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Cold/rain gear for ankles/feet

This topic contains 62 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  WillB 1 mo, 3 weeks.

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J Z

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Nov 1 2013 at 12:50pm #

Didn’t want to derail the other thread re: rain gear. What do you guys do for ankles/feet for rain/cold conditions? I’m good on how to deal with layering up top, but for socks/feet, have resorted to plastic bags over tech/wool socks when necessary. Better solution? What do you guys do/use?


WillB

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Nov 1 2013 at 1:25pm #

I use these Endura shoe covers in the rain http://www.endurasport.com/Product.aspx?dept_id=107&prod_id=213

They’re a little clunky to put on (a lot of stiff velcro), but the waterproofing is good and my feet stay pretty dry.

Once it’s cold I wear Shimano winter spd boots http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-SH-MW81-Shoes-Mens/dp/B005VF3NG2

I like them a lot, and they’re really waterproof as long as your rain paints cover the neoprene ankle cuff (and even then it takes a lot of water to soak through)


Benzo

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Nov 1 2013 at 1:47pm #

I also have the shimano winter boots, They keep out the water very well. They are good down to about freezing or a bit below, but then they get cold due to the breathable material in the toes. I wear shoe covers over them to keep in more heat and that works well down to about 10-15 degrees.

Combine that with some leg warmers or rain pants to keep water from running down in to the tops of the shoes and you’ll stay nice and dry.

If I had the cash to throw around, I’d get some 45nrth fasterkatt boots for commuting and mountain biking. They are pretty hard to find at this point though.


rsprake

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Nov 1 2013 at 1:52pm #

Thick Bikes has one pair of the 45NRTH boots left in a 44. I just bought a pair.

http://45nrth.com/products/softgoods/fasterkatt


jonawebb

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Nov 1 2013 at 2:20pm #

Boots are the way to go for keeping your feet warm, but I’ve never found a good way to keep them dry. I don’t like fenders,and the spray on my legs always works its way down to the socks, and wicks in that way. I’ve tried shoe covers, rain pants, those spats from Rivendell, which maybe work best — nothing works for me for more than a few miles. If I got fenders I think everything down there would stay dry enough, thanks to my rain cape, but without them I’ve not found a solution.


Marko82

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Nov 1 2013 at 3:30pm #

I have a few different neoprene winter shoe covers which work fairly well in the cold, but for warmer weather I put plastic bags OVER my shoes then use lycra wind covers over the bags. This keeps your shoes from getting wet and I don’t think your feet sweat as much as when you put the bag inside your shoe. I save those real thin bags grocery stores put out for putting your veggies in and the bag doesn’t interfere with my SPD clips at all. The only negative is that the bags get torn up from the clip so are single use, so carry a few spares if you plan on rain on the evening trip home.


Drewbacca

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Nov 1 2013 at 4:07pm #

do the shimano winter shoes fit the same as their regular shoes?


Pierce

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Nov 3 2013 at 8:20pm #

@jonawebb

I have nice fenders and splash still gets on my shoes on long rides

The problem is that wherever the struts are that hold the fender in place also act as a place for otherwise streamlined water to splash over


jonawebb

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Nov 4 2013 at 8:50am #

@Pierce, thanks, that makes me feel better about my anti-fenders bias.


WillB

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Nov 4 2013 at 9:13am #

Drewbacca wrote:do the shimano winter shoes fit the same as their regular shoes?

I think I went a size up for the shimano boots so that I could wear thick socks, and that seems to work pretty well.


Benzo

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Nov 4 2013 at 12:44pm #

Drewbacca wrote:do the shimano winter shoes fit the same as their regular shoes?

I also went one size up so I could wear big socks in the winter.


J Z

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Nov 4 2013 at 10:38pm #

Thanks for the input, looks like boots might be the route to go. 1 set of big thick socks adequate? Down to what temp? Previously I was layering 2 sets of socks, wool & synthetic, worked but a PITA to deploy and get out of at the office.


jonawebb

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Nov 5 2013 at 8:18am #

I’m good to about 15 in my Shimano winter boots, for an hour ride.


