I wear SmartWool socks (love 'em!!) and shoe covers--just to break the wind. My shoe covers are really for the rain, not the cold, but they do the trick. The coldest temp. I've biked in is 23 degrees--I can cycle for about an hour or so before I lose feeling in my toes and feel like I'm peddling on stumps. Last week I tried inserting foot warmers btwn. my sock and shoe, but they require air circulation to heat up and it didn't work very well. The temperature was in the low 40s/high 30s and we got in 55 miles.
I saw a pair of rechargeable, heated insoles in the Brookstone catalog. You plug them in, heat them up, and slip them in your shoes. Supposed to last quite awhile. Expensive--I think they were on sale at $70, so I'll have to wait to see how much biking I get in this winter before I shell out the bucks. The lbs recommends electric socks--they're only about $20.
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I have used those neoprene shoe covers which are especially good for cold rainy days; between 38-45 degrees. They work well for that, but don't keep my feet warm below 38-40 degrees. Maybe I have feet extra sensitive to cold though, although my husband's feet seem to get cold at about the same time in our ride as mine do.
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I also have some shoe covers I use. I find it uncomfortable to wear heavy socks, so the shoe covers are just fine for me. I wuss out at about 40, too, unless it is a very special ride.
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In a few hours I will be out to buy a pair of neoprene shoe covers. These are similar to socks, but instead of putting them on before putting on the shoes, you put them on after putting on the shoes. They seem to work phenomenal (though I have not seen a serious rating on up to what temperature below freezing point they are effective), because the air that is trapped between your bare feet and cold air is much thicker than when you put on socks to your bare feet. It might be a better idea to put on neoprene socks and neoprene shoe covers as well if it is really cold.
Edited by: MPLANE37 at: 12/19/2011 (04:19)
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I wear wool socks in my "for winter" bike boots and even then my feet get numb after about an hour. When it's really cold, below 20, I don't use clipless pedals since being able to move my feet more helps keep them thawed, but I only mountain bike in the winter since our local roads are really icy and hazardous. Trails are much safer. Avid winter cyclists here wear Lake bike boots which are made for really cold weather. I just don't do enough winter riding to justify the investment though.
You all are more daring than I...I wuss out below 40...but then I don't have any cold weather gear. Somehow bundling up goes against my cycling grain too much...at least so far. It's rare for me to cycle in anything more than shorts, t-shirt and when necessary a sweat shirt or windbreaker over the T.
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i put "hot hands" or use the hot hands for toes in my boots and gloves on very cold days. i also have neoprene covers for my bike shoes to keep my feet dry and warm. i have gortex shoes for icey days when i don't want to clip in. definately wool socks. no cotton...
What kind of sock should I consider for this cold weather? Yesterday's ride was very comfortable at 28 degrees. Today's ride was an eye opener for me. At 20 degrees, I thought I was well prepared. I really didn't think the difference of 8 degrees would be a big deal. I never had cold feet (physically, that is) in the past. Today I did. With only two miles left on my route, my feet began to get cold. I thought they were going through a "cycle" and they would be fine and back to normal within a minute or two. But the cold intensified and toes were getting that "frostbite" feeling. I thought about using my ski booties next time but think I should get a different kind of sock, too. Any suggestions?
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