Overshoes & Warm Feet--Options and Opinions and Ideas- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Overshoes & Warm Feet--Options and Opinions and Ideas

    Ok,

    So I have been doing a ton of research on how to keep my feet warm this winter while I ride. I have come to the conclusion that keeping your feet warm can be very complicated and can cost you a mint. Here is what I have learned from using the search process on this site.

    (1) Winter boots such as the Lake and Pearl brands are very good and the people that buy these boots love them. But they cost about 250.00-300.00 bucks. (out of my budget)

    (2) Lots of foks like the Neoprene socks. I have an XL pair, but they tend to cut off the circulation in my toes as they are still pretty tight and I wear Euro 45 shoe.

    (3) It seems that Vapor Barrier (VB) seems to work well for many if you are willing to deal with some wet but warm feet once you get going. The common way to make a VB is too use zip lock bags or bread bags. One can also buy commerical examples if they wish. Apparently the U.S. military used VB's during WWII to solve trench foot problems. I remember using this technique when I was a kid sledding. I always remember breaking holes through the bread bags and getting our feet soaked with mealted snow. I am considering trying this technique out using a thin poly sock, then the VB, then a Polortec 200 sock I bought from Cableas. Those who regularly use VB please chime in and give tips for successful implementation of this technique.

    (4) Gore Bike Wear sells some really nice overshoes that you can veiw here:
    http://www.gorebikewear.co.uk/remote...tivity=OffRoad
    Unfortunately as you all may notice these overshoes are only available from the U.K. suppliers and so one would have to pay a mint to get these overshoes to the U.S. I have sent a message to Gore to inquire about getting the overshoes in the U.S. My question is has anyone reading this forum used these overshoes and are they satisfied with them.

    (5) Lastly it seems there are plenty of Neoprene booties that can be bought from internet outlets, but honestly I have seen these examples in person and they seem pretty low quality to me. I guess you get what you pay for. Opinions that contradict my thoughts are welcome.

    Ok, so this was a lot of reading. Thanks for making it through my long winded post. Basically I am trying to compile more information for myself or anyone else so that I can make educated decisions on winter foot wear options and a possible overshoe purchase.

  2. #2
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    What Are Your Riding Conditions?

    The temperatures and elements you plan to encounter can play a part in your descision.
    Warmth is all relative.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  3. #3
    BIKE!!
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    Gator Neopreme booties with wool socks seem to work for me as long as the ride is under two hours. After that it gets difficult to stay warm. My usual winter riding is between 20 - 40 degrees.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    The temperatures and elements you plan to encounter can play a part in your descision.
    Warmth is all relative.
    Well, right now in Nebraska the temps this morning were 25F with 20-30mph winds. Temps in Jan and Feb can easily get into the single digits and lower teens in during mid mornings and late afternoons.

    BTW, my first post had some spelling mishaps due to fat fingers if that matters to anyone.

    Thanks for the reply!!!

  5. #5
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    I agree that we should probably know where you are located (anticipated temps and dampness) and also how long you plan to ride- if you are going on 1-2 hour long rides or if you are doing a 30 minute commute. Temp, conditions and time will all play a big part in getting the appropriate combination.

    I use just some simple neoprene booties over my MTB shoes with thick winter socks- but I generally only ride a 15-30 minute commute when it is really cold out. Neoprene is not waterproof either, and it can get damp so keep that in mind. By the same token, if you overdo it, sweating out in the cold temps isnt good either.

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I have the Gator 'icelander' socks from pricepoint: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/144...nder-Socks.htm

    My ride is only about a half an hour, but I've used them with regular cotton socks underneath down to single digit ferenheit temps, and my feet have stayed warm. They are completely windproof, and were totally waterproof for the first couple seasons I used them. Now a little water sneaks in, but they still totally block the cold and the wind.

