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Category Archives: Cycling Footwear

Cycling shoes, winter boots, toe covers, snow covers, insoles

Winter Cycling: How To Keep Your Feet Warm

Note: This is the sixth installment in a series of articles on winter cycling. I hope to have the entire series finished by November and then publish it as a free PDF book that you can download from this website (the working title is, A Guide To Winter Cycling”).

No one wants to have cold feet during a winter bike ride. Fortunately, there are so many ways to keep your toes warm that you shouldn’t ever have a problem regardless of the temperature. In this article I am going to present several options that you can try during winter rides. We are going to start with keeping your feet warm in mild weather and work our way down to temperatures far below freezing.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks For Winter Cyclists

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks

Winter Cycling Socks: I hate to state the obvious, but the easiest way to keep your feet warm is to wear thicker socks. Wool socks are available at just about every sporting goods store in America, but the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are not just any wool socks—they are designed for winter athletes and are probably the most comfortable wool socks you will ever find. These socks are made of 71% merino wool, 28% nylon, and 1% Lycra. Merino wool is extremely warm, naturally anti-bacterial, doesn’t retain odors, and does a fantastic job of wicking away moisture from your feet. These socks have a good layer of cushioning under the feet which should make for blister-free riding. They also have a bit of arch compression so they fit well without ever feeling sloppy. They are also they only cycling socks I own that have markings so you can distinguish between the left and right socks. Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks come in several sizes, from Small through X-Large and seem to be true to size. However, they are not cheap—they retail for around $18 a pair.

The only socks that I will wear for “heart of winter” cycling are the DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks. These socks are advertised as being “multi-purpose” and I think that any cyclist, runner, skier, hiker, snowboarder or snowshoer would really enjoy them. These socks are made of high quality Merino wool and while they have thick padding on the soles, they are not bulky (DeFeet calls it mid-weight cushioning). Even after four or five hours of exercising in the snow these socks are still warm and dry. DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks are not cheap either—they retail for $16 a pair for the 4″ cuff and $17 for the 6″ cuff. These socks are available in four sizes (S, M, L, and XL) and in my opinion they are a bit smaller than advertised. Since these socks are unisex in design, you might want to consult the DeFeet Website if you have any questions about sizing.

Planet Bike Dasher Windproof Toe Covers

Planet Bike Dasher Windproof Toe Covers

Toe Covers (worn over your shoes): Toe warmers are intended to allow you to ride in cool weather with your summer cycling shoes. I own at least a dozen pair of toe warmers for my cycling shoes—some good, some bad, some worthless. In my opinion, the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers are the absolute best toe covers you can buy! What makes the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers so great? Well, they started with a windproof fabric on the outside coupled with a microfleece lining on the inside. By itself, this is nothing special—nearly every brand of toe covers has a similar fabric. What makes these toe covers stand out is the elastic heel strap that keeps these covers in place. Most toe covers are held in place by an elastic band around the end of the cover. Most elastic bands suffer form one of two problems: either they are so tight you can’t get them over your shoe or they are so loose they won’t stay on. The heel strap on the Dasher allows the cover to easily slide onto your shoe and then keeps it in place as you ride.

The bottom of the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers have cut-out guides for both SPD and road cleats (I use Look Keo cleats). If you own both type of cleats you could use the larger road cleat cut-out area for both pair of shoes. However, I would suggest you just buy another pair of the Dasher toe covers because the larger cut-out area for the road cleats leaves very little of the bottom of the cover left. When you cut out the area for an SPD cleat you will have a lot of the thick bottom part of the Dasher covering the treads of your MTB shoes—the material on the bottom of the Dasher is thick enough so that this will not be a problem. Some toe covers are so thin that the bottom side of the cover wears out with just a few weeks of use. Planet Bike offers these toe covers in five different sizes (most companies offer only two). The small cover will fit a man’s size 6.5 shoe (40 European) and the XXL will fit a man’s 12.5 shoe (47 European). Planet Bike has a size chart available on their Web site if you are not sure what size you need. The Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers retail for $27.

