Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Clipless or boots for winter

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Clipless or boots for winter

Reply

Old 09-11-09, 07:57 PM
  #1  
gowfermike
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
gowfermike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Williamson NY
Posts: 58

Bikes: 2008 Trek 520

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Clipless or boots for winter

I want to commute this winter. I usually stop in November. I am trying to decide on clipless with boot covers, insulated Mtn shoes or just switch to platform pedals and boots. Any advice from you hard core commuters will be appreciated....
gowfermike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-09, 08:03 PM
  #2  
I_bRAD
Call me The Breeze
 
I_bRAD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Cooper Ontario
Posts: 3,700

Bikes: 2004 Litespeed Siena, 1996 Litespeed Obed, 1992 Miele (unknown model), 1982 Meile Uno LS.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I like BMX or freeride platforms and boots. I liked it so much I don't even bother changing it in the summer if I'm only commuting.
I_bRAD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-09, 08:09 PM
  #3  
MNBikeguy
Senior Member
 
MNBikeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,834

Bikes: 05 Trek 5200, 07 Trek 520, 99 GT Karakoram, 08 Surly 1X1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In the mush, wet and cold I prefer platforms with gore-tex hiking boots. They keep my feet dry and plenty warm in these Minnesota winters. I just don't see clipless as a practical winter option. Of course, a lot depends on the amount of your snowfall and the severity of your winter.
MNBikeguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-09, 08:11 PM
  #4  
lambo_vt
member. heh.
 
lambo_vt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Posts: 1,631
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
I like BMX or freeride platforms and boots. I liked it so much I don't even bother changing it in the summer if I'm only commuting.
Big +1 to this.
lambo_vt is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-09, 09:37 PM
  #5  
chris_farley
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 29

Bikes: LeMond Poprad, Bianchi Veloce, Marin Hamilton, Motobecane Grand Record

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As the temperatures get less than 20F, I seriously think that heat is being sucked out of my foot by the close proximity to the metal cleat. So I switch to boots.

Seriously, that cleat is a few millimeters from your foot with very little insulating material separating it. Heat is pretty efficiently channeled out of your foot, through the metal cleat, into your aluminum cranks, and out into the cold winter air. Plus your cycling shoes are probably designed to keep your feet COOL. I use neoprene booties in the 20-40 degree temperature range, and that helps a lot.

A well-designed boot will protect your feet from wind, and provide excellent insulation. My feet stay WAY warmer with boots.

Also, there have been a few times that I've hit a patch of ice and it's a lot easier to get your foot onto the ground if you're not clipped in.
chris_farley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-09, 11:07 PM
  #6  
cooleric1234
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 1,306

Bikes: CAAD9-1, Windsor Cliff 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I tried the boots and platform (with pins) or PowerGrips. I didn't like it. This year I'm trying to keep the clipless SPD system, use some neoprene covers, and I've got some Toasty Feet insoles on the bottom of the shoes. If needed I might buy some of those chemical toe warmers. My shoes are also large enough for thick wool socks.
cooleric1234 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 04:47 AM
  #7  
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,969

Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax, 2016 Giant Talon 4

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
There's no need to choose between clipless and boots. You can get clipless boots.

http://www.lakecycling.com/mxz302-p-111.html

Insulated soles eliminate the "cold cleat" problem. The leather flaps over the lacing system keep out wind, wet and slush. They're fully insulated, breathe, and the full-grain leather is tough and water-resistant. I also use Kiwi's boot waterproofing on them. Finally, they have reflective bits front and back.

Mine are warm enough that I can't wear them over 35°F, and they keep my feet toasty to 10°F with only a single pair of plain old athletic socks. I bought a full size too large and can fit a second pair of heavy socks for when it's colder than that. I especially like that most of the time I can just step out of my work shoes and into the Lakes without stopping to put on additional layers. Since I work closing shifts, my co-workers like that they don't have to wait for me either.

BTW, they come in wide sizes too. Oh, and there's a road model for three-bolt cleats.

They've stood up to two Rochester winters so far with no signs of quitting yet.

