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Winter riding and cold feet


Rich Sam

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I have been riding in Seattle this winter and the one thing that bugs me more than anything else is frozen feet.  I love the feel of Vans skate shoes when riding as I just feeeeel the wheel in skate shoes.  I have tried wicking snow socks, doubled up the socks.  I'm thinking of looking into maybe battery powered socks.

Any tricks out there to help keep the cold off the feet?  I have some winter boots but very reluctant to try, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel disconnected from the wheel but I may have to give it go.

Seattle is relatively mild compared to the some of the winter vids I see folks rocking in the snow.

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Funny as I'm the opposite. I want a stiff base type shoe as as a soft sole for feel isn't important but instead tires out & numbs my feet. For me, its all about the weight transfer & leans so a stiff boot is best. If it means anything, I find its more an adaptation to the footwear rather than a need for specific type for footwear for EUCs at least.

I use a waterproof hiking boot for winter as it can get messy. It also keeps my feet warm but then again, I don't have cold feet to start with.

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First you MUST be dry, so waterproof is a must. Second, you have to keep the wind out, which you automatically get when you’re waterproof. Third, blood has to be able to circulate, something that’s not so easy when you’re standing in the same spot—I move my feet inside my waterproof hiking boots, shift my stance, and unweight one foot then the other. I also stop fairly frequently just to take a few steps around.

During a break you could also practice going backwards or starting on the up side of a steeper hill, the endless picking up the wheel and remounting before you fall off again warms you up right quick. :o Remember that when you were a fledgling?

Electric boot warmers do work great, but for me I already have to charge my hat, my gloves, my coat and my wheel so charging my socks seems... a bit much? (lights on hat, pebble and flashlight on gloves, more lights on coat, 20 lb battery in wheel)

Edited by Tawpie
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8 hours ago, Tawpie said:

First you MUST be dry, so waterproof is a must. Second, you have to keep the wind out, which you automatically get when you’re waterproof. Third, blood has to be able to circulate, something that’s not so easy when you’re standing in the same spot—I move my feet inside my waterproof hiking boots, shift my stance, and unweight one foot then the other. I also stop fairly frequently just to take a few steps around.

During a break you could also practice going backwards or starting on the up side of a steeper hill, the endless picking up the wheel and remounting before you fall off again warms you up right quick. :o Remember that when you were a fledgling?

Electric boot warmers do work great, but for me I already have to charge my hat, my gloves, my coat and my wheel so charging my socks seems... a bit much? (lights on hat, pebble and flashlight on gloves, more lights on coat, 20 lb battery in wheel)

Not many benefits of being a big guy, but I don't need much body protection.  Body for the most part is good to go! Yeah I think my shoes may be a little too breathable and I'm getting some wind in there.  maybe battery socks or like @Scottie888 mentioned wear boots.  I have tried several types of shoes riding, from comfiest tennis shoes ever made to work boots.  Hands down the best feeling is my Vans skate shoes.  Sad but may have to put them away for the winter.

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I took a few knocks to the ankle when learning, nothing major but it took a long time to heal. Since then I wear thick military-style boots (cheap at an army surplus place), solid leather with lots of room for your toes to wiggle. Double up on socks (layering is important, even for feet!) and try to keep your legs moving occasionally while riding to keep the blood flowing. We have a pretty similar climate to Seattle but my feet are usually pretty warm. Keep your legs warm too - if the blood is cooling on its way to your feet, you won't keep your feet warm no matter what shoes you wear. I wear polypro thermal (cycling) tights, then fleece pants under my jeans. Upper layers are a thermal wicking top, fleece sweater, down jacket, then a semi-thermal waterproof / windproof cycling jacket, and finally a moto-cross style armour vest with plastic panels (kinda like an armadillo with elbow pads!). You have to keep your whole body warm before your extremities can stand a chance. The only issue I have now is gloves - can't fit thick ones under my wrist guards and I like to be able to use my touchscreen phone, so I wear fairly thin gloves. Fingers can get chilly after a while; if I stop for 5 minutes (out of the wind) I warm right up.

