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What boots do you use ?

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What boots do you use ?

Old 01-31-09, 07:49 PM
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What boots do you use ?

I've posted this same message in the Regional Forum. But, just curious as to what boots you use against these frigid temps to protect the toes. Something that will fit into toeclips. Not Bike specific. Riding in single digits requires Insulated boots. And I'm not paying $200+ for Lakes or any other Bike shoe. I've been wearing LL Bean Snow Sneakers, but below 10f they just don't do the job. I wear wool socks with Cabelas Dual-density Polarfleeces over those, but the toes are still getting cold. Trying to avoid having to go with hand warmers, although anything below 0f and I don't think I have a choice.

Last edited by scoatw; 12-28-09 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-31-09, 08:30 PM
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Lake mtn bike shoes.

http://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm
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Old 01-31-09, 08:46 PM
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I don't think Lake mtn bike shoes. will work in single digits. Even with Shoe covers on. I've read your posts and your website. And I respect your expertise. You've done stuff I hadn't even considered. I think the Snowlions would be a little too much for my region. Besides, do they fit in toeclips? I'm just trying to find a good insulated boot that works down to 0f. I might consider changing to a platform pedal, but I'm trying to avoid that. It's just another expense. But Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-31-09, 09:07 PM
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The Lake mtn bike shoes, combined with the other methods I mentioned in the article, do work down to -18C and below.

I've used that combination down to -40C/F on my commutes.
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Old 01-31-09, 10:17 PM
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I have EMS winter boots I wear with my commuter which has platform pedals. Wool socks, if it's really cold chemical warmers and two pair of wool socks, that does the trick.
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Old 01-31-09, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
I've posted this same message in the Regional Forum. But, just curious as to what boots you use against these frigid temps to protect the toes. Something that will fit into toeclips. Not Bike specific. Riding in single digits requires Insulated boots. And I'm not paying $200+ for Lakes or any other Bike shoe. I've been wearing LL Bean Snow Sneakers, but below 20f they just don't do the job. I wear wool socks with Cabelas Dual-density Polarfleeces over those, but the toes are still getting cold. Trying to avoid having to go with hand warmers, although anything below 0f and I don't think I have a choice.
I would use a super light mountaineering boots. But try to find some at a closeout store or something and a couple of sizes big. New they will cost as much as Lake winter cycling boots. The reason for using these is that they are designed for use with crampons and have a stiff sole. With super thick wool socks and platform pedals they are really warm. Cabelas used to have some which were not quite mountaineering boots but very well insulated and lightweight. I don't know if they still make that model.

The climbing boots typically have a 1/4 inch thick nylon midsole under the inner footbed. Many of the climbing boot manufacturers have something like this. You can sometimes find them on closeout.

http://www.backcountry.com/store/LSP...021&mv_pc=r126

When it comes right down to it. Cheap insulated leather work boots from K-mart work really well once they are broken in. Buy the low cut ones two sizes big. Put some snowseal on them and go.

Something like this is good. Soft toe (no steel toe), thick foam type soles for heat loss barrier. Shoe construction around toe has no stitching holes. They need to be loose fitting in the toe with thick socks and you need to break the uppers in so they flex easy. Steel shank in footbed makes them more stiff for pedaling efficiency. Not real light but if you are not in a big hurry they will keep you pretty warm if you get them big enough for thick socks.

http://www.constructiongear.com/geor...dge-g8135.html

Check these out, if you wear size 11-12. You can replace the toe clips with a standard platform pedal during the winter and use something like this.

http://www.6pm.com/n/p/p/7278915/c/168.html

I also think that these mukluk style boots would work really well on a bike to keep the feet warm. Made from sheep skin. The tall one would seal more cold air out and because of the loose fit at the ankle would be fairly flexible.

http://www.moccasinsales.com/minneto..._pug_boots.htm

Last edited by Hezz; 02-01-09 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 02-01-09, 06:46 AM
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If your a performancebike.com "member" they had lakes on sale for like 150 last week.

I just bought the Answer Kashmir cycling boots. They are not extremely warm but much better then the old system I was doing. When I went out Friday, it was 5*F, and I was wearing some wool hiking socks. After an hour and a half, my feet were getting cold. Not the dangerous cold feeling that I would get occasionally when I was using normal road shoes with overshoes, just not warm.
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Old 02-03-09, 02:57 PM
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Do you think 200 grams of Thinsulate would do the job in 0f.
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Old 02-03-09, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
Do you think 200 grams of Thinsulate would do the job in 0f.
Yes, if they are big enough for really thick socks. And combined with leather. But non leather materials seem to need more insulation to keep warm. In fact, you don't want the shoe shell to be too thick because the thicker it is the more it will trap moisture. The shoe needs to breath. This is probably the second biggest reason why the cycling shoes don't keep your feet that warm. They hold in too much moisture. The first problem is the plastic sole connected to the metal pedal.

