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  1. #1
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    "Warmest" Socks?

    Seems to be a LOT of sub freezing temps riders here, so figured I would ask the populace of like minded riders:

    So I have winter shoes (Shimano MW7's) and yesterday my feet were freezing cold. Numb for several hours. To be fair, it WAS 10* and the windchill was probably 0 or worse.

    That all said, inside the shoes I had a pair of summer socks (hoping for sweat wicking) with a pair of Hincapie wool socks over that.

    I constantly see people say "get some good merino wool socks" but what constitutes "good"? What have you guys used? What do you feel is "best" or "warmest"?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantTurd View Post
    IMO those shoes are not very good winter shoes
    But I am asking about socks. They are pretty good for what I need in GA where typical col riding is 25-30 at the start of the day. It's the rare 10-15 degree day that I want to be prepared for next time. But there are only 3-5 of those a year an I'm not buying yet another pair of winter shoes for just a few possibilities a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantTurd View Post
    For socks I wear Dissent 12"
    That's a little more helpful!
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  3. #3
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    Smartwool are the best socks I've worn, they make a kazillion varieties from thin to very thick. Thicker is obviously going to be warmer but only if the shoes allow enough room for them, if thicker socks cause the shoes to be too tight then they can have the opposite effect and cause cold feet by reducing circulation.

    For winter I like thick smartwool socks combined with shoes 1 size too large.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkerfiveo View Post

    So I have winter shoes (Shimano MW7's) and yesterday my feet were freezing cold. Numb for several hours. To be fair, it WAS 10* and the windchill was probably 0 or worse.
    IME, those ain't "winter shoes". Fall/spring at best. Nowhere near adequate for those temps. Socks won't help IME. Lake 302/303s would be good for your 25-30 degree temps, possibly still a bit chilly around 10, make sure to buy them around 1-1.5 US sizes bigger. Even in GA it'd be worth it to be comfortable riding in the fall/spring/winter IME. I wish I had gotten some earlier, much earlier now. So much more of my riding would have been fun if I did.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    but only if the shoes allow enough room for them, if thicker socks cause the shoes to be too tight then they can have the opposite effect and cause cold feet by reducing circulation.
    Also by increasing heat transfer due to conduction IME, making the boot work more like a heat-sink.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Socks won't help IME. Lake 302/303s would be good for your 25-30 degree temps
    I hate boots. The bulk and weight are a huge put off.
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  7. #7
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    I like my toes
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkerfiveo View Post
    But I am asking about socks.
    In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkerfiveo View Post
    I hate boots. The bulk and weight are a huge put off.
    You also seem to hate cold feet. Try this, for those 3-5 days, use your cool weather boots, thick smartwool socks and some of those chemical heat pack toe warmers. They work well for say 4 hours or so.

  10. #10
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    Defeet Woolie Boolie.

  11. #11
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    "Warmest" Socks?

    I've had great luck with Merino Smartwool Hunt Extra Heavy line. They're not too expensive either.


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  12. #12
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    Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool.

    Visited northern Iowa for Xmas, rented a fatbike (Beargrease), and wore Darn Toughs. My feet stayed dry and warm. (Blondo winter boots with flat pedals, too).

    https://www.amazon.com/Darn-Tough/b/...bin=Darn+Tough
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  13. #13
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    I wear smartwool trekking socks, love them.

  14. #14
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    The KUIU are some of the best socks I've used. I like the crews but the over the calf's are on sale now..

    Outlet Merino Over the Calf Sock - KUIU US

  15. #15
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    Giro Proof shoe covers are another option, they'll help with one part of it, constant exposure of the outer layer in the windstream, not much with the other problem, foot too close to /cleat pedal causing conduction heat transfer to the metal heat sink. That's what sucks the heat out of your foot constantly with clipless and if you bought the shoes for your feet, thicker socks will make them colder as mentioned above.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  16. #16
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    My ghetto winter shoe set up is a size up Specialized shoes and I add goop to the mesh to block out the wind. I then added wool /felt insoles from army surplus and foil as a barrier between the shoe and insoles. I also have neoprene shoe covers for the outside.
    On my feet and not shilling the product, but I have been using those neoprene toe socks and thin merino wool socks as a liner and they seems to help. no in wet condition I do own a pair of Cabela's goretex liner. The great thing about this set up is a layers that can be removed or added depending on riding throughout the day.

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  17. #17
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    I find warming up the bod before going out can help a lot in preventing hands and feet from getting cold. Your feet and hands generate virtually no heat on their own and are warmed only by blood flow. Once they start getting cold, blood flow slows, they get colder, blood flow if further restricted, they get even colder...and it's very hard to warm them up again. So, calisthenics, riding a trainer, or whatever to get a bit of a sweat and circulation going before going out can help.

    Insulation provided by wool, down, synthetics, neoprene, fiberglass, and even Styrofoam is due to trapped air (or gas). If you squeeze any of those down there's less thickness and less volume of air so less insulation. Putting thick socks on and then cramming your feet into shoes that don't have room for them defeats the insulation and makes things even worse by constricting blood flow.

