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Can't keep my feet warm

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Can't keep my feet warm

Old 12-25-18, 03:01 PM
  #51  
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Switch to flat pedals and wear winter boots. Not cycling booties, boots. Are you really doing a high performance workout in freezing temps?

Get off the bike and run a hundred yards. A few times per ride, whenever your feet get cold. If riding with others tell them not to wait for you, then chase back in. The running gets blood flow to your feet that just won't happen if cycling only. And requires that runnable shoes be worn. The chasing makes you work harder and makes you forget about your feet.
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Old 12-27-18, 02:18 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yup, I know that feeling. My toes get froze really easily.

Unfortunately my Scott Road Pro shoes are really summer shoes and very snug fitting. My feet are long and narrow, size 11 and A or B width in most sizes. Hard to find shoes of any kind that fit right but the Scott shoes are great. But only with a single pair of thin socks.

Even with a double pair of thin socks it's pushing the comfort limits. I've already replaced the original insole with a better insole -- ProFoot Miracle, very lightweight, single piece, full length, much more comfortable, no vents or detachable supports. Very slightly thicker than the original insoles, just enough to make it impractical to use thicker microfiber winter socks.

So when the temp reaches 50F I'll wear thin sandwich or snack baggies over my toes/socks. And Pearl Izumi lightly insulated full length shoe covers. Unfortunately the PI shoe covers are so snug the pressure on the top of the shoe across the Velcro toe strap cuts off circulation to my little toe. I may need to modify the toe strap to minimize that problem.

One trick I tried last year worked really well for insulating, although it wasn't very comfortable: aluminum foil, over the socks or between pairs of socks. The wrinkled foil over my toes bothered me after about an hour.

This winter I'm going to trim the foil using the insole as a template and put the foil under the insole. Shouldn't add any noticeable thickness and will help block the vents and reflect body heat better.

But if your shoes have a large enough toe box, try wrapping aluminum foil around your toes or entire foot.

I'm betting a shoe cover using foil Mylar would work well, but I haven't found any using that material. It wouldn't be flexible so fitting would be tricky. It would need to be zipped on or use closures that minimized stretching and pulling across straps, buckles and laces.
Did the aluminum foil trick today, rode for two hours and my feet were perfectly comfortable, and it was really windy! Single pair of socks with foil over about half of my foot, worked great (still put the neoprene covers on over my shoes). Guess I just needed a better windbreak. I may look into some winter shoes eventually, but at around $200 at first glance, I'll be using foil for now. lol
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Old 12-27-18, 02:47 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Did the aluminum foil trick today, rode for two hours and my feet were perfectly comfortable, and it was really windy! Single pair of socks with foil over about half of my foot, worked great (still put the neoprene covers on over my shoes). Guess I just needed a better windbreak. I may look into some winter shoes eventually, but at around $200 at first glance, I'll be using foil for now. lol
Credit where due, I swiped the aluminum foil trick from a GCN video. Made sense and seemed as if it'd be less likely to trap moisture than plastic bags.

Now I'm thinking of making some inserts or wraps from cheap metallized "space" blankets -- those shiny thin rescue blankets that can be bought for less than $5. Same principle, thinner, probably more durable and easier to improvise for various shoes and socks. A single rescue blanket would provide plenty of material to experiment with.
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Old 12-28-18, 02:20 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Vapor barrier works by letting the skin get wet and keeping the insulating layers dry. Nothing, no matter how woolly or poly, is as effective at insulating when it’s damp. If you’re in neoprene rubber rubber booties, that sweat isn’t evaporating, anyway. Definitely effective and one forgets about the slimy feeling.
I have a friend that used to use bread bags on his feet and wear socks over them when we skied. Worked well until we took a ski trip out west. Over several days, with his feet staying wet in a cool environment, he developed trench foot. About 2 weeks after we got back he had 3 toes amputated due to gangrene caused by the trench foot. Kept his feet warm, but he didn't keep all of his feet.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Now I'm thinking of making some inserts or wraps from cheap metallized "space" blankets -- those shiny thin rescue blankets that can be bought for less than $5. Same principle, thinner, probably more durable and easier to improvise for various shoes and socks. A single rescue blanket would provide plenty of material to experiment with.
The "space" blanket insoles are a common trick that we use on cross-country ski boots. It does work and makes the ski boots surprisingly warmer on the ski side. One space blanket is enough material for an entire ski team. Trace your insole on the space blanket, cut it out (staying on the small side will help get them in your shoes) then TAPE them to the bottom side of the insole, otherwise they will be almost impossible to get in the shoe without wrinkling them.
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Old 12-28-18, 02:38 PM
  #55  
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Yeah, that vapor barrier theory is not a good practice. It defies most contemporary military and winter survival techniques. Great way to grow bacteria, fungus and bad pookie that rots feet.