Gator Sports Neoprene Tip Toe Covers for winter biking

Gator Sports Neoprene Tip Toe Covers

Toe Covers (worn over your socks): Most toe covers sold in bike shops are designed to fit over your cycling shoes and they work great. However, if your toes are still cold you ought to try a pair of Neoprene Tip Toe Covers by the Gator Sports. Tip Toe Covers are designed to be worn inside of your shoes—either under your socks or over them. I think the best way to wear Tip Toe Covers is over a polypropylene sock liner and under your normal winter cycling socks. The polypropylene sock liner will wick moisture away from your skin while the neoprene in the Tip Toe Covers will help keep the heat in. Tip Toe Covers are very lightweight and stretchable, which is a good thing since they only come in one size (one size fits all). After having used Tip Toe Covers on many cold weather rides it seems to me that they warm up my toes about 10 degrees more than they would be without them. Tip Toe Covers are not the only cold weather gear your feet need, but I think every cyclist ought to own a pair. Neoprene Tip Toe Covers sell for $9 a pair.

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

Sock Liners: If you run or ride a bike outside in cold weather you’ve probably heard that you should wear a second pair of socks to keep your feet warm. Under some circumstances this might be a good idea, but for most people it is horrible advice. Unless your shoes are too big to begin with, a second pair of socks will impede the circulation in your feet—which will make your feet feel colder than they would be with just a single pair of socks. Instead of a second pair of socks I would suggest you try RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks.

RedHead liner socks are made with Thermolite, a material created by the scientists at DuPont, and it is a comfortable, lightweight but heavy-duty fabric that provides warmth without extra weight, even when it is wet. This fabric has hollow-core fibers that trap air for greater insulation and it dries 50% faster than cotton. Thermolite fabric quickly wicks moisture away from the skin to help prevent chaffing and blisters. Since the fabric is so thin you will probably not even notice that you have them on. I use this brand of sock liners for all of my outdoor winter activities, from cycling or snowshoeing to just running the snow blower in the driveway. RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks retail for $5 a pair. Redhead is the in-house brand of outdoor gear for Bass Pros Shops, so you will have to either visit one of their stores or their Website to buy this product. These liners are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XL). The small liner is designed to fit a woman’s size 4–6 shoe, and the XL liner with fit a man’s size 12–15.

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers for winter cycling

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers

Chemical Toe Warmers: Chemical warmers are made by several companies, such as HotHands and Grabber. Though the exact ingredients in these warmers vary depending on the manufacturer, they all basically have the same ingredients: Iron powder, salt, water, activated charcoal and vermiculite (or cellulose). To activate these chemical warmers all you have to do is expose them to air by removing them for their packaging (sometimes you have to shake the packs for a few seconds). Once out of the package these products warm up in 15 to 30 minutes and can stay warm for four or five hours. These products are almost always advertised as being good for seven or eight hours, and under ideal circumstances they might, but that has not been my experience with most of them. Chemical toe warmers stick to the bottom of your socks with self-adhesive tape and they are so thin that you will probably never even know they are there (but you will benefit from them).

3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles

3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles

Thermal Insoles: As the temperature keeps dropping you finally start looking for something else to help keep your feet warm. 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles are a fantastic, yet inexpensive, way to have warm and happy feet during long bike rides in the winter. These insoles are composed of four layers. First, there is an abrasion-resistant antimicrobial layer on the top to help keep odors down and wick moisture away. Under this is a layer of comfortable memory foam, followed by a layer of Thinsulate polyester fiber insulation that does a wonderful job of keeping your feet warm by trapping air molecules between the bottom of your feet and the cruel weather outside. The bottom layer acts somewhat like a shock absorber and has additional antimicrobial and moisture wicking properties. I have no way of measuring for certain, but based upon my experience I think these insoles increase the internal temperature of my shoes by at least 10 to 15 degrees. 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles are available at many sporting goods stores, such as Cabela’s, Dick’s Sport Goods, Bass Pro Shops and REI. While this product is usually marketed to hunters and hikers, I think any winter cyclist would love to have a pair of these insoles. These insoles are available for women’s sizes from 5–12 and for men’s sizes from 7–14. These insoles sell for around $20 a pair.

Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers

Planet Bike Comet Full Neoprene Shoe Covers

Shoe Covers: Several companies offer excellent shoe covers for cyclists, but the one I would recommend for temperatures from 25 to 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) is the Planet Bike Comet Shoe Cover. These covers are made of neoprene and offer great wind and water resistance. Neoprene is the same material used in wetsuits and not only is it waterproof, but it offers excellent insulation. These covers will fit almost any cleat/pedal platform you can throw at it. I’ve used these covers on my MTB shoes with Crank Brothers Egg Beater cleats and on my road shoes with Look Keo cleats. The bottom of these covers is made of a very rugged material, so you don’t have to worry if you run into a convenience store while out on a long ride. In the winter my MTB shoes have toe spikes and there is enough room between the toe box retention strap and the front of the shoe cover for these toe spikes to fit in easily. Planet Bike offers these shoe covers in five different sizes. The small cover will fit a man’s size 6.5 shoe (40 European) and the XXL will fit a man’s 11.5+ shoe (46+ European). Planet Bike has a size chart available on their Website if you are not sure what size you need. I have found the listed sizes to be accurate, but if you are on the border between two sizes go for the larger one (tight clothing in the winter is a very bad idea). I wear size 11.5 cycling shoes and these covers fit perfectly and have a bit of room to spare. Nearly every other brand of shoe cover I have ever purchased was too small to fit my feet (the Bike Nashbar brand shoe covers run about two sizes smaller than advertised). Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers retail for around $40.

Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers for winter bike rides

Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers

If you are looking for one of the warmest shoe covers on the market, I would suggest you try the Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers. This shoe cover is made of a windproof fabric with microfleece lining and a neoprene front panel around the toe box. While all suggested temperature ranges for winter clothing will vary from cyclist to cyclist, I would recommend them for temperatures from 20 to 35 degrees (Fahrenheit). Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers have a retail price of $45.

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Winter Cycling Boots: Several companies make winter cycling boots, but since I have wide feet the only ones I can wear are the Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots. The MXZ303 is a high-end winter boot constructed with a three-part front cover made of water-repellent Pittards WR100 leather, 3M Thinsulate insulation in the toe box, Thermasol insoles, and a Vibram rubber sole that makes walking on snow and ice an easy task. This boot has a side mounted Push/Pull BOA Closure lacing system so you can cinch it up with just one hand. One major improvement in this model over the earlier model (MXZ302) is the storm flap that fastens with an adjustable pinch clip—this really does a great job of sealing up the boot. These boots are available in both regular and wide widths in even sizes from 38 to 50 (US). You also have a choice for the color of the printed logo on the outside of the boot (silver or yellow). These boots come with a pair of mud cleats (ice cleats) for each shoe and I would highly recommend you install them. I would also recommend that you apply a few drops of an anti-seize compound on the threads of the spikes and your cleats before installation. My boots are size 47 wide and they weigh 755 grams (26 ounces) per boot and are six inches tall. These shoes are SPD compatible.

These boots claim to be “subzero rated.” I’ve worn these boots when the air temp was zero (Fahrenheit) with a windchill of -15F and my feet were toasty warm the entire ride. However, I probably should explain what else I was wearing on my feet: I started with a thin pair of RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks, then a pair of DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks, and finished up by sticking a pair of Hot Hands Chemical Toe Warmers on the bottom of the socks (this is my normal set-up for zero-degree weather). Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots are not cheap—they have a retail price of $280.

Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot

Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot

When the temperature drops below 10 degrees Fahrenheit I wear the Columbia Sportswear Men’s Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot. Since this boot is not SPD-compatible I use a wide flat pedal with metal pins for a good grip (the Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals). Thanks to Columbia’s exclusive Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology, the Bugaboot is rated for temperatures down to -25 degrees—while I’ve not had a chance to use them in temperatures that low, I have no doubt that they would hold up well in that temperature. This waterproof boot has 200 grams of insulation (Thinsulate) and they have kept my feet warm and dry every time I’ve worn them—these are the best pair of winter boots I’ve ever owned. My size 12 Bugaboot measures 10 inches tall and weight a bit over three pounds (for the pair). This boot appears to be true-to-size. Color selection also varies depending on the size of boot you wear. I would have liked a solid black boot, but the only Bugaboot the store I went to could get their hands on was the Turkish Coffee (see photo above). The Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot retails for $120, but Amazon.com has it for as low as $73 (depending on color and size). I bought my Bugaboots from a brick-and-motor Rogan’s Shoes store, but they are also available at sporting goods stores like Gander Mountain. These boots are also available in sizes and styles for both women and children.

 
 

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Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

For several winters I’ve worn the Lake MXZ302 Winter Cycling Boots and have been very happy with them for temperatures from 10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures below 10 degrees I usually wear the Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot (this is not a cycling-specific boot). Lake Cycling has recently updated their MXZ302 boot and have given it enough new features to make me buy of pair of the new Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boot.

