with room for thick socks.
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Old 09-24-13, 09:30 AM   #3
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Lake MXZ303 or similar by Shimano.
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Old 09-25-13, 02:42 PM   #4
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It depends on what kind of pedal set-up you have. Do you use toe clips or clipless? What kind of cold are you talking about. Forty degrees or Twenty degrees or lower. You could probably go with shoe covers in forty or thirty degree weather. Most will fit practically any shoe. I use them over my sandals when it gets cold. If you plan on riding in frigid temperatures then you'll have to go insulated. Keep in mind most insulated cycling shoes like the above poster mentioned will be well over $200. If your going with an insulated hiker boot, you can get a good pair for under $100. I use LL Bean Snow sneakers and they keep my feet warm down to about 6f-8f. I've had them for seven years now and look to get a few more out of them. Whatever you go with its suggested you get a size bigger to handle two pair of socks. I did that. When I double up I use a work sock with a quality thick wool sock over that. Works good.

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Old 09-26-13, 02:16 PM   #5
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I like flat pedals and low,insulated winter boots. Like a winter hiking boot. See Sorrel ,Keen etc.
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Old 09-27-13, 10:55 AM   #6
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lots of cool thermal cycling shoes/boots out there. lots of folks are satisfied with them. my feet, tho, always need a little something extra so I use chemical toe warmers, or hand warmers when I use larger footwear.
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Old 09-28-13, 07:38 PM   #7
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Just concluded a fall ride on the divide wearing shimano sandals. Very versatile for conditions ranging from hot to cold and rain or snow as they can accept multiple layers of merino wool socks and shoe covers, either plastic bag or something more extravagant in the Eskimo mukluk condition. That said I have extensive snow experience and would recommend either a lake winter boot or there are some new cheaper and light options by Lois garneau for sub $200. Get them a size bigger so they can accommodate heavier merino wool socks or even two pair. Even the best shoe covers can't even compare as typical bike shoes will always fail. There is nothing so bad as underestimating footwear in the winter.

As a cheaper or more versatile option you might try Power Strap pedals which will work with any winter boot. Just make sure you get the longer straps.

Personally I love clip less, especially in the snow. Crank brothers tend to shed snow well. I often sell the entry level mallet to first time winter riders for it's price, ability to shed snow and platform. However I run Time atac pedals for all that plus durability. I have my eye on a pair of wolvhammer boots by 45 North for the this year. Do note winter boots may seem expensive but thw longevity on them is superb. They are a great investment.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:14 PM   #8
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Just concluded a fall ride on the divide wearing shimano sandals. Very versatile for conditions ranging from hot to cold and rain or snow as they can accept multiple layers of merino wool socks and shoe covers, either plastic bag or something more extravagant in the Eskimo mukluk condition. That said I have extensive snow experience and would recommend either a lake winter boot or there are some new cheaper and light options by Lois garneau for sub $200. Get them a size bigger so they can accommodate heavier merino wool socks or even two pair. Even the best shoe covers can't even compare as typical bike shoes will always fail. There is nothing so bad as underestimating footwear in the winter.

As a cheaper or more versatile option you might try Power Strap pedals which will work with any winter boot. Just make sure you get the longer straps.

Personally I love clip less, especially in the snow. Crank brothers tend to shed snow well. I often sell the entry level mallet to first time winter riders for it's price, ability to shed snow and platform. However I run Time atac pedals for all that plus durability. I have my eye on a pair of wolvhammer boots by 45 North for the this year. Do note winter boots may seem expensive but thw longevity on them is superb. They are a great investment.

the wolvehammers are pretty damn good. This will be my second year using them. They are rock solid... Heavy...but good!!!!
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Old 10-06-13, 07:21 AM   #9
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Lake MXZ303 or similar by Shimano.
I just ordered and received a pair of these Louis Garneau 0 Degree Ergo Grip:



I think they'll do nicely (but I'll report back once it actually gets cold).
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Old 10-07-13, 01:55 PM   #10
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For me: 50F+ normal footwear. 40-50F: High top mountain bike shoes with light wool socks. 15-40F Lake MXZ____ shoes. 15F and below: platform pedals, over sized hiking boots with a couple pairs of heavy wool socks.
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Old 10-08-13, 06:12 PM   #11
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put your foot down on Icy roads and you will want studs on the shoes too .
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Old 10-08-13, 08:51 PM   #12
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I just ordered and received a pair of these Louis Garneau 0 Degree Ergo Grip:



I think they'll do nicely (but I'll report back once it actually gets cold).
Interesting. I can see the shoes at Nashbar via your link, but when I went back to Nashbar to look for them, they didn't turn up. Not even when sorting all the cycling shoes by price and looking in the right area.