I found some ultra-thin aluminum foil that wasn't uncomfortable in my summer weight vented road shoes and kept my toes warm this week down into the 30s without sweating. The foil really helps reflect and retain body heat and block wind without hindering evaporation. The foil is good for only one ride and is usually crumbled afterward, but it's cheap and easy to use.

I wear calf or knee length support hose against the skin, then the thin foil, then a thin anklet sock of wicking fabric to retain the foil. Scott Road Pro shoes, then Pearl Izumi P.R.O. lightly fleece lined shoe covers. So far, so good, down into the mid to high 30s for up to 1.5 hour rides. We'll see how it goes when the temp drops.

I've also found it helps to fasten the Velcro shoe straps very loosely. Gives more air cushion for warmth and circulation so my toes don't get numb. There's a bit less support so my feet feel a bit floaty when I spin, so I can't pull up on the shoes. But it's comfortable.

If we had longer and colder winters I'd consider another pair of shoes with a bigger toe box and fewer or no vents.
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Old 12-28-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yeah, that vapor barrier theory is not a good practice. It defies most contemporary military and winter survival techniques.
Oh, please...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_boots
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Old 12-28-18, 03:52 PM
  #57  
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Bunny Boots are for extreme sub-zero conditions. Not even remotely comparable to what this thread is about. Unless there are clipless versions or platform pedals wide enough to accommodate them.

And wrapping your feet in plastic bags for moderately cold cycling isn't remotely comparable to properly designed sub-zero footwear. And Bunny Boots demand meticulous attention to foot condition with appropriate intervals for drying out the feet and boots, and inspection to be sure the skin isn't compromised.

Do what you like but there are ways to retain heat without pickling feet in sweaty brine for cycling.
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Old 12-28-18, 06:08 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Go read up on trench foot first. Then go put your feet in plastic bags for a few hours and take a sniff - you'll discover that you've started another ecosystem for each foot. Now contemplate that stew penetrating your skin and launching an infection. And then read the article you cite and see how those boots are constructed. Just because it has "vapor barrier" in the title does not mean it's comparable. Besides that, they wouldn't fit on too many bikes I've ever seen. They are enormous.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Bunny Boots are for extreme sub-zero conditions. Not even remotely comparable to what this thread is about. Unless there are clipless versions or platform pedals wide enough to accommodate them.

And wrapping your feet in plastic bags for moderately cold cycling isn't remotely comparable to properly designed sub-zero footwear. And Bunny Boots demand meticulous attention to foot condition with appropriate intervals for drying out the feet and boots, and inspection to be sure the skin isn't compromised.

Do what you like but there are ways to retain heat without pickling feet in sweaty brine for cycling.
Exactly. It's not hard. But it's not free either. I've spent many hours at a time in deep subzero (including cycling) and this is just not a good idea.

J.
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Old 12-28-18, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Go read up on trench foot first. Then go put your feet in plastic bags for a few hours and take a sniff - you'll discover that you've started another ecosystem for each foot. Now contemplate that stew penetrating your skin and launching an infection. And then read the article you cite and see how those boots are constructed. Just because it has "vapor barrier" in the title does not mean it's comparable. Besides that, they wouldn't fit on too many bikes I've ever seen. They are enormous.



