Keeping Feet Warm In Cold Weather

| Sock Liners | Insulating Socks | Shoe Covers | Gaiters | Chemical Heaters | Heated Insoles | Winter Cycling Shoes |

The number one thing to remember when trying to keep your feet warm while cycling, is to keep your core warm. Maintaining a warm core allows any excess heat to be sent to extremities to help keep them warm. When the body's core temperature begins to drop, the body sends the brain a signal to reduce the flow of blood to the extremities in an effort to keep the core temperature up so that vital organs are protected. To stay warm, dress appropriately for outside weather conditions. This will help maintain a warm core temperature.


Feet get cold as a result of sweat being trapped against the skin. Cold air chills the moisture. The result... cold, clammy, wind chilled feet. The best way to prevent cold feet is to layer.
Sock Liners

Cycling Sock Liners

  Sock liners are very thin, lightweight socks specifically designed to be worn right next to the skin, under another sock. The purpose of the liner is to wick sweat away from the surface of your foot. Liners also limit the amount of abrasion between your outer sock and your skin. Most sock liners are made of CoolMax®, Polypropoylene, Wool or Silk.
Insulating Socks

Insulating Socks 


An insulating sock should be worn over the top of the sock liner. The purpose of this sock is to keep your feet warm. In order for feet to stay warm, the cyclist needs to balance the rate of heat produced by the body, with the insulation value of the socks. Insulating fibers work by trapping air. The more air that is trapped, the more efficient the insulation. Insulating fibers also work by reflecting back the body’s radiant heat. Technical winter cycling socks combine fibers that keep feet dry from the sweat that your body produces, with insulating fibers to keep feet warm. Most insulating socks are made of Wool or Fleece.

NOTE: If you are wearing regular cycling shoes in colder weather, you will have to look for thin socks or your shoes will be to tight. It is very important to keep blood flowing to your feet if they are going to stay warm. If your regular cycling shoes are to small with the added layers of socks, you should consider purchasing a new pair of shoes for winter cycling.
Shoe Covers aka "Booties"

Shoe Covers aka "Booties" 

    "Windproof" shoe covers aka "booties" help keep wind chill to a minimum especially if your cycling shoes have mesh uppers. They are made of windproof fabrics and slip over the top of your cycling shoes to prevent wind chill.

Waterproof Shoe Covers aka "Cycling Gaitors" 


In addition to being wind proof- some booties are made from waterproof fabrics and are designed to keep feet warm and dry in wet and rainy conditions. Most Cycling Gaitors are made of neoprene.

NOTE: Neoprene does not breath. Wearing a neoprene bootie or neoprene toe cover over your cycling shoes, without wearing a sock liner (wicking layer against your skin) will result in wet clammy feet.

Chemical Heaters

  Chemical heaters are disposable inserts that fit into your shoes to keep feet warm. They come in many different styles such as full feet inserts or toe warmers.

Heated Insoles


Several companies are now offering heated insoles that can be slipped directly into your cycling shoe to automatically control the temperature of your feet.

Winter Cycling Shoes


If adding layers of socks and chemical inserts to your existing shoes doesn't work, you may want to consider purchasing cycling shoes designed specifically for cold weather riding.

Although the selection is limited, there are several manufacturers that produce winter specific mountain bike shoes designed especially for riding in cold, wet weather. The advantages to wearing winter cycling shoes over trying to "winterize" traditional cycling shoes include the following:

  • Traditional cycling shoes are designed to wick moisture and breath. That means they are not waterproof, and in fact, encourage air flow and moisture to pass through the shoe. Adding waterproof shoe covers, and winter cycling socks help; but are not as effective in keeping feet warm and dry as a shoe that is made from a waterproof breathable fabric.
  • Cycling shoes are designed to fit the foot like a glove so that maximum power can be applied to the pedal during pedal rotation. When thick winter socks are worn in traditional cycling shoes, it affects the fit of the shoe, and the power of the force that is applied to the pedal. The insoles of winter cycling shoes are designed to keep feet warm and fit your foot like a glove so that there is not loss of power during the pedal rotation.

For more information on winter cycling shoes click here!