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Keeping feet warm?

Old 10-25-19, 10:43 PM
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KC8QVO
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Keeping feet warm?

I was reminded today of how much of a challenge keeping feet warm is when the temps fall - and I even felt my feet getting cold at 60 degrees F today.

I have put my feet in plastic bags before (like sock linings) inside my shoes to keep the wind from getting through, but the plastic doesn't let my feet breathe.

Another problem area is the soul of my shoes. I use SPD cleats/pedals and the open air, for one, plus the temperature transmission through the cleat, secondly, make the bottoms of my feet hard to to keep warm.

The neoprene shoe "covers" that zip over shoes up to lower legs seem interesting, but they leave the bottoms open for the cleat to attach to the pedal so they do nothing for the bottom insulation - from the open air and conduction from the cleat/pedal. So maybe on the "keeping wind out" front they work well and allow better ventilation/breathabilty than the bag method?

Just for the heck of it I have been looking at some "boots" that have SPD cleats. One example is this pair:
https://www.competitivecyclist.com/n...NhdDEwMDM0MA==

They seem like decent boots for the price, considering they have cleat mounts.

If I could ride with platform pedals I have all the boots I'll need, but I have to ride with clipless pedals due to past knee problems. I worked too hard to fix my knees to risk things "going back" (and it was all due to platform pedals - only pushing pedals, no pulling to balance my leg strength). I suppose toe clips/baskets/straps aren't out of the question entirely, but I am so accustomed to SPD's now its just normal for my feet to use them.
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Old 10-26-19, 02:06 AM
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I use toe covers, they're not expensive and work well. Only my toes get really cold; then again in Ireland it doesn't get super-cold.

That they're not as bulky as full overshoes is a big bonus.

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod154954
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Old 10-26-19, 05:21 AM
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I use electrically heated soles, and winter riding boots. The heaters being the most important part of the set-up. There are several commercial systems available, but Im using industrial heating elements and a DIY battery solution. Considerably less expensive.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:42 AM
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Keeping feet warm?
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I was reminded today of how much of a challenge keeping feet warm is when the temps fall - and I even felt my feet getting cold at 60 degrees F today.

I have put my feet in plastic bags before (like sock linings) inside my shoes to keep the wind from getting through, but the plastic doesn't let my feet breathe.

Another problem area is the soul of my shoes. I use SPD cleats/pedals and the open air, for one, plus the temperature transmission through the cleat, secondly, make the bottoms of my feet hard to to keep warm.

The neoprene shoe "covers" that zip over shoes up to lower legs seem interesting, but they leave the bottoms open for the cleat to attach to the pedal so they do nothing for the bottom insulation - from the open air and conduction from the cleat/pedal. So maybe on the "keeping wind out" front they work well and allow better ventilation/breathabilty than the bag method?

Just for the heck of it I have been looking at some "boots" that have SPD cleats

If I could ride with...I suppose toe clips/baskets/straps aren't out of the question entirely, but I am so accustomed to SPD's now its just normal for my feet to use them.
Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
I use toe covers, they're not expensive and work well.
Nice review of the options, @KC8QVO; my situation for winter riding seems similar though I don’t know where you post from.

I find neoprene boot covers tolerable on my rides rarely below 10 F, even with the open bottoms. Boots seem too expensive for the few times I really need them. I do find the zippered covers hard to close and Velcro closures are much easier. I also have employed additional Goretex covers for wind protection. [posted before I got a winter bike with clipless pedals]:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…One other comment, especially when suggesting various solutions for winter riding problems. I often recommend on such threads that the poster define their riding conditions, especially distance, as well as temperature to better evaluate the experience…
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
This past Monday (12/30/13) I did my 14 mile commute at about 15F and tried a new set of foot coverings that IMO that kept my feet significantly warmer than usual. In the past I had bought a pair of neon green shoe covers made by Gore-Tex, for wet riding.