Exactly. It's not hard. But it's not free either. I've spent many hours at a time in deep subzero (including cycling) and this is just not a good idea.

J.
Mickey Mouse and Bunny boots are rubber on the inside and one’s feet get wet in them, because vapor barrier. Of course, they would be ridiculous for riding a bicycle, which I never proposed. However, they ARE military doctrine for “winter survival,” as the erudite Mr. Cat concedes.

Trench foot, which I happen to know something about, is a set of conditions associated with constant immersion over weeks. Skin breakdown is inevitable under such conditions. If the feet are allowed to dry for a few hours a day, however, none of that stuff happens. Hence divers, offshore sailors, military operational personnel, and the occasional eccentric cold weather sportsperson, whose feet are wet and confined for hours a day, do not get it under normal conditions. Isn’t that interesting?

Incidentally, I do not use a vapor barrier for cycling. I have a great pair of Lake winter cycling boots which breath adequately and take me down to the 20s in comfort.

Last edited by MoAlpha; 12-28-18 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 12-28-18, 09:26 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Wool socks, plastic bags, cotton socks, neoprene booties, taped up the vent holes, toes are still cold. Are winter shoes the way to go? It was 32* for my ride this morning, rest of my gear was just fine and I was comfortable, except for my feet.
I wear regular well ventilated cycling shoes, wool socks and booties over the shoes. The average temp on my ride yesterday was 32F and my feet felt fine.

Sometimes I add a chemical toe warmer between sock and shoe, maybe you could try that?
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Old 12-29-18, 04:18 AM
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Ditto, the chemical warm packs. I pick 'em up at the dollar store, usually two or more per pack for a buck. They're probably old stock but still seem to work. The fresh packs tend to feel too hot in my shoes, but the older packs are just warm enough without being uncomfortable. Friday night I used some toe warmer chemical packs that were at least two years old -- that's how long I've had 'em, no idea how old they were when I bought 'em.

I did he first 20 miles of a group ride with the temp in the mid-30s with just two pair of thin socks and the aluminum foil trick, plus non-insulated toe warmers -- which don't fit well on my regular walking/cycling shoes since there's no cleat to hold 'em in place. I had to backtrack and retrieve one that fell off. But by 30 miles my toes were numb, although my hands were fine with only thin ski glove liners and Bontrager Thermal RXL gloves, not really intended for temps below 40. My main problem is circulation -- not that I have poor circulation, but my dang feet are so bony that any pressure on the top edge toward the little toe cuts off circulation.

Before the 12 mile return trip home I popped a couple of chemical packs in the toes and everything was toasty without feeling like there was a heat pack in my shoes. Makes the difference between an unpleasant chore and an enjoyable leisurely ride.

BTW, if you happen to be near a Dollartree look for Detour brand protein/energy bars. Only a buck apiece, a bargain, and they taste good with a good texture too. They're big, 3 ounces, with 30 grams whey protein, 340 calories, 9 grams of fat, 34 grams carbohydrates, and mostly sugar alcohols like maltitol which is great for quick energy without overstimulating the pancreas like plain sugar -- potentially important for diabetics. The only problem is some folks have digestive issues with sugar alcohols -- they give me ferocious gas so I avoid eating 'em just before or during group rides unless I'm behind everyone! But one bar could be a lifesaver for a homeless person who hasn't eaten and is facing a long cold night outdoors. I find these types of energy/protein bars (including Think Thin bars) will boost my energy and restore warmth to my extremities within 15 minutes. Really helps on those final miles after a long ride on a cold day. I tend to have blood sugar problems -- hypoglycemia -- if I overindulge in sweet stuff, but I haven't experienced any sugar rebound from protein/energy bars that use sugar alcohols instead of sucrose, dextrose, glucose, etc. So I'd feel a little better about giving them to someone else who needs some quick nutrition.

