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Suffering cold feet? Find out how to keep your feet warm cycling through the winter

Suffer from cold feet when cycling? Here are a few products to keep you warm, including socks, overshoes, winter boots and heated insoles

Do you feel the cold in your feet on a ride? Unless you have exceptionally good circulation, you’re bound to feel the cold in your feet at some point during the winter. Your feet don’t have to work hard when you’re cycling, and the body can very quickly divert blood away from your toes to other parts of your body that need it more.

  • Cold feet = misery, but even the coldest and wettest weather can be bearable if your feet are warm; here's how to keep them toasty

  • Overshoes are the traditional cyclist's weapon in the fight against cold feet

  • Thick socks can be a big help, but you might have to go up a shoe size to stop them constricting your feet

  • We've also looked at some options in heated overshoes, socks and insoles that actively warm your feet

11 great ways to keep your feet warm on the bike

When your feet get so cold that it hurts, there’s no chance of them getting any better until you finish your ride and get home. If you have any hope of putting in the miles over the winter, it’s essential to make sure you can cycle in relative comfort when the mercury is dipping below zero degrees.

Some people don't have a problem with cold feet at all during the winter, but some people can suffer very badly with painful and numb feet, turning a ride into a miserable experience. I count myself in the latter camp. My circulation is so bad that after just an hour, or even sooner, my feet and hands have had enough. Keeping them warm isn't easy.

There are many measures you can take to delay the onset of cold toes and feet, so here are a few tips for keeping them warm. We'd like to hear your tips too, so feel free to comment at the bottom of the article.


Your first layer of insulation is the most important, so good socks are vital and a very important investment. There’s a good selection of chunky socks that offer a bit more insulation than thin summer socks. Importantly, they should be thin enough not to squeeze your feet in your shoes.

Cram three pairs of socks into shoes that fit and all of a sudden they don't fit anymore. Plus, squeezing them in your shoes makes them tight so your circulation suffers, defeating the object.

DeFeet WoolieBoolie Merino socks 1

Socks can either be made from synthetic or naturally occurring fabrics like Merino wool, one of our favourite sock materials.

Merino wool offers very good warmth and insulation and is very comfortable. The addition of synthetic fabrics can give socks better moisture management, keeping your feet drier for longer. Merino has the benefit of not only keeping your feet warm but also being very soft next to the skin, giving a little added luxury.

Moose NordKapp socks

Winter socks can generally be a little longer than summer ones, providing an increased overlap with tights and overshoes. And as you’ll be wearing them with tights, it really doesn’t matter what they look like or what colour they are. Here are a few we really like.

Castelli Quindici Soft Socks — £17

Castelli Quindici socks

These socks from Castelli aren’t cheap but they are comfortable and provide a good level of insulation for chilly off-season rides.

They’re made mostly from Merino wool – with acrylic, nylon, Lycra and elastic thrown into the mix – and are noticeably warmer than most synthetic socks of a similar weight. Plus, the wool naturally wicks moisture away from your skin to keep your feet feeling fresh when you work up a sweat.

Read our review of the Castelli Quindici socks
Find a Castelli dealer

DeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 — £18.39

DeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 Merino socks

The latest, higher-cuff version of the popular Merino Woolie Boolies are extremely comfortable and fairly priced; excellent winter socks. Without doubt, they will keep your feet warm in winter, but they're definitely thicker than 'normal' cycling socks, so you may find them a bit of a jam in your shoes (unless, like many wise cyclists, your winter shoes are a tad bigger than your summer shoes).

Read our review of the DeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 Merino socks
Find a DeFeet dealer

Sealskinz All Weather Ankle Length Socks — £30

Sealskinz All Weather Ankle Length Socks
Sealskinz Ankle Length Socks use a three-layer merino wool/nylon/elastane sandwich with a waterproof and breathable membrane that will not only keep the cold out, but also keep your feet dry. You'll also find them branded as mountain bike socks, but they still keep out the wet on the road.

Read our review of the Sealskinz Ankle Length Socks
Find a Sealskinz dealer

dhb Aeron Winter Weight Merino Socks — £12.00 - £14.25


The latest version of some socks we tested and rated highly back in 2011, these are thin enough to fit under your usual cycling shoes without shutting off your circulation, and made from a Merino mix that helps keep you warm. There are mid-weight and light-weight versions too for weather that's cool but not frigid.

Read our review of the dhb Merino Socks

View the sock review archive


The next line of defence is overshoes. As well as keeping cold wind out, overshoes will protect your feet from spray from front wheel and other road muck getting into your shoes. If you can stop the wind and rain getting at your shoes and then your feet, you shouldn’t suffer quite as much.

Sportful WS Bootie Reflex

Overshoes are made from various materials including neoprene and various windproof and waterproof fabrics. Some are general purpose and some are designed specifically to keep out wind or water.

An overshoe needs to fit well, so correct sizing is important. The fewer openings there are on the shoe and around the back, the less cold air can sneak inside.

GripGrab Easy On Toe Cover

In extreme conditions, I’ve resorted to wearing two pairs of overshoes. A popular trick is to wear a neoprene toe warmer over the shoe and underneath your overshoes. Let's look at some of our favourites.