For this reason the sole construction of the boot or shoe you are going to use is probably more important than the upper. It needs to act as an insulation barrier. You have to be careful with work boots because some are good in this area and some others are not. The more soft and air filled the sole is the more warm it is generally.

One thing that I think would be interesting to try is an oversized pair of these worn over a normal lightweight road cycling shoe.

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-SHEEPSKIN-WI...QQcmdZViewItem

Last edited by Hezz; 02-03-09 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 02-03-09, 10:35 PM
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I've had great success with Sorel-style boots, specifically Baffin Bison boots. I use them in combination with large Freeride/Downhill-style studded platform pedals such like the Blackspire Flatfoot. When it gets really cold and/or during long rides, I add chemical toe warmers.

They take a second to put on or to remove. They're high enough that they block snow from coming in, making gaiters obsolete - they catch your pants so you don't have to tie them otherwise. Oh, and they're very comfortable for walking. They're also somewhat inexpensive and rated down to -40C.

However, in the fall and spring, when the roads are clear enough that it is safe to use SPD again, I quite like my Exustar SM-450 SPD boots. Of course, they're somewhat of a pain to put on and remove and they're not very walkable. Also, I find it necessary to use gaiters or some other means of tying my pants so they don't get caught in the chain or something bad like that.

During the winter, even though I have a pair of studded tires, the road conditions get so bad that I sometimes have to put a foot on the ground. I wouldn't want to be tied to the pedals when that happens, which is why I must sadly abandon SPD until pavement is no longer covered by inches-thick patches of hard ice.
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Old 02-04-09, 08:23 AM
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I use a pair of Matterhorn model 1949 winter combat boots with big grippy pedals like hernick does. The boots are Gore-tex lined, made high quality leather, safety toe, thinsulate (not sure of the weight) and made in the US. The best part though is that if you watch ebay you can pick up a new pair during the off season for about $30-50. These boots generally retail for $170-$240. I wear them anywhere from the mid-thirties to sub-zero temps (although not this season), just gotta change the socks to match the temperture.
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Old 02-04-09, 04:53 PM
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I wear a pair of Neos overshoes with my Blundstones underneath. I have no trouble staying warm well into negative temps. I doubt they'd fit into toe clips though. I like platforms for all the ice I encounter.
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Old 02-06-09, 01:54 PM
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Meindl Helsinki Goretex with platform pedals. Good walking shoes. They are very good in these weather conditions - one day it rains, the other -10°C.
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Old 02-06-09, 04:55 PM
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OK, This is what I did. I did a field test. Comparing the LL Bean Snow Sneaker (on the left), to the Sorel Hood River 6 ½ ” Insulated Boot (on the right). I had one pair of Wigwam Wool sock on the feet. The Snow Sneaker I’ve been using for the past two winters. It has 200 grams of Primaloft. I have it set up like I’ve been wearing it. With an Outdoor Research gaitor and a Performance toe warmer to cover the mesh material that they have above the toe. The boot has kept my feet comfortable down to about 15f. Anything lower than that and my toes started getting uncomfortably cold. Below 0f, and they started feeling frostbite. I have a 45 min. commute that starts at 4:15am. By frostbite, I mean that after about a ½ hr. of riding the toes would get uncomfortably cold.
The Sorel Hood River 6 ½ ” Insulated Boot, I had just purchased from Sierra Trading Post. It has 200 grams of Thinsulate. I have it set up just like I wore it this morning. With just the gaitor on it. The morning temps today were at 19-20f. They were calling for colder temps. But this is what it turned out to be. Wind was at SW 8-10mph. I was hoping for colder temps to give it a true test.


After about 5mins of riding I felt the cold air start to enter the Sorel Hood River 6 ½ ” Insulated Boot. Nothing bad, but it was noticeable. After a ½ hr. my foot was chilled with the Sorel. The LL Bean had stayed nice and warm. My final thoughts: The Sorel definetly would have failed the 0f test. I wouldn’t even want to think how my toes would have felt at 5f or so. The Primaloft insulation held up a lot better than the Thinsulate. Thru research on the Internet I found that the R value of Primaloft is twice of what the Thinsulate is. And it showed. So needless to say the Sorels are going back in the box and being returned.[/FONT]
This is what I’ve been trying to find out. “What is the best boot to wear in 0f”. I know folks up in Alaska and Canada wear the NEOS Overshoe or the Sorel Snowlion, or a boot similar to that. Here in Ohio we deal with single digits mostly. Occasionally we’ll have sub-zero temps. I know there is a boot that fits the bill that will fit inside a toe-clip. So I guess my next experiment will be to purchase some heated socks because 1. I heard from a dude in Anchorage that they work for him. And, 2. they’re not that expensive. Although they had mixed reviews on Amazon.com.
I tried the chemical hand warmers inside the boot. And with them buried deep inside the boot they didn’t get any air, which they need to activate the chemicals to get warm. When I tucked them under the toe-warmers then they worked.





