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Anonymous's picture

OK, again ...

How to get rid of cold feet.

I come back from rides over 30 miles in this weather (25 F) toasty all over, except my face (I can deal) and my toes. My toes are nearly frozen.

I've tried wool socks (with booties), neoprene socks, fleece-lined neoprene socks, neo/fleece with and without wool socks, acorn socks. Always with booties. But my toes are cold to almost numbness.

Now, I know the body diverts blood away from extremities in order to warm it's organs and core. Also, the legs get alot of blood (Really??).

What to do? Hotronics make a battery-powered heated innersole ... Does it work?? Is it 'spensive?

Or should I stop whining and just ride ... ???

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
Stop Whining and Just Ride!

I've tried everything for cold feet with no luck. Booties, 2 pairs of booties, 2 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of booties, still frozen toes. I've seen people with what I think are hotronics and it is not pretty. It is hard for me to imagine pedaling with big bulky things bouncing around against the sides of my calves, I'd rather have cold toes. There is some type of packet-like thing (I believe made by Graber?) that you can put in your shoes under your toes which generate heat. I've heard mixed things about them and it seems most who've tried them give up because it's too much bother.

I've read about other suggestions and talked with people about still more but for the most part, the consensus seems to be: THAT'S LIFE, DEAL WITH IT! Personally, I have resigned myself to that course of action.

Anonymous's picture
Art (not verified)
Grabber Toe Warmers

Yes, the Grabber Toe Warmers work well. They are thin pads with an adhesive back that stick to the outside of your socks. They provide warmth for several hours.

You can buy them at Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and other outdoor shops. A package of three pair is about $4.50. Well worth it for the comfort they provide.


Anonymous's picture
MT (not verified)

They don't work well. They've been around forever, nearly everybody's tried them, and if they were THE solution to cold feet everyone would know it by now.

They stay hot for 20-30 minutes and then they freeze up, until you take them out, rub them up and re-activate.

Save your money. Or buy Lotto tickets.

Tom's right, you gotta live with it. That's it!

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Plastic bags seem to work

In addition to socks and overshoes, I also put on two small plastic shopping bags between the thick sock and the shoe, and it seemed to provide a useful layer that trapped heat inside the shoe. I need to try it on longer rides to see whether it really is the answer, but it looks promising.

The overshoe provides a bit of protection and also prevents you from looking ridiculous with the plastic bag sticking out of the tops of your shoes. In this weather, I think we're entitled to look ridiculous.

I just wish I could stop the contents of my water bottles from icing up.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Double-wall water bottles

"""Polar"" or other brands - the insulation works just as well keeping cold out or keeping it in. Not perfect, but hey.

Hotronics are great. They allow you to ride in _much_ colder conditions than you could without them, and enjoy it. Are they worth the price? Definitely yes if you already have them in your skiboots and only need another set of insoles, but if you have to shell out for insoles, batteries, and a charger, well...

Clip 'em onto the cuff of a winter cycling boot or a velcro strap around the top of a bootie and they don't bounce. 10 minutes after you start riding you forget you're wearing them but the smile just goes on and on and on."

Anonymous's picture
Bob (not verified)

Try a thin fleece sock as a base layer, over this with a Goretex sock used by moutain bikers. Put on a mountain bike shoe and cover with Pearl Izumi Typhoon booties.

You need to make sure that you can wiggle you toes so you don't constrict the circulation.

After much experimentation I have four that this is the only combination that has worked for me.

Anonymous's picture
ScottD (not verified)
Get true winter shoes

I think the core problem for most people is trying to convert or cover their summer shoes for winter riding. Summer shoes are made to breath, which is a bad thing for this time of year. Get a pair of true winter/cyclocross shoes and you should be much happier. Oversize them to allow room for a few layers of your favorite wool or ski socks. Several manufacturers sell these kinds of shoes and VeloNews had a review of them within the past 2 months. Also, have a look at for die-hard winter riding info.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)
Toot Toot Tootsie Good-bye ...

Yeah, I figured. Thanks Tom.

I was hoping for some new idea I hadn’t thought of.

I can do 1-2 hours then … numb! I hesitate to go far. Laps in the park, maybe up to the GWB or RR and back. Forget Piermont/Nyack.

Check out this site I found (searching instead of riding, darnit):


Anonymous's picture
Paul Spraos (not verified)

I can recommend the Heatmax products for feet (and hands). Shake the packet to generate a heat-emitting chemical reaction. Put it inside your shoe above your toes and outside your sock. If you've got room, use a second, looser sock to hold it in place. My toes used to freeze at 35 degrees, now they their icing point is 25.

The heat lasts 3 hours, sometimes more. But the defect rate is quite high, so don't leave home until you're sure they're working.

You can get them in the hunting department at Wal-Mart and similar. Cost about $1.99 for three pairs.

Anonymous's picture
a former editor (not verified)
some basic physics

all the wool in the world won't help your feet stay warm if the blood getting there is already cold.

your legs are two big heat sinks. unless you insulate them enough all heat generated by your torso will dissapate into the air before it gets down to your tooties. cold blood = cold feet. try either better (thicker, windstop, etc.) tights, or try doubling your tights. but if you use any fleece, you gotta use some form of windbreak on them, otherwise they wont work.

me, i use long-ish knickers under my bib tights.

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