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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897

    Chemical toe warmers, anyone?

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    Just wondering who uses chemical toe or foot warmers for cycling in cold weather.

    I'm trying to resolve some cold foot problems, playing around with positioning of the toe warmers to figure out what is most comfortable. I have good warm booties (Gore Windstopper with fleece lining) but the metal Speedplay X cleats on my shoes get cold and make my feet cold, even when I wear thick Woolie Boolie socks.

    I'm told that it's important to take the the chemical warmers out of the package to activate them about 30 minutes before riding. Also I've heard that you have to make sure there's enough room in your shoes to keep them from getting scrunched -- one friend addresses this by placing them outside her shoes, between the shoes and the booties.

    How do you wear toe/foot warmers -- under your toes, on top of them, on your ankles, other? Any tips for maximizing their effectiveness?

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936
    We use these and they are great. I put them on top of the foot and it really helps if you also have toe covers on your shoes. They have a sticky side, so if your shoe is loose enough getting them on shouldn't be a problem.

    Note that they don't work once they get wet, so they are less helpful for riding in the rain.

    I've also used the back heat patches (you can find them in the grocery store or drugstore - the large ones that cover your back or shoulder or whatever) on long very cold brevets. They can be a huge help in the wee hours when things get VERY cold.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    I've used them on winter rides and hiking, and found them helpful. I also placed them between my socks and booties on top of my feet, though if I used my shoe covers I ditched the booties and just had the chemical warmers between socks and shoes. I concur that shoe covers really help a lot.

    Maillotpois, thanks for the tip on back heat patches! If my knee & neck allows I want to do some winter hiking this year and I didn't know they HAD back heat patches, good to know!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I once used a back patch, I think on my neck or shoulder. The adhesive bothered my skin. I wonder if they would stick to a base layer. I don't typically do long rides when it's cold but I can think of days when it would have helped to have something like this to warm up after a ride.

    I guess I will test putting the toe covers on top of my feet to see if that warms things up enough inside the whole shoe to keep the cleats from making my feet cold from below. A second thing to try is the whole-foot chemical warmers.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I use them too, but I prefer mine under my foot, it seems to work better for me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,632
    I have used chemical warmers for CX races and carry some in my pockets for very cold days. I bought winter riding boots (Gaerne Akira for the road; Northwave Extreme Winter GTX for gravel on my CX bike) a while ago, and never looked back. Those boots are spacious enough to put warmers if needed.

    In my CX shoes, in the winter, to insulate from the cleats, I cut a couple of extra "insoles" -- one is of the plastic backing you put under a tablecloth (plastic on one side, fleecy in the other) and the other 'insole' is cut from a mylar blanket. I put the plastic one at the bottom, then the mylar and last the normal insole on top. I have not had to worry about that in this area: we don't have races when it's 12 degrees outside, but that helped in Chicago.

    I will add: Just beware of making your foot too tight in the shoe. Restricting blood flow is not good in the cold!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    5
    WOW..I didn't aware of those facts...Thanks so much...really so informative . I have registered for my first Triathlon Expo NY which is going to start from 19 march 2016 at citi fields New york. I think this tips will help me for the upcoming race, Will surely apply this .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I once used a back patch, I think on my neck or shoulder. The adhesive bothered my skin. I wonder if they would stick to a base layer. I don't typically do long rides when it's cold but I can think of days when it would have helped to have something like this to warm up after a ride.
    I put it over my baselayer and it worked fine. If you have a second, somewhat tight layer you can sandwich it in.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Last weekend I tried putting the toe warmers on top of my toes but there wasn't enough room in the shoe. So I put them under my foot but farther back, around where a metatarsal button would go. That was actually pretty comfortable. My insoles already have a bit of a metatarsal bump to them but at least over short distances it looks like I can be comfortable with another thin layer there.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    And if you're already wearing (loose) booties, you can try a free and eco-friendly hack I came up with one cold winter: newspaper toe covers.

    Get a sheet or two of newspaper, I forget, and some tape. Place sheet under your booted foot just in front of the cleats, fold and wrap around your toe and tape to keep it closed. Put on bootie on top.

    The newspaper insulates amazingly well, plus absorbs a little moisture. And they're a lot sturdier than you might think.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

 

 

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