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

Welcome to the latest edition of road.cc’s buyer's guide to ways of keeping your feet warm in cold weather, from warm socks to heated overshoes and more. 

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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.

And 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 Sock — £15.99

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 — £14

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 Thin Ankle Length Socks — £24.30

Sealskinz Thin 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 Thin Ankle Length Socks
Find a Sealskinz dealer

dhb Aeron Winter Weight Merino Socks — £7.80


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 obvious 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 — £10

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 Neoprene Halo Overshoes — £19.99

SealSkinz Halo overshoes

SealSkinz Neoprene Halo Overshoes 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, and at this price they're an absolute steal.

Read our review of the SealSkinz Neoprene Halo 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 MTB Winter Boots — ~£120

Shimano MW7.jpeg

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 very similar Shimano MW81 Winter Boots
Find a Shimano dealer

Northwave Extreme Winter Road GTX Boots — £239.99

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 first impressions of the 2016 version we currently have on test are very favourable. The full price of £230 is a bit 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 MXZ303 Winter Boots — £207.89

Lake MXZ303

The successor to the broadly similar MXZ302s, 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 MXZ303s 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 — £124.23

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.

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 a tenner. They run on six AA batteries, so they'll be a shade expensive to run unless you use rechargeables.

Plus-T-Store.com Winter heated insoles and wireless charger.jpg

The ultimate luxury option has to be the Plus-T +Winter heated insoles, above. They have a heating element at the front of the inner sole so the heat is concentrated where it needs to be, around the toes. The heat that the sole outputs is noticeable but it's not so extreme that it's going to cause discomfort even on the max setting. Instead, the soles emit a nice warming sensation that staves off the cold on the very coldest rides. While it doesn't exactly provide you with toasty tootsies, it does fend off the icicles for a good few hours.

We'd recommend them wholeheartedly if they weren't , but if you really suffer with cold feet, like our Dave Arthur, you might be prepared to spend that for warm feet.

A bit more searching and we stumbled across these 3M Thinsulate Thermal insoles. The microfibres of the Thinsulate fabric traps warm air and provide insulation. We haven’t tried them though, so we can't comment on how well they work.

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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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com 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.


Peowpeowpeowlasers [647 posts] 3 years ago

If you want warm feet when cycling in the winter, keep your torso warm.  Then your arms and legs, and finally the extremities.  In that order.

If your torso gets cold then it doesn't matter how many layers of astronaut socks you have on, your feet will get cold too.

Chez_worldwide [34 posts] 3 years ago

+1 for disposable hand/ feet warmers. I got a box of them from Decathlon last year for not much money, and they work a treat. Just slip them into the shoe first and toasty warm tootsies for 3+ hours. Small enough to carry a spare set in the back pocket just in case. Great things.

A quick search reveals 30 pairs of "little hotties" from Amazon for 18 quid.

tigrolino22 [9 posts] 3 years ago

Provided you are dressed for the season, the Number 1 to extra protect is then the brain. This is the center of command. When the head gets too cold the brain decides to draw the blood away from the extremities and divert to the the vital organs.

corski [1 post] 3 years ago
tigrolino22 wrote:

Provided you are dressed for the season, the Number 1 to extra protect is then the brain. This is the center of command. When the head gets too cold the brain decides to draw the blood away from the extremities and divert to the the vital organs.


if what you're saying is correct and many other theories of various parts of the body being cold thus causing the body to shut circulation to extremities are true then explain to me why when I'm riding that my torso can be sweating as well as my head even my hands are warm.....but my feet remain blocks of ice.

barbarus [536 posts] 3 years ago

Any tips on overshoes for people with skinny ankles? I often end up with lots of overlap.

Leviathan [3057 posts] 3 years ago
barbarus wrote:

Any tips on overshoes for people with skinny ankles? I often end up with lots of overlap.

Skinny ankles or hobbit feet?

barbarus [536 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Definitely skinny ankles. No hair on the soles as yet but I will keep an eye out.

ridein [219 posts] 3 years ago

I would suggest using shoes one half size larger which will give you more wiggle room for sock layers. A good layer of protection over wool socks is using neoprene socks and/or wearing shoe-covers, but inside the shoe.

FatBoyW [271 posts] 3 years ago

I find that When the weather is  really bad clingfilming the shoe before putting on the overshoes helps. Have to do it after putting the shoe on found it does help a lot.

bigfatron [33 posts] 3 years ago

No mention of the silk sock?

I've tried most of the above, as well as plastic bags over your socks and a tinfoil wrap.

I think I need heated shoes, I just have cold feet

carytb [136 posts] 3 years ago

I was out yesterday for about 4 hours in 2/3 degrees and for the first time EVER my feet weren't like blocks of ice, in fact they were actually warm. My normal pair of thick merino socks and my shoes done up unbelievably slack, in fact the overshoes were the thing keeping my shoes on. Also a new sey O Prendas air tunnel or something overshoes, completely windproof and highly breathable. I think that in the past my feet were sweating and then getting frozen. With these overshoes my perception was my feet got nowhere near as damp.