During the winter, I use platform pedals with toeclips, and my usual footwear is thin and thick socks, running shoes and Totes rubber overshoes. I use plastic bags over my running shoes to put on the Totes more easily (see the sequence below).

So with the additional Gore-Tex shoe coverings at 15F, I did not perceive cold until about mile 10, and I did not feel cold in the sense of permeating the soft tissues of my foot until about mile 12, but it was tolerable.

At about mile 12 I have a downhill run of several hundred yards that irreversibly drains the heat from my extremities. The next day at 21F, I rode without the Goretex, and started feeling cold at about mile 9 and finished significantly colder at my mile 14 destination than the day before.

Now as noted above, I wear cleated cycling shoes and neoprene shoe covers instead of the Totes.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-26-19 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 10-26-19, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Just for the heck of it I have been looking at some "boots" that have SPD cleats.
After years of using various toe covers and over boots, I just got tired of messing around with them. I was often snagging and tearing the toe cover's underneath retaining straps and found the over boots were a hassle to put on and take off.

So, last year I purchased a pair of 45NRTH Ragnarok riding boots. https://45nrth.com/products/ragnarok-black

My feet stay warm and dry, and the boots much easier to put on and take off. And way easier to walk around in. If it gets really cold, I just add a pair of disposable HotHands toe warmers.
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Old 10-26-19, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
After years of using various toe covers and over boots, I just got tired of messing around with them. I was often snagging and tearing the toe cover's underneath retaining straps and found the over boots were a hassle to put on and take off.

So, last year I purchased a pair of 45NRTH Ragnarok riding boots. https://45nrth.com/products/ragnarok-black

My feet stay warm and dry, and the boots much easier to put on and take off. And way easier to walk around in. If it gets really cold, I just add a pair of disposable HotHands toe warmers.
I passed on buying them on sale earlier this year, in the name of frugality. How quickly the memory of winter passes in April!

Question - how warm outside is too warm to wear those? You know how it is, starting a ride at 30 and it's 55 5 hours later.


Last winter I had good success with running flats and wearing Columbia winter boots. They were surprisingly versatile and I had a few rides start out under 30F then continue for hours at 50.
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Old 10-26-19, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
I passed on buying them on sale earlier this year, in the name of frugality. How quickly the memory of winter passes in April!

Question - how warm outside is too warm to wear those? You know how it is, starting a ride at 30 and it's 55 5 hours later.


Last winter I had good success with running flats and wearing Columbia winter boots. They were surprisingly versatile and I had a few rides start out under 30F then continue for hours at 50.
I use the Fasterkatts (sp); rated for 25F. I wouldn't want to ride them at 70F but nothing bad would happen. I wear them indoors, sometimes for hours, then step out and ride. My feet do not sweat in them.

They only get used for one of my three cleat systems. I also use regular shoes a size larger and double produce bags, first against my bare skin and last between my last warm sock and a thin men's dress sock. (The unfashionable thin, high, stretchy socks old men were laughed at for wearing are perfect.) Feet don't have to "breath". My feet are soaked when I get home, in warm sweat. My socks are dry, clean and insulating as well as when I put them on.

Ben
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Old 10-26-19, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Question - how warm outside is too warm to wear those? You know how it is, starting a ride at 30 and it's 55 5 hours later.
For me, the sweet spot is 35F to 55F. As stated above, above 55F my feet sweat, but I find it to be no big deal.

I've used them in temps as low as 22F when adding the toe warmers.
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Old 10-26-19, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts and info.

To ground where I am coming from - I have been on rides down to 15 degrees F and 15-20 miles in length. In past years I generally significantly slow down the riding once temperatures are below the mid-20's. I've started out on rides that were well below freezing then end up in the low 40's during the heat of the day - the in-between seasons, more often in late fall than spring as I am still trying to pack miles in for the year.

