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Thread: Cold Feet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Bothell area, WA
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    564

    Cold Feet

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    This week is our first week in the teens (16F this morning, I think). By the end of my 13-mile commute my feet have either lost all feeling or hurt so much it brings tears to my eyes. My question: I'm wearing my regular clipless pedal shoes, and today I added 3 pairs of socks and ziploc baggies around the toes to cut the wind. Even with all that insulation, I thought I'd traded my feet for chunks of ice by the end of the ride. What do you hardy souls do to keep your feet from freezing off in the colder weather?

    And while I'm at it, how about gloves? I don't want to spend a fortune here, but I had three pairs of gloves on this morning too -- functional, but turns braking and shifting into a bit of a challenge!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
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    Did you add the extra socks inside your shoes or outside of your shoes? If inside, are you wearing the same size shoes that you do with your warm weather thin socks? If so, then you are probably causing part of the problem. You need some air in there to help keep your feet warm! 3 pairs of socks likely means you need a larger size shoe.

    For winter riding, I use a slightly heavier wool sock (I use SmartWool socks, ultra-thin for summer, next level up but still not bulky) for winter), and I use shoe covers. If it's really cold, I also usually add chemical foot warmers. The ones I use are Heat Treat Toe Warmers, usually pick up a bunch at REI at the beginning of the season - http://www.rei.com/product/405012.

    --- Denise
    www.denisegoldberg.com

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
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    For a commute, can't you forgo the clipless setup in favor of insulated winter hiking boots on regular platform pedals? You can get large enough boots to put 3 pairs of wool socks and a ziplock bag too in there. Even with all that it's hard to keep toes warm in temps in the teens F, but with this gear I can do 25 mile rides in 25 degrees ok. Perhaps you'd manage the 13 mile commute ok.

    You might try the toe warmers too, but at $1 a pair it would cost $2 a day to commute with them.
    I wish they made toe/hand warmers that could be re-used and reheated in the microwave or something.... the one-use thingys are too expensive and ecologically wasteful in my view.

    Below 25 F, I actually wear two glove liners AND two windproof gloves, all piled up. Still has more dexterity than mitts.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    oklahoma
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    270
    Lake winter boots work well with wool socks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    2,059
    For feet, you might try a very thin silk sock, then a thinnish wool sock, then, on the outside, neoprene shoe covers that go up your ankle, with a wind & waterproof thin shoe cover over that. I find that works pretty well. I also try to remember to actively wiggle my toes and lighten up on the balls of my feet regularly, from the start, to keep circulation going.

    For hands, I'll wear silk glove liners, neoprene gloves, and wind/water proof outter glove covers.

    The glove covers I found were PI. Naturally, they don't make a women's version , but the men's small size was still huge enough to cover the big neoprene gloves.
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
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    I wear windproof/waterproof booties over my shoes along with thicker socks and it seems to work.

    Both Sidi and Specialized make a winter shoe.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Spokane, WA
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    818
    My feet are the only things that I can't ever get warm. I took my clipless pedals off for riding in the snow and am wearing a pair of insulated/waterproof snow boots. I bought a size larger so I'd have room for extra socks. Last Saturday morning I rode my 13 miles in 5 degree weather with 4 inches of snow. My feet were cold when I got to work but at least they have some feeling. Riding without my clips however, is driving me nuts! I switched back to my clips these last few days of slightly warmer weather but had totally numb feet this morning when I got to work so I guess it's back to the snow boots. I have a feeling my pedal wrench is going to see alot of action this winter. bikerHen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Arlington, VA
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    If you plan to ride w/any regularity in the winter, winter cycling shoes/boots are an excellent investment.

    I have Sidi Diablos and the Lake winter boots [was able to get both on sale but they are worth the money, even if you have to pay full price]. The latter are my Herman Munster boots--a bit clunky--but they are decently warm. The Sidis are warm, too, but I have outfitted them w/toe warmers and boot covers. My feet are WIMPY and get cold quick. Wool socks are a must. Denise is right that the midweight wool socks, paired w/chemical footwarmers, seems to work best in most conditions. I also like the Woolie Boolie socks. Since my winter shoes/boots are a size larger than my usual and allow for more air circulation, I will use thicker socks when it's brutal. If I use them on moderately cold days, I end up w/wet feet (my feet sweat a lot).