    No numb toes either. They are not tight like a full on booty. Everyone likes a tight booty, but there's a time and a place for that...
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I have the Gator 'icelander' socks from pricepoint: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/144...nder-Socks.htm

    My ride is only about a half an hour, but I've used them with regular cotton socks underneath down to single digit ferenheit temps, and my feet have stayed warm. They are completely windproof, and were totally waterproof for the first couple seasons I used them. Now a little water sneaks in, but they still totally block the cold and the wind.

    No numb toes either. They are not tight like a full on booty. Everyone likes a tight booty, but there's a time and a place for that...
    Interesting sock. That is another option for me.

    Helmsdini, During a group ride I will be on gravel roads away from any type of shelters or facilities like a gas station for extended periods of time. The rides will last anywhere from 3-5 hours.

    Thanks for the responses guys....keep them coming.

  8. #8
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    This is my first year commuting by bike and I wasn't sure that I'd be riding in snow and sub-freezing temperatures. I've learned a lot from my own trial and error over the past few months.

    1. Neoprene Shoe Covers: $15-$45 - Seem to work well as long as temps are above 40F. If you walk around much in your cleats, it can be a pain to have to constantly remove the covers. Can wear out fairly quickly if you don't take care of them.

    2. Waterproof Socks: $25-$35 - Offers slightly better protection against the cold than Shoe Covers. You don't have to remove them as often as shoe covers, but you will want to take them off once you've reached your destination (work/home) because your feet will get pretty warm once you are out of the cold.

    3. Winter Boots: $20-$??? - Personally, I think the "Best Bang for the Buck" is to hang the cleats up for the winter and switch to some type of winter boot. I have a cheap pair of boots that I bought from a discount shoe store for about $30. They keep water (snow) out and they have kept my feet warm in temps as low as 25F. You can always add more socks or wear thicker wool socks if needed. The major downfall is you lose the advantage of cleats. Also you may have to change your pedals if you have pedals specifically made for cleats.

  9. #9
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    I've got opposite opinions of #1 and #2 in your list.

    Wind/waterproof socks don't do anything for me (aside from make my feet sweaty). They are another layer ofve cycling socks so It gives me another 10F of protection but so would wearing 2 pair of cycling socks. I'd rather just wear a pair of wool socks.

    Booties on the other hand are good for me down into the single digits F. I usually dont even start wearing them until the temp dips to 30F

    Winter cycling shoes+ booties will keep my feet warm in any condition that I'm silly enough to try and ride in. Frozen face becomes the limiting factor.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  10. #10
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    Well, I am going to try a couple of differnent things in the coming weeks as the weather in our area is predicted to get very cold very fast. As of now I figure that I have no other option available to me than going with some sort of VB. So, I plan to test out the bread baggie theory, and the also the neoprene socks I have. With both methods I plan to use some sort of an insulation sock over top. The plan is to ride for 1 hour on our local paved "rails to trails" and stay close to home in case my feet start to show signs of frost bite. When I say very cold I mean ambient temps in the single digits. My feet are fine with a simple wool sock in temps down to 40F.

    And...I still have not heard back from Gore Bike Wear. Not very impressed with that....but being pissed about it isn't going to keep my feet warm..ha ha.

    Hopefully I will get this done, report back, and leave a helpful post....but don't count on it..ha ha ha ha.....I have way too many coals in the fire.

  11. #11
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    3. Winter Boots: $20-$??? - Personally, I think the "Best Bang for the Buck" is to hang the cleats up for the winter and switch to some type of winter boot. I have a cheap pair of boots that I bought from a discount shoe store for about $30. They keep water (snow) out and they have kept my feet warm in temps as low as 25F. You can always add more socks or wear thicker wool socks if needed. The major downfall is you lose the advantage of cleats. Also you may have to change your pedals if you have pedals specifically made for cleats.
    This is what I`ve come to. For commuting, it was a no brainer for me because I don`t wear cycling specific cleated shoes on my commuter anyway. For mtb, I switch to BMX pedals in the winter and wear whatever shoes or boots fit the weather.
    I tried two different styles of booties and had problems with both of them. Maybe there are better ones out there but I`m not going to keep buying until I find a set that works for me. I don`t have room for any more sock in my shoes already. Winter riding shoes are probably dandy, but I can`t bring myself to pay that kind of money for the amount of use I`d put them to.