http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...rom=SR&feat=sr

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Old 02-06-09, 06:04 PM
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Until last week I was wearing a pair of ankle high leather boots with thinsulate. At 0F I would feel my toes. Recently I decided that after wearing these boots for over 10 years they don't have sufficient grip. Hence last week I started wearing similar boots to the original pair but with good tread. They are a bit bigger. I was surprised because now I don't feel any problems with my toes at 0F. I believe it's just the extra space in the boot. I also find the extra tread on the boot interferes with pedaling, but it does help in pushing the bike.
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Old 02-06-09, 07:08 PM
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I would try the Minnetonka mens 14 inch pug boots with really thick wool socks. They might even fit into your toe clips.

http://www.bootbay.com/bootbay/produ...ensCasualBoots

Or if you want to get really serious, how about some Brooks Rangers in a small enough size to go over your existing snow sneakers. But they are kind of expensive.

Frankly, if you can find the right after ski boots they will be both warm, light and cheap. Something like this will give you the most warmth for the cost. The only catch is to find a pair that are breathable because many of them are not.

http://www.activesportswearoutlet.co...u_traveler.htm

I have a pair of something similar to these. The uppers are made from breathable cordura instead of the usual cheap polyurethane. Generally they have about 1/2 inch thick insulation plus a fleece lining. At the price it's worth a try. But I don't think they are breathable.

http://activesportswearoutlet.stores...iafskibof.html

Frankly, I have gone through the same process that you have and found that the only inexpensive solution that worked at 0F is a lightly insulated 8 inch leather work boot without a steal toe and a good warm sole. It needs to be oversized for really thick wool socks. It's best if it has a square kind of toe box so there is lots of trapped warm air space.

In the end you will probably find that most inexpensive shoes have a cheaply made injected rubber sole that is not very warm. But older shoes are not much better as far as the sole is concerned unless they have a soft foam sole with high insulation value. To really keep your feet warm you have to go to a heavy pack boot which is why I recommend the climbing boots because they work better and are less heavy. The only thing that I think would be really warm that would fit in your toe clips is the mukluk style pug boots. So there may not be a solution which is relatively light for under 100 bucks. You could probably get some heavy warm pac boots for 60-70 bucks. But the cheap pac boots while having a lot of good insulation around the foot don't have a good insulating sole. The pac style shoes that don't have a removable felt liner are pretty much a waste of money as you found out. They are designed for running across the snow covered parking lot to your car or for shoveling the snow for a few minutes. That is all they are good for for most people.

I think something like this a good purchase. I little heavy but in an 1-2 sizes large and really thick socks they will keep your feet warm. Boots like this are designed for moderate elevation alpine climbing so they are built well enough to stay warm in the temperatures you are talking about when combined with thick socks. The stiffer sole also helps keep the foot warmer because it doesn't cut off the blood flow as much from pressure from the pedal.

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3...f-For-Men.html

Notice that these are not hiking boots but light mountaineering boots with a crampon compatible sole. This is what you want. Further down the page there is another model for 125 bucks. These are in the 3 pound range which is about as light as you get with these. The models in the 4 pound range are sturdier that you would need for cycling.

Last edited by Hezz; 02-06-09 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 02-06-09, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
The Snow Sneaker I’ve been using for the past two winters. It has 200 grams of Primaloft. I have it set up like I’ve been wearing it. With an Outdoor Research gaitor and a Performance toe warmer to cover the mesh material that they have above the toe. The boot has kept my feet comfortable down to about 15f. Anything lower than that and my toes started getting uncomfortably cold. Below 0f, and they started feeling frostbite. I have a 45 min. commute that starts at 4:15am. By frostbite, I mean that after about a ½ hr. of riding the toes would get uncomfortably cold.
I bought the snow sneaker and wear two pairs wool socks under them... I am pretty comfortable on my 6 mile commutes to 5F and above, provided it's not too windy. I think it's also important to note that I wear polyester long johns, tights and wind pants on my legs... which probably helps keep my feet warm.