 

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Classic low-cut vans are only going to get you so far no matter how many layers of socks/heated socked you put on. Its not a winter shoe especially given the wind-chill effect while riding, so you need something wind-proof and waterproof. 

It's time to start learning to ride with different shoes, since you live in a place with multiple seasons. I was also in the same boat when I first started, tried to ONLY ride in my DC's even in rain/snow because it was a strange feeling using other shoes and riding felt sketchy/unsafe. But after 20 mins in the cold, it actually became more dangerous because I totally lost feeling of my feet.

Now I can ride bare foot, in sandals, skate shoes, sneakers, winter boots, steel toe boots, and I feel safe in all of them (well maybe not the first two if riding on the road with cars). Just need to practice wearing various shoes, and footwear no longer becomes an issue. "EUC footwear" is no longer a thing - you just wear whatever you want for the weather or mood you're in.

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1 hour ago, Mantraguy said:

The only issue I have now is gloves

I use 'convertible' mittens (ice fishing mittens) with a neoprene toe warmer/liner sewn in for added warmth. Flip open to expose fingers, back to keep warm. Works great under the free eWheels wrist guards but don't fit in flexmeters.

@Rich Sam the toe warmer might help, it's pretty wind proof. And no battery. But it takes space in your shoe.

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Far's gloves goes, I use motorcycle winter gloves. While it doesn't have wrist protection, it's overall much better than ordinary winter gloves. I supplement it with a set of ski type wrist guards with metal inserts. It's somewhat similar to normal skate wrist guards except it doesn't have the curvature bulge & so doesn't quite provide as much protection.

However it also means it's easier to slip winter gloves over it or even wear it over the gloves. So far I've taken a tumble with it over cycling gloves on black ice & while it scraped out the faux leather over the metal guards (easily fixed with some material tape), my hands & wrist suffered zero damage. Def worth the $20 or so I spent on it.

Or you can get yourself one of these

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10 hours ago, Tawpie said:

I use 'convertible' mittens (ice fishing mittens) with a neoprene toe warmer/liner sewn in for added warmth. Flip open to expose fingers, back to keep warm. Works great under the free eWheels wrist guards but don't fit in flexmeters.

@Rich Sam the toe warmer might help, it's pretty wind proof. And no battery. But it takes space in your shoe.

I just bought some battery socks uses 18650 batteries which I have a gazillion lying around my house.  Lightning deal for 9.99 what a deal!  I'm such a woosie in our moderate Seattle winters!

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10 hours ago, Scottie888 said:

Far's gloves goes, I use motorcycle winter gloves. While it doesn't have wrist protection, it's overall much better than ordinary winter gloves. I supplement it with a set of ski type wrist guards with metal inserts. It's somewhat similar to normal skate wrist guards except it doesn't have the curvature bulge & so doesn't quite provide as much protection.

However it also means it's easier to slip winter gloves over it or even wear it over the gloves. So far I've taken a tumble with it over cycling gloves on black ice & while it scraped out the faux leather over the metal guards (easily fixed with some material tape), my hands & wrist suffered zero damage. Def worth the $20 or so I spent on it.

Or you can get yourself one of these

Those do look nice!  I'm built like a bear and don't get cold easy usually.  But for some reason the EUC pedals seem to radiate cold right into my feet.

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On 2/12/2021 at 6:18 AM, Rich Sam said:

I have been riding in Seattle this winter and the one thing that bugs me more than anything else is frozen feet.  I love the feel of Vans skate shoes when riding as I just feeeeel the wheel in skate shoes.  I have tried wicking snow socks, doubled up the socks.  I'm thinking of looking into maybe battery powered socks.

Any tricks out there to help keep the cold off the feet?  I have some winter boots but very reluctant to try, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel disconnected from the wheel but I may have to give it go.

Seattle is relatively mild compared to the some of the winter vids I see folks rocking in the snow.

Feet is more or less the same as hands. This video might give you a different approach to what is going on. 

Windchill factor is one of the things you need to address. So shoes that allow wind to pass easy though the fabric is not ideal. 

Adding layers on different parts can help with feet too. It is all about maintaining a total high core temperature and not focus on one part only. The heat leak might be a different place but body response is to shut down circulation to the longest distance. The is why feet and hands are the first to go and starts to feel the cold.