SalukiJim [1 post] 3 years ago

One tip I found helpful (thanks, GCN!) is to wrap your stocking feet in aluminum foil before putting on your shoes.  Lightweight, great insulator

nniff [327 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

My patent method is to use the HotHands handwarmers.  Put those on top of the mesh over the toe of your shoe and then overshoes on  top.  Supposedly good for 10 hours, but if you wrap them up tightly in a plastic bag they go cold again, and warm up when re-exposed to the air.  Good for 4-5 one hours cycles.


Skinny ankles - Endura Delulge zipless neoprene overshoes


kim shutt [1 post] 2 years ago
1 like

My road to curing cold feet,  1

I'd tried a few different things to trying to stop my toes going numb even after  5 miles or so even with many layers on my body didn't make any difference to a warm body & cold toes, the problem is with the majority of cycling shoes is that they are meant to keep your feet well aired, so they've got ventilation holes everywhere. Unless you get these covered up completely you'll still get cold feet. 

So I use the following and so far on about 10 rides (even though i noticed on the first ride and thought this is it) it's been amazing and I'd happily ride in the antartic this way. 

The ventilation holes on the bottom of my shoes I blocked up with black silicone sealant (i know it sounds stuid) and put tape on the inside (the silicone easily comes off - I've tried it), the ventilation holes on the side & on the top of my shoes I've just left. 

So I wear sealskin socks/bags over my feet (read somewhere that Wiggins done this and to be honest when I was little and winter came my mother would say put plastic bags on your feet :)), then put my overshoes on. (and don't tighten your shoes up too much as you need the circulation)

I did buy some wintershoes but you really need atleast a size and a half sizes bigger so you can wear some decent thick socks and have room for the blood to flow. (my mistake getting the same tw@tting size)

I'd been suffering like this for years and having a shower after a winter ride always had my toes nearly screaming to sort something out before they dropped off. 

Failing all this move to a warmer climate and like me stop complaining  1


Hope this helps. 

Freddy56 [441 posts] 1 year ago

Galibier's fire feet socks and their toe warrmers. Over that enduras MT500 overshoe (which is part welly) and away you goooooo

A440 [65 posts] 1 year ago
nniff wrote:

My patent method is to use the HotHands handwarmers.  Put those on top of the mesh over the toe of your shoe and then overshoes on  top.  Supposedly good for 10 hours, but if you wrap them up tightly in a plastic bag they go cold again, and warm up when re-exposed to the air.  Good for 4-5 one hours cycles.


Skinny ankles - Endura Delulge zipless neoprene overshoes


I use the footwarmers in conjunction with the tinfoil wrap, good for down to -3C. 

Rapha Nadal [1180 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A few clubmates have disposable heated inner soles for their shoes which they all swear by.  Not tried them myself but they're on the list! 

ktache [2325 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Little hotties for me, self warming things, my flat pedal five tens are a bit too ventilated, just enough warmth to stop the numbness.  Only lasts 5 hours, so does the morning commute and double zip loc bag for the working day, then on again in the evening.

Amber Decavele [1 post] 1 year ago
1 like

There is a Belgian manufacturer that also sells all kinds of heated cycling wear such as socks and insoles. www.30seven.eu 

SuperCommuter [6 posts] 1 year ago

I've tried a few nice enough overshoes but suffered the dreaded water ingress through the top where there was a wee cavity between the overshoe and my skinny pins.  The most effective for me have been the Endura Luminite 2 overshoes, they have a velcro fastening up the back enabling a more effective seal at the top than zips.  Alas, I now discover that Endura have stopped doing 'em but you should be able to pick them up on the web for a good price.

Top tip: even the best winter boots struggle to cope with water ingress at the top.  My Gaerne boots are excellent but again, can't close the gap at the top of the boot.  So I chopped the tops of an older pair of the aforementioned Luminite 2 overshoes to create a mini seal at the top of the boot: job done.

Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 1 year ago

Tbh, if it's that cold you need to double up on overshoes then count me out. I have enough trouble keeping my hands warm in normal winter conditions. Turbo trainer will do me if I'm that desperate. Even with liners in my gloves I still find it too cold to bother in the middle of winter.

ktache [2325 posts] 1 year ago

For more normal shoes, Odour Eaters do a thermal insole that takes the edge off, putting foil under them this winter when it gets proper cold.

Fred10195 [3 posts] 1 year ago

What a waste of time, the winter soles have been mentioned earlier if I'm correct and I saw a few months ago that they were out of stock...they still are, You can't find the Ekoi overshoes on their website anymore either, good job Dave! instead of just CTRL C CTRL V previous articles, it would be great to check the links as well, thanks in advance.

Cyclax Maximus [38 posts] 1 year ago

Some good informative comments here. My circulation is pretty piss poor, and I have even had cold feet in the summer sometimes!?

Come winter I fully appreciate the reasons not to buckle up the shoes too tightly, to erstwhile accommodate the thicker layers of sockageness.

With that said, can anyone point me in the direction of some decent socks, which may help> I don't want to start messing about injecting my shoes full of stuff and making my shoes into some type of NASA experiment. Just a reasonable pointer for what works for some of you.

If my feet are cold after 5 minutes of riding, I can rest assured it will stay that way until ride completion. And I really want to put some miles in this winter.

Thanks in advance...

mbrads72 [242 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Chez_worldwide wrote:

A quick search reveals 30 pairs of "little hotties" from Amazon for 18 quid.

Don't Google them at work. Just saying.