Dollar stores also often have pretty decent socks for a buck a pair, sometimes two pair for a dollar. Some homeless folks I chat with say stuff like socks, even underwear -- bottoms and t-shirts -- are often welcomed. But some of them actually have some money -- some receive SSI or disability, but it's not enough to lease an apartment, especially if they have credit problems or criminal records even though some apartments under HUD and other housing subsidies aren't supposed to discriminate. They're limited in how much they can physically carry, and sometimes their clothing is discarded when they've slept in shelters since bedbugs are rampant. So they can often use clothing. Socks are easy to carry on a bike.
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Old 12-30-18, 02:36 PM
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Thank you, JohnJ80 for that advice out of Minnesota about how no combination of shoe covers on summer shoes can substitute for winter shoes. Based on that I went out and got some Sidi Zeros, bought them because I could base the sizing on my Sidi summer shoes, but larger for extra socks. Rode with them in the cold yesterday and wow, what a difference! Should have done that three years ago.
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Old 12-31-18, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post

Mickey Mouse and Bunny boots are rubber on the inside and one’s feet get wet in them, because vapor barrier. Of course, they would be ridiculous for riding a bicycle, which I never proposed. However, they ARE military doctrine for “winter survival,” as the erudite Mr. Cat concedes.

Trench foot, which I happen to know something about, is a set of conditions associated with constant immersion over weeks. Skin breakdown is inevitable under such conditions. If the feet are allowed to dry for a few hours a day, however, none of that stuff happens. Hence divers, offshore sailors, military operational personnel, and the occasional eccentric cold weather sportsperson, whose feet are wet and confined for hours a day, do not get it under normal conditions. Isn’t that interesting?

Incidentally, I do not use a vapor barrier for cycling. I have a great pair of Lake winter cycling boots which breath adequately and take me down to the 20s in comfort.
actually I have.

You wouldnt believe the collection of cold weather gear I have. The number of cold weather boots/footwear I have would probably blow your mind. If you’ll note what I’ve written before, I have extensive experience in cold weather operations, rescue and outdoor work. So it’s not based on hearsay or a warm weather cyclist solution after being faced with cold for the first time. It’s based on being outside in very deep cold for extended periods including high exertion.

Wearing baggies on your feet or hands is simply a very bad idea from a hygiene perspective and gives only marginal short term benefit in staying warm. But it’s your feet do what you want.
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Old 12-31-18, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by randallr View Post
Thank you, JohnJ80 for that advice out of Minnesota about how no combination of shoe covers on summer shoes can substitute for winter shoes. Based on that I went out and got some Sidi Zeros, bought them because I could base the sizing on my Sidi summer shoes, but larger for extra socks. Rode with them in the cold yesterday and wow, what a difference! Should have done that three years ago.
glad to help. No substitute for having the right stuff. Being cold on the bike is no fun. Figure that out and riding in the winter becomes a lot of fun.

Heres another tip - get ahold of Lou Binik at Foxwear.net and have him make a pair of heavyweight PolarStretch tights for you. I wear them over regular bibs down to about 10F (colder if less wind then add leg warmers). They’re essentiall wind proof, low bulk -
high mechanical stretch, and wick exceptionally well so they have a very wide range, keep your legs warm which helps keep your feet warm. They cost way less than a pair of expedition weight long underwear at an outdoor store and he will customize them for you for a perfect fit.
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Old 12-31-18, 03:14 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Heres another tip - get ahold of Lou Binik at Foxwear.net and have him make a pair of heavyweight PolarStretch tights for you. I wear them over regular bibs down to about 10F (colder if less wind then add leg warmers). They’re essentially wind proof, low bulk -
high mechanical stretch, and wick exceptionally well so they have a very wide range, keep your legs warm which helps keep your feet warm. They cost way less than a pair of expedition weight long underwear at an outdoor store and he will customize them for you for a perfect fit.
+1
I did that years ago, primarily because my inseam is so long that it is nearly impossible to find pants long enough.
I wear them with only cycling underwear shorts (Andiamo) underneath, and have never needed any kind of other insulation under them. They are also remarkably durable. I think I have at least 6 years of use on them, and the only evidence is a bit of sun-fading.

