I cannot keep my toes warm below 50 degrees

Yep, not even talking low,low temps like some of you guys live in where 45 degrees is considered a nice day. I’ve tried every trick I’ve ever read or heard:

Toe covers
Shoe covers
Thermal shoe covers
Wool socks
Cheap wool socks
Expensive wool socks
Alpaca wool socks
Merino wool socks
Did I mention wool socks?
Chemical warmers on bottom of socks
chemical warmers on top of socks
chemical warmers on top of shoe but under toe or shoe covers
tin foil around toes
plastic bags around toes
Those little “Hot Sockee” neoprene toe covers.
Tape up every hole in your shoes
combinations of all of the above

None of it matters. After an hour of riding in 40-50 degree weather(sunny or not) my feet are done. The rest of my body is fine. Warm fingers, face, body, etc. No discomfort anywhere else. Heck I can go skiing for 8 hours with frozen snot and still have warm feet, but not cycling.

I’m not talking sub zero fat biking in the snow here. I just want to go outside on slightly chilly, but otherwise beautiful dry days where I have 2-3 hours to myself and need the mental refresh of actually being outside.

I guess next of the list is battery powered heated socks.

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How tight and how stiff are your shoes? Do you have any problems when it’s warmer (like numb toes after a while)? Could have to do with pressure spots on your feet.

I have the exact same issue. Sunday was in the high 30s F but dry and I had numb toes despite the rest of me being toasty warm. I bought a pair of winter cycling shoes (Fizik Artica R5’s) that should arrive this week to hopefully help the issue. Sometimes I think the issue might be that the sole of the shoe is just too thin and conductive. So no matter what I do to mitigate the convection (air movement with covers and such) the shoe itself is just too cold for my feet to hold any heat. I’m hoping the winter focused shoes make a difference.

Absolutely zero issues any warmer. No hot spots, no pressure spots. I mean if I could wear my cycling shoes to work I would they are so comfy.

As for space/tightness. I would say space with a wool sock is adequate, not tight or loose.

Good point about the sole. Never thought of it that way. I’ve been eyeing getting a pair of “winter” shoes like the Fizik also lately, but when I read about them everyone is like “I wear these at 0 degrees!” and I just feel like it would be overkill for 45 ya know?

Certainly would be better than having to fool with stupid shoe and toe covers.

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I broke down and bought Shimano winter shoes a few years ago. They are incredibly heavy but oh so toasty.

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Yeah I read reviews like that also. But I’ve also read a ton of people saying “I don’t even put toe cover on till it hits 40F.” Which I can’t do. I have family history on both sides of Reynaud’s so I don’t have good circulation in my extremities. So maybe I have to go a bit more hardcore than some to solve the issue.

I’ll try to remember to come back to this thread with my experience when they come in.

Mizuno recently came out with socks that generate heat called the Breath Thermo. They also incorporate the material into hats, shirts and other clothing. It’s pretty amazing as once it senses water (sweat) it generates heat. Our store has some and some of the riders recently using them said they seem to really work well.

+1 for Shimano winter boots. I too get cold toes/feet and I put these on whenever it goes below 50, then there is a progression of socks as well.

50*= regular sock
low 40s= thick sock
30s= thick sock + regular sock under

Get riding boots. They ain’t roadie cool but they are a lot warmer.

I’m old and get cold. Lake mtn boots took my tolerable temps from 40 down into the mid 20s. When we ride sub 20 degree (rare) everything is gonna get cold and it’s HTFU time.

Am still looking for the perfect gloves for cold winter mtn biking. Various lobsters and such just a bit lacking for finger tips.

I’ll be happy to HTFU right to my trainer and heated garage long before I ever ride that low. But props to you :slight_smile:


I’d try loosening the shoes just to see how it goes.

I’ve really had to adjust after getting Boa shoes. I start off with the shoes super loose and my fit will swell enough to fill them up over the course of a ride.

Anyway, I used to ride in 35-40F, and I’d do wool socks, foil, my thickest booties and my toes would still be frozen after 60-90 minutes. I experimented with chemical toe warmers and they helped a bit.

My next step was going to be dedicated winter shoes but we moved out of the frozen north.

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OP, is it possible you don’t have enough on your legs?

I was thinking about this yesterday as my feet started to get cold at the end of a 2hr ride at 30deg. I had on my Lake 303’s and wool socks but only one layer on my legs, Pactimo thermal windproof bib tights.

I remember hearing/reading something about how you’re supposed to use knee warmers below 60deg even though your knees might not feel cold. Something about less nerves or something in the lower legs. I dunno, coulda been some ‘bro science’ somewhere but make sense, loosing heat in the legs and not noticing it…


So about a year or so ago I asked myself that same question in temps 55-65 and cold toes(not ride ending cold, just noticeable) where I would wear knee warmers with regular bibs. I switched to full length leg warmers(non-insulated) for riding anything less than ~62 and it pretty much fixed the issue.

Anything lower than 55 I put on my full length Rapha core Winter tights (so fleece lined) as it’s the heaviest thing I have, and seems to be well regarded for the range I’m using them in.

So I guess it’s possible I need more/better leg coverage than what I’m getting from these bibs.

I went through Chemotherapy last year which saw me with permanently cold feet. They were most comfortable on the bike despite commuting through temperature just below freezing (circa 30-32deg F) for an hour each way. I found blocking the wind was the key for me. Closing the shoe vents, thick wind proof and waterproof over shoes, good biblongs which fitted tight round the ankles and preferably had wind blocking material and any winter socks I had to hand. On the really cold days a summer pair under them. It was also handy to have a dry pair of socks for the ride home.

The glove equivalent of not-cool riding boots is pogies! They are mega-dork flashing signs but they will never leave you cold.

Just to reiterate the points mentioned earlier as every little bit helps…

  • wear knee or leg warmers, or full tights with better warmer materials
  • loosen straps/boa on shoes
  • try different soles

Next make sure your body core is warm as it will help circulate the blood flow to the extremities to your hands and feet. Find a good hill usually short to medium length as it will help test the coverage.

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I know :slight_smile: Just can’t quite get to that point.

In the mid-atlantic USA area its only a few days a year of really dumb cold and I can only get out on weekends for mtn biking. In retirement, I think Pogies will happen…

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Done, always below ~62 these days. Suggestions on “better material”?

Done, has no effect

Care to elaborate or make suggestions?

need advice on good gloves for the winter, hands get so darn cold