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Winter Edition: Top tips for keeping your feet warm on the bike

Cold feet can turn any cycle into a miserable slog. Your feet get cold for a number of reasons. When your core temperature drops, your body diverts warming blood flow away from your extremities and to warm your core. Stiff soled cycling shoes attached to metal pedals also act as heat sinks, effectively draining warmth from your feet. They’re also right in the firing line of spray off the road, meaning you could be in for a cold and wet ride.

Overshoes or Winter-Ready Booties

Heavy duty, insulated and waterproof overshoes are your primary weapon against cold feet. You can buy them in a variety of materials and designs but the most important thing is that they fit well with minimal gaps and openings. Look for models which cover a decent proportion of the sole of your shoe, with just a gap for the heel and cleat.

Booties are essentially a combination of shoes and overshoes made to offer a winter specific product. If you’re going to be putting in significant winter miles these can definitely make more sense than trying to winter proof your summer shoes.

Mudguards

As mentioned above, your feet can often be in the firing line of spray up from the road. If you can prevent yourself getting wet feet, half the battle against cold feet is won. Full mudguards can make a massive difference - as well as foot comfort in the winter, your ride mates will thank you too.

Warm before you ride

There's nothing to say you can start your spin off with warm feet. We've often recommended warming your socks and shoes on the radiator. Starting off with dry feet is essential to keeping your feet warm during your rides.

Choose your socks wisely

Don’t go for the thickest wooliest sock you can find as this may end up constricting your feet. Merino offers great insulation for its weight, wicks superbly and even continues to insulate when wet. Waterproof socks are another option and, if your shoes allow, thin liner socks give another layer of warmth. Socks that come well up your calves or even up to your knees are a good idea. Your calves are not especially active when cycling and can easily become chilled and any sort of gap around your ankles will chill you rapidly.

Check for vents

Many manufacturers design cycling shoes with summer in mind as they can often be used in rainy climates. This means they often comes with vents to allow air and drainage.  If you’re using summer shoes under overshoes, spend some time with some tape covering up the vents and drainage holes.

Foot warmers

Disposable chemical foot warmers have an adhesive surface to keep them in place in your shoes and typically give 4-5 hours worth of gentle warmth. They’re available for outdoors retailers but, costing about £2 per pair, if you’re riding regularly the cost will soon add up. That said, if you really suffer from cold feet, for long rides they’re definitely worth a try.

These are all some of the top tips we've gathered from years of cycling. People regulate their blood differently throughout their body so some tips may work better than others but following some of these is sure to help improve any cold feet situation.


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