  12. #12
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    For boots I'm rolling with the Lake MXZ302. Frankly, I'm NOT impressed. They are not warm enough and the construction is TERRIBLE!!! The sole is separating at the heel at the stitching on both shoes after a week of use. Un****ingbelievable. I'm rolling with a liner sock, vapor barrier bag, wool sock, tall wool sock, tall neoprene sock, boot. I'm a size 44.5 foot, size 45 with a sock and these are 48 shoes. I have enough room. I do not feel cramped. They get cold if I stop. I'm I keep going I'm good. I'm still working the kinks out. I just can't believe that Lake gets away with this completely shitty construction. For a $280 pair of shoes I expect them to stay together. ****ING ********!!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    For boots I'm rolling with the Lake MXZ302. Frankly, I'm NOT impressed. They are not warm enough and the construction is TERRIBLE!!! The sole is separating at the heel at the stitching on both shoes after a week of use. Un****ingbelievable. I'm rolling with a liner sock, vapor barrier bag, wool sock, tall wool sock, tall neoprene sock, boot. I'm a size 44.5 foot, size 45 with a sock and these are 48 shoes. I have enough room. I do not feel cramped. They get cold if I stop. I'm I keep going I'm good. I'm still working the kinks out. I just can't believe that Lake gets away with this completely shitty construction. For a $280 pair of shoes I expect them to stay together. ****ING ********!!!
    Your report is not the first one like it that has been privy to my ears. Yesterday I stopped in at a LBS and I tried a pair of the Barrier GTX boots on. The construction seemed very nice. One of the shop salesmen who rides year round was telling me that he sold his Lake boots last year before they started to fail. Another local who is a mega strong rider had his Lakes fail at the heel as well. Maybe I don't understand how much it costs to produce things, but I would think that for 250-300 bucks you could get a custom made cycling boot that was of the highest quality.

  14. #14
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    The key to warm feet...

    is exactly like the key to keeping warm anywhere else on your body, layers! Here's what I know from 24 years military experience and fighting the cold in the field.

    First layer is always the sock. It should be a wicking material that moves moisture away from your feet. Stay away from VB socks in cold weather, they simply trap moisture next to the skin. Wet feet are or will be cold feet and worst case frost bitten feet. I start out the winter months with a regular cycling sock and will switch to a bit heavier Smart wool or similar sock as it gets colder. Or you can add a second pair of socks it you have room in the shoe.

    Second layer the shoe. A regular cycling shoe will work (depending on your tolerance) down to about 40 degrees or so. From there an insulated shoe is the next step. I use the Pearl Izumi insulated Trans Alp shoe. Good quality and construction, quite durable and they breath well. This will work in conjuction with various weight socks down to about 20 degrees more or less. Again it depends on your tolerance and the conditions.

    Third layer is a wind proof and water proof barrier. A neoprene bootie with a therma fleece lining works well. This provides a vapor barrier where it should be OUTSIDE the shoe and well away from the foot. It prevents ingress of moisture to keep your foot dry from outside sources, but allows for the other layers to wick moisture away from your foot. They will likely need to be "over sized" as many winter type shoes are bulkier than a regular riding shoe. So getting them based on the "shoe size" will lead to problems fitting them over the shoe. At least a one up on the size should work.

    The beauty of this system is it's adaptability. Layers can be added or subtracted as conditions dictate. The whole system will keep feet warm and dry down to the single digits easily. And it will do so for extended periods as long as you are active.

    The key is layers and those layers in the right order. The moisture/wind barrier should always be the last (outside) layer. The suceesive layers should be insulation/wicking layers. Putting a VB too close to the skin is a sure path to frostbite.