I am wanting to do the same this year - keep riding as late as I can. I may also be in a position where I can commute by bicycle so that would be some extra incentive to be able to ride in poor weather/temperatures more - save fuel and keep my mileage count going up.

My regular riding I'd like to keep to 15-50 miles, obviously the bigger mileage day trips would be on a weekend day when I have time. However, potential commuting would be about 20 miles/day (10mi each way). As for temperatures - I'd say 20deg might be my cut off there if I can solve the shoe problem, maybe lower if I find I can tolerate the cold better.

For short rides where I am going to be more off the bike than on I may not put my riding shoes on. However, like I stated in my first post - I did a lot of work to overcome some knee problems after riding with platform pedals for too long so when we're talking about regular riding - either chasing miles or more regular commuting - I have to include cleats in the solution to enable that otherwise I am putting myself too much at risk of causing problems again. Again, infrequent short rides are one thing, but any mileage or regularity in my riding - no way.

For what it is worth, I use those hand warmer packets in the winter fairly regularly when I am doing work outside. I even use them in my gloves when riding. I have put them in my shoes and boots, but I find there is too little air circulation under my toes to do any good and they go cold.

Back to gloves for a minute - I switched to mittens for real cold temps several years ago because I find keeping my fingers all together works better. Plus, the more open area of the mitten finger area is better for hand warmers - you can't get a hand warmer packet to get down to your fingers in regular gloves. Yea, mittens to affect dexterity, but I can get by OK on my disk trucker with them.

Last edited by KC8QVO; 10-26-19 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 10-26-19, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Thanks for the thoughts and info.

To ground where I am coming from - I have been on rides down to 15 degrees F and 15-20 miles in length. In past years I generally significantly slow down the riding once temperatures are below the mid-20's. I've started out on rides that were well below freezing then end up in the low 40's during the heat of the day - the in-between seasons, more often in late fall than spring as I am still trying to pack miles in for the year.

I am wanting to do the same this year - keep riding as late as I can. I may also be in a position where I can commute by bicycle so that would be some extra incentive to be able to ride in poor weather/temperatures more - save fuel and keep my mileage count going up.

My regular riding I'd like to keep to 15-50 miles, obviously the bigger mileage day trips would be on a weekend day when I have time. However, potential commuting would be about 20 miles/day (10mi each way). As for temperatures - I'd say 20deg might be my cut off there if I can solve the shoe problem, maybe lower if I find I can tolerate the cold better.

For short rides where I am going to be more off the bike than on I may not put my riding shoes on. However, like I stated in my first post - I did a lot of work to overcome some knee problems after riding with platform pedals for too long so when we're talking about regular riding - either chasing miles or more regular commuting - I have to include cleats in the solution to enable that otherwise I am putting myself too much at risk of causing problems again. Again, infrequent short rides are one thing, but any mileage or regularity in my riding - no way.

For what it is worth, I use those hand warmer packets in the winter fairly regularly when I am doing work outside. I even use them in my gloves when riding. I have put them in my shoes and boots, but I find there is too little air circulation under my toes to do any good and they go cold.

Back to gloves for a minute - I switched to mittens for real cold temps several years ago because I find keeping my fingers all together works better. Plus, the more open area of the mitten finger area is better for hand warmers - you can't get a hand warmer packet to get down to your fingers in regular gloves. Yea, mittens to affect dexterity, but I can get by OK on my disk trucker with them.
For deep cold--sub-freezing, spend the money and get dedicated winter cycling boots. I have Lake MXZ400, I don't even need wool/winter cycling socks until about 15-20F; the flip side to that being they're just plain too warm above freezing. Yes, they're $$$, but your feet will love you....it is also one less layer to have to finagle to get on your bike. All different winter cycling boots have their own range of temps, a coworker has the MXZ303s and they aren't as warm but are better above freezing.

