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Category Archives: Cycling Footwear

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

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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Neoprene Tip Toe Covers For Winter Cycling

Gator Sports Neoprene Tip Toe Covers for winter biking

Gator Sports Neoprene Tip Toe Covers

Are you looking for an easy way to keep your toes warm on your winter bike rides? The toe covers and shoe 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 numerous cold weather rides this year it seems to me that they warm up my toes about 10 degrees more than 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 on the Gator Sports Website, and I am certain you will find them very useful on cold rides.

 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover For Rainy Day Bike Rides

The Chicago area normally has snow on the ground by this time of year, but so far we just keep getting rain! Riding in the rain is one of my least favorite ways to cycle. However, great products like the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover make these rides a lot more enjoyable than they would otherwise be.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover for rainy day bike rides

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover

The Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover is designed for riding in rainy weather and they work incredibly well! Though they are fleece lined, they are not really intended for cold weather cycling. On a sunny day when the temperature is around 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 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 Elite Barrier MTB shoe cover is made of 48% neoprene, 24% polyester, 17% nylon, 7% polyurethane, and 2% spandex. 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.

These shoe covers are available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL). While they are true to size, I would order one size larger than normal just to make them easier to get on. The Velcro strip on the back is very easy to adjust. Like most Pearl Izumi products, this shoe cover is extremely well made and designed.

The Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier MTB Shoe Cover retails for $70, but online retailers like Amazon.com often have it at a considerable discount (I paid $57 for my pair). This product is recommended for mountain bike shoes. If you want a similar cover for your road shoes you should use the Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier WXB Shoe Covers.

 

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Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers For Winter Biking

When most people think about Planet Bike the first thing that comes into their minds is their famous Superflash Turbo Tail Light. However, this year they have introduced some of the best winter cycling gear on the market—their new Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves are the best pair of winter gloves I’ve ever owned. They also offer an excellent line of toe and shoe covers that should meet the needs of most (but not all) winter cyclists.

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 new 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).

The bottom of these shoe covers is well designed and can be used with just about any cleat or pedal platform available. Like the Planet Bike Comet Shoe Covers, the back of these covers is secured with a wide Velcro strip which makes the covers adjustable for different sizes. These covers also have reflective side logos for better visibility in low light conditions. Planet Bike offers these shoe covers in five different sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL). 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).

While the Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers should be sufficient for most cyclists, if you want to use them in even colder weather here are a few suggestions that will help. First, remove the insoles that came with your cycling shoes and put in a pair of 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles (available at most sporting goods stores). Next, instead of one pair of thick socks buy a pair of Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Wool Socks—these socks are fairly thin, but they offer great insulation and wick away moisture like crazy. As the temperature drops, add a pair of sock liners under your thermal socks (you might have to go to a sporting goods store to find these—bike shops seldom carry them). If your feet are still cold, buy a pair of neoprene toe gators (available on Amazon.com). Toe gators are very thin pouches that you put over your toes (under your socks). Finally, if you really want to heat things up, put a pair of HeatMax Toasti Toes Foot Warmers (available on Amazon.com) under your toes. These chemical toe warmers have an adhesive backing so they will stick to the bottom of your socks and they give off heat for over six hours. If you do these things you might be able to go all winter without ever needing a pair of expensive cycling boots (they average about $300 a pair). However, if you like to go out and ride when the temperature is in the single digits (and who doesn’t?), then you really do need winter cycling boots.

Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers have a retail price of $45, but you can find them on Amazon.com for around $40.

 

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3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles

As the temperature starts to drop in the fall the first thing you do to keep your feet warm is wear toe covers over your cycling shoes. By the time the temperature is in the 40’s you probably removed the toes covers and started wearing shoe covers. 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.

3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles

3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles

3M Thinsulate Thermal 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 cycled with these insoles for several weeks and they work exactly as advertised. 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. I believe these insoles would provide even more heat if my cycling shoes and shoe covers formed an airtight seal (not physically possible). Not only are these insoles extremely comfortable on long rides, but they do an excellent job of keeping me feet dry as well.

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 and if you ride in the winter you will never regret this purchase!

 

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