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Wet feet -- shoe covers or gore tex socks?

Old 06-08-12, 06:08 AM
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Wet feet -- shoe covers or gore tex socks?

I'm off to the Pacific Northwest for a two-day ride next week (80 miles a day), and of course it's Junary up there.

Temperatures are likely to be in the 50s or 60s, colder earlier in the day, and regardless of what the forecast says, there's a pretty good chance of rain. I've ridden in rain at 50F, and I've had water sloshing around in my shoes for what seemed like hours. It's not much fun.

So do I take my ($60) gore tex socks which I bought a while back for a camping trip and which I use for winter riding because they are an extra, windproof layer of warmth? Or do I splurge on shoe covers/booties, if only as insurance against the rain? And if I do splurge, any recommendations on what I should be splurging for? It's a supported trip, so all I need to carry with me is rain gear, extra clothes and snacks, but everything has to fit into a small seat-post bag or into my jersey pockets.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:19 AM
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I'd go with some good quality covers, i use BBB "Hardwear" and would recommend them to you, i paid 12 pounds on ebay for them which is about $18? They are made from neoprene with a rubber covering, warm and water-proof and fit tightly enough around the ankle to prevent water running down your legs into them.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:22 AM
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I just looked and it seems that i got a pretty good price, the lowest i can find them for now is 22 pounds.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:25 AM
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I was up there last year. I was wearing Keen Commuter II sandal type shoes with wool socks in the rain there. I certainly got wet, but with the wool socks I felt fine. I also had fenders to keep spray from my front wheel off my feet.
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Old 06-08-12, 06:29 AM
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I have fenders and wool socks, so that's a good start. I also have keen sandals, but think I'll take shoes rather than sandals for this one.

Will look at the BBB, but worry that neoprene/rubber will get my feet too hot, and take up too much space in bag/pockets if I have to take them off. Any other options. Also I have less than a week to buy. Has to be something I can get here.

(Silly me. I should have thought of this one weeks or months ago.)
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Old 06-08-12, 06:54 AM
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Another option is to make your own shoe covers out of a used water bottle, Velcro and hand sewn gaiter. Here is an article about how to do it.

I used than in an all-day downpour in Washington last September (journal here) with mixed results, though, I think sweat was the main problem (it was very humid), not rain.

Have a great time and maybe it won't rain!
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Old 06-08-12, 07:00 AM
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Im a big fan of rain booties such as these ones that I have used for ages (not neoprene, just a rain resistant fabric)

https://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Cycling/ShoeCovers/PRD~5009-241/mec-cycling-shoe-covers-unisex.jsp

I use these a lot for cold weather riding as well in the dry, for when it gets down to about 5c or about 40f or thereabouts.
As with all topics on a forum, you will get diff opinions, mine is that I dont like having soaking wet shoes that stay wet for days, so I prefer to put on booties. These specific ones arent too hot if its warm as well, but then its always a tradeoff with wet and hot weather.
**Wool socks are however a big bonus in any weather, Im totally sold on wool socks and there are all kinds of diff thicknesses now, so at least your feet wont feel cold (even if you have to ride for a long time with waterproof booties on)

pop into mec and see how they look, you probably will find them too bulky (going from what you said about keeping stuff in your jersey or seatbag) but then, there are lots of thinner, less bulky, rain booties out there (more expensive most likely too) so maybe visit a few good bike stores.

**remember that with wet shoes, taking out the insoles and stuffing the shoes with rolled up newspaper is the fastest way to dry them out (replacing the newspaper when its all wet) This really does work, waaaay better than them just sitting there...the paper really does suck up the water.

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Old 06-08-12, 07:07 AM
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That's my problem. My feet get hot very easily and then I get almost as miserable as when my feet get cold.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:08 AM
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And yes, the newspaper trick is surprisingly awesome.

I'll look in mec.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
Another option is to make your own shoe covers out of a used water bottle, Velcro and hand sewn gaiter. Here is an article about how to do it.

