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.

3 thoughts on “Shoes for Cold Weather Cycling

  1. A few years ago, I bought a pair of toe covers for biking shoes, meant to cover the front end of your shoes whether you clip in or not (they have holes in the bottom to accommodate clips). I don’t bike in cold weather all that much anymore, but I remember that they helped when I did. I just looked at them now and can’t decipher the brand. There’s a P involved. Performance? I also own a pair of rain shoe covers that help if you get caught in a real downpour on a bike tour. They may also help with cold as well.

    1. There is yet another solution for cold toes: toe warmers. Air-activated toe warmers with an adhesive backing claim to provide heat for up to 6 hours inside a shoe with sealed toes. The adhesive is used to stick them to your socks either under or over your toes. Amazingly, the active ingredients are environmentally friendly. One brand is Grabber Warmers grabberworld.com

  2. Thanks Ed. I have tried every type of foot covering to keep my toes from becoming blocks. Steel toe work boots, old basketball sneaker and down boots with varying degrees of success. I even tried wet suit booties inside my sneakers. I found the best result was my LL Bean Duck Boots.

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