I use trekking shoes or shoes made of gore-tex with rough soles since I got the V11 IM hex pedals. Together with the shoes I use natural woolly socks. I found the natural woolly socks tend to work better than synthetic ones. But you need to care for them for them to last. Like any other woolly products.

 

Edited by Unventor
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Studded pedals will attached  warmer winter boots better. I was fond of the Vans Sk8 flat soled boots or equivalent (added E-heated socks inside) Now the stud pedals make my MC boots good for roding - contact is better. 

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You don’t have to stop wearing your Vans. There is an easy solution. 
 

Gore makes windproof socks. Wear those over your regular socks for windproof. Your “regular socks” will be battery powered heated socks. These ones on amazon heat both the bottom AND top of foot. You will be very disappointed with heated socks that only heat the sole/bottom of the foot like 90% of the heated socks out there. 
 

Thank me later. 
 

GORE WEAR Unisex Windproof Socks https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0785GM24C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KDSAW23EFTHK6QT3VVB4

 

SAVIOR HEAT Upgraded Heated Socks for Men Women, Rechargeable Electric Battery Powered Heating Socks with Temperature Controller Winter Thermal Camping Foot Warmer for Cycling Hiking Hunting Skiing https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076Q7DC9D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_G7CMQ226XD8BQ5RJVQBJ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Edited by Darrell Wesh
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The Savior Heat page says "Recommended wash by hand" and also "Remove Battery from pocket", so right there you have got two distinct union crafts.  These socks are going to be a nightmare for those of us with household help.

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1 hour ago, BarrettJ said:

Neoprene toe warmers - despite being on just your toes they do a really good job of keeping your whole feet warm.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079633T2V/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For someone with cold feet they don’t work. More insulation isn’t the answer for the extremities because as static as we are on an EUC we never generate enough body heat to make use of that insulation. 
The answer is heated gear. We need something external to generate that heat since we aren’t being active. 

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One detail that is decisive for whether you freeze or not is how tight your clothing are. 
Heat-insulating materials need air around it to insulate your feet or body well against the cold. If you pack the clothes or shoes too tightly, it will only get colder.

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Just a suggestion but since prices have gone down a lot lately so some of in colder climes (with amphibian blood😄) might wanna consider heated wear. Personally living in the Great White North (btw the White here does not signify color of skin but instead the fluffy stuff that falls down from heavens), its cool->cold->frigid most of the year. Kinda like Siberia to be honest🥺. Instead of stuffing on layers upon layers, I like to keep it simple with heated jackets, vests & even gloves.

Also don't forget about windchill. Since riding EUCs isn't exactly a strenuous physical activity, windchill is & can be a factor when at speed. I highly recco a windbreaker of sorts as an outer layer as well.

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On 2/12/2021 at 6:32 AM, Scottie888 said:

 a stiff boot is best. If it means anything, I find its more an adaptation to the footwear rather than a need for specific type for footwear for EUCs at least.

I use a waterproof hiking boot for winter as it can get messy. It also keeps my feet warm but then again, I don't have cold feet to start with.

Same here, my feet and ankles feel terribly fragile and vulnerable when I get on the wheel wearing sneakers and similar shoes. It may have to do with the fact that my only major injury on a EUC so far has been a really badly rolled ankle when I got thrown off wearing sneakers. Now I exclusively wear my heavy, calf length motorcycle boots on the wheel. That also takes care of any moisture or cold issues.

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On 2/13/2021 at 6:31 AM, Rich Sam said:

 for some reason the EUC pedals seem to radiate cold right into my feet.

It may have to do with the fact that having to stand still for long periods of time severely hinders proper blood circulation in your feet. Movement and walking play an important part for blood circulation there. 

I sometimes get foot pains and I have found that what I call "cross stepping" helps against that. It might also help against cold feet. I put half my weight on the balls of my right foot and the other half the heel of my left foot, then I shift it to the balls of my left foot and the heel of my right foot. I do those transitions a couple dozen times and it really helps. If you time it correctly the wheel barely wobbles because it is always balanced despite the "diagonal" or X-shaped weight shifts.

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