So I have been reading on keeping the toes warm, I have a short commute, usually about ~20 minutes, but it is mostly on industrial roads and MUPs, and a short distance on Milwaukee.  So I am guessing I'll be riding in slush a lot since the curbs and roads aren't plowed very well in the winter.  There is a lot of info on what people have made worked, but there doesn't seem to be anyone who has just done one or the other.  

Or if there is a specific thread I missed, by all means link it and I apologize for missing it!

I currently have a pair of SPD pedals with a small platform on the other side.  I am finding that my feet are so cold they hurt, especially when they are wet.  I bought my cleats with a little extra room, and I own cold weather hiking socks.  Should I just invest in a waterproof shoe cover and forego the thermal stuff?  I saw the Rivendell MUSA covers and they look like great water proof options, but I am worried about them holding slush against my shoe when I put a foot down.

Otherwise I am thinking about switching my pedals to some platforms and riding in boots.  I have a set of Goretex lined boots that when worn with my wool cold weather socks, my feet always sweat. 

What has worked for others?  Do you really notice the loss in pedal stroke going from a cleat to a platform, especially in poor weather?

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Have you tried wearing your gore-tex lined boots with wool socks, and using the platform side of your SPDs?  That sounds like a good free solution.  Loss in pedal stroke, in the winter, on milwaukee, on a commute, during rush hour, would be fairly minimal.

In winter, I'm a big fan of hiking boots with wool socks and platform pedals.

+1 x 1000. I have speedplay pedals, but for my commute I typically use the platform pedal adapter. It's a commute and I'm not concerned about optimal power transfer. In winter I wear waterproof boots, which nowadays does not have to mean heavy leather, lugged-sole hiking boots. New to me this winter are some Foresake "sneaker boots" that have been oh so comfortable the past week.

Anne Alt said:

In winter, I'm a big fan of hiking boots with wool socks and platform pedals.

Glad to know the boots and platforms isn't a bad idea.  A coworker is loaning me some pedals since the only ones I can think of having are for bearings but the pedal is bad.

And Apie, I have ridden those pedals in the summer pulling my 2 year old in gym shoes and they were slippery then.  Totally wouldn't feel comfortable in wet conditions, and the platform itself is smaller than a standard pedal.  The lugs on the pedal are smooth bumps and not much else, great for the SPD and getting around the local area, but I'd not want to ride them in traffic!

I have tried different boots from different vendors (Specialized Defrosters, Lake MX303, Shimano MW81, and my regular MTB shoes with toe cover) and just recently, the Giro Alpineduro.

Here are my findings (take with a grain of salt as everyone's different):

- Specialized Defrosters boots (3 yrs old) still get a bit wet on the inside and not a lot of insulation. I ended up covering the boots with a bootie and the combo works well in blocking the wind and only a bit cold in my 10 miles of commute last year.
- My regular MTB clipless with a toe cover and a thick wool socks work well in blocking the wind and only a bit colder than the above combinations. I ended up using this combination all through last winter for faster time in getting ready.
This year I tested it with a pair of water proof socks from Showers Pass I was dry from outside element but sweaty inside.
- Shimano's MW81 kept me dry and with a pair of thick wool socks this was the warmest and dryest of my combinations so far. Bought this year. Btw this boots uses Gore material and has a bit of insulation. It may be too warm for the warmer rainy seasons.
- I bought a pair of Giro Alpineduro from REI this weeknd with their 20% coupon. This is what I wore today. Combined with a pair of wool socks, I felt nothing. But my feet did sweat. So, tomorrow, I'll try what Andy is doing and switch to regular socks. Who knows, this maybe the winning combination by far! I'll let you know tomorrow.

Ps: my feet gets cold easier for than my hands and I only wear a pair of wool gloves and covered with an REI waterproof mitten.

Waterproof shoe covers wont hold up for daily use. You'll need something insulated and winter-specific to get through the winter. Either hiking boots and pinned platform pedals or winter cycling shoes. 

I like to use standard winter hiking boots and pinned platform pedals. I spend a lot of time outdoors so I like the versatility and cost savings of using normal boots. I bought these: 

I really like the looks of the alpineduro but I'll wait till more reviews come through from serious northern winter riders

I use the Riv splats and really like them.  They keep the shoes and feet dry and will work with any shoe I  think.  I also put a toe warmer in my shoes on the cold days, they last for 6 hours or more.  My commute is also less than 30 minutes so rather than waste the toe warmer, I take them off, put them in a zip lock bag and squeeze all the air out.   This stops the oxidation (turns them off) I use them over and over for  3 or 4 days that way.


I am decidedly low-rent compared to a lot of other posters on this thread.  I would (and do) go with platform pedals and boots for sure.  I recommend MKS Sylvan Touring pedals.  I bought some at Blue City Cycles for both my road and (winter) hybrid bikes.  They are top-notch and not ridiculously expensive, maybe around $40.00 a pair.  They should be the last pedals of that type you ever need.  I've had them for years now and ridden in all kinds of conditions, and they still spin as freely as when I bought them. They have a nice large surface area for bigger footwear and teeth for good grip.  As far as the boots are concerned, you probably have some nice ones if they're Gore-Tex.  Gore-Tex handles moisture well and is somewhat breathable.  If your feet are sweating, try scaling down your sockage.  Instead of heavy wool socks, try some progressively lighter ones until you hit your sweet spot.  Just as long as they're not cotton.  You might even try just thin sock liners instead of full socks.

As far as the ergonometrics are concerned, I ride like a turtle, so things like that don't worry me.    


I got my LHT last year at Comrade and had them put on some SPD/Platform pedals. Last year was my first year ever wearing cleats. It was also my first year to figure out that I should stop using them before the black ice hits. Some people can do it, I guess I'm not one of them.

I've got some Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters that work swimmingly in the winter as a slush/leg guard. As for shoes, I wear my normal ones, maybe boots if I feel inclined. It's best to wax them before it's something that you wished you had done earlier. I like Otter Wax, and it's also served me well on my jean jacket. 

My pedals are similar to these. Having a large platform with pegs is really nice for slippery winter conditions.

I'll put in another vote for boots + platform (BMX-style w/ pegs).  I use those with Holdfast straps, which can be adjusted to go pretty wide. With boots, I don't adjust them very tightly.

Thanks for all the awesome replies all!  I never thought of Gaiters but I think that might be a purchase this winter.  Or Holdfast straps, those look like they'd keep me hooked in when needed so that might be a future purchase as well.

I decided last night to swap over the the pedals that came with my bike (totally forgot I had them) which are some larger, cheap-o plastic ones but a nice width for a boot.  I wore my clodhoppers today with some athletic socks as a base and a wool hiking sock over that.  Other than getting used to actually not being clipped in, it all worked well.  My feet stayed very warm, only slightly sweaty once at work, and I got around great.  The pedals were something to be desired but they worked.

Speaking of pedals, anyone have a brand they like?  I have been reading some have removable pegs in them which is that a worthwhile feature to have?


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