    If you intend to use clipless pedals for winter riding, keeping your feet warm and dry isn't cheap! If you want inexpensive then the suggestions of the others in going with platform pedals and other forms of "regular" winter foot wear is your better option.

    Your choice of course. But I would HIGHLY recommend that you don't "cheap out" and risk a case of frostbite in doing so. Winter riding is a blast, but it ain't worth risking a cold injury over.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  15. #15
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    Squash, what do you think about this method?
    http://lacemine29.blogspot.com/2007/...y-feet_17.html

  16. #16
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    Not bad for....

    REALLY cold temps. I don't like the placement of the VB, but considering the insulation material he's using it would be necessary. Wool felt is warm, but once wet it gets cold quick. Take a look at most extreme outdoor clothing. The outer shell of nearly any system on the market contains the vapor barrier in the outer shell. The rest of the layers all wick moisture to the outer most insulation layer. The outer layer fits loose enough to allow the moisture to evaporate. Achiving that with feet is a little tougher but doable.

    Anyway for the materials being used the method would work. But I'd be hauling around a some extra socks for when that first sock layer got wet from my sweaty feet. As I noted before, the key to staying warm is staying dry.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  17. #17
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    Today, 19F, I wore microthin summer socks, basically intended I don't even know for what, underneath my just regular socks (lightweight smartwool) and it was great for my ~30 min commute. No overshoes or booties or anything, just regular mesh shimano mtb shoes.

  18. #18
    More than a little slow
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    There are a couple of other things to think about as well as the sort of footwear you are going to use. First, no matter what you wear it should not be tight at all. Any restriction of blood flow will result in cold feet. There shouldn't be stuff flapping around on your feet but your feet shouldn't be confined either
    Second, and I'm not really sure if this a second or a continuation of the above, change your riding style (as much as possble) to really spin your cranks. It's amazing how much a light touch on the pedal will encourage blood to keep flowing through the foot. This is something to think about for your hands too, relax on the bars, no death grips.

    You can also get chemical heat packs that are made for going in shoes. They are a lot thinner than the hand warmer type and also work with less oxygen. I really like them when the temps are below say -15C. or if you are out for an extended period of time. Make sure if you use them that they don't make your shoes tight.
    Cheers, Dave

  19. #19
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    I use Gore Bike Wear's Race POWER Thermo overshoes. Temperatures range from 0-degrees fahrenheit to 25-degrees fahrenheit in the morning. I wear them over my clip-in MTB shoes, and my feet are plenty warm, with standard white crew socks my feet feel like they're sweating a little.

    The overshoes work great. They're resistant to melting snow (general water). I'm extremely happy with them while I ride in upstate NY, where the temperatures are well below freezing, making the near $90 price tag worth every penny.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartyBiker
    I use Gore Bike Wear's Race POWER Thermo overshoes. Temperatures range from 0-degrees fahrenheit to 25-degrees fahrenheit in the morning. I wear them over my clip-in MTB shoes, and my feet are plenty warm, with standard white crew socks my feet feel like they're sweating a little.

    The overshoes work great. They're resistant to melting snow (general water). I'm extremely happy with them while I ride in upstate NY, where the temperatures are well below freezing, making the near $90 price tag worth every penny.

    What size, and brand of shoe are you wearing. And what size of Gore Race POWER Thermo overshoe are you wearing?

    Thanks

  21. #21
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    I bought the medium size overshoes for my Sidi Dominator 5 cleats. The overshoes are a little loose at the toes, but they're tight around the rest. The overshoes velcro along the rear, from heel to the top of the overshoe without a big fight; loose enough that the velcro fastens the way it's suppose to.

  22. #22
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    Gore Bike overshoes sizing: S: 36-38 (4-6), M: 39-41 (6.5-8.5), L: 42-44 (9-10.5), XL: 45-47 (11-13.5)

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