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

The MXZ303 is a high-end winter boot constructed with a three-part front cover made of water-repellent Pittards WR100 leather, 3M Thinsulate insulation in the toe box, Thermasol insoles, and a Vibram rubber sole that makes walking on snow and ice an easy task. Just like the earlier model, this boot has a side mounted Push/Pull BOA Closure lacing system so you can cinch it up with just one hand. One major improvement in this new model is the storm flap that fastens with an adjustable pinch clip—this really does a great job of sealing up the boot.

Push/Pull BOA Closure Lacing System

Push/Pull BOA Closure Lacing System

These boots are available in both regular and wide widths in even sizes from 38 to 50 (US). You also have a choice for the color of the printed logo on the outside of the boot (silver or yellow). These boots come with a pair of mud cleats (ice cleats) for each shoe and I would highly recommend you install them. I would also recommend that you apply a few drops of an anti-seize compound on the threads of the spikes and your cleats before installation. The anti-seize compound will make the spikes and cleats a lot easier to remove after they have spent the winter in snow, ice and road salt. My boots are size 47 wide and they weigh 755 grams (26 ounces) per boot and are six inches tall. These shoes are SPD compatible.

Storm Flap With Adjustable Pinch Clip

Storm Flap With Adjustable Pinch Clip

These boots claim to be “subzero rated” (a claim printed on the outside of every boot). I wore these boots for a couple of hours yesterday when the air temp was zero (Fahrenheit) with a windchill of -15 and my feet were toasty warm the entire ride. However, I probably should explain what else I was wearing on my feet: I started with a thin pair of RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks, then a pair of DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks, and finished up by sticking a pair of Hot Hands Chemical Toe Warmers on the bottom of the socks (this is my normal set-up for zero-degree weather).

Vibram Rubber Sole

Vibram Rubber Sole

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots are not cheap—they have a retail price of $280, but several online retailers like Amazon.com and Nashbar.com have them at discounted prices. I bought mine from Bikeman.com, a brick-and-mortar bike shop in Woolwich, Maine that also has an excellent online store (and they ship Internationally). After I received my boots I talked with one of the guys in their shop and was very impressed with their customer service—I will be ordering from them again.

Interesting note: These boots are so new to the market that Lake Cycling does not even have them listed on their Website yet. This is quite a contrast to 45NRTH who announced their Wölvhammer winter boots back on August 15, 2013. The day after 45NRTH announced the Wölvhammer boots I had the local bike shop put a pair of them on “item watch” at QBP, but the same day the boots arrived there they immediately went to “out of stock” status. I had the same problem with the Dillinger snow tires (thanks to the persistence of a bike shop owner I was finally able to get a pair of these tires).

 

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Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot

If you are one of those timid folks who rides your bike on a trainer in the basement on snowy days you are welcome to skip this article—but please come in a couple of days for other product reviews. However, if you look forward to riding your fat bike in the snow like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus, then grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk about winter footwear.

Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot

Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot

I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and during most of the winter I wear Lake MXZ302 Winter Cycling Boots—these shoes are SPD-compatible and keep my feet warm down to around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a few other companies that make winter cycling boots, but Lake is the only one that makes a wide boot (and I have wide feet). 45NRTH allegedly has a new winter boot, the Wölvhammer. 45NRTH is a new company that wants to specialize in products for cold weather cyclists, but they have quickly become my least-favorite cycling company in the world. A lot of their products are like leprechauns—I would like to believe they exist, some people say they have actually seen them, but I can’t find anyone who has actually been able to get their hands on one. If you would like to buy a pair of the Wölvhammer winter boots you are out of luck—they are already “sold out for 2013.” I had the same problem with the 45NRTH Dillinger studded fat-bike tire—a few of them made it into the warehouse but immediately they were sold out (probably inside sales to the guys at Quality Bike Products) and the next availability date is next summer.

When the temperature drops below 10 degrees Fahrenheit I wear the Columbia Sportswear Men’s Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot. Since this boot is not SPD-compatible I use a wide flat pedal with metal pins for a good grip. Last year I used the Odyssey JCPC Pedal, but this year I am using the Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals (one of 45NRTH’s products that actually made it into bike shops).

