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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The snow is falling in southern VT and I am ready to ride. But first, I need suggestions around cold feet. I ride platform pedals and Columbia winter boots with a liner sock and mid weight smart wool sock. If I don't push the bike often I can still get cold feet if temps are below zero. I am wondering if a vapor barrier is the next step? Where can I buy a set? Any other suggestions?
 

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I'm very happy with my Steger Mukluks..

green mt. boy said:
The snow is falling in southern VT and I am ready to ride. But first, I need suggestions around cold feet. I ride platform pedals and Columbia winter boots with a liner sock and mid weight smart wool sock. If I don't push the bike often I can still get cold feet if temps are below zero. I am wondering if a vapor barrier is the next step? Where can I buy a set? Any other suggestions?
I've been using Steger Mukluks, www.mukluks.com , for 10 years in Alaska. Sometimes, you just need to get off for a few minutes and jog with your bike to warm up, that's an unfortunate fact of very cold weather. Some of the Columbia "winter boots" that I have seen are just lightly insulated hiking boots with rubber bottoms... not good.

A vapor barrier can be a bad idea, because the VB socks trap moisture next to your skin and wet flesh freezes much faster than dry flesh. If you get your feet cold while wearing VB socks, it may be difficult to get your feet warm again. Some folks use VB socks, but I suggest trying them out cautiously until you figure out what works well for you.

Happy trails,

Mike

Susitna 100
Race Across Frozen Alaska
 

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cold feets

Mile is right, VB socks are not always the solution. I've had bad luck with rubber winter boots, as in your Columbias. Not sure what it is, but it feels like the rubber just gets colder than other materials. My Sorels have the same problem when I'm running the dogs, and it may just be that my feet are sweating and the rubber makes them cold pretty fast. Try another boot just to see if it makes a difference.

Also, think circulation over insulation. You'll hear it alot on this site, but making sure you have good blood flow is crucial to warm feet. I use both oversized boots (3 sizes too big) and all-weather Nike shoes (1 size bigger), and don't have any problems.

Good luck,
Pat
 

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I agree with the above. But I'm also posting in defense of VB socks. I love 'em. Except if you are doing much walking, then they will turn your feet to mush in loose shoes. Here's what I've done to make the VB stuff work: I wear two layers under the VB and one layer over. Under the VB I use a liner sock and a light weight merino wool sock; over the VB I use a heavy weight wool or capiline sock. I had to add the extra mid to light weight sock under the VB to keep the sweat from pooling. My feet and the socks are moist but not wet. I am comfortable for hours this way and the moisture spreads out in the inner layers so they feel damp, but not wet, even after a full day. You never want your feet wet in the VB just sorta damp on the inner layers. I use the VB in part becasue my feet sweat a lot and the VB keeps my outer insulating layers dry. Without the VB all my layers and even into my shoes end up full of moisture. With the VB the outer layers are always dry. It is not for everyone and it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it to work right. But I wouldn't ride without the VB now, in fact this winter I'm fiddling with using a VB on my upper body. Having said all that I still agree with Mike and Pat, it took me over a year to really get the VB dialed, so I can't say it is a quick fix. I would not immediately recommend a VB for everyone, becasue if it goes wrong you end up really cold. Get your shoe and sock combo working first, then add the VB as an extra layer of protection, don't expect the VB to make a bad set of shoes work, but you can expect them to make good shoes better. But you need to put in the time to figure out how to make them work and don't force them to work because what you may figure out is that they don't work for you.
Good luck.

Adam
 

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One additional tip that really seems to help me keep my feet warmer is to remember to insulate your legs well. Warm blood from your heart has a long way to travel to reach your toes, especially if you have long legs and large feet (47 here). Windfront panels with good insulation help maintain a warm conduit, otherwise no matter how well insulated your boots may be, cold blood will never warm up cold toes.

Rando
 

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Maine proven

I use the MXZ300 from Lake. Get them one size larger than your regular shoe. I've ridden very comfortably on 10 / 20 degree F days. My first ride was at -8F and it was "bearable". If all else fails get electric insoles for about $90. Great for spring riding too, waterproof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the info

I took a pair LaCrosse boots to Alaska in 2000. I added a set of felt liners to the liner sock and wool socks which worked well. The soles had a layer of insulation between the soles and the boot. Unfortunately, I wore out those and went to the Columbias. I may add thicker socks but pass on the VB as we have wet snow here. Also, great point about warm legs as I tend to run it close on the layers. Thanks again from a Vermonter raised in Southern California
 

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Rubber boots

Since we're on the subjest, has anyone else had problems with rubber boots like Columbia, Sorel, etc?
I was breaking trail in my Sorels this week down below our house and was reminded why I don't use this type for winter riding. My feet get cool pretty quick, and all I can figure is they don't breathe worth a hoot and the rubber stays cold, conducting that cold inward. I can do the same walk in my $39 Cabela's leather/nylon/Thinsulate boot and be nice and toasty. The Sorel's are at least a -20 boot. Is it me or do others have the same experience?
Hope everyone had a fat & happy thanksgiving.
Pat
 
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