I used than in an all-day downpour in Washington last September (journal here) with mixed results, though, I think sweat was the main problem (it was very humid), not rain.

Have a great time and maybe it won't rain!
In my experience, nothing is going to keep your feet entirely dry in constant rain. Yes, fenders help (although they don't in anything heavier than a light drizzle), and shoe covers will keep the water off for a while, but it will seep up the uppers from the edges of the sole and in through the cleat holes.

And there is the sweat factor that ray alluded to. Your shoes will be wet after any extended riding through a combination of sweatage and seepage.

I think the shoes covers come into their own when the temperatures drop and unprotected wet shoes are going to get very cold because of the evaporative effect of the air moving over them.

Personally, I just accept my shoes are going to get wet, wear woollen or angora socks, and use shoe covers. MEC have good solid ones, so check those out before you go. The BBB neoprene-type shields are quite good, but in my experience, they aren't very durable around the toe and sides that scrape on the road, and you have to pick two sizes larger if you want them to go over MTB shoes.

FWIW, the best I've had I picked up in France. The tops come up above my calves, and they are less stiff than the MEC ones.

If the weather is going to be cold and wet, I opt for my Gaerne waterproof MTB boots. Then I am virtually guaranteed of dry feet, but they overheat when the temps get above 10 deg C.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:30 AM
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Usually (this is a big usually) rain isnt constant, so most often I'm able to take off my booties when it stops raining. With these mec ones, I can also velcro them on very loosely, which helps with air flow a bit.
With non stop rain all day, as others have said here often, you just have to live with it.
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Old 06-08-12, 08:56 AM
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Showers Pass stuff is in the LBS's, here, they're decent, & fold up pretty small.

people have toured in Shimano's sandals for their adjustability for various sock's thicknesses.
then the GoreTex boot liner sox are on the outside.
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Old 06-08-12, 09:18 AM
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There's wet and cold, and then there's just wet. I don't mind just wet, but I don't like walking around in sopping footwear. That's why I almost always wear Keen sandals. There's enough material to provide some foot protection, but they dry easily, allow for airflow, and don't hold much water. Recently I was biking in Ohio and was worried the I might have to deal with wet and cold, so brought a pair of Sealskin socks. Never had to use them, but I've heard good things. I also had normal, wool socks for when it was cold, but not wet.

But I were committed to wearing shoes, I think it would be far preferable to try to keep the shoes dry then to try to keep the foot dry while letting the shoe get soaked.
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Old 06-08-12, 09:42 AM
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My inclination is to not bother until it approaches freezing and wet and then consider using shoe covers. I have had good luck with neoprene ones around town, but never bothered with them on tour.
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Old 06-08-12, 10:02 AM
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I suppose I am a little worried about the distance anyway, so reckon the shoes give me a few extra notches of support. Maybe I will take both shoes and sandals and wear the shoes if it looks like not raining too much.
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Old 06-08-12, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
I suppose I am a little worried about the distance anyway, so reckon the shoes give me a few extra notches of support. Maybe I will take both shoes and sandals and wear the shoes if it looks like not raining too much.
you know your shoes and your feet. For me, my biking shoes are so much better for support and comfort than other shoes that (especially for a long ride like this) I would never consider anything else and would stick to what I know works. Given the choice of a wet shoe I am comfortable in for a given days ride, vs something else that might not be as efficient or comfortable, thats an easy decision for me. As I say always to my wife who is prone to trying new things thinking it will be better, "stick to what you know"

have fun whatever your footwear, thats the important thing. Good luck for the rain.
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Old 06-08-12, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
I was up there last year. I was wearing Keen Commuter II sandal type shoes with wool socks in the rain there. I certainly got wet, but with the wool socks I felt fine. I also had fenders to keep spray from my front wheel off my feet.
+1.

I wear my Keen Commuters all year, and wool socks when its cold enough to require them. Even wet, my feet are plenty warm. In the winter, I wear booties over top when its sloppy out, or when its -5C or below to provide a wind barrier. I also have fenders on my bike, which help keep road spray to a minimum.

