Heated socks vs winter shoes for cold winter LSD

Does anyone have experience with the pros and cons of a dedicated winter road shoe vs. a heated sock and normal shoes?



I’ve tried multiple layers of high-quality windproof and thermal booties wrapped around the outside of my road shoe, with various socks and even toe warmers stuffed into my shoes, even with bigger shoes to avoid circulation issues. It ends up being a bit cumbersome. I am just very prone to numb toes, probably due to inherently poor circulation in my toes.

I’ve heard it said that the weight of a heavy shoe can sometimes wear on a rider after awhile, but it can’t be much more weight than what I’ve described above with the multiple layers. And if I can feel the heating element in the heated socks enough that it causes irritation, that would not work either, especially for long rides.

Thanks for any experiences and pros/cons of both.

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Cold winter LSD

No longer necessary to suffer these since the invent of the indoor trainer!
Now you can enjoy warm toasty toes as you suffer a much different torment. :tired_face:

Just think of it as Rocky-esque training. Once those summer shoes go on, you’ll be flying! Same as how Bjarne Riis used to fill a water bottle with 5lbs of rocks when he did mountain training (or maybe it was 5lbs of EPO…I forget, it was a long time ago).

Summer is over, stay warm!

I tried everything when I rode in the winter at 5 degrees F in Virginia. What worked for me was heated insoles (battery powered by 30seven) inside winter shoes (Specialized Defroster). This was way warmer than much heavier winter boots. I never had cold feet. The same went for heated gloves from 30seven. I just used regular socks and didn’t need multiple layers. Now I live in Arizona and it isn’t much of a problem in the winter

I’ve bought winter boots (mavic) for exactly the same reason, too much faff using multiple layers. I also get numb toes/feet. The winter boots help, and are much easier to put on (and take off, to free your frozen feet as quickly as possible). They are also water proof, which again is good, unless it is raining, in which case the water runs in and stays in (but they’re still warmer than the multi layer system). I don’t notice the weight, they feel a bit stiffer, but you forget about it quickly. If it’s really cold, I still need to get off and walk round to imrpove circulation every hour or so. I had plans of adding heat patches or heated insoles, but not done that yet.

I have the Northwave winter shoes and absolutely love them. Can’t remember the last time I had cold feet on a ride! Especially when paired with a pair of merino socks. I’ve never noticed the extra weight when riding either.

Never tried the alternative but I would definitely recommend winter shoes for cold riding

What temperatures are you talking about and are you dealing with rain as well?

I have ankle length winter boots similar to your link. They’re a lot warmer than regular shoes with any combo of socks and covers I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot!). I think because they’re fully sealed, whereas regular shoes are vented, and even with a cover there’s still quite a bit of air getting in and out. Problem is that if it’s wet enough then water gets in the top of the boots and then has nowhere to go, so on wet days you also need waterproof overtrousers or else you end up with feet sloshing around. Have tried various garters and water-resistant bibs (e.g. the Sportful NoRain range) they delay the water getting in but if it’s wet enough it finds it’s way in there eventually. I do long rides down to freezing temperatures with no problems, just with regular socks. Doesn’t really get much below freezing where I live (UK) and when it does I tend to stay off the roads anyway because of ice. Never tried heated socks, seems like just one more thing to go wrong, it’s bad enough having to keep on top of the batteries for my Garmin, power meter, Di2 and lights without adding any more electrics!

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I’ve had good experiences with the following:

northwave goretex boots
waterproof overshoes over the top
waterproof bib tights, fastened over the top of the overshoes so that the water cant run in to the shoes

I’ll spend 3 weeks in Québec on Christmas and will ride my fatbike as usual.

With outdoor workouts, I could continue my (base) plan for the first time. I’m considering taking my Garmin vector 3 powermeter pedals with me for the trip.

I usually wear big winter boots with flat pedals and my feet are ok on my 60-90 minutes rides at < 0F (often -20C).

I won’t be able to wear my boots with SPD pedals and have a similar question (thanks @8Jason8 for bringing the subject, hope not to hijack your post !) :

  • Are heated socks/insoles effectives ?
  • Could it be sufficient to use with my summer shoes with added full neoprene cover ?

If not, are classics winter cycling shoes warm enough for such extreme cold?

I know cold feeling is highly different for everyone, but if you have experience on riding in such conditions, it would be very appreciated !

@zMax One possible suggestion here would be to use a flat pedal adapter with the vector 3s and use your existing shoe setup that you know works. What I don’t know is what impact (if any) adapters like that might have on the power accuracy of the vectors.

However, it seems like the cheapest option and you know you won’t freeze your toes!

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Use Mushrooms in the winter not LSD. :wink:

That’s an amazing idea, thanks for sharing ! I just checked some adapter and this could work well for long sweetspot intervals.

I’m not sure it’s good enough for bursts/vo2max intervals. On higher intensity, being unable to pull up stokes would be missing.

Still, if I’m unsure of the gear I should buy, this seems a great alternative !

EDIT : I just found shoes strap that match plateforme adapters. This allows to push and pull the pedals and mitigates the downside I mentioned.

The range of cold weather riding shoes/boots cover everything down to expedition riding in the snow (45Nrth Wolfgar). So you’ll be able to find a set of footwear that will fit your needs. I’d go this route vs relying on heated socks, as it’s one more thing to go wrong while riding, or one more battery to charge before you go out.

I have the 45nrth Wolfhammers, and FWIW, I don’t notice the weight of the boot too much.

You didn’t say the temperatures you were riding in, but if not much below freezing is the coldest and you have SPD pedals, the following may work:


Is there any good winter shoe options that use the 3 bolt cleat pattern for use with road cleats. I have P1’s and also use them as my PM in the winter.

I have the Northwave Fahrenheit which are three bolt. However, these seem to have been replaced by the Northwave Flash which seem to come in 2 weights. I can’t comment on how good the Flash but I very much like the Fahrenheit.

Both of these options are really good but as mentioned, you’ll struggle to find the fahrenheit anymore.

I’ve used both and the flash feels a bit more like a shoe than a boot, which is a good thing, because of the soft neoprene around the ankle

both models come in a standard and arctic model, the latter having extra insulation

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I ride with both the Wolvhammer’s and the Ragnarok’s. It’s the only way to do cold weather.

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I have some Japanther winter shoes. I have thought about selling them and getting the new version because of a fit issue, but as far as warmth goes, they are great. I have ridden 200km in them when the temperature never got above 20F and my feet were warm the whole time. I also have some Wulfhammers, but I don’t need them on the road and I’m not riding much in the woods any more

I used to have a pair of Sidi road winter boots, and now I have the MTB version instead. I ride indoors a lot over the winter here but sometimes I just need to get outside.

I prefer the MTB version because walking in road shoes/cleats is enough of an adventure in the summer, given winter conditions MTB shoes are just more useful to me, plus I can make use of them on any of my bikes if need be.