Winter is coming! And that is a real pain in the ass for many cyclists (including myself). It's a very persistent and annoying problem: cold feet. I've tried everything from electric socks, heat bags, sandwich bags to pepper in my shoes. By now I have reached the point where I can ride 100 km with temperatures around freezing point. In this article my 7 tips for warm feet.
One of the functions of the blood is cooling and heating of limbs. Blood to the feet comes through the legs. I have noticed that it is very important to wear warm tights. Leg warmers don't have the same effect as winter tights. They are simply much warmer than summer pants + leg warmers. The legs are extra thick and windproof and at the crotch there is also extra protection. So invest in a decent pair of winter tights. Secret tip: you can find the the best bargains in the summer.
Off course you make sure your core and head are covered. Dress appropiatelyand cover your head well, for example with a buff
Feet that are warm start to sweat. If you can't get rid of that moisture, your feet will become clammy and then ice cold. So what you need is a breathable combo. Bad news: as soon as you start using overshoes, cycling shoes barely breathe. So it's important to wear socks that can absorb a lot of moisture and retain a lot of heat. Of course, the well-known brands all have special and mostly expensive products. But in my experience something much simpler works best: wool socks. The choice of pavers and gardeners for good reason. You buy them online or in a hardware store for a little money.
Most riders will use neoprene overshoes to turn their summer shoes into winter shoes. This solution will work fine for 90% of us. For the remaining 10%, winter shoes are an absolute top tip. All well known brands nowadays have them in their range. Winter shoes are warmer due to better insulation and the wider fit (air is a great insulator). It's important not to buy winter shoes too small. Fitting is important, because manufacturers usually have the winter shoes themselves quite roomy. And now for the best news: on the really cold days you can wear overshoes over them too.
If you leave home with cold feet they will never warm up, even with the best clothes. So it is important to make sure that both your feet and shoes are well preheated. Put your shoes on the radiator. Wear slippers at home. Be the first to put on your wool socks when putting on your cycling clothes. Once dressed, feel free to stay inside with your shoes on until your feet are warm. Take your time.
If it's really cold, it helps very well to stop once in a while to let the blood flow. Stopping every half hour for 2 minutes works great; you can go for miles again. It is a bit laborious, but it increases the cycling pleasure considerably.
Winter shoes absorb a lot of moisture (and that's good), so it's important to dry them well after a workout. Of course you can put them on the heater, but if you have floor heating like I have a pair of ski boot dryers (from Sidas for example) are ideal. These work with infrared light and are therefore very safe, and they use very little energy. Feel free to let them sit in your shoes for a night.