Caratti Neoprene Windproof Toe Warmers — £7.50

Caratti Neoprene Windproof Toe Warmer

These brilliantly simple stretchy toe covers that are worth a tenner any day of the week. Made from 3mm neoprene these toe covers provide a lot of warmth for heavily vented summer shoes on a chilly ride. You've got an upper and a lower section stitched together at shoe sole height which makes for a good fit when they are on the shoe.

Read our review of the Caratti Neoprene Windproof Toe Warmers

SealSkinz All Weather LED Overshoes — £43.99

SealSkinz Halo overshoes

Previously known as SealSkinz Neoprene Halo Overshoes, these covers incorporate a powerful LED light in the heel, a clever idea that I'm surprised has never been done before. Don't discount them as being a gimmick, they really do work well and are ideal for regular after dark cyclists.

Read our review of the SealSkinz All Weather LED Overshoes
Find a SealSkinz dealer

Lusso Windtex Stealth Over Boots — £30

Lusso Windtex Stealth Over Boots.jpg

The Lusso Windtex Stealth overboots offer a large working temperature range across a myriad of different weather conditions. And don't let that Windtex name fool you – these booties will also keep the rain at bay for way longer than you'd expect of a fabric this light and thin.

Read our review of the Lusso Windtex Stealth Over Boots

Want more options? See our buyer's guide to overshoes and full archive of reviews of overshoes.

Winter boots

The alternative option to wrapping your cycling shoes with overshoes is to invest in some winter boots. Essentially, they are shoes with integrated overshoes. With all the vents closed up and lots of insulating and weather protecting materials, they provide the ultimate protection when the weather turns bad.

If you’re going to spend two or three months cycling through the winter, it does seem ever so slightly mad to do so in shoes that are really designed for the summer. There isn't a vast amount of choice in winter boots, so let's take a look at our favourites.

Shimano MW7 Gore-Tex Winter Boots — £179.99

Shimano MW7 Gore-Tex MTB Winter Boots

The windproof construction, insulated liner, and fleece insole of Shimano's MW7 Winter Boots all really help to keep the heat in. The Gore-Tex liner keeps out water, but your feet don't get overly sweaty thanks to its breathable properties.

Read our review of the Shimano MW7 Winter Boots
Find a Shimano dealer

Northwave Extreme R GTX Boots — ~£250

NorthWave Extreme Road Winter GTX.jpg

The latest version of these lightweight, fully waterproof and well-insulated boots is very much the luxury option in winter foot protection. We tested and liked the mountain bike version back in 2013 and this incarnation ket our feet dry when we tried them a couple of years ago. The full price of £270 is rather ouchy, but if you’re wearing them your feet won’t be, and they can be found quite a bit cheaper.

Read our review of the Northwave Extreme Winter GTX Boots

Find a Northwave dealer

Lake MXZ304 Winter Boots — £234

Lake MXZ304 Winter Boots

The successor to the broadly similar MXZ303s, these are not strictly road orientated winter cycling boots; they have a two-bolt mountain bike sole. Tackling icy road surfaces with smooth road type soles is a dicey activity anyway, so the rugged Vibram outsole is definitely not a negative feature. The downside of this is that the MXZ304s are only suited to use with SPD cleats rather than road style cleats. Again though, if you’re a multi-cycle household (and let’s face it who isn’t?) then a boot you can pop on for road riding, touring or mountain biking has got to be a good thing, provided you run SPD pedals on all of them.

Read our review of the Lake MXZ302 Winter Boots
Find a Lake dealer

Heated overshoes, insoles and inserts

If none of the above is enough, then maybe what you need is an actual heat source against your feet. There aren’t that many cycling brands offering them, though Italian brand Sidi did release a heated insole a couple of years ago, but they’ve since been discontinued.

Ekoi Heat Concept Overshoes — £95.21

Ekoi Heat Concept Black Overshoes.jpg

Ekoi's Heat Concept overshoes use a system of integrated heating elements and lithium polymer batteries to achieve the aim of stopping your toes from freezing in the cold. And do you know what? They work.

I mean, it's not like having your feet in a warm bath while you cycle around in sub-zero temperatures all day, or anything like that, but the heating elements in the overshoes certainly do make a noticeable difference to the warmth of your feet on a cold ride. It was pretty easy to confirm this, simply by turning one of the overshoes on and leaving the other one off. At the end of two hours' riding in temperatures not far north of zero, it wasn't hard to remember which foot had been heated. It was the difference between losing feeling in your toes, and being cold, but comfortable.

Sadly, they're currently sold out; we hope they'll be back sometime soon.

Read our review of the Ekoi Heat Concept Overshoes

Warmawear heated insoles

Most of your other options are heated insoles of one sort or another. The cheapest ones we've found are the Warmawear Battery-Heated Insoles, above, currently on special for just eight quid. They run on six AA batteries, so they'll be a shade expensive to run unless you use rechargeables.

There are loads of rechargeable heated insoles and even rechargeable socks on Amazon. These insoles are just £31.30, for example. Caveat emptor: a lot of cheaper heated insoles are marked as rechargeable when they actually need a power supply. Read the spec carefully.

Hothands Foot Warmers.jpg

And another left field solution to cold feet could be Hothands foot warmers. Available from outdoor shops, these self-activating small foot warmers are slim enough to go inside your shoes and provide up to eight hours of heat. We’ve only ever used them snowboarding, but we're guessing that they should work on the bike too.

How do you tackle the problem of cold feet? We'd love to hear your tips.

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The aim of buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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