Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing some write ups on winter riding gear, and what has worked for us over the last 5 years or so.
Based on waking up this morning to the beautiful snow on the ground, I assumed it was the best time to start this little mini-series if you wish to call it.
As the title of the post says, footwear is the first item, so pretty much starting from the bottom and working up.
I know there are several folks out there who have the same thing I do, which is bad circulation in their extremities. When the weather dips below 5 degrees C, the toes become cold, and you feel the cold come up through the cleat on the pedal (If you are clipped in).
Last nights ride was a good indication of the feet getting cold for sure.
Temperature: 2-5 degrees C
Typically in this temperature range, I continue to use my normal riding shoes, normal Shimano or LG shoes, clipped in.
One addition to the normal shoes would be Shoe Covers, or booties. These little guys go overtop of your shoes, but also have the bottom cutout to allow you to be clipped in. For this temperature, you don’t need anything crazy thick, just something to cut some of the wind out from going through the shoe.
The above cover is from MEC, https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5042-260/Cloudburst-Shoe-Covers
You can get these guys from MEC or your Local Bike Shop. The nice thing about these thin booties is that they are waterproof, and cut the wind. These are great to get you through the transition period for sure.
Temperature: -3 – 2 degrees C
In this range it becomes a little tougher on shoe selection. Usually I will stay in my normal riding shoes, but use a thicker booties, something that will cut wind, but also will keep your feet warmer. In addition to the bootie, I also wear Wool Socks, mainly because they look good, feel good, and are comfortable, but also they keep your feet nice and warm.
The one nice thing again about the thicker covers, is that they will keep snow (I know the dreaded S word) from falling into your shoe, making them wet and colder.
I personally own a pair of these Pearl Izumi shoe covers, and they word amazing in the colder temperatures. Again from MEC you can buy these. I’m using MEC as I know most people have been or go on the regular.
One note on booties is that you want to make sure the sole of them are made of something durable such as kevlar. The booties take some abuse, whether it be from walking, or clipping in or out etc.
Temperature: -20 – -3 degrees C
Well at this point really anything below -3 I change over to full on winter riding boots. I know that the 45NRTH boots that most have are expensive, but at the same token, they are worth every penny for keeping your feet warm. But like I mentioned earlier, I am using MEC as a source for products, and they carry a MAVIC winter cycling shoe, as well as a Shimano version.
With winter riding shoes, one note you want to look at, if you are clipping in, you will get residual temperature rising through the sole of the shoe. Most of the winter riding shoes have a gpecial insulated sole to prevent this from happening, but you want to make sure that there is something. When the weather dips below -10 the feet can get cold fast making the ride much worse!
For the folks who are hesitant on clipping in through the winter, there is another alternative that a lot of folks have been doing.
If you want to use a flat pedal, make sure it is something that will grip the sole of a boot. But you want a nice warm boot, something like a Sorel. The only thing to note, you will lose a little bit of feeling connected to your bike. But at the same token, you are riding in snow and cold weather. You will fall, it will happen, but your feet will be nice and warm!
There is another option for the colder temperatures for your feet. They are heated insoles. I have not tried them personally, but what I have read online say that they work extremely well. Marks Work Warehouse carries a pair, which have rechargeable batteries.
Winter and cold weather riding is tough, not just on the body, but also on how you prepare and dress for it. I would recommend in your car or truck, to keep spare booties, and socks, because you never know how cold it actually is until you are standing in the parking lot getting ready.