Looking for winter boot recommendations


November 24, 2013, 09:46 PM

I've got a more substantial commute to deal with this year so it's time to bite the bullet and get some dedicated winter shoes.  I've got wussy southern boy feet that never really seem to warm up so insulation is the first priority, after that they just need to accept cleats but also work well on a platform pedal for fat biking.  Any suggestions on shoes to start considering? I'd also be interested in something used if anyone has a pair they are looking to unload, size 9.5 - 10.

One of my toes gets so upset by the situation that last year it that it stayed numb through April, it's going to run off one of these days and I'd like to keep the full set as long as possible so any general tips on keeping toes warm are always welcome.

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Nate W.
Club Raconteur

November 25, 2013, 06:13 AM

From all the reviews I've read, there ain't nothing warmer than the Wolvhammer.

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« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 06:15 AM by Nate W. »

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

November 25, 2013, 09:42 AM


From all the reviews I've read, there ain't nothing warmer than the Wolvhammer.
Ditto.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 25, 2013, 10:15 AM

Those look amazing!

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November 25, 2013, 04:27 PM

From all the reviews I've read, there ain't nothing warmer than the Wolvhammer.

That's the direction I'm leaning, it seems to be the gold standard for warmth right now. Electric insoles don't look half bad either.

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Nate W.
Club Raconteur

November 25, 2013, 04:31 PM

Size em up from your normal cycling shoes a bit for room for thicker socks and some chemical heat packs too

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December 02, 2013, 06:54 PM

If any one has group proform access, I'd bet we could get a large group order together.   

Any one try drilling spd cleats into a pair of winter hiking boots with a steel shank?  I might have to try it, but I'm hoping someone like Nate can tell me why this is a bad idea... before I mutilate my work boots.  Some  skate ski-boots have hard shell bottoms, insulation and are cheap used.

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December 08, 2013, 11:20 AM

I'm up for a group buy on winter boots and I know of 3 or 4 others that would be in. Let me know if anyone can put a group deal together.

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December 08, 2013, 01:42 PM

Another option that works well for me is regular bike shoes that fit a bit big so I can wear 2-3 pairs of socks.  When combined with 2 pairs of booties (2 on each foot), I've never been cold.  I also find that ensuring that my legs are warm really helps with my feet.

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December 12, 2013, 07:04 PM

How cheap are booties?  Any one have a pair to sell (size 10.5)
Are there any cheaper insulated boots that people recommend?
I may try the go big and wear 3 socks and some of them booties.
Still may try to mount my own spd cleats, it should give people some good laughs at least ;D.

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December 12, 2013, 10:30 PM

Looks like nice booties are fairly expensive for what they are.  May not be the best option if you can't find them used, but I do like mine for riding in the fall as well.  I find that I need to order bigger than what is recommended in the sizing charts .  My outer pair is pretty beat up and was given to me for free by someone who was going to throw them out anyway.    The other pair is like these:

http://www.westernbikeworks.com/product/louis-garneau-neo-protect-shoe-cover?v=kk00xlg&utm_campaign=products&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&adl=1&gclid=CLq4p-StrLsCFYdFMgod4kEAUA

but possibly slightly nicer since they have a zipper instead of velcro.  I have the XL which fits fine on a size 10.5.

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« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 10:32 PM by mccarthy »

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December 13, 2013, 07:54 AM

Thanks Mccarthy- I'm going to follow your recommendations.  Very good tip on bootie sizing, I will try before I buy to be sure.
I rode the other night at-5 for a few hours with no problems, but Froze the feet.  Feet are the limiting factor.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

