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AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'(16 posts)

AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'4bykn
Dec 12, 2003 5:00 PM
I know some of you are cold-weather riders, how do you keep toes warm? I've seen (but never tried) "Toasti-Toes" and hear they do a nice job, but I cant find them anywhere. I ride with linersocks, socks, shoes and booties, and when it gets nasty cold (sub 20) my toes still get very cold. The only positive side is the hot shower after riding sure feels great! Thanks for any help.

Ride in Peace...Mike
re: AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'Elefantino
Dec 12, 2003 6:29 PM
Try sandwich bags. Honest. Not the ziploc ones, but the old-style, fold-over bags.
Put 'em over your toes, over your socks, inside your shoes.
Keep warm.

a low tech solution.dr hoo
Dec 12, 2003 6:33 PM
Go with flats, big winter boots, and wool socks. Then your feet will never be cold. Of course you will look really goofy, but aren't toasty feet worth some scornful looks?

I've used that down to -20f, which is STUPID to ride in. I didn't ride long, just 6 miles to work, but my feet were warm the whole way.

Oh, in case you are asking "why?", I had a bet going on most commute days for a year.
re: AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'djg21
Dec 12, 2003 6:39 PM
Booties and wool socks! Also, try spraying your feet with Arid Extra Dry or some other POWDERED anti-persperant. That will keep your feet dry, and hence warm! This works great in ski boots too!
re: AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'PEDDLFOOT
Dec 12, 2003 6:48 PM
Try chemical toe warmers.They sell them at WalMart in the outdoor section where the camping and hiking supplies are.They work better on top of the toes rather than underneath as the directions tell you.You put them on top of the sock inside the shoe.They last about 4 to five hours.I use them on every ride below 40.I think they are great and worth the $1.50 a pair.
re: AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'purplepaul
Dec 12, 2003 7:44 PM
If PEDDLEFOOT's solution doesn't work for you, try putting the chemical packs on the outside of your shoes, on top at the toes, but under your booties. I know it sounds weird but I have tried most of the solutions offered here, and that was the only way I could ride for extended periods of time in really cold weather (below 20).

BTW, the chemical packs will only work when exposed to air. If they start to suffocate in your shoes, especially if you have baggies in there too, they will just go cold.
I agree with purplepaul.High Gear
Dec 13, 2003 5:46 AM
You can use the baggies over a wool sock and the chemical warmer on the out side if the shoe but under the booties. One thing that wasn't mentioned is to get off the bike and walk a telephone length or two. This will warm your feel up quickly. An old racer taught me that trick. I think I'll try that anti-perspirant trick next cold ride.
I laughed at the plastic bag idea ...HouseMoney
Dec 12, 2003 7:21 PM
until I tried it. Subway sandwich bag, grocery store produce bag, whatever you can find. I put 'em over a pair of smartwool socks inside my shoes, and then an outer shoe bootie & I'm good to go for temps in the mid-high 20's! This is a warmer combo than a ski sock & neoprene sock inside the shoe & the shoe bootie. Whatever you do, don't stuff so much in your shoe that you lose circulation, or you'll get cold toes anyway. Also, an overlooked factor in keeping your fingers & toes warm is to keep you torso & head warm. If they get too cold, your body will conserve warmth in the critical areas, at the expense of the extremities.

If it gets much colder & I'm still determined to ride outside (instead of heading for the ski slopes), I may swap out to my mtb pedals & wear my Lake winter mtb shoes.
The bag thing worked, sort of...hrdcorebikerboy
Dec 13, 2003 6:31 AM
I tried the bags this morning...25 degrees, 18 with windchill. I felt pretty good for about 20 minutes, by 35 the toes were numb, by 40 minutes I was crying uncle and brought it in. I figure the bags bought me an extra 10 minutes or so...
The problem with baggies....SS_MB-7
Dec 13, 2003 7:30 AM
I use baggies on occassion, but I've found the problem with baggies is that they do not allow your feet to breathe. Moisture stays on your feet, in your socks and in the baggies. Damp wet feet/toes and cold temps is not a good combination.

I'm primarily a MTB'er and I find baggies particularly useful when the conditions are wet, i.e., freshly fallen snow, etc., and when conditions are mildish...say, -5C (23F)...still too warm for booties. The baggies help to keep the water out. Otherwise, I'll use my neoprene booties for when temps are really cold.