Marko82

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Nov 5 2013 at 9:13am #

Just my 2-cents on keeping feet warm – but the most important thing is to maintain wiggle room inside your shoes. If you put too thick of socks in too small of shoe you will cut off your blood circulation and have cold feet no matter how good the shoes are. Thick socks are great, but not in your normal shoe size. I can spend ten hours or more out fishing on a frozen lake without my feet getting cold. Some of this is because I have some awesome boots, but they are also almost sloppy loose too. That, and you got to keep the rest of you warm too.


edmonds59

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Nov 5 2013 at 9:34am #

Another thing to think about – switch to platform pedals for the “winter” and use light waterproof hiking boots. Then if the weather seriously goes to hell, leave the bike and walk or jump the bus and you’re in the shoes for it.
Also platforms allow you to bail off if need be.


Pierce

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Nov 5 2013 at 3:37pm #

To Marko’s point, I always loosen up the shoe laces a lot when it starts getting colder to allow for thicker socks.


WillB

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Nov 6 2013 at 10:12am #

+1 on not-too-thick socks. I wear smartwool hiking socks (medium thickness, basically) with the shimano boots, and as long as my feet are warm when I start out, I’m good for my 25-30 minute commute in all but the coldest Pittsburgh weather.


Ohiojeff

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Nov 7 2013 at 8:49am #

I have a pair of these. Your shoes will still get wet, but your feet will stay dry. They’re thick — so I just use a very thin pair of wool socks under them.


J Z

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Nov 7 2013 at 9:17am #

Anyone Nikwax their cycling shoes?


Benzo

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Nov 7 2013 at 10:45am #

@ohiojeff – Do you find that the neoprene socks are more comfortable with thin wools underneath? Do your feet breath at all in there?


edronline

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Nov 7 2013 at 5:51pm #

After reading this thread, I realized that I didn’t have to suffer all winter like the last few winters. Why I never thought of shoe covers I’ll never know. so I bought a real cheap pair of Peal Izumi shoe covers. figure that they have to be better than nothing (literally nothing) and are cheap enough to experiment with, and are much cheaper than winter shoes/boots that work with my SPD type pedals.


ajbooth

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Nov 9 2013 at 1:44pm #

The 45NRTH boots from Thick are gone…I purchased them this week, and have ridden with them twice. They are the best winter riding investment I’ve ever made, and will hopefully make it less likely for me to say “It’s too cold” this winter.


J Z

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Nov 11 2013 at 9:16pm #

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2013/11/11/Snow-expected-overnight-across-Western-Pennsylvania/stories/201311110154

1st snow of the season projected for tomorrow, decided to try the “flats/hiking boots” first before investing in something more substantial like the Shimano boots. Supposed to be 30s tomorrow, this should be an interesting experiment.


Pierce

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Nov 11 2013 at 9:26pm #

I don’t know what counts as a “snow fall,” but we already had flurries a couple of weeks ago :P

On the note of Thick and cold weather stuff, last week they had a decent amount of stuff in a sale pile like cold weather gloves, head and feet stuff that was 50% off


Ohiojeff

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Nov 14 2013 at 11:11am #

Benzo wrote:@ohiojeff – Do you find that the neoprene socks are more comfortable with thin wools underneath? Do your feet breath at all in there?

Sorry, I lurk in and out there and missed this. They have some kind of gore-tex like membrane which is supposedly breathable, but your feet will get sweaty. The good news is that you don’t get much evaporative cooling, and thus your feet stay pretty warm even if your shoes are soaking wet. These are essentially windproof so I tend to use them alone inside my shoes even when it’s sunny but cold. When temps are under 30 degrees I’ll put booties on over my shoes too. The thin wool socks do help by wicking some of the moisture away, and providing a slight extra layer of insulation.

The pair I have are branded SealSkinz but they only seem to be called that in the UK now..not sure why.


Benzo

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Nov 14 2013 at 1:25pm #

http://www.instructables.com/id/Super-fancy-waterwindproof-bike-shoe-duct-tape-co/


J Z

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Nov 21 2013 at 1:16pm #

@willb @marko82 how sturdy have you found the neoprene shoe covers/booties?

I just picked up a pair and they fit strangely and are a bit clunky over my mountain shoes.

Have others found that toe covers are enough?


jonawebb

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Nov 21 2013 at 1:29pm #

@jz, nope, they’re not enough. I agree with you about the sturdiness of the shoe covers, BTW. The design covers the bottom of the sole with the material, which just isn’t going to last. They seems to be meant for riding, not walking to your bike, and I don’t know why the bottom of the shoe, which is waterproof, needs protection. That’s why I switched to the Rivendell spats. They are clunky and obviously sturdier.


Mikhail

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Nov 21 2013 at 2:40pm #

J Z wrote:@willb @marko82 how sturdy have you found the neoprene shoe covers/booties?