My experience both touring and commuting is that in a heavy rain, the booties only work for a limited time before the water finds a way inside. They also typically don't breath well, so if you're wearing booties all day, your feet will end up damp or wet from sweat anyway...

My advice - You're probably better off with a couple extra pairs of merino wool socks, and living with wet feet if it's wet out.

As well - a couple extra pairs of socks is probably lighter than most other solutions.

Good luck - and have a great tour!
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Old 06-08-12, 11:21 AM
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It's a two day ride, so I would just take some extra pairs of thick wool socks and just accept the fact that my feet will be wet.

Where will you be riding? What's the route?
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Old 06-08-12, 11:35 AM
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It's the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle (so it might not even qualify as a "proper" tour, I guess). We start just north of the border, spend the night at a giant tent city in Mt Vernon, Wash, and end up somewhere in Seattle. Other potential hassles include being sure that the bike arrives in one piece and that I can build it up properly, as well as getting 3000+ riders across the U.S. border in a timely manner, and getting a bus back to Vancouver at the end. Then I have to pack the bike and get it back to Toronto the next day.

But yes, my goal is to Have Fun.

I like the extra socks idea.

Wheee. An excuse to go and buy some more pairs of socks.
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Old 06-08-12, 12:03 PM
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It's supposed to start drying out next week, but I've no idea what the weekend will look like. Hopefully you will get some good weather.
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Old 06-08-12, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
It's the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle (so it might not even qualify as a "proper" tour, I guess). We start just north of the border, spend the night at a giant tent city in Mt Vernon, Wash, and end up somewhere in Seattle. Other potential hassles include being sure that the bike arrives in one piece and that I can build it up properly, as well as getting 3000+ riders across the U.S. border in a timely manner, and getting a bus back to Vancouver at the end. Then I have to pack the bike and get it back to Toronto the next day.

But yes, my goal is to Have Fun.

I like the extra socks idea.

Wheee. An excuse to go and buy some more pairs of socks.
my wife and i did the Velo Quebec "Le Grand Tour" supported trip a few years back, from down in upper NY state back into canada, and the border part went very well. I was pleasantly surprised how well.Giant tent city deal too, which was fun in a way. You will be busy afterwards, I assume you will still have teh box from when you go to Vanc? If so, at least it will be fairly fast to pack it up again, make sure you keep track of the plastic fork spacer thing, and the rear derailleur protector plastic thing, etc as well as the packing bubble wrap or foam or whatever you use. and have the roll of tape to close it up and/or repair holes rips.
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Old 06-08-12, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I assume you will still have teh box from when you go to Vanc? If so, at least it will be fairly fast to pack it up again, make sure you keep track of the plastic fork spacer thing, and the rear derailleur protector plastic thing, etc as well as the packing bubble wrap or foam or whatever you use. and have the roll of tape to close it up and/or repair holes rips.
It's a Bike Friday, so it's even faster and easier than that in theory. But in practice I usually get 99 percent of the bike in its case, only to find that I have forgotten something really important that needs to go in right at the beginning and I have to start over. I have learned that the key thing is to take your time, and find somewhere comfortable. So the packing needs to be done the day before I leave, and not in the minutes before I head out to catch a plane. A bottle of beer helps.
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Old 06-10-12, 08:51 AM
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If it's any help, I wore a pair of ex army (UK) sealskinz goretex socks while hiking in Scotland this summer, and they worked flawlessly.
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Old 06-10-12, 10:05 AM
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We don't use anything, then change our socks at the end of the day.
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Old 06-10-12, 01:27 PM
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I looked at the shoe covers today, and just decided that it's too hot. So I will take the gore tex socks, and I will take an extra pair of wool socks. If it rains I can wear the goretex, and if it stops and I have wet feet, I can change socks. I might take a couple of plastic bags as well. Not stylish, but they sort of help.
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