For deep cold and my hands, I layer a pair of autumn-weight long-finger glove inside lobster-claw mittens; as the native liner usually isn't warm enough....granted I don't use bar-mitts (yet).
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Old 10-26-19, 10:44 PM
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Platform pedals and warm, comfy non-cycling boots did the trick for me. I'll never put SPD pedals on a winter bike again. The benefits are just too insignificant, IMO. Warmth and comfort win out for me.
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Old 10-27-19, 10:48 AM
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My feet and hands get cold easily. On my feet, I use:This has worked well for me, down to freezing temperatures.

If you want to keep your extremities warm, it's important to keep your core warm. My favorite trick for core warmth is a stretch wool beanie, worn under my helmet.
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Old 10-27-19, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
If you want to keep your extremities warm, it's important to keep your core warm. My favorite trick for core warmth is a stretch wool beanie, worn under my helmet.
Thanks for the info.

As the temp falls the first thing I have trouble with on top are my ears. Then its my face. In that case I transition to one of these balaclavas, older generation but pretty much the same thing - thin synthetic sock for head and neck with a neoprene lower face shield:
https://www.seirus.com/ultra-clava-6790.html

The thin synthetic sock is good to start with because it makes a nice wind block, which is most of the problem, but doesn't insulate too much. If temps really get cold I layer on a wool beanie or two depending on the temp. So that gives me 3 layers to play with/tune up top. And if my face/neck get too warm I can pull the face mask down and open things up to air out.

I don't have any trouble with my legs or core. I just layer up as needed - all synthetic. I'll run 2 base layers on top of my bike shorts then hiking pants as a shell, as long as it isn't too wet/snowy and I'm not out too long. Otherwise a more weatherproof shell goes on the outside.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:59 PM
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sounds like a candidate for expensive cleated winter boots!
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Old 10-28-19, 07:44 PM
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hiking boots a size larger and platforms
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Old 10-28-19, 08:48 PM
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If you're talking about dry cold, it's very simple: winter MTB boots. The Northwaves you linked to are a good choice. The other popular choice is Lakes: https://www.backcountry.com/lake-mxz-303-winter-boot

I have an old pair of Lakes which have a thick felt insole. Anyway, great boots. You want them big enough to take a thin liner with a thick wool sock over, though for my usual 40 and raining rides here, just my usual wool cycling socks served well enough.


Winter boots are expensive, but there's really nothing else that works as well for moderately cold temps like you have. When you get down to 20 or so below, it becomes another story, and probably a story about eventual frostbite.
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Old 10-29-19, 07:29 PM
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I have different options depending on the temperature. From 5 to 0*C, regular road shoes with neoprene shoe covers and a thick pair of wool socks are fine for my 60 minute commute. 0*C to -5*C Shimano insulated winter MTB boots with Goretex or Spec Defroster SPD-SL would be fine. -6 to -10, I'm going to need the same neoprene liners with the winter boots. Below -11 to -20*C, add a pair of chemical warmers on top of the toes. Below -20, I get into my heated armoured personnel carrier and drive there.

I wouldn't bother riding for pleasure if the temperature were below freezing. There are other ways to get a good workout without going through this whole rigmarole, and that's just for your feet. There is the rest of the body to consider.
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Old 11-01-19, 05:49 AM
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BarMitts for the feet

I wish we had BarMitts for my feet. So my feet could just slip in and out.
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Old 11-01-19, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by at_hiker59 View Post
I wish we had BarMitts for my feet. So my feet could just slip in and out.
great minds think alike. I've been pondering the exact same thing for a cpl years. the Cumberland Farm convenience store near me sells neoprene cozies for coffee cups. they look almost big enough for my feet (but aren't). I use flat pedals w/ mini clips, aka toe clips w/o the straps. I've been thinking about how I can slip these neoprene cozies over them & attach them, so that I can do just what you've described. we should write to a barmitt co. & tell them out idea!

maybe a 32 oz JAVA SOK would work

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Old 11-01-19, 12:16 PM
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I'm beginning to think that electric socks, or similar solution, is in order for me. My feet are completely out of the wind in the velomobile, and even after a 30 mile ride in ~40F temps, my feet are still cold. Everything else is fine.

