Cold feet -are heated insoles the answer?

The Kennington Kaiser
edited October 2010 in Road buying advice
After last year's freezing winter I swore to myself that I'd attempt to do something about the cold feet I'd been suffering from. I must have poor circulation because even when wearing two pairs of merino socks and really thick neoprene overshoes I was (in the words of Sean Kelly) suffering 'majorly'. It really curtailed my cycling over the winter and made it pretty unpleasant at times.

Does anyone have any experience of heated insoles - I recall seeing some Sidi ones but think they may have been around £150. To be honest, this would be a price wort hpaying if they worked effectively and comfortably but I wondered if anyone knew of a cheaper alternative.



  • Barteos
    Barteos Posts: 657
    You have two options.

    1. Bigger size shoes to improve circulation and create larger air pocket around the feet
    2. Lake Winter boots (MTB)! If they aren't warm enough than I don't know what is :D
  • last year i simply wore 2 pairs of socks and this did the trick completely!
  • Northwave fahrenheit (road) or celsius (MTB)

    or shimano ... elID=31743

    I have the MTB shimanos and they are excellent in freezing wet weather until you put you foot down in a bog and it flows over the top!!

    £1.25 for sign up

    Cashback on wiggle,CRC,evans follow the link
  • The Sidi insoles were discontinued just over a year ago. Scarpa ones are exactly the same and are about £140. I have had both after my original Sidi ones broke, they are obviously made by the same manufacturer, the only difference is the colour. They work very well, I have used them in both the Northwave and the Sidi winter boots and they do make a difference. They regulate to body temperature, so you don't get toasty feet, but you don't get cold feet either. I normally leave them switched off until I feel my feet start to go cold on the longer rides or if I am planning on doing less than 3 hours I switch them on straight away.
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Northwave fahrenheit (road) or celsius (MTB)

    or shimano ... elID=31743

    I have the MTB shimanos and they are excellent in freezing wet weather until you put you foot down in a bog and it flows over the top!!

    SPD-SL + ice? Yikes broke hip time. I'd go for SPD shoes.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • PieterM
    PieterM Posts: 167
    Another option is to wrap a plastic bag around your shoe and ankle before putting the overshoe on. Cut a hole out for the cleat an tape the bag to your ankle. This will also keep your feet dry in pooring rain!
    European Cycling Trips:
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    What's pooring rain? :?
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • Yep, that's what a lot of us used to do 25 years ago, feet get even wetter due to perspiration and then they get even colder! Think you'll find things have moved on a bit.
  • dodgy
    dodgy Posts: 2,890
    The most important thing is to make sure you have shoes that aren't too tight, that's one of the most common reasons for cold feet.
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    If you can pee yourself for the entire length of the bike ride, you'll be nice and warm. :wink:
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • Jungli
    Jungli Posts: 201
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    2 pairs of socks + thick overshoes & still cold?

    I can't believe that's not enough insulation, it must be either a circulation problem or else your shoes are too tight leading to, well, circulation problems. You might even be warmer with one pair of socks than 2.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    It's not the actual boots you need to worry about, well having said that, they should be whole and not 'holey' lol but any of the major brands will be ok.

    But basically its the 'warm air space' you need to create by a) wear decent insulating socks such as Woolie Boolies and b) get some winter boots a size larger than you normally wear, the socks taking up the extra space at the rear and sides of the boot and the extra space at the front used for this insulating space. That's the trick.
  • leedsmjh
    leedsmjh Posts: 196
    Try Toasti Toes - disposable chemical foot warmers.
    Cotswolds stock them.
    Thin enough that they aren't uncomfortable and stay warm for hours.
    I combine them with neoprene overshoes and am fine. I really, really suffer with cold feet otherwise
  • yaya
    yaya Posts: 411
    Northwave winter boots 1/2 a size larger with good winter hiking socks seem to work for the last couple of winters, including some snow trail rides when you stand/ walk in the snow at -5 cº
  • ynyswen24
    ynyswen24 Posts: 703
    I saw some heated insoles in Maplins the other day for about £20. No idea if they work or not but at that price they're an option.
  • Thanks for the tips, everyone. Last winter I tried wearing one pair of socks and loosening the shoe straps but my feet are still like blocks of ice within an hour. It may be a circulation problem but I've got to try something in the meantime, so will give the Toasti Toes a go and see how they work. If not, I may have to fork out for the heated insoles. And, Dodgy, as a final desperate measure I'll think about pissing on my feet :wink:
  • Have got a pair of sealskin socks which benefit from being waterproof and wind-proof and keep my feet toasty warm

  • NWLondoner
    NWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    I had the same problem.

    Wore thermal liner socks, sealskinz thermal socks, a pair of sidi shoes larger than my sidi summer shoes and neoprene overshoes.

    My toes still turned blue :(

    Think I have no option but to get some sidi winter boots!!!

    Not cheap though :(
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    You do need enough space to wiggle your toes. Anything that squeezes the feet will reduce the bloodflow.
  • Tell me if the Sidi boots work - desperate measure and all....
  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    I've suffered badly from cold feet but got some Northwave winter boots during the summer sales and used them for the first time this weekend. It was 1 degree when I went out and 2 hours later it was only a few degrees warmer. My feet were MUCH warmer than I have experienced before. I was only wearing thin summer coolmax socks underneath and was very impressed. They are bulky but after a few miles you forget about it. I'll upgrade to some warmer socks once it gets consistently cold but I reckon a pair of oversocks over them or windproof overshoes will keep even the worst cold off.

    Winter doesnt scare me any more!
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • okasha
    okasha Posts: 8
    I suffer from Raynaud's syndrome, a circulatory problem that makes my feet and hands extremely cold at anything less than 10 degrees celsius.
    Obviously, this makes winter riding a bit uncomfortable.

    Last year I bought the Sidi heated insoles and found them to be absolutely rubbish.
    The heat output was so low I could barely tell when they were on or off.
    It's a good idea, but these ones simply don't work.
    (They weren't faulty, just a rubbish product.)
    Definitely avoid in my view.
    Fortunately I got my money back (from Sigma Sport, if I remember rightly.)

    Chemical heated insoles - that you just use once - are way cheaper and a much better option.
  • lastwords
    lastwords Posts: 304
    I have the same problem and some people fail to understand.

    Have tried everything suggested so far, two socks, plastic bags, overshoes, sealskins and finally northwave mtb winter boots the winter boots are excellent this time of year they keep my feet warm but in the depths of winter i would say after about 2 1/2 hrs my feet still get cold. There is plenty of room for circulation i find that if i am out on the mtb say in the peaks and do a bit of hike a bike they warm up but this does not help on the road bike.

    Heated in soles etc might help will probably try something in the winter
  • NWLondoner
    NWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    I took the plunge and got some sidi winter shoes and assos winter socks. If these plus thermal liners plus overshoes dont work nothing will
  • il_principe
    il_principe Posts: 9,155
    Northwave's winter boots are pretty damn good, very cosy.