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Winter Bike Shoe recomendations

Old 11-25-18, 10:57 AM
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hfbill
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Winter Bike Shoe recomendations

I'm looking at purchasing a pair of shoes for winter riding in 20 to 40 degree (F). My current shoes have too much ventilation and even with my neoprene socks, there's just too much cold air rushing through them. I do have boot covers, but I find them to be a bit of a pain to deal with. I have SPD pedals and ride up to about 50 miles during the winter. My main requirement is to keep my feet warm, dry & comfortable. I'm not going as far or as fast as I do in the summer so weight is not as much of a consideration. Any recommendations ?

Thanks!
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Old 11-25-18, 12:13 PM
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I use Shimano M324 pedals, they have SPD on one side and platform on the other side.

When it gets below freezing, due to the higher risk of slipping on the ice I prefer platform side of the pedal and I wear Merrill Moab waterproof hiking shoes. I find they are usually warm enough but when it gets closer to about 20 degrees (F) I sometimes wear hiking boots that are a bit warmer than the Merrills.

When I bought some studded tires and stopped worrying about slipping on the ice, I found that I still preferred hiking shoes over SPDs in sub freezing weather.

In cold weather I often use Dexshell Hytherm Pro waterproof socks, plus a liner sock underneath. But I suspect your neoprene socks are warmer than the Dexshell. I wanted waterproof for those times that you might suddenly have to stop in a puddle and put your foot down in the puddle. The socks are not very warm compared to wool, but the waterproof membrane makes them windproof.

A friend of mine uses Lake bike shoes but I have not tried them myself.

Above freezing I have a pair of SPD shoes that are a half size larger than I really should wear. That gives me room for a thicker pair of wool socks for above freezing weather. They are vented like all good bike shoes but a set of toe covers usually is all I need. But sometimes I put a plastic bag over my sock before I put myshoe on to keep the wind out.

You might get some good input in the commuter forum too.
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Old 11-25-18, 01:59 PM
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I wear the same shoes year round. I wear the same Merino(70%) wool socks year round. I just add neoprene booties below freezing. Above freezing I use neoprene toe warmers. Yes the booties are a bit of a pain to deal with but not as big of a pain as the pain in the foot from cool feet. I have ridden plenty of 100 mile days during the cold winter months up here in New Hampshire and I rarely take a day off the bike. Get use to dealing with the booties, neoprene booties, not these junk nylon booties, or whatever those paper thin booties are made of, that some companies make. You want neo booties. I would go for the wool socks as well.
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Old 11-25-18, 02:07 PM
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How much do you encounter that 20F->40F temp swing when riding? Most of the boots really good at sub-freezing (Lake 303 or MX400) and not needing boot covers or warmers or anything down to 20F or below...are way too hot to use above freezing, unless it is sleeting or raining. Whereas the lighter-weight SPD boots (Lake 145s) that are good at 30F-50F you'll probably want an overshoe below freezing to get to 20F.
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Old 11-25-18, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by hfbill View Post
... I do have boot covers, but I find them to be a bit of a pain to deal with...
Neoprene shoe covers are probably your best bet for keeping feet warm and dry.

Here's another option for winter fitness:

https://www.planetfitness.com/gyms/?...%20falls,%20ny

Last edited by seeker333; 11-25-18 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 11-25-18, 02:50 PM
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We are talking Touring, not a winter commuting topic ?

Bear in mind your SPD cleat connects directly to the pedal
and that draws away heat, like a heat-sink.

from what warmth your feet create....

Toured with toe clip pedals, lose fitting shoes (room for thick sox)

and had insulated shoe covers ,,
But this was Ireland , by the west coast..
which reaps the benefits from the gulf stream waters.. so

February/March, 0C at night was as cold as it got..







....

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-25-18 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 11-25-18, 03:19 PM
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IME shoe covers wear out fast as soon at there is the tiniest element of walking to your rides. Don’t know how many I used up on my 200 meter hike from bike rack to dressing room at work before I started using winter boots.
I’ve used Shimanos, which were OK, but not quite the right shape for my feet.
Went to Lake 302, which got a funny fit when sized to accommodate thick socks.
Am currently using Wölvhammers, which seems to size up more proportionally.
Both the 302 and the Wölvhammer have so thick soles that heat transfer from the cleat hasn’t been an issue.
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Old 11-25-18, 04:24 PM
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[QUOTE=Marcus_Ti;20677160]How much do you encounter that 20F->40F temp swing when riding?