Last edited by tsl; 09-12-09 at 04:55 AM.
tsl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 05:45 AM
  #8  
lil brown bat
Senior Member
 
lil brown bat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Boston (sort of)
Posts: 3,878

Bikes: 1 road, 1 Urban Assault Vehicle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
There's no need to choose between clipless and boots. You can get clipless boots.
They look like the perfect solution for someone like me who loves clipless, but at $280 a pair, I don't think this is in the budget. That's close to what I'm planning to spend for my winter bike. I think BMX pedals and a pair of general-purpose low-cut boots are the plan for me.
lil brown bat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 06:02 AM
  #9  
ItsJustMe
Seņior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,776

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 441 Post(s)
I start wearing wool socks with my regular shoes below about 40*F. That does it for me down to about 10*F. Below that I switch to boots and platform pedals. The boots are inexpensive ($40) thinsulate lined, high top hunting boots bought on sale at a department store during deer season.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 06:32 AM
  #10  
Caspar_s
Senior Member
 
Caspar_s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Burlington, ON
Posts: 530

Bikes: Giant Tcx1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I switch from clipless... because I only have sandals.

I would just keep going with clipless until it gets too cold - then figure out what you want to do by the length of winter left, and the reason for the cold. If you make it most of the way through the winter and it is just the wind that is making your feet cold, add covers. If it is all the slush and water getting them wet, add sealskins. If it is November and your feet are freezing, get boots.

Trial and error is probably the best way to work out what is best for you, in your area, for your length of commute.
Caspar_s is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 07:38 AM
  #11  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 5,435

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1249 Post(s)
I use platform pedals with sharp pins, because I prefer to use hiking boots . In winter I like to use good quality insulated boots with two pairs of wool socks and goretex gaiters, this set up has worked very well for me for the last two winters and we do get some serious winters around here.
wolfchild is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 09:49 AM
  #12  
DoB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 349
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Boots all the way. I find that my Mtn. shoes with neoprene covers are inadequate below 30F even with very good wool socks.

You can get clipless boots, but the ones that are actually warm enough to use in winter cost crazy money and can't be used for anything other than cycling. I mean, look at those Lake boots linked in the post above. $280 for a pair of boots?

$80 will get you a pair of excellent, warm and waterproof non-cycling boots that you can use with toe clips and that you can also wear for any other winter activities.
DoB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 11:14 AM
  #13  
trustnoone
Senior Member
 
trustnoone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 520

Bikes: 2011 Colnago World Cup, 2012 Eddy Merckx AMX-2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I wear regular commuting spd shoes with gortex socks and wool socks. They've been good down to 10 F for a 30 min commute.

The lakes look great.
trustnoone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 11:41 AM
  #14  
gowfermike
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
gowfermike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Williamson NY
Posts: 58

Bikes: 2008 Trek 520

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Were in Rochester did you get your boots or did you order on line?
gowfermike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 11:47 AM
  #15  
gowfermike
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
gowfermike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Williamson NY
Posts: 58

Bikes: 2008 Trek 520

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the ideas. I have some gortex boots and platform pedals I can change over on the bike. I will test them first to see how they work. I'm just comfortable on Spds..
gowfermike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 04:21 PM
  #16  
exile
Senior Member
 
exile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Binghamton, NY
Posts: 2,877

Bikes: 2016 Jamis Coda Comp, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 1999 Jamis Exile

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I have regular mtn bike platform style pedals with Power Grips. Sometimes I just wear two pairs of socks or sometimes I switch over to my boots and a warmer pair of socks (i'm going to look into wool socks). If I wear my boots I just have to adjust the Power Grip straps.
exile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 06:08 PM
  #17  
MMACH 5
Cycle Dallas
 
MMACH 5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Gar, TX
Posts: 3,769

Bikes: Dulcinea--2017 Kona Rove & a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
As much as I love riding with my clipless shoes, I'm seriously considering switching to hiking boots and toe-clips/straps. For the last three winters, I've tried different insoles to insulate the cold from coming up through the cleat. All to no avail. And, yes, I would love to use the Lake winter boots, but the cost is outrageous.
MMACH 5 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 06:47 PM
  #18  
DX-MAN
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,788
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Last winter, my commute increased from 2 miles to 9; I had varying results with the different ways I countered it.