Last edited by Shimagnolo; 12-31-18 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 12-31-18, 04:48 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
+1
I did that years ago, primarily because my inseam is so long that it is nearly impossible to find pants long enough.
I wear them with only cycling underwear shorts (Andiamo) underneath, and have never needed any kind of other insulation under them. They are also remarkably durable. I think I have at least 6 years of use on them, and the only evidence is a bit of sun-fading.
He is just an amazing find. I've had him make me a number of items. From the time I tell him to go to having it in my hands has been right around 5-7 days. Amazing.
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Old 01-01-19, 02:46 PM
  #67  
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Now for something completely different.

Hot stuff. Mix up some neem oil with just a little bit of chipotle powder or cayenne. Just a little. No formulas here because sensitivity varies enormously from one person to the next. Rub just a little on your toes. Only the toes. If you want it on the rest of your feet cut it at least ten to one.

Try this at home first. If you get hot foot at home you can wash it off. And ice. Wear with socks and shoes a couple hours. It takes time to build to full effect. Out on the bike it will be much hotter than at home. All you want at home is a warm tingle. The stuff works by stimulating blood circulation, your blood is moving a lot faster on the bike than lounging about the house.

If you do get hot foot you will be left wondering if that was better than frost nip. So be careful. Don't overdo it. And don't blame me. You are warned. But it does work.
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Old 01-02-19, 08:17 AM
  #68  
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My toes are the one part that I cannot keep warm (even at home, so I wear wool socks a lot. )I have tried practically everything but till 35 degrees, I can get away with Rapha Deep Winter Socks (never found a wool socks as dense) and booties over my road shoes. After two hours, I'll start to get cold again. Winter boots are the solution. I just picked up some 45 NRTH Japanthers on clearance locally. Since I use winter boots on the MTB, I realized that there was no substitute. The Japanthers take me down to 25 degrees with wool socks. I can go to 20 but within 1.5 hours, I will get cold unless I'm consistently in the sun. Fortunately, Colorado sun shines through the winter. I do not ride road below 20. I try to not ride road below 25 if not sunny.

On the fat bike, I can go to 10 degrees and still keep my feet warm BUT I have started to use flat pedals and warmer hiking boots with a little bit of insulation. I did this yesterday and since there are not holes for seats, they kept me warm through the 2.5 hours I was out in cloudy-to-sunny 10-15 degrees. I was amazed but very happy. The key is to stay warm by also letting your feet breathe. The Rapha Deep Winter socks are simply the best and I have everything from Darn Tough to Mongolian wool hiking socks. The shoe covers often don't let my feet breathe so over time they probably become wet and that hastens heat loss. For me, the key is winter boots- I have the Japanthers for road and gravel, the Shimano MXZ303s for MTB, and my insulated hiking boots by Solomon for fatbiking.
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Old 01-02-19, 08:59 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Now for something completely different.

Hot stuff. Mix up some neem oil with just a little bit of chipotle powder or cayenne. Just a little. No formulas here because sensitivity varies enormously from one person to the next. Rub just a little on your toes. Only the toes. If you want it on the rest of your feet cut it at least ten to one.

Try this at home first. If you get hot foot at home you can wash it off. And ice. Wear with socks and shoes a couple hours. It takes time to build to full effect. Out on the bike it will be much hotter than at home. All you want at home is a warm tingle. The stuff works by stimulating blood circulation, your blood is moving a lot faster on the bike than lounging about the house.

If you do get hot foot you will be left wondering if that was better than frost nip. So be careful. Don't overdo it. And don't blame me. You are warned. But it does work.
There is are also over-the-counter creams, usually used for diabetic foot care, containing the amino acid arginine, which dilates blood vessels without producing the inflammatory and pain response that capsaicin (in hot peppers) causes. Shown to work and probably an easier alternative.
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Old 01-06-19, 02:54 PM
  #70  
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I bit the bullet and after 30 seasons of cold feet in winter purchased a pair of Lake MXZ303 boots.

Not cheap at $225, but worth it and am doing the smack-on-side-of-head routine for waiting so long.