Thanks to Columbia’s exclusive Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology, the Bugaboot is rated for temperatures down to -25 degrees—while I’ve not had a chance to use them in temperatures that low, I have no doubt that they would hold up well in that temperature. This waterproof boot has 200 grams of insulation (Thinsulate) and they have kept my feet warm and dry every time I’ve worn them—these are the best pair of winter boots I’ve ever owned. My size 12 Bugaboot measures 10 inches tall and weight a bit over three pounds (for the pair). This boot appears to be true-to-size.

The standard width Bugaboot is available in three color combinations: Grill/Sanguine, Black/Gunmetal, and Dune/Bombay Brown. The wide Bugaboot only comes in two color combinations: Black/Gunmetal and Turkish Coffee/Golden Glow (see photo above). Color selection also varies depending on the size of boot you wear. I would have liked a solid black boot, but the only Bugaboot the store I went to could get their hands on was the Turkish Coffee.

The Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot Plus Cold Weather Boot retails for $120, but Amazon.com has it for as low as $73 (depending on color and size). I bought my Bugaboots from a brick-and-motor Rogan’s Shoes store, but they are also available at sporting goods stores like Gander Mountain. These boots are also available in sizes and styles for both women and children.

 

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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers

We had a very dry summer in the Upper Midwest, but fall is finally here and that usually means a lot of long rides in the rain. Riding in the rain can be relaxing (if you are not on a major highway), providing you stay dry. Fortunately, there are many great cycling products that can help keep you dry all day long (see the “Cycling In The Rain” link in the column on the right). If you are looking for a way to keep your feet dry then you should check out the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Road Shoe Covers

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers

The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers are designed for riding in rainy weather and they work great! This product is recommended for road shoes with external cleats. Though they are fleece lined, they are not really intended for cold weather cycling. On a sunny day when the temperature is over 50 degrees you probably wouldn’t even want to use a shoe cover to keep your feet warm (a pair of toe covers will do). However, a rain day with a temperature of 35 to 50 degrees can just about freeze you all the way to your bones. If you are wanting to keep your feet dry in the rain, then these covers are for you. If you are looking for a great shoe cover for winter cycling, I would recommend the Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers.

The P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers are made of 70% nylon, 20% polyurethane, 8% elastane, 1% Cordura nylon, and 1% Kevlar. The sole is made of a very durable Kevlar so you should not have any trouble walking with this cover on your shoes. This cover also has reflective elements (the Pearl Izumi logo) for low-light visibility. These shoe covers have fairly tall cuffs so they will easily fit under your pant legs if you are riding with rain pants on. Like most Pearl Izumi products, this shoe cover is extremely well made and designed.

The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers retail for $50 and are available in two colors (Black and Screaming Yellow). This product comes in five sizes (S, M, L, XL and XXL). In my opinion these covers run a bit small, so I would order covers one size larger than you usually wear. If you want a similar cover for your mountain biking shoes you should buy the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Covers.

If you are looking for a fantastic pair of cycling pants to wear in the rain I would recommend the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Cycling Pants—they are breathable, windproof, waterproof and they have kept me dry in torrential downpours on days when no one in their right mind would be outside.

 

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Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers

Even though summer is not officially over, those of us in the Upper Midwest can already see the leaves on the trees changing their color. It is also that time of year when we have to start thinking about finding the toe covers for our cycling shoes. If you need toe covers for a road shoe the Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers might do the job for you.

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers (Side View)

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers slip over the front of your cycling shoes and block the wind that would normally pass through the air vents on the shoes. The Cyclone Toe Cover is made from Pearl Izumi’s AmFIB fabric (65% polyester, 30% nylon, and 5% spandex) to block the wind, coupled with a Microfleece lining to keep your toes warm. These covers have a durable rubber sole with a cutout for your cleats, but this cover is only suitable for road shoes with external cleats. A finger loop on the bottom of the covers (see photo below) allows you to easily pull the cover on or remove it. Reflective elements on the top and sides of these covers help motorists see you at night.

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers (Bottom View)

Now for the bad news: Unless you have small feet you are never going to get these covers over your shoes! Pearl Izumi only makes this product available in two sizes (S/M and L/XL). The L/XL cover will barely fit over a size 10.5 men’s road shoe. Since they only offer two sizes the chances are that whatever size you order isn’t going to fit!