I generally don't do much traveling below 5F, unless it's a short trip.
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Old 02-08-09, 10:27 PM
  #18  
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I wear 511 tactical security guard boots with wigwam -30 socks. This has worked for me down to about -30 celcius. However, if I walk I find the boots lack enough insulation on the soles for the cold ground. If you intersperse walking and cycling I reccomend sorels or some other snowmobileing quality boots.
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Old 02-09-09, 12:21 AM
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The North Face Storm Peak IIs fit nicely into toeclips. (With an oscillating saw and some sheet metal, it wouldn't be hard to make a cleat plate for them.)

http://www.backcountry.com/store/TNF...Boot-Mens.html

They're waterproof, rated to -25 F (-31 C), insulated with the new ultralight down substitute Primaloft. (Thinsulate is so 80s! Why is bike gear always so late in tech adoption?)

Here is why you should buy them from backcountry.com. You can test wear them, and if you aren't satisfied, you get your money back. If you find the sole isn't stiff enough, or your feet get cold (not likely) send them back, and you're out $30 for shipping. Or if you live near an REI store, you may find a few in stock, for a zero-cost trial. (I got mine at rei.com in November, but they're sold out, and won't be in again til next fall.)

Reason 2: They're on sale for $104 right now at backcountry.com, reg $130.

backcountry has run out of some middle sizes. You may have to wait til next year.

I've worn mine down to 4 F with -14 F windchill with one pair of thin smartwool socks for 90 minutes. Taking them off, my feet felt warm to the touch, slightly damp. They're really too warm a boot for temps above +35.

Oh and how much do they weigh? 2.1 pounds (960 gm) for size 10. That's PER PAIR, not per boot. You can use them for all kinds of outdoor winter wearing.

I use over-the-boot neoprene gaiters to keep my ankles warm, made by cutting tops off old scuba zip-collar booties.
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Old 02-09-09, 03:36 PM
  #20  
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The North Face Storm Peak II is a good looking boot! After my little field test. I'm sold on the Primaloft over the Thinsulate. As I noted before, the R factor on Primaloft is twice what the Thinsulate is. I've got my eye on these.
The North Face Men's Baltoro 400 II
I like the insulation in them, and the leather Nubuck upper on them. And the "HydroSeal™ waterproof barrier". Which is supposed to prevent the moisture from coming up from the bottom. Which is the problem I've been having with the LL Bean Snow Sneakers. They pack a whopping 400 grams of Primaloft, which I figure should be good down to below 0f. Now that Winter is winding down in these parts. I'm going to bookmark these babies and wait till next winter to pick them up. I have a similar pair of boots to these, althought they don't have near the insulative qualities as these, but they fit in my toe clips just fine. Last year I was dealing with having the right Snow stud. This year it's been trying to solve the cold toe problem. I think these will do it. We'll see.

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Old 02-09-09, 03:55 PM
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I wear leather Merrel hiking boots with two pairs of thick socks (usually wool). I have not ridden in toe clips for years (too dangerous - I uses clipless), but I find the transition from clipless to platform is easy.

I have chronically cold feet and this keeps me warm for my 1 hour commute down to about -15C... any colder and my toes start to feel it after ~ 40 minutes.

If I did not already have my merrels I would wear my Sorel boots (although my puppy pulled out one liner and destroyed it a few weeks ago), or get something else with a stiffer sole.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-09, 10:24 PM
  #22  
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I know you mentioned you didn't want to hear about Lake/expensive boots, but...

I have ridden down to -15F air temp with a -35 windchill in my lake boots with bootie covers over them. I know I could ride colder still, but have not gotten to it yet. They easily take me down to 0F with no covers. I would buy them again in a heart beat due to this. I ride clipped in to Shimano spf pedals. One thing to remember is to wear enough on your legs to keep them warm so the blood isn't frozen before it gets to your toes .

Of course everyones circulation/feet are different.

One thing you could try for how many days you actually ride in the cold is to put chemical warmers on top of your socks in your boots if you have room.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-09, 10:47 PM
  #23  
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my steel toed leather work shoes w/ normal cotton socks worked on my platform pedals well under -20 Fahrenheit during my countless commutes

if its above 20'f Fahrenheit and the roads are clear i bust out the road bike (if the roads are clean enough) . the bike shoes are made to not be warm. i wear two pairs of socks and im good to go though.
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Old 02-11-09, 12:11 PM
  #24  
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I hate riding in boots. I got these low-top snow sneakers from Lands End and they work great:

http://www.landsend.com/pp/Waterproo...FP-_-data_feed

They are lightweight. I got them about a size and half too big, which seems to help keep the toes warm. I wear them with wool socks. My toes don't get cold anymore.
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Old 02-11-09, 05:56 PM
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Sidi cold weather shoes with booties. I had to show off my winter mocs for the home.
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