Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Idea! Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.

    Like many of us, the price of winter bike shoes is out of reach. When I had to replace my XC ski boot I came up with this mod, which looks a lot like a shoe many have seen...... for about 90$ finished. So far they are pretty good for an hour below freezing, but its the end of the season.
    The cleats on the XC shoe are about the same thickness as on mtn bike shoes.

    Parts:


    1. Cross Country ski boot, typically on sale EOS for about 70$ These are typically Neoprene with Thinsulate, go 1-2 sizes up from your road shoe size. Bigger if in colder climes. I went one up.
    Oddly all the NNN ski boot shoe soles are largely made by Rottefella anyway, so only uppers differ. Get a warm upper, esp the toe.

    2. One pair SPD cleat plates, 4 hole type 5-6$ on web.
    3. 4 5mm x 16mm Phillips metric screws. 3$ Stainless best.
    4. A pair of SPD pedal cleats you have lying around 0$.
    5. 1.5mm Hi density polyethylene plastic (HDPE). You can get this from a busted wastebasket or recycling bin.
    6. Contact cement (like Weldwood,or liquid nails maybe).
    7. (Optional) Pair of insulated insoles, I used YakTrak 8$.
    8. Couple pieces reflective tape or stickers
    9. Piece of polyester flock or from a dead sock.

    Electric Drill, MotoTool, Cutting wheel, and Tin Snips.

    1. First the boots before and after.
    Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160227_1502434_rewind2.jpgNate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160222_2248577_rewind2.jpgNate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-reflectors2.jpg
    2. Reinforce Midsole. Now it might work if you simply drill holes for the SPD plate into the boot midsole (the cardboard thingy at the bottom of your shoe). But I decided to reinforce the sole to be sure.
    What we do here is take out the boot's foam shoe insert and with the snips cut a piece of HDPE wastebasket to match its outline. Trial to fit flat on bottom.

    3. Being careful with the glue, pull back tongue, exposing the midsole and cover heavily with glue. Cover the HDPE plastic insert with glue. Now let dry 15 min, and press 2 sides together. Use the "foot" as the contact press. Let glue dry a couple days. Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160222_2309350_rewind2.jpg

    4. Expose a 4x4.5cm region to allow the cleat plate to sit flat on each boot bottom. The remaining lugs recess it..neat? Using your mototool, grind off the lugs in the cleat region, and grind sole flat to accept cleat with pedal clearance. Time about 30 min. Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160222_2248318_rewind2.jpg

    5. Using the SPD cleat on the sole as a template for hole spacing. Carefully drill two holes to fit the cleat. To avoid crank arm bumping, match cleat lateral position to a pair of MTB SPD shoes you own. I place these holes at the ball of my foot (like your road shoe cleats), but you may prefer otherwise. The holes should each be ~ 5mm wide.The 2 holes should go all the way through the shoe bottom.Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160226_0022432_rewind2.jpg

    6. We are going to want to insert the SPD plate onto the HDPE plastic midsole. Now we have a more rigid shoe sole to support the SPD cleat. We want the SPD plate to sit flat and the plate has 4 thread mounts that stick out slightly. We want to recess those mounts into the HDPE midsole. Now on the inside, carefully take a larger drill bit to match the thickness of the SPD plate threads and drill 4 holes just into the midsole (not all the way through the sole), using the 2 holes you already made to register the plate. Here the plate is registered for the 2nd set of holes on the inside with 2 cleat screws. Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160225_2331416_rewind2.jpg

    7. We are ready to assemble the winter bike boot! Place the cleat plate inside shoe on the 4 holes you made in the HDPE midsole, and insert a screw in the shoe bottom to pull the plate close (See Figure here). PUSH HARD to engage the threads!. Now take the other screw and the SPD cleat on the bottom and mount it with the 2nd screw into the plate. Reverse to mount first screw in plate. You can slide the cleat side to side to adjust crank clearance. Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160226_1045509_rewind2.jpg Same for other boot. Screws should be below surface of cleat plate.

    8. Add the reflective tape on the back.

    9. Insert a piece of polyester batting/dead sock in each toe to improve insulation.

    10. Cut another half piece Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-flockpoly2026.jpgNate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160410_1221000_rewind2.jpgof HDPE. Place in shoe, but do not glue.

    11. Reinsert the boot's original insulated insole. You are now ready to ride.

    Toe and lateral clearance is surprisingly good. You can fit up to an REI expedition grade wool sock in this boot. This works for me but I would be interested in hearing about other mods for commuting.

    Happy trails!

    Nate The Grate.
    Last edited by NateTheGrate; 04-12-2016 at 01:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi nate

    Looks like a great mod to me, is definately worth a try.

    Do the shoes rub on the front of your lower leg when riding?

  3. #3
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    Nate's Make your own winter bike shoes- XC boot mod.-img_20160410_1925405_r2.jpg
    Clearance issues: none really.

    I ride a RItchey V3 pedal, and there is a lot of room between the crank and the boot. So no rubbing.
    Last edited by NateTheGrate; 04-12-2016 at 01:10 AM.

  4. #4
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    Or try this, flat pedals and the winter boots you already own. Mt biking in the winter often requires some hike a bike. I use the same setup for commuting. YRMV.

  5. #5
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    This is cool. If I ever find some second-hand xc ski boots, I'ma give this a shot.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  6. #6
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    Cool!
    Recalculating....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Or try this, flat pedals and the winter boots you already own. Mt biking in the winter often requires some hike a bike. I use the same setup for commuting. YRMV.
    I'll admit I thought the same thing. I have a pair of Red Wing work boots and I'll just wear thick wool socks with those and I'm good until at least single digits (though it doesn't often get colder than that here). Those boots with pinned flats is about perfect for anything I can think of doing on a commute, though the boots are reasonably heavy. Builds leg muscles, eh?
    dang

  8. #8
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    ^^^ That and 18 miles of cold headwind. I have size 15 mil spec goretex boots with qulited liners and such. room enough for 2 pairs thick socks. And HTFU.

  9. #9
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    Until my recent Gore-Tex score, I have used summer MTB shoes with 6 year old neoprene socks that used to be waterproof and tattered shoe covers down to 5 below zero. It's not about hardening up

    Now I have Gore-Tex socks and Gore-Tex shoe covers, but the concept is the same....

    I like riding with clips. I have winter boots and flat pedals that I'd rather not use, because I like riding with clips. I don't want to pay for $300 killer winter SPD shoes. This sounds like a good idea to me.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  10. #10
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    I am glad people like the design. Looks like there are a lot of good deals on XC boots at this time of the year. I saw one guy get a pair at the local REI attic sale for 40$.

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