In my opinion the best cycling toe cover on the market is the Planet Bike Dasher Windproof Toe Cover. The Dasher comes in five different sizes, from a man’s size 6.5 shoe (40 European) to the XXL that fits a man’s 12.5 shoe (47 European).

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Toe Covers retail for $20. This product is not currently listed on Pearl Izumi’s Website, so I imagine it is going to be out of stock out most bike shops. However, it is still available from Amazon.com and is listed as a closeout item on several other online stores.

 

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Pearl Izumi Attack Socks For Cyclists

It has been a long, hot summer in the Upper Midwest and even short 30 mile bike ride will make you sweat like a Chicago alderman at a deposition. Cycling shoes are usually well ventilated, but if you wear the wrong socks your feet will be wet during your entire ride and make you miserable. The best socks for hot weather I’ve been able to find are the Pearl Izumi Men’s Attack Socks.

Pearl Izumi Attack Socks For Cyclists

Pearl Izumi Attack Socks

These socks have a standard cuff height and are made with Pearl Izumi’s fast-drying Select Transfer fabric (69% polyester, 27% nylon and 4% spandex). The reinforced heel and toe on these socks make them very durable—I own six pairs of these socks and they have been washed at least fifty times each and the socks have held their shape and still look great.

This sock also has a “flat toe seam construction” which means the seams around the toes are so flat that you will not feel them while wearing the socks. The top of the socks have mesh ventilation that help keep your feet as cool as possible. The elasticized ankle cuff keeps the socks in place even on Century rides (and keeps your tan line crisp as well).

Pearl Izumi Men’s Attack Socks (Style 9343) are available in either black or white and retail for $20 for a package of three. You should be able to find these socks at your local bike shop, or, if that fails, on PerformanceBike.com or Amazon.com.

 

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Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

If you want to keep your toes warm while cycling on a chilly morning you need to buy a pair of toe covers. While there are many good toe covers for cycling shoes on the market, the Performance Toesties covers are probably the least expensive. Sadly, they are also an example of getting what you pay for.

Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

Performance Toesties Toe Covers

Performance Toesties are made of neoprene fabric and are both windproof and waterproof. These covers fit over the end of your cycling shoes, even if you are wearing cleats, and actually do a decent job of blocking the wind and keeping your toes warm. Because the covers are thin you can easily put them in your jersey pocket when you don’t need them. I’ve used them with both Look Keo and Shimano SPD cleats.

Performance Toesties Toe Covers For Cyclists

Performance Toesties lack any form of reinforcement on the bottom

The major downside of Performance Toesties is that there is no reinforcement on the bottom of the covers. If you walk very much at all in these covers the neoprene will start to shred. Not only that, but every time you clip in you will probably do a bit of damage to the covers—it doesn’t take long for them to wear out completely. I look at these covers as being disposable after a dozen or so rides.

Performance Toasties retail for $15 and are available at Performance Bicycle (both online and in their brick and mortar stores). The covers are available in four sizes: S (6.5-8.5), M (8.5-10), L (10-11.5), and XL (11.5+). I have found these covers run a bit on the small size, so you might want to order one size larger than your shoe size.

In my opinion the best toe covers on the market are the Planet Bike Dasher Toe Covers. These covers are a bit more expensive, but I think you will get a lot more use out of them.

 

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Cleat Grips For Look Keo Cleats by Cleatskins

I tried several brands of cycling cleats for my road shoes and I decided that Look Keo cleats were best suited to my needs. The original non-grip Look Keo cleats offered tremendous power transfer from your feet to the pedals, but they were downright dangerous to walk in—the first time I wore them I fell down just walking across my garage. Look Keo 2 cleats introduced a traction pad which made it easier to walk with, but these pads wear out rather quickly if you walk in them very much. Look sells a pair of covers for their cleats and while they do an excellent job of protecting the cleats, they material is so hard its make it difficult to walk in (and even more difficult to put on). The good news is that Cleatskins has recently introduced their new Cleat Grips For Look Keo Cleats and they not only protect your cleats but make it very easy to walk on pavement (or even gravel) while in your road shoes.

Cleat Grips For Look Keo Cleats by Cleatskins

Cleat Grips For Look Keo Cleats

Cleat Grips For Look Keo Cleats are made of lightweight Skintek—a durable material that is softer than normal cleat covers and is very flexible. If you look on the left hand side of the above photograph you will notice the grooved pattern on the bottom of the covers—this provides great traction even on wet pavement. In addition to allowing you to walk in your road shoes, Cleat Grips also protects floors from marring (this will make the folks at the convenience store happy).

