Monthly Archives: January 2016

Shoes for Cold Weather Cycling

To my knowledge, there are no shoes that are designed specifically for cycling in cold weather. When it’s cold, I abandon my clipless pedals for platform pedals. The shoes that I use with clipless pedals fit tight and are not large enough to accommodate layers of socks. My feet turn into ice cubes in the shape of fashionable footwear.

Before I rode today (32 degrees Fahrenheit) I decided to take a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get shoes that would be warmer than the ones that I’ve been using. The shoes that I have been using have mesh in the toe area of the shoe. When it’s cold, the mesh allows cold air to circulate to my toes. The mesh makes it almost as bad as wearing just socks.

I found New Balance Training shoes that have covered toes and also come in wide sizes. I put on two layers of socks and tried on a pair of extra wide shoes. My opinion is that the extra width provides more room for insulating layers of socks. They were comfortable and I paid $49.99 for them. That’s a lot less expensive than my Shimano shoes.

My experience with these shoes is that they are better than the mesh ones that I was using. My toes got cold, but it wasn’t as bad as it was with the other shoes. There are still some things that I can do to improve the insulating value of the socks by using better socks designed for cold weather.

If you are looking for shoes to use for cycling in cold weather, they don’t need to be the same brand that I chose. They need to have a similar design with a covered toe and enough room for sock layers. They can’t be laced very tight, either, since that would decrease the blood flow to portions of your feet. Another consideration is that the sole of the shoe should not have an aggressive tread since that would not work well with platform pedals. A reasonably flat sole works best, assuming that the pedals have some kind of gripping surface. My platform pedals have studs.

If all of this fails, there is always camouflaged insulated hunting boots.

The Rewards of a Cold Weather Ride

Today I could have jumped into my car to drive a mile to the nearest Starbucks. Instead, I hopped on my bike and rode 11.4 miles from Bedford to Somerville to get my coffee. I celebrated the burning of the calories by eating a blueberry scone with the coffee. It was 35 degrees Fahrenheit with a 30 mile per hour wind.

Hunting with my Father prepared me for these rides. We would get out of bed long before daybreak and dress with many layers. The layers were not especially effective in the temperatures that we experienced. Many times the temperature hovered around zero as we hiked the corn fields in search of game. The constant effort of stepping over corn stalks in fields filled with snow served to keep my blood flowing and eventually to warm my extremities.

As I grew older I became less interested in hunting and the distance grew between my Father and me. Still, on my cold weather rides I often think of the discipline that I developed in the corn fields. Thanks to my Dad, there are lots of things that I can not only endure, but also enjoy.