    The air being trapped and prevented from moving around is important. If the air can move, it can transport heat and is much less effective at insulating. A 1/4" of air does not insulate as well as a 1/4" of wool because the wool prevents the air from easily moving between the warm and cold surfaces. Another property of wool that makes it a good insulator is that when it gets damp, it doesn't compress down like other fibers can and still holds air. Cotton is particularly bad in this regard.
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  18. #18
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    I've had a couple pair of Darn Tough in my weekly rotation for 3 years, DeFeet Woolie Boolies and Smart Wool for about as long, and just added a Swiftwick pair a couple months ago. Darn Tough pairs became compacted along the foot bed, and 1 developed a hole from my big toe, despite being so dense and thick feeling. Woolie Boolie developed a hole just under my right ankle bone protrusion. Smart Wools holding up well, just a bit fuzzier/frayed, but somehow still have an airy/fluffy thickness to them, that gently hugs my foot. Swiftwicks, probably the nicest set I've owned. Not sure if that's because they're new or because they really are that much higher quality. If I had to choose, I'd give the honor to the Swiftwick. Smart Wools feel like an everyday casual sock that hold up to a variety of activities. Wouldn't buy the Darn Tough and Woolie Boolies again (are they even still made?), if I had the option to buy the others (even if these two were 50% of the price), but I love my Defeet Air-E-ator socks for summer.

    I've only tested these socks in the low 30s, but with summer shoes with mesh uppers (made for flat pedals). They all do a satisfactory job. Just did a 40 degree road ride in the rain yesterday with my Defeet socks, and I wasn't thinking about my feet freezing at all. In fact, I just laughed when I hit puddles and had my feet get soaked. I might have just gotten acclimated though... after a couple prior sub-freezing rides, trying to cover up every bit of exposed flesh, I no longer feel that way about such rides, despite not adding more gear to help cope. I'm now finding that my performance is being limited due to lack of heat ventilation, and finding myself riding with less and less. Makes me wonder about the crazy inventions I've seen, like the one where water is spritzed on you from a handlebar mount, and if that could improve my performance during summer.

    I think of my wool gear as mere temperature regulators, that works consistently well dry and wet. If I wanted to protect from wind chill, I'd add a windproof layer. I used an eVent shell for the rain yesterday, but usually just use an old Gore Windstopper Next2Skin jacket, which I pull the sleeves off of after warming up. I don't do anything special for leggings, just tights. If I wore a shell over them for wet days, my legs would be just as soaked from sweat, just a little less spotted from mud.

  19. #19
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    I use Darn Tough and Swiftwick. Both work very well for me.

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  20. #20
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    Finely woven wool socks work for me (Woolie Boolie's are decent mass produced ones).

    Depending on how windy it is, I choose from two kinds of Northwave boots: modern ones w/ pull strings & velcro straps or old school windproof/semi-waterproof lace up + side zipper ones that I've had forever.
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  21. #21
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    C9 wool sport socks from Target, they are what I wore biking in the Korean winter. Cheap and great.

  22. #22
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    Don't forget the Kirkland Signature Merino socks, these are also excellent value @ 70% merino. Wigwam makes these for Costco.

  23. #23
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    I'd like to add that the TraxFactory hotsockees seem to be helping. They also seem to be contingent upon having enough space in your shoe (anything more than a summer sock needs this), but it's helping to insulate our feet from the pedal and the toe box, which is great. We are riding in +5 to -10F currently, but I have given them to a friend and he agreeed in the same conditions. We need a lot more to ride in -10, but these seem to help. Also, seem to be best paired with a medium weight sock (not heavy).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    Gotta block the wind/air flow first of all.

    Have you tried the socks with the aluminum threads in them? That with a thin wool sock does well in snow for me. Your feet don't sweat to death either which is nice.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Smartwool are the best socks I've worn, they make a kazillion varieties from thin to very thick. Thicker is obviously going to be warmer but only if the shoes allow enough room for them, if thicker socks cause the shoes to be too tight then they can have the opposite effect and cause cold feet by reducing circulation.

    For winter I like thick smartwool socks combined with shoes 1 size too large.
    This^

    I have various smart wool socks in different weights. They rock
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraxFactory View Post
    Don't forget the Kirkland Signature Merino socks, these are also excellent value @ 70% merino. Wigwam makes these for Costco.
    Absolutely worth trying for the price. Those socks get used a lot up here in IL/Wisc.

    And they are from Costco, so if it doesn't work for you, take em back.

  27. #27
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    If it is really cold I'll use my ghetto vapor barrier liner (VBL) method. Very thing wicking sock, covered by a thin produce plastic bag (yes, like you put your peppers, onions, etc. in), followed by a mid-weight wool sock as the insulation layer (Darn Tough socks are great.)
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