December 13, 2013, 09:20 AM

I rode the other night at-5 for a few hours with no problems, but Froze the feet.  Feet are the limiting factor.
Hands and feet are by far the biggest limiting factor for almost all winter riders. I can not recommend enough getting a set of Bar Mitts/Pogies, of whatever brand for the hands. They make riding in winter enjoyable for me. I rode Monday Night Rides and just a light neoprene long fingered glove. No shifting issues at all with triggers.
On the feet I would either spend the $ to get a good winter clipped boot, or put on flats and just wear a good winter boot. They also have the versatility of being used for hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, scouting new trails...the list goes on. I assume we are talking about snow biking here. I have used and destroyed a number of over-boots on trails. They work fine in cold and snow until you need to get off the bike. They don't work at all for hike-a-bike. And if you like to get out and explore in the winter you will definitely be doing hike-a-bike at some point. I know the booties are cheap, and cheap enough to try for the $, but that is my experience. If you are only riding in a couple of inches of snow or packed trails they may work fine for you. YMMV :)

For the title of the thread my recommendations for Winter Mountain Biking are:

#1 Best winter boot for all-around use: Columbia Bugaboo. Get the thermal and waterproof versions. Light weight, warm, waterproof, and tough. Just an awesome winter do-anything boots. I have been beating the hell out of a pair for years now for everything from winter biking to snowshoeing to snowmobiling to spring trail building. I just can't say enough good about them. An awesome boot. Again wore these to -5 this week, with nothing but a CORP sock on and feet were toasty warm. And I have worn them when it's 50 degrees out. Very versatile boot. Something like this: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/columbia-sportswear-bugaboot-plus-omni-heat-winter-boots-waterproof-for-men~p~4502k/?filterString=s~bugaboot-columbia%2F&colorFamily=03

#2 the Wolvhammer. You can get them in clipped and unclipped versions. I lust after these. By far the leader in comfort, hikability, and warmth. Also in price. Buy to fit. Warm enough extra socks are not needed or recommended.

#3 Lake boots. About $100 less than clipped Wolvhammers, the same $ as non-clipped Wolvies. Buy them a size or more large to allow room for a couple of layers of socks. Clipped only available. A good riding boot. You won't use them for anything else.



~ Chuck Hutchens


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December 13, 2013, 09:36 AM

While I'm on the hunt for a pair of wolvhammers in my size to try on I've been fairly geeky about this by doing A-B tests between my feet, with only one variable changed each ride, to see what works and what doesn't.  Here's what I've come up with so far that works for my ~35 minute commute:

Socks: Super thin running socks under thick smartwool socks. I've tried using a more medium weight sock as the base layer but I think they get too restrictive, the best result has come from the really really thin stretchy running socks. All of the thick smartwool socks in my drawer seem to work about the same.

Shoes: I've been commuting all year in Keen's Austin shoe and it has been phenomenal. The key factors in the winter is that it has a thick rubber bit in front of the toe that keeps the wind at bay and the big toe box leaves plenty of space for toes to wiggle with thick socks. They are really low cut shoes so they don't keep snow/water out at all but shoe covers take care of that and they've been better at keeping my feet warm than my winter boots. I've never had a better commuter shoe than these Keens.

Shoe cover: I have an older pair of Pearl Izumi booties that are size XXL that just fit over the Keens, i think the modern equivelent is the "elite barrier MTB shoe cover".  They make a big difference in the cold weather. It's really a good idea to try the booties on your shoes at the store, sometimes they just don't match up with a shoe as well as you'd think.

Hack: Plastic shopping bag between the shoe cover and the shoe, I'm not sure exactly why that thin layer of plastic makes such a huge difference but it really helps out a lot, it also makes it easier for the tight fitting shoe cover to slide on. I don't even bother cutting a hole for the cleat, on my eggbeaters they click right through the plastic with no issue.

Things that don't seem to help...
Insoles: I have tried a couple different kinds of winter insoles and none of them make a noticeable difference. The only benefit I've found is with a pair of aerogel insoles that are much thinner than the stock set and provide about the same amount of insulation, they aren't themselves warmer but they leave a little extra room for circulation or thinner socks.

Reflective mylar: I had high hopes for this stuff and put it in various places in and around the shoe and it just doesn't seem to do anything.

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And last but not least.......

December 13, 2013, 10:48 AM

I use the Keen Summit County II boots.  Not cycling specific but relatively light and super warm.  My feet typically sweat while other people complain of numb feet.

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