Rode the road today (I use SPD), 38-40, drizzly, wet and windy. 1-1/2 hr later and the toes were toasty. My feet get cold in September at 55, so these really did the trick. I typically have cold feet all friggin day if I ride below 45, no longer.

I purchased the wide version, I usually use size 46 Shimano wide, but sized these up to 47 wide based on on-line advise. Lake wide is NOT New Balance wide, but with a light wool sock, they still fit my 2-3E wide foot. The high top didn't bother me in the least and I never noticed the weight, which is heavy compared to summer weight low cut shoes. I suspect that when the leather gives a bit with use, I'll be OK with heavy wool, so maybe can stretch down to mid 20's.

I've been using many different options of foot treatments, neoprene booties, nylon exterior/fleece interior socks, heavier wool socks with shoes sized big, GoreTex shoe covers. Nothing really ever kept my feet warm when the temps were below 35 or so and the wind was blowing Makes me wonder why nobody makes a neoprene shoe cover that has an exterior wind proof material AND will fit over a large mt. shoe, as I never found one.

Dedicated shoes are the answer when you've tried most everything else and are tired of cold feet.

Looking forward now to cold days with no snow.
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Old 01-06-19, 03:41 PM
  #71  
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Another trick - cycling gaiters to keep wind off the gap between tights nad boots/cycling shoes and keep water out of your boots. Easy to make, easy to put on. They work. Get some stretchy wind-block fabric and 18" of 1" Velcro tape. Cut out the fabric into 12" X 7" strips, then cut the top ankle wrap 1" smaller on each side as shown. Sew the Velcro as shown. Wrap around your ankle under your tights and the wider portion over your boot tops. In hindsight, I'd beef up the lower portion and tailor to work better with cycling shoes. Still, a 1/4" gap at my shoes is a lot better than the old 4".

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Old 01-06-19, 03:46 PM
  #72  
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Old 01-08-19, 09:41 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I bit the bullet and after 30 seasons of cold feet in winter purchased a pair of Lake MXZ303 boots.

Not cheap at $225, but worth it and am doing the smack-on-side-of-head routine for waiting so long.

Rode the road today (I use SPD), 38-40, drizzly, wet and windy. 1-1/2 hr later and the toes were toasty. My feet get cold in September at 55, so these really did the trick. I typically have cold feet all friggin day if I ride below 45, no longer.

I purchased the wide version, I usually use size 46 Shimano wide, but sized these up to 47 wide based on on-line advise. Lake wide is NOT New Balance wide, but with a light wool sock, they still fit my 2-3E wide foot. The high top didn't bother me in the least and I never noticed the weight, which is heavy compared to summer weight low cut shoes. I suspect that when the leather gives a bit with use, I'll be OK with heavy wool, so maybe can stretch down to mid 20's.

I've been using many different options of foot treatments, neoprene booties, nylon exterior/fleece interior socks, heavier wool socks with shoes sized big, GoreTex shoe covers. Nothing really ever kept my feet warm when the temps were below 35 or so and the wind was blowing Makes me wonder why nobody makes a neoprene shoe cover that has an exterior wind proof material AND will fit over a large mt. shoe, as I never found one.

Dedicated shoes are the answer when you've tried most everything else and are tired of cold feet.

Looking forward now to cold days with no snow.
Same here. I bought the Lake MXZ303 boots back in October. I was lucky and found my size on sale for $140. It's been a warm winter here, so I've only rode with them twice at sub 35 degree temps. So far, so good. It beats the hassle of shoe covers with regular cycling shoes.
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Old 01-09-19, 12:20 PM
  #74  
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Available on Woot.com for a limited time.

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Old 02-06-19, 07:38 PM
  #75  
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Thanks, JohnJ80. I've passed on your bib advice to a friend. I'm living happily with wool long johns and wool pants under Showers Pass Transit pants. Rode with those and my Sidi Zeros in 16F weather going to work and back home today, 15 miles each way. C'est parfait.

Last edited by randallr; 02-06-19 at 07:40 PM. Reason: add info
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