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14-11-2023 | Frank Jansen

7 tips for warm feet in winter cycling

Winter is approaching, and for many cyclists (myself included), it brings a significant challenge: the dreaded issue of cold feet. Despite experimenting with various solutions, such as electric socks, heat bags, sandwich bags, and even pepper in my shoes, I've finally reached a point where I can comfortably ride 100 km in freezing temperatures. In this article, I'll share my seven tips for keeping your feet warm.

1. Opt for warm tights

The blood plays a crucial role in regulating limb temperature, and since blood flows to the feet through the legs, wearing warm tights is essential. Unlike leg warmers, winter tights offer superior warmth with extra thickness, windproofing, and added protection at the crotch. Investing in a quality pair of winter tights is key. Pro tip: find the best deals during the summer.

2. Ensure a warm core and head

Cover your core and head adequately. Dress appropriately and don't forget to protect your head, perhaps with a snug buff.

3. Embrace wool socks

Warm feet often lead to sweating, and without proper moisture management, your feet can become cold and clammy. Opt for a breathable combo, considering that cycling shoes, especially with overshoes, may limit ventilation. The solution? Affordable and effective wool socks, a favorite among pavers and gardeners. You can easily find them online or at a hardware store.

4. Invest in overshoes and/or winter shoes

For most cyclists, neoprene overshoes do the job of converting summer shoes into winter-ready gear. However, if you belong to the 10% facing extreme cold, consider winter shoes. These shoes, offered by reputable brands, provide better insulation and a wider fit, utilizing air as an excellent insulator. Ensure a proper fit, as manufacturers typically design winter shoes with a roomier feel. The great news? On the coldest days, you can still use overshoes for added protection.

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5. Preheat yourself and your shoes

Starting your ride with cold feet can be a perpetual chill, even with the best gear. Ensure both your feet and shoes are preheated effectively. Place your shoes on the radiator, wear slippers at home, and prioritize putting on wool socks first when dressing in your cycling attire. Take the time to stay indoors with your shoes on until your feet are comfortably warm.

6. Take regular breaks

In extreme cold, periodic breaks work wonders to enhance blood circulation. A brief stop every half hour for just two minutes can revitalize you, allowing you to cover more ground with increased cycling pleasure. While it might add a bit of effort, the payoff in enjoyment is significant.

7. Thoroughly dry your shoes post-ride

Winter rides often mean moisture absorption by your shoes, which is beneficial during the ride. However, it's crucial to dry them thoroughly afterward. While using a heater is an option, if you have floor heating, consider investing in ski boot dryers, such as those from Sidas. These devices use safe infrared light, consume minimal energy, and are ideal for efficiently drying your shoes overnight.

Do you have a top tip yourself? Share them in the comment section below!

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