I’ve never thought of myself as having overly cold feet as every winter, when it comes to commuting, I’ve just used my normal cycling shoes (all very ventilated) and put on a couple of socks with overshoes (sometimes with a toe cover under the overshoe).  I’ve never had to resort to using tin foil or insole warmers but last winter, especially the beast from the east period, I felt it enough to make me think next time I will get some proper shoes.


I’ve just got my first winter road cycling shoe (NorthWave Rapter TH Winter Thermal) and used them on Saturday night as it was suprisingly cold.  On the way to a friends I wore just one pair of socks thinking my feet are going to be toasty in these thermal shoes, it was 5 degrees with minimal wind, annoyingly I felt cold toes.  On the way back home at past midnight it was 2 degrees (ended up getting sprayed by two gritters), I was wearing an extra pair of socks and my overshoes.  I was really dissapointed with how cold my feet were!  


Pretty sure my socks arn’t too tight and neither were the shoes done up too tight.  Anyone else have simialr experiences with winter shoes?  I’ll have to test them with toe caps and proper merino socks to be able to compare the same set up with my normal summer shoes.  I’m sure the better rain protection will come into their own and be worth the purchase but I was dreaming of toasty feet through winter! 


BehindTheBikesheds [3153 posts] 8 months ago

you used two pairs of socks AND overshoes AND toe covers in the past, so you've taken a big step down in terms of overall insulation, I would IMHO say you must have 'cold' feet if you're needing that amount of insulation during the winter in the first instance.

I've ridden in my bog Northwave commuter SPDs and my summer Shimano carbon road shoes with a pair of trekking socks to low single digits and never had problems, when sub zero I'll put another pair of socks on, only if it was wet would I use overshoes and I'd only have one pair of socks on then.

For you I'd seriously consider another pair of socks as an extra layer or buy some proper winter socks and see how you get on. 

Chris Hayes [418 posts] 8 months ago

My feet tend to run cold so I wear neoprene overshoes for most of the year - they're bright pink and also highly visible.  I have been known to stretch them over my NW winter boots (I have the first GoreTex version, must be 10 years old) and they're very warm, though incidentally, not great in wet weather as once water gets in it can't get out.

Dr_Lex [499 posts] 8 months ago

Foot warmth depends on both the covering to slow loss and the supply of heat from circulation - what are you wearing on your legs, and is your core warm? I found that I needed not only a switch to winter boots, but also thicker tights.

vonhelmet [1350 posts] 8 months ago

I’ve just bought those shoes hoping they’ll be good for the winter. Mind you, in the past I’ve coped with wool socks, regular spd shoes and overshoes.

NorthEastJimmy [159 posts] 8 months ago

BTBS - Ha, yeah I guess my previous set up does sound a bit OTT.  I was hoping a thermal winter shoe would at least equal overshoes and toe caps but I was wrong.

I do  have proper winter merino socks so will try these and see how they feel.  Always thought a 3rd pair of socks would be a bad choice but could go for a ultralight merino liner sock.

Dr_Lex - I've always made do with normal bib shorts with knee warmers but I've ordered some winter bib tights so hopefully that will make the difference!  Core is normally quite warm as I feel I generally run hot but wear a merino baselayer with a mixed wool jersey (+ any wind proof or waterproof when needed).

alansmurphy [2193 posts] 8 months ago

NE Jimmy - a test for neuropathy may be required  1


As a diabetic my feet will vary as much based on my blood sugars, circulation and core as it will on the temperature. I can get home and claim frozen feet and find the skin is hot to the touch and I have what feels like ice blocks in the middle of my feet radiating the cold outwards.


Now I am an extreme case but the body is a marvellously complex beast and very minor adjustments can eff it up incredibly.

dottigirl [863 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Are they winter shoes rather than boots? I find boots are better.

Best thing about winter boots is not having to faff around with covers. Blocking the holes on the soles, thermal inserts and decent covers plus good socks can work, but I prefer to just pull on my winter boots.

If you have so many socks, your feet are squashed then you'll be cutting circulation off and have colder feet.

The secret though is layering your legs properly. I don't understand anyone faffing around with knee warmers or leg warmers in cold weather. Padded thermal tights, or in cold weather, unpadded thermal tights over your padded shorts for lovely warm thighs. If you're getting chilblains at the end of a ride, that's a sign you didn't layer enough. 3/4s are useful too, for warmer days. Really warmer days. 

If your legs are not warm, the blood vessels constrict and you don't give your feet a chance of getting warm. Ditto body. Double snoods and thermal headband/cap on top. I went out in the snow last winter, cycling past frozen lakes, and the only cold part of me was a tiny strip of exposed skin around my glasses.

Luv2ride [132 posts] 8 months ago

I've got the same shoes (TH Raptors) and like them.  The trick for me is wearing merino socks such as Woolie Boolies by Defeet.  I found them good at dealing with cold winds, rain and low temps.  My only issue with the Raptors is I really bought them as a wet autumn/into winter shoe hoping I could wear them with thinner socks but find they come up a little wide for my feet so I tend to wear thicker socks to compensate. I may get some different insoles to see if that reduces the internal volume but the stock ones have the heat reflective TH lining.  Maybe volume-reducing insoles for autumn/spring, then the OE thermal insole for winter and thicker socks?   

I also have some old Northwave winter GTX boots which also have room for thicker socks and they do keep my feet warm in really cold temps.  However I now find I much prefer the freedom of movement offered by the Raptors shoe-style.  

Sorry to hear you're disappointed in them, hope you find a combo that works for you...