Today, for example, is only going to be -13C (9F), but with the windchill, it will feel like -20C (-4F), and it is dry. So, I'll be wearing a pair of thin summery cycling socks, followed by a thicker pair of wool socks, my MTB shoes and then my booties.

Ride Hard,
Mike B.
No No No ... the bags go over the shoes !!!!cyclinseth
Dec 15, 2003 6:16 AM
Here is the formula

1. thin cycling sock

2. Wool sock

3. cycling shoe (should be a little over-size and not buckled too tight)

3. the plastic bag over the toe area

4. booties
Go up a half sizebimini
Dec 13, 2003 1:39 PM
Most likely the toes of the shoes are too tight. I had the same problem last winter. Even with neoprene booties and heavy socks my feet would freeze.

I Got a new pair of shoes this year. (a good deal on ebay on a strong pair of Carbon Look shoes). When I got them I was a little disappointed since they were a tad loose in the toes. I was use to tight shoes. I put a pair of rubber insoles in them and that got them snug but not as tight as my old pair.

This winter I found that my toes stay toasty warm with just a single pair of cycling socks and the neoprene booties. It could be the insoles adding insulation but must likely the looser toe box allows better circulation in the feet and allows them to stay warm.
Circulation is the key! Get shoes 1 size larger......KMan19348
Dec 14, 2003 1:26 PM
You need to have proper circulation for warm feet. Duct tape any mesh or air vents on your shoes. Thin layer or wiching socks and a nice warm pair of socks. Put the bags between you shoes and booties as this will help keep the cold wind off your feet.
I dropped the $$ this year and got a pair of Lake winter shoes and did my first ride with them yesterday (2hours), temp was low to mid 20's & windy so the windchill was much lower. I took the liners out of the Lakes (which I think as a no no) and my feet were fine for the most part buy the bottoms ended up getting cold. I think the liners are important for these shoes since they are extra thick with a layer of air bubble in the middle. I reinserted the liners buy have not had a chance to use them.

re: AArrrgggghhhh! My toes are freezin'palewin
Dec 14, 2003 7:39 PM
Let's combine some of what's been posted with some extra ideas. To make sure you have enough room in your shoes, esp. with the chemical warmers (which I use under my toes, just like the manufacturer recommends) cut the toe area away from a pair of old running shoe insoles and use those in your cycling shoes. Get a second larger pair of booties, and wear one pair over the other - doubling up increases the insulation substantially. Stick to one pair of socks (again to avoid cramping the circulation). I seem to be ok with one pair of booties down to around 30F, double booties to the low 20s, and add the chemical warmers for the 17F-22F range if I'll be out for 2 hours or more. Yes, with enough tricks and layers, it can be done! (Below 15-17, I give up and use the trainer.)
Did a 2hr -8F MTB ride yesterday and....SS_MB-7
Dec 15, 2003 6:14 AM
I did a nearly 2 hr -8F MTB ride yesterday on the very icy and hard-packed trails and I had 0 issues with my toes and fingers. I used a thin pair of summer cycling socks, a thicker pair of wool socks and my Shimano SPD shoes. I then used a pair of neoprene booties and was toasty warm.

Toes and fingers seem to be a very personal thing. I know several riders who get cold toes and fingers at 32F, even with booties, while I'm still wearing summer socks and maybe a pair of wool socks. So, take the information here and adapt to what works for you.

As others have mentioned, circulation is key. By doubling-up on socks and adding booties, this can constrict your feet/toes. Make sure you can still wiggle your toes to ensure good circulation.

Ride Hard,
Mike B.
Mike...I think you may be one of the odd ones out...K-Man
Dec 15, 2003 7:26 AM
My feet would have been pretty cold in those temps dressed like that! Toasty warm? Man that must be a great feeling, I will enjoy a ride if my feet are "not freezing" at the end. I think a big difference may be between road riding and MTB riding.....Now that I think about it, on MTB rides my feet are generally in pretty decent shape, it is on the road (this is where I do my most riding in the winter) that the wind plays much more of a factor in freezing toes. I hope the Lakes will help me as I want to get in some nice long rides in soon.