Electric socks are pretty pricey, and it seems like I'd have to get several pairs, which makes them an even pricier option. Maybe insoles or something along those lines is the way to go?

I'm only wearing my normal cycling shoes now, but I thought being out of the wind would be enough. I'd like to try some winter specific boots, but I don't want to spend a lot on something that may not work. :/
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Old 11-01-19, 06:01 PM
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Great idea

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
great minds think alike. I've been pondering the exact same thing for a cpl years. the Cumberland Farm convenience store near me sells neoprene cozies for coffee cups. they look almost big enough for my feet (but aren't). I use flat pedals w/ mini clips, aka toe clips w/o the straps. I've been thinking about how I can slip these neoprene cozies over them & attach them, so that I can do just what you've described. we should write to a barmitt co. & tell them out idea!

maybe a 32 oz JAVA SOK would work
Great idea of using the toe clips and neoprene. Now if anyone can figure out a way to keep the neoprene covers from dragging on the ground.
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Old 11-03-19, 10:14 PM
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My feet are cold at 60F when there's a head wind! I call them my "toe vanes". After trying show covers, neoprene socks, etc at like $25 a pop, two years ago I broke down and purchased a pair of Shimano MW7 Gore Tex boots for $135 from Ribble. MY FEET HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER!!!!! I am kicking myself for not biting the bullet and spending $ on real winter shoes. I don't have to ride below 35F and there's no show and these shoes are perfect. Often times, my feet are too warm and my socks are sweaty. I also bought them a size larger than I would usually wear so I had room for extra socks. Two winters ago, I biked to work nearly every day. Last winter I was off the bike recovering from a broken wrist (and lots of rain, too), but I'm hoping this year is drier and I get to ride in the cold.
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Old 11-07-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I was reminded today of how much of a challenge keeping feet warm is when the temps fall - and I even felt my feet getting cold at 60 degrees F today.

I have put my feet in plastic bags before (like sock linings) inside my shoes to keep the wind from getting through, but the plastic doesn't let my feet breathe.

Another problem area is the soul of my shoes. I use SPD cleats/pedals and the open air, for one, plus the temperature transmission through the cleat, secondly, make the bottoms of my feet hard to to keep warm.

The neoprene shoe "covers" that zip over shoes up to lower legs seem interesting, but they leave the bottoms open for the cleat to attach to the pedal so they do nothing for the bottom insulation - from the open air and conduction from the cleat/pedal. So maybe on the "keeping wind out" front they work well and allow better ventilation/breathabilty than the bag method?

Just for the heck of it I have been looking at some "boots" that have SPD cleats. One example is this pair:
https://www.competitivecyclist.com/n...NhdDEwMDM0MA==

They seem like decent boots for the price, considering they have cleat mounts.

If I could ride with platform pedals I have all the boots I'll need, but I have to ride with clipless pedals due to past knee problems. I worked too hard to fix my knees to risk things "going back" (and it was all due to platform pedals - only pushing pedals, no pulling to balance my leg strength). I suppose toe clips/baskets/straps aren't out of the question entirely, but I am so accustomed to SPD's now its just normal for my feet to use them.
Working way too hard on this. Winter mt bike shoes with spd's. Lake, Shimano, 45 North all make some. Size them up to fit 2 pair socks. Easy.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:09 PM
  #24  
atomic2002
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I use waterproof shoes or boots and wool socks, nice and toasty, if its really wet I wear gaiters as well
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Old 11-13-19, 01:40 PM
  #25  
parkbrav
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I'm getting a new pair of Gore-Tex boot covers, the pair I bought last winter were a size too small for my feet and they broke right out of the box

Foot warmers work well for about an hour - maybe too well actually
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