winter socks

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
bongo
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Location: Scotland

winter socks

Postby bongo » 1 Jan 2021, 6:12pm

Hello,
Got back to cycling early lockdown. Wanting to ride through winter and so far not too bad. In Scotland so regularly 2-4c riding weather(cold enough for me!) and getting out fairly regularly road conditions permitting.
Have gradually had to add layers to body which has worked ok, though chest does still sometimes get chilly despite 3 layers. Remaining problem is cold feet. Have decent shoes and woolen everyday non-cycling socks but still needs something else. Had a search about but the options seem so varied and a bit of a minefield. Don't fancy those bootee type things I've seen on more serious riders which I think are windproof type overshoes? is there a simple solution anyone could recommend? Not really room for bulky second pair of socks.

Thanks and happy 2021.

Eyebrox
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Re: winter socks

Postby Eyebrox » 1 Jan 2021, 6:19pm

Merino wool socks and mountain bike style (looser) overshoes. Can I suggest a Gore Winds topper base layer to keep your chest protected. I cycle in Scotland all year round and found these items to be essential - along with a balaclava.

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horizon
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Re: winter socks

Postby horizon » 1 Jan 2021, 6:22pm

bongo wrote: Have decent shoes and woolen everyday non-cycling socks but still needs something else.



A lot of cycling shoes have mesh panels which don't help IMV! I find overshoes a real faff and, again IMV, shouldn't be needed if the shoes were OK.

Sealskinz do these winter socks which might be of interest:

https://www.sealskinz.com/products/wate ... ength-sock
Last edited by horizon on 1 Jan 2021, 6:24pm, edited 1 time in total.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

roubaixtuesday
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Re: winter socks

Postby roubaixtuesday » 1 Jan 2021, 6:22pm

Overshoes are very good.

But if you really don't fancy them, waterproof socks make a huge difference over standard socks.

I have sealskinz, I think they do them in different thicknesses.

Boring_Username
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Re: winter socks

Postby Boring_Username » 1 Jan 2021, 6:23pm

If using clipless pedals it's hard to beat overshoes for warmth but if you don't like them you could consider flat pedals and walking shoes with chunky soles

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horizon
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Re: winter socks

Postby horizon » 1 Jan 2021, 6:30pm

roubaixtuesday wrote:Overshoes are very good.

But if you really don't fancy them, waterproof socks make a huge difference over standard socks.

I have sealskinz, I think they do them in different thicknesses.


Overshoes do work (and well) but I find the hassle of getting them on and off too much, although getting a large enough pair was possibly the issue initially. One curious aspect of overshoes is that I found that if you walked in them too much, you would wear the underside out quite quickly - there may be an answer to that but so far it has eluded me. I've now got SPD/flat pedals on my bike for winter and will switch to normal boots if this weather continues.

Otherwise agree 100% - Sealskinz are the cyclist's friend. :)
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Boring_Username
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Re: winter socks

Postby Boring_Username » 1 Jan 2021, 6:38pm

horizon wrote:
roubaixtuesday wrote:Overshoes do work (and well) but I find the hassle of getting them on and off too much, although getting a large enough pair was possibly the issue initially.


One thought, I have two types: closer fitting overshoes with a zip at the back and slightly looser fitting overshoes with two flaps which join with velcro at the back.

True roadies would probably look down on the velcro type, but I find them much easier and faster to get on and off.

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mjr
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Re: winter socks

Postby mjr » 1 Jan 2021, 6:45pm

Toe covers work well enough for me until it is so cold that I am riding a studded tyre bike in army-pattern boots.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Cyclewala
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Re: winter socks

Postby Cyclewala » 1 Jan 2021, 9:18pm

I put overshoes onto the shoes in late Nov and they stay mounted until early-mid March.

The key to avoid premature wear underneath is to wear SPD type shoes so the elastic panel sits in the recess between the heel and the ball of the foot. If you do any prolonged walking, lift the toe section up so it sits on top of the foot.

I've just thrown out a pair of overshoes that I have used for year round commuting since 2010. I could have fixed the velcro and a couple rips and got another couple of years out of them, but they owed me nowt.

Edit: on another forum, several members have bought the Planet X Das Boot and have said some positive things about using them in the cold. Might be worth a punt at £70.

Cyclewala
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Re: winter socks

Postby Cyclewala » 1 Jan 2021, 9:25pm

Another thing that helps is full mudguards with a flap.

The front wheel throws back lots of cold air as it rolls round and round and this falls into the direction of the feet. Mudguards deflect this airflow.

JohnW
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Re: winter socks

Postby JohnW » 2 Jan 2021, 12:46am

Beware of having shoes too tight. I have half-size bigger shoes for wearing heavy woollen socks - having shoes too tight can affect blood circulation and cause cold feet. I come from a time when CTC was a big cycling family, and the 'old guys' knew a thing or two - from experience - and this was one of the bits of good advice they passed on to me. From my own experience, I found they were right. I also find that wool socks are warmest.

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mjr
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Re: winter socks

Postby mjr » 2 Jan 2021, 11:06am

JohnW wrote:Beware of having shoes too tight. I have half-size bigger shoes for wearing heavy woollen socks - having shoes too tight can affect blood circulation and cause cold feet.

Also it squashes the air out of some thick socks and reduces their insulating effect. It's often the trapped air pockets that keep you warm.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

JohnW
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Re: winter socks

Postby JohnW » 2 Jan 2021, 12:20pm

mjr wrote:
JohnW wrote:Beware of having shoes too tight. I have half-size bigger shoes for wearing heavy woollen socks - having shoes too tight can affect blood circulation and cause cold feet.

Also it squashes the air out of some thick socks and reduces their insulating effect. It's often the trapped air pockets that keep you warm.

Yup...........

bongo
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Re: winter socks

Postby bongo » 2 Jan 2021, 2:10pm

Cheers for all the helpful replies.

I have ordinary MTB flat pedals and use waterproof or regular lightweight walking shoes to cycle in, both have a bit of room. Tried many shoe options but these are best for me for comfort and weather protection and grip, and sensible price. I'm a hillwalker too so my kit is often dual purpose. I like to keep things simple if I can. Think the overshoe option is not for me somehow.

Think I'll give the merino wool socks a try first - again vast array of possibilities, would 80% wool content be adequate/recommended? Would you go regular pair with inner pair of merino if room? or just the merino socks? The negatives on the squash factor was mentioned. I'll experiment.

The sealskinz might be worth a try next but at £40 a pair, yikes. May keep an eye out for a sale. Not heard of toe covers, so will look at those if the merino doesn't work.

Thanks Eyebrox for the Gore Winds chest protector suggestion, will have a think about that. Have to dig my old motorbike balaclava out of the garage if it gets colder, right now using a makeshift buff.

Bit reluctant to buy anything pricey especially at present with lockdown as not really fond of buying clothing online (yes I know you can return), like to at least see and feel or best try on before buying.

Thanks again.

thirdcrank
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Re: winter socks

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Jan 2021, 2:22pm

You seem to be setting impossible criteria.

I'd say that different socks in the same shoes are unlikely to make a noticeable improvement and if they are any thicker are likely to make things worse. Once you have eschewed overshoes, then bigger shoes + thicker socks or two pairs thin socks, must be the only way.