Not that big of a swing, but a swing of 10 degrees is not to at all uncommon. I went out today and had 42 degrees at the beginning, 34 degrees in a notorious cold spot, and then back to 40 by the time I got home, and that was just a 21 mile, hour and half ride. Even at these relatively moderate (by winter in upstate NY standards) my neoprene socks and MTB shoes weren't getting the job done. Thanks for the response!
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Old 11-26-18, 10:08 AM
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I think the best way t o think of the scenario is the neoprene should be off the foot, not on the foot. It should be over the shoe. That way you get a double benefit from wearing the wool socks which help keep the feet warm and then you have both a heat and wind barrier on the outside of the shoe which furthers helps to keep the feet warm and protected. If you have decent booties you should be able to keep them for multiple winters. My first couple pair of booties only got me one winter of riding a piece. My most recent one, which I'm now using for my fourth winter have been quite nice. The zippers blow out on them generally in the first winter, plan on that happening. Its not what is behind the foot that matters, but what is in on top of and in front of the foot that matters. My booties all ripped up nicely but they are still functionally quite nicely, even over Thanksgiving when the temps were only in the lower teens for highs my feet were still comfortable.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:59 AM
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I don't see a "model" name, lol, but I'm wearing some Merrills that have regular leather uppers, but have a Gore-Tex insert inside them. They've been warm enough, down to about 20* F, with wool socks, and best of all, they're cut to let your ankles move well, for pedaling. 👍
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Old 11-26-18, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
I think the best way t o think of the scenario is the neoprene should be off the foot, not on the foot. .
I should have also mentioned that I do wear other socks under my neoprene socks. Usually thin wool, silk, capilene etc, (not cotton). There's not enough room on the inside of the shoe for heavy wool socks. As I mentioned earlier, with these and my existing, well ventilated summer shoes, my feet still got cold within an hour at temps in the mid-high 30s. I'm looking for shoes that will keep my feet warm enough so that I can do 3 or 4 hour rides under similar conditions. Maybe I'm asking for too much?
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Old 11-26-18, 11:28 AM
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There is a winter cycling section on this forum...

Where do you go when you go touring in the winter?
you stay in hotels, or camp out?

Most Touring cyclists are done in September, out here.. weather changes ,
'dry' season ends..




..

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-26-18 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:36 PM
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Down to 30s I wear heavier wool socks with my regular shoes. 20s and lower, I wear my Red Wing boots with flats. Works for me,
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Old 11-26-18, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hfbill View Post
I should have also mentioned that I do wear other socks under my neoprene socks. Usually thin wool, silk, capilene etc, (not cotton). There's not enough room on the inside of the shoe for heavy wool socks. As I mentioned earlier, with these and my existing, well ventilated summer shoes, my feet still got cold within an hour at temps in the mid-high 30s. I'm looking for shoes that will keep my feet warm enough so that I can do 3 or 4 hour rides under similar conditions. Maybe I'm asking for too much?
I would not want the neoprene anywhere other than on the outside of the shoe. Remember when you start constricting blood flow you start reducing the ability of the body to keep itself warm. Neoprene socks take up more room inside ofthe shoes plus the neoprene, at least any I have seen thus far is rather tight fitting, aka constricting blood flow. When combine the constriction from the neoprene with the less room left inside of the shoes for the feet, further constricting blood flow, you are going to be left with cold feet. Put the neoprene outside the shoe, not inside it.
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Old 11-26-18, 01:11 PM
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Also one other thing I forgot until after I hit the post button. Don't tighten the shoes down as much as you would during the summer months. Again don't constrict the blood flow.
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Old 11-26-18, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
I would not want the neoprene anywhere other than on the outside of the shoe. Remember when you start constricting blood flow you start reducing the ability of the body to keep itself warm. Neoprene socks take up more room inside of the shoes plus the neoprene, at least any I have seen thus far is rather tight fitting, aka constricting blood flow. When combine the constriction from the neoprene with the less room left inside of the shoes for the feet, further constricting blood flow, you are going to be left with cold feet. Put the neoprene outside the shoe, not inside it.
Good points to consider. Hopefully if I can find the right shoe/boot I won't need the neoprene at all anymore. For what it's worth though, when I'm XC skiing I use the same neoprene socks inside my Rossignol XC boots without any problems at all. Also as an aside, I found the Rossi XC Ski boots to be surprisingly passable as biking shoes when I've worn them biking to our nearby golf course to go XC skiing. I even thought about using them as a winter bike boot, but I do want to have Spd cleats so that rules them out. Hey there's a thought for another thread on some other forum: "Wanted: Spd-XC ski bindings". Hmmm. Anyway thanks again for the good points on blood flow.