Anyone have any experience with the Exustar shoes?
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Old 10-09-13, 05:54 AM   #13
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Interesting. I can see the shoes at Nashbar via your link, but when I went back to Nashbar to look for them, they didn't turn up. Not even when sorting all the cycling shoes by price and looking in the right area.

Anyone have any experience with the Exustar shoes?
I've noticed that, too. I found them with a google search for winter bike shoes.

I didn't find the ones you found; I'm not sure which ones I would get. The ones you found (Exustar) are probably easier to put on (velcro instead of laces and zipper) , the Louis Garneau look like they might (??) be better sealed.
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Old 10-09-13, 05:59 AM   #14
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Another platform pedals + regular winter boots commuter here. I use felt insoles in the boots, and 1-2 wool sock layers.

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Old 10-09-13, 09:10 AM   #15
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The ones you found (Exustar) are probably easier to put on (velcro instead of laces and zipper) , the Louis Garneau look like they might (??) be better sealed.
That makes sense. I'm just concerned about warmth. It doesn't snow a lot here in Texas and I don't ride in it the once in a while when it does. On the other hand, that could be fun.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:59 AM   #16
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I just ordered these:



Tried last years version in 47, but had to send back. Here's to hoping 48 is wide enough...
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Old 10-11-13, 11:17 AM   #17
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I just ordered these:


Tried last years version in 47, but had to send back. Here's to hoping 48 is wide enough...
From where did you get them?

They look (not surprisingly) similar to what I just ordered. I'll be curious to here your thoughts on yours once you get some experience (and, for that matter, I'll be interested to see what I think of mine when I actually wear them on a bike in cold weather. ).

Cheers,
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Old 10-11-13, 11:26 AM   #18
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I ordered from http://www.backcountry.com/ .

More then I wanted to spend. But i figure they'll last quite a while as they will be maybe 4 months / year usage.

Might be too warm for NC.

I'm going to try and commute 1 day /week at 46 - 52 miles rt. I'm slow so working on that. I've been doing it most weeks so far and loving it! It has been great for my health.
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Old 10-14-13, 04:08 PM   #19
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Nope don't fit. Tighter then the previous year's 47's.
The 50's show back border available.
They look just the ticket but will have to go elsewhere.

Anyone else out there know of a source for size 50's winter shoes?
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Old 10-14-13, 08:40 PM   #20
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I ordered the Exustar shoes I was asking about above from Nashbar today. I ordered them one metric size larger on the theory that I am a winter wimp and need extra space for more layers of socks. They had one of their 20% off your entire order sales going, so that made it only $100 +tax & shipping. I'll update when I get them.
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Old 10-15-13, 04:01 AM   #21
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LaCrosse Alpha Camp Moc, or Hampton as it is known now - quite a handy boot and fairly low-profile, flexible neoprene material. Below 20F I got cold toes, otherwise great general purpose boot for rain/slush/snow.

I think I'll be going the pac-boot route more often this winter as I do tend to get cold feet; choosing toastiness over bulk.
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Old 10-15-13, 05:31 AM   #22
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Since I'm not beholdin' to clipless, I just check the weather and just wear what I normally would for those conditions... around 20F is my cut off point for biking
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Old 10-15-13, 08:52 AM   #23
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I use clips and straps set loose in the winter. You can laugh but I use UGG insulated boots with wool socks.
I have rode in -40 F with windchill and my feet were never cold.
I have a nice pair of UGG Engineer boots that work and the soles are soft that makes walking on ice easy(walking flat footed of course).
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Old 10-15-13, 09:33 AM   #24
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I'm into mukluks. Those are lighter than traditional hard sole boots and sometimes warmer (used in some polar expeditions and in the canadian army). Also very comfy.
There is lots of kind available on the market

Here are some from Steger (pretty expensive). The big plus is that those are very wide which is not easy to find on the market. The downside is that they aren't made for long feet. My feet are 29cm long (size 12/13) and i wear the biggest size 15 and wouldn't mind one size up or 2.

My advice:
the traditional short mukluks for up to -20F
the yukon and similar for -40F and below (depending on your feet size vs the mukluks size) The yukon can do upper temps as well but you have to accept some slack after removing some layers.

Here are the yukon:


I wear the camuksxtreme tinted in black which are totally waterproof (but don't breath as much as the Yukon which are snowproof)

There are some pretty cheap N-1 mukluks available online for 30$ (if you like the style)

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Old 10-16-13, 05:36 AM   #25
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...You can laugh but I use UGG insulated boots with wool socks.
I have rode in -40 F with windchill and my feet were never cold...
No laughing here. Even an hour on the bike with cold toes is no joke. Good call about loosening straps if you use them - that's one thing I do remember from way back when, they tend to lead to cold feet when tightened.

I'll be in Sorels this winter. Found I had to dismount occasionally to push through a drift, so good to have something that will work on the ground too.

One interesting type of shoe I did find while musing on icy weather cycling was orienteering shoes with carbide studs.
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