I just picked up a pair and they fit strangely and are a bit clunky over my mountain shoes.

Have others found that toe covers are enough?

I use my neoprene covers over my regular summer road shoes. I can sustain about 2-3 hour ride in about 29-32 if I combine them with smart wool socks. And about 1-1.5 hour if temperature is about 15-17. But I almost don’t commute, I ride for the sake of mostly getting in shape (90% of the time).

PS I have them for 2 years.


Mikhail

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Nov 21 2013 at 2:49pm #

jonawebb wrote:The design covers the bottom of the sole with the material, which just isn’t going to last

Not all of them have full bottom:

http://www.backcountry.com/pearl-izumi-barrier-mtb-shoe-cover?CMP_SKU=PLZ1053&MER=0406&skid=PLZ1053-BK-L&CMP_ID=SH_SHP001&mv_pc=r110&003=7163546&010=PLZ1053-BK-L&mr:referralID=2356a76c-52e6-11e3-9104-001b2166c62d


WillB

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Nov 21 2013 at 4:45pm #

J Z wrote:how sturdy have you found the neoprene shoe covers/booties?

The Endura covers do have material that goes under the sole of the shoe, and after a while they have definitely started to come apart a bit. For that reason, I only wear them for rainy days when it’s too cold for sandals and too warm for the winter boots. In the end, I went with the winter boots because I could tell the covers weren’t going to last, and I just got sick of having to put them on over my shoes everyday.


Marko82

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Nov 21 2013 at 5:56pm #

The booties are not very walking-friendly and I’ve had to repair mine a few times, but they are nice on the bike. I like the looks of the spats that jonaweb linked to above. They look easier to get on and off too so maybe they would last longer since you wont be tempted to walk in them.


StuInMcCandless

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Nov 22 2013 at 10:13am #

I’d love to find a pattern for making my own. I have a lot of material that once was an old billboard, a pair of scissors, and know how to sew on some velcro or snaps. I was in REI a couple nights ago, and those Pearl Izumi covers are $70. Geez, really?


jonawebb

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Nov 22 2013 at 10:42am #

@stu, here’s a photo of one of my Rivendell spats. I think it would be a pretty easy design to duplicate.


Mikhail

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Nov 22 2013 at 3:06pm #

About a year ago I bought neoprene at JoeAnn. It was for 19.99/yard and is 54″ wide and 3 mm thick. This is on bright side. On a dark side — I took last yard and a half and they told me that they are not sure if it’s going to be ordered/carried again since it was not exactly “a hot item”.


J Z

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Nov 22 2013 at 3:28pm #

@jonawebb ah, shoot. you can hope (re: toe covers).

@Mikhail those Pearl Izumi’s look better than the ones I have (look like they have velcro to customize the fit on the bottom a bit).

I’ll give the bootleg booties I have (they’re Performance house brand) a go and see how they work. There have only been around 3-8 days so far in the season where I felt like it was “too cold” on my feet and it really hasn’t been wet enough to go to the trouble. I switched back to clipless, the platform pedals were irritating me.


Mikhail

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Nov 22 2013 at 3:34pm #

J Z wrote:
@Mikhail those Pearl Izumi’s look better than the ones I have (look like they have velcro to customize the fit on the bottom a bit).

Well, they look nice and they are pretty warm. But I half a problem with almost all shoe sovers — my calfs are two wide and none of XL covers are wide enough to close. So i bought neoprene from JoeAnn and made inserts (and I ended up with different brand — much cheaper since I tried to experiment with tem). I would wear those show covers for today light up ride. You can take a look at “my final product” if you want. :)


Ahlir

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Nov 22 2013 at 5:32pm #


neoprene at JoeAnn … they told me that they are not sure if it’s going to be ordered/carried again since it was not exactly “a hot item”.

Odd. One can’t help but wonder…


FaunaViolet

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Nov 22 2013 at 8:22pm #

Somehow, even though I appeared to be seemless, I still had wet ankles this morning. Looks like booties are the way to go.


edmonds59

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Nov 23 2013 at 7:31am #

While perusing the internets for some reflective tweed spats, which I suddenly felt like I needed to have, I came across this site, with “leggits” which seem absolutely ideal. A lot of other cool stuff, for ideas, if nothing else. From England, whereof they know rain: https://www.cyclechic.co.uk/shop/gifts/her/georgia-dublin-leggits-3-colours
I have not yet found a source for reflective tweed spats.

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