    Hands are also difficult. I use wool glove liners with AmFib lobster-style gloves. On really cold days (below 35 or so), I use chemical hand warmers, too.

    Wiggling your toes/fingers helps to keep the blood moving some, too.

    Usually, the first few really cold rides are tough. My body tends to acclimate a bit. Even though my hands & feet will invaribly get cold, I'm able to deal with it better. I suppose it's a matter of getting tougher, mentally, to the discomfort.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
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    3,997
    My partner rides the really cold days with thick socks and winter booties, but we all use plastic bags (bread bags are good as they are quite thick) over the socks but inside the shoes and this helps to reduce wind-chill... doesn't prevent but the plastic is a good part of the equation.


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,372
    You aren't going to believe this, but sandals! (Shimano, Look, other brands...)
    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-SPD-Cy.../dp/B000K70IRS
    these are all SPD (and eggbeater is what I use) compatable.
    I wear any number of combination of socks, depending on the temperature:
    polypro liner, wool, stormsocks if it's wet...
    Sandals are the only way I've ever been able to keep my feet warm in the winter on a bike, they work like a charm.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
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    8,403
    Quote Originally Posted by TsPoet View Post
    You aren't going to believe this, but sandals!
    You're right!

    I wear any number of combination of socks, depending on the temperature:
    polypro liner, wool, stormsocks if it's wet...
    Sandals are the only way I've ever been able to keep my feet warm in the winter on a bike, they work like a charm.
    What kind of temperatures are we talking here? And how long out on the bike? And...do you live in Florida?
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Maynard, MA
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    145
    I second the neoprene outer bootie method. Those things are pretty good, and the thicker the better (I think some of the higher-end ones can be on the thin side). And also, instead of plastic bags over my socks, I use those mylar (silvery) potato chip type baggies (and I get to eat chips ). I don't know if the silvery stuff is heat-reflective, really, but those things seem to work pretty well. And they fit over just my toes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,372

    sandals in cold weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa S.H. View Post
    You're right!



    What kind of temperatures are we talking here? And how long out on the bike? And...do you live in Florida?

    I live in eastern Washington. It's 30 degrees out right now and expected to reach a max of 31. I didn't ride today, though, due to the 3" of snow on the ground and black ice.
    Really, try the sandals. The sandals expand to fit the socks and therefore are very very versatile to all temperatures.
    The coldest I've ever ridden was ~26 degrees, but my feet are cold sitting in my office. I have type I diabetes going on 30 years now, so very poor circulation in my extremities. Sandals are the only thing that kept my on my bike last winter.
    When it's very cold - thin sock liner (ski verity) thick wool socks, then a storm sock (or gortex). Result in toasty toes.
    Prior to using sandals I used a bootie that was 1 size too large with a re-usable heat pack stuffed inside. That worked OK, but kept only the top of the feet warm. (I've heard that putting tape in the shoe over the area of the shoe that the cleat is keps some cold air from getting through the thinner cleats).

    and the sandals are cool in the summer cinched up with no socks!
    Last edited by TsPoet; 12-10-2007 at 12:14 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
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    1,038
    I can testify that sandals are fine in cold weather. I wear sealskinz over smartwool footies and I am good into the high 30s (and now that I know better, I'll use 'em when it's even colder). Sealskinz are a little expensive for socks, but they are cheaper than a seperate pair of winter shoes...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Cape Cod, MA
    Posts
    414

    Extend the use of toe warmers

    You can probably get at least one more use out of the chemical toe warmers by sealing them up tight in a plastic bag after you get to where you are going. The active ingredients are iron filings and salt that start oxidizing (think rust!) when exposed to air. Once the air is cut off the process stops, and restarts when again exposed to air.

 

 

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