Never had a problem until temps got below about 15-20F; then, the 'Toasty Feet' type of thing went in the shoes...with limited results. They DO slow heat loss through the sole/cleat interface....

My best results were with the heavy wool hunting socks and either shoe covers or plastic bags over the socks.

Looking at some of the neoprene shoe covers for this winter, even though I'm back to the shorter route -- I only go direct when the road surfaces are nasty! Otherwise, it's the scenic route!
DX-MAN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 07:32 PM
  #19  
goalieMN
Got Scotch?
 
goalieMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minnetonka, MN
Posts: 277

Bikes: QR Kilo, Specialized Crossroads

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
In the mush, wet and cold I prefer platforms with gore-tex hiking boots. They keep my feet dry and plenty warm in these Minnesota winters. I just don't see clipless as a practical winter option. Of course, a lot depends on the amount of your snowfall and the severity of your winter.
+1

After cold feet a few winters ago, I put platform type BMX pedals on my commuter bike and have had warm feet in boots ever since.
goalieMN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 08:37 PM
  #20  
tballx
Count Dorkula
 
tballx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Edmonds, WA
Posts: 179

Bikes: 2008 Specialized Tricross Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The Lake MXZ 302's rock. I have a pair. Pricey but much lighter than they look with excellent weather proofing.
tballx is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 09:39 PM
  #21  
Tequila Joe
Winter commuting mode
 
Tequila Joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Off the back
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: 2007 Litespeed Vortex, 1970 Falcon Olympic, 2004 Specilized Enduro Expert, 2006 Langster, 2007 Opus Stella

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I bought these 3 years ago for $89 CDN and they're still going strong. They keep my feet warm down to -15 C (0 F).
http://www.exustar.com/sm450.php


I'm not sure if MEC ship to the US though....
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...45524442619907
Tequila Joe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-09, 10:07 PM
  #22  
kmcrawford111
50/50 Road/eBike Commuter
 
kmcrawford111's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Valparaiso, IN
Posts: 780

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Fatboy, Sirrus; Brompton S2L, Nashbar Campus, Taga 2.0 Trike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I also have the Lake MXZ302s. While they are expensive, I'm still glad I bought them. I wear them when the temperature gets 40s-ish (F) and my feet have never been cold in them, and I've commuted in 0 F with them and close to -20 F windchill (though only for about 2 miles each way of the commute that cold). I've done the full 7 mile commute with them at around 20 F. Being clipped in with them doesn't seem to be any worse for stability than not being clipped in for me, though I can see why that would be a concern. I've yet to fall with them on (though I have had to put a foot down to stop a fall a few times).

Beware, though, that at least some of these boots have a defect where the fabric will seperate from the rubber in the back. This happened to both of mine, and thankfully Lake customer service knows about it and was outstanding in getting them fixed and back to me in very short order with no questions asked. They were repaired near Chicago. No problem since, but it's still too early to tell if the fix is permanent.

They are made in China.
kmcrawford111 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-09, 06:24 AM
  #23  
al-wagner
Happy old man
 
al-wagner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West coast of New England
Posts: 622

Bikes: Trek 4500 mountain bike, Trek 7500fx disk, and Trek 2200 Road bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I ended up riding with boots. Because I could not find any biking shoes/boot warm enough for the ride on real cold days.
__________________
http://www.thegmbc.com/
http://www.gmaa.net/

In New England we have nine months of winter and three months of damned poor sledding.
al-wagner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-09, 06:42 AM
  #24  
TurbineBlade
Kid A
 
TurbineBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I gave up clipless a year ago and don't miss it. I have more motivation to ride when I don't have to think about changing shoes and clothing before and after rides.

My eggbeaters and SPD's and cycling jerseys have sat unused for a LONG time.

I just use regular socks in good weather with tennis shoes and thicker poly or merino wools socks in the winter. My feet don't get that cold.
TurbineBlade is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-09, 07:26 AM
  #25  
BianchiDave
Senior Member
 
BianchiDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 322

Bikes: 2000 LeMond Buenos Aires / 1996 LeMond Alpe d'Huez / 2009 Scott Scale 60

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I use platforms with my Keen insulate hiking shoes and different thickness socks for weather temps. Wisconsin here!
BianchiDave is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service