Last edited by hfbill; 11-26-18 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 11-26-18, 04:38 PM
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Oh and I do plan to buy a size larger than my summer shoes so that I'll have plenty of room for those nice comfy, thick wool socks.
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Old 11-26-18, 04:44 PM
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Assuming this isn't really a touring question. I use Diadora Polaris 2's in the 20-40 F range. Not made anymore, but there are lots of similar SPD winter boots on the market in the ~$200 MSRP range that are probably all pretty good. I rode 3 hours yesterday in the mid-30's with heavy rain/sleet, and my feet stayed warm.
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Old 11-26-18, 04:47 PM
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I commute in cold weather, down to -10c , whatever that is in f. and one trick that works for me it putting pieces of old fleece we have around on top of my shoes and wrapped around my ankles before I put my rain booties on as wind protection.
Goofy, simple and not special at all, but the extra insulation works wonders.
Wool socks and thin poly pro socks under the thick wool ones are a must also, but the added insulation makes the diff for me when its below freezing.

I imagine just about any good shoe that allows thicker socks will work, although I can see how a hiking boot will be great too, I still use my spd's and tried regular pedals once for winter and just found it weird feeling, ive used spd's for so long now, since 92, I just dont feel comfortable not clipped in...although I realize the advantages for some riding.
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Old 11-27-18, 08:49 PM
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A bit of a cross-post from the winter forum. Here is my experience with the Lake winter boots.

I have both the 145s and the 303's. I have worn the 303s down to single digits and have had no problem. They are amazing, warm even if your feet get wet. They are heavy, but that is to be expected. I have very wide feet, so I got the wide version as well as sizing up a full size. The included insole is thick, so you can swap it out for something thinner, and doing so has not left me wanting for warmth. Both boots have excellent soles for walking.

The 145s are good down to freezing for me with a thin wool sock and I can go even colder with a thick wool sock. They are much lighter than the 303s, but not as warm. In warmer temps, I do not get uncomfortable until the temps get above about 55F. I use the 303s below freezing in wet and dry conditions and just above freezing in wet conditions. I use the 145s above freezing and dry and above 40 when wet. After about a half hour in the 145s, your feet will get wet from splash due to a gap in the tongue near the top of the foot. This is my only gripe about either pair.

For the conditions described by the OP, I would heartily recommend the Lake MX145s.

i would replace either pair if anything happened to either one. You will be happy with them, and wonder why you didn't get them sooner.

As far as weight is concerned, the Lake 145 are about 300g heavier per pair than my Sidi Dragon Carbon shoes, and the 303s are about 300g heavier than the 145s. Sidis: 890g/pr; Lake MX145: 1180g/pr; Lake MXZ303: 1460/pr
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Old 11-28-18, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
A bit of a cross-post from the winter forum. Here is my experience with the Lake winter boots. I have both the 145s and the 303's. I have worn the 303s down to single digits and have had no problem. They are amazing, warm even if your feet get wet.
I just pulled the trigger on the Lake 303s. I chose them over the 145's because I'm looking for something I can ride with down to 20, maybe even 15 degrees F. I did order a size larger than my summer shoes so as to have plenty of room for socks.
Thanks to you, and all the other responders for your thoughts, I'll have to post a report once I've had a chance to try them out.
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Old 11-28-18, 09:03 AM
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Lake, Shimano, 45 North all make winter spd shoes. Size up enough so that you can run a thicker wool sock and the toes are not crowded.
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Old 11-28-18, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hfbill View Post
Oh and I do plan to buy a size larger than my summer shoes so that I'll have plenty of room for those nice comfy, thick wool socks.
If shopping locally instead of on-line, it would be best to bring your thick socks to the store and try on the shoes. Larger size might give you lots of extra length but might not add much width where your thicker socks need it later. I bought a larger pair of shoes (REI scratch and dent sale, had a great price) and got lucky that they fit well with thicker socks but that is not always the case.

If you get a pair that does not fit well with your desired socks, you might find that different insoles can be used to fine tune the fit. I have changed the insoles in several of my bike and hiking shoes/boots to get a better fit.
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Old 11-28-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If shopping locally instead of on-line, it would be best to bring your thick socks to the store and try on the shoes.
I wish, unfortunately where I live in rural upstate NY the LBS' are small and have very little inventory of such things. In fact even the guy at the LBS who does all my major maintenance for me, suggested that I'd be better off ordering on-line.
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