A pair of Cleat Grips will easily fit in one of your jersey pockets with room to spare. They are machine washable, but I’ve found them to be very easy to clean with just a wet cloth. The Cleatskins Website says that these covers are available in either black or orange, but at the moment it seems that they only have black in stock.

Cleat Grips retail for $18 a pair and are available from the Cleatskins Website. Cleatskins also has covers  available that are specifically designed for Shimano, Time and Speedplay cleats. This review was based upon a pair of Cleat Grips that was sent to me for review from Cleatskins.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Cycling Footwear, Product Reviews

 

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Cleatskins Bikeskins For Cycling Road Shoes

Among my bad habits is the fact that I am sometimes an impulse buyer—which is how I purchased a pair of Cleatskins Bikeskins, a product designed to go over your road shoes. Cleatskins make it easier for you to walk while in your road shoes and protect floors from the damage that would normally be caused by your cleats.

Cleatskins Bikeskins For Bicycle Road Shoes

Cleatskins Bikeskins For Cycling Road Shoes

Cleatskins Bikeskins are made of compressed molded rubber and easily fit over your cycling shoes so on your next ride you can go into a convenience store without walking like a cow on ice. They have a strap that goes over the heel of the shoes so the covers will not fall off. These shoe covers offer double-duty protection: they protect your expensive cleats from being damaged by hard surfaces and they also protect floors from being damaged by your cleats. The first time I wore these covers it took me a few seconds to get used to them, but they are easier to walk in than the other covers you can buy for cycling shoes. I use Look Keo 2 pedals on my road bikes, and while Look makes great pedals their covers are pretty difficult to walk in. Cleatskins Bikeskins are much easier to walk in than the standard Look cleat cover and they provide a tremendous amount of traction as you walk (even on wet pavement).

Bottom View Of Cleatskins Bikeskins

Bottom View Of Cleatskins Bikeskins

If you like to express yourself with your footwear, Cleatskins Bikeskins are available in several colors, including Red, White, Black, Yellow and True Blue. You have these color choices an all four of the available sizes (S, M, L, and XL).

My only problem with Cleatskins Bikeskins is that they take up too much room in my jersey when they are not in use. When I am on the road I like to travel as light as possible, so I don’t have anywhere to put the Cleatskins expect my jersey pocket, and a pair of these things takes up an entire pocket. However, if you are a commuter or ride with panniers these covers could save your life (or at least save you from the pain and embarrassment of falling inside a convenience store). I am not sure that they were available when I bought my Bikeskins, but they now have a model called ProBikeskins, these are specifically designed for Shimano, Look and Speedplay cleats. ProBikesins are much smaller and you don’t even have to take them off your shoe when they are not in use.

Cleatskins Bikeskins retail for $20 a pair and are available from the company Web site. Cleatskins also has products available for the cleated shoes worn in many other sports, including soccer, baseball, football, rugby, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, and track and field.

 
 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks For Winter Cycling

Wool socks are available at just about every sporting goods store in America, but the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are not just any wool socks—they are designed for winter athletes and are probably the most comfortable wool socks you will ever find.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks For Winter Cyclists

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are made of 71% merino wool, 28% nylon, and 1% Lycra. Merino wool is extremely warm, naturally anti-bacterial, doesn’t retain odors, and does a fantastic job of wicking away moisture from your feet. You will be amazed at how quickly they dry, even in wet weather.

These socks have a good layer of cushioning under the feet which should make for blister-free riding. They also have a bit of arch compression so they fit well without ever feeling sloppy. They are also they only cycling socks I own that have markings so you can distinguish between the left and right socks. As for height, these socks are 8.5 inches tall (sometimes called cuff height or below the calf length).

While I love the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks, they are not the heaviest wool cycling socks I own. I have found that if you wear a thin polypropylene sock liner under these socks your feet will be warmer than if you just wore one pair of thick socks.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks are only available in one color combination (Black and Shadow Grey). They come in several sizes, from Small through X-Large and seem to be true to size. However, they are not cheap, they retail for around $18 a pair. However, if you ride in the winter I believe you will think it is money well spent. You should be able to get many years of use out of these thermal socks.

 

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