A Simple Tip to Keep Your Feet Warm
“Once my hands and feet go, it’s all over,” said every other athlete that I’ve worked with and lives in a place that gets a “cold” winter. Here’s a little hack to keep in mind, or to pass on to others and save your ride.
I’ve been riding with winter mountain bike shoes since around 2000, and I highly recommend this as serious consideration your winter cycling footwear. Mine are particularly warm, have great grippy soles if I need to hike or warm up with a coffee, and I don’t have to struggle with booties/shoe covers. However, booties are the next best thing, in my opinion. I’ve logged thousands of miles with booties for sure. And booties with winter boots...single digits! I also have a whole drawer full of Seal Skinz socks (thanks, Seal Skinz!) that are primarily made to be waterproof, but that also makes them windproof and warm.
Of course there’s the guidance that’s often given to make sure you keep your core warm, and this will help to keep your extremities in better shape.
But what happens if you get out there and realize that you underestimated the “real feel?” Or your buddy shoes up with no cold protection for their feet and you want to make sure they both of you can still have a good ride? Or you’re traveling and don’t have your warm gear and want to head out on a rogue cold day?
Here’s a nice little hack that you can use to help keep your feet warm on the cold and windy winter days. I used this once way back in the day, but have seen others clearly embracing this fix out on rides.
It’s very simple: Put your socked feet inside of a plastic bag and then inside your shoe. You can cut off the excess on top or tuck into your tights or leg warmers if it’s long enough.
This technique also has the extra bonus of keeping your feet dry (from the outside at least) from wet weather or puddles. You do need to be careful that if it’s raining or snowing that the precipitation or splashing can get up and over and into the bag. That is definitely something you’ll want to avoid.
I even saw this as a roadside fix. I was out on a cold winter rides with my teammates, and one of them had undressed their feet. We were out in the middle of nowhere, at least 20 miles from any store. I remember he found two plastic shopping bags on the side of the road and created his emergency oversocks. It wasn’t attractive, but we rode for several more hours and he was not uncomfortable enough to have to head home.
This article goes into a little more depth, but it’s not to complicated a concept:
Have you ever done the plastic bag trick?
What’s your best tip for keeping your feet warm?
Post these answers and questions or comments below.
Until next time, may your extremities never cut your ride short.
2/9/2023 04:04:07 pm
I am laid up this winter but found great solace in my cheapo flat bar, flat pedal starter commuter hybrid in winter.
3/1/2023 08:47:19 am
I now use heated insoles from Amazon. I charge them via USB the night before, and if I leave it on the lowest level, I can easily get 4 hrs of warm feet. Before that, I used sandwich bags (fold-over, not zipped) and still carry some as backup sometimes.
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Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.