Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Keep your warm whilst cycling

As the cold weather sets in and bites at the toes you can be sure of one thing, numb wet feet, especially at the toe end, where all those nice little air holes in your SPDs let in a draft of freezing air with each stroke.  Helpful in the summer months, but not so good in December - February. In the past we used to see a lot chemical based foot warmers, often used by snow sports types but costly in the long run and sadly no longer available to us as Elite dropped them from their range.

However in recent years we have seen a real improvement in the technology behind SPD over shoes and shoe covers. They are easy to use and fit and slip on over your existing bike shoes and have holes for the clips and heal so you can walk around in them as well. Made of neoprene, i.e wetsuit material, they are super stretchy and in this case water proof unlike wetsuits. Being a surfer as well as a cyclist I can tell you that under heavy usage neoprene will last you a year or two before it starts to break up. But under low usage to average, you should be able to get 3-4 years out of these. Especially the models we are going to look at here. It really is as simple as how often you use them and take put them on and off, also don't ever leave them in the Sun during the summer as UV light breaks down neoprene.

They come in a variety of options and of course sizes and we carry two main brands BBB and Shimano. They protect from winter conditions and keep your feet dry and warm. Meaning you have one less excuse to get on your bike or off the turbo trainer and go for a proper ride. Most are designed for road riders and come in streamlined shapes with additional reflective decal for added attention during the cold long nights.

Let's have a look at what BBB have offer here. Take the HardWear Shoe Covers from BBB Cycles

BBB Cycles BWS-04 - HardWear Shoe Covers (47-48) 1

Features: Designed to protect your feet against cold and wet conditions. Neoskin waterproof layer on top of 3mm neoprene offers the best protection against the cold and rain. Glued seams make them 100% leak proof. Reflective industrial-strength YKK-zipper. Two Kevlar reinforcements between sole and zipper as well as on the nose. Velcro rubber strap for a secure fit. 

Sizes: 37/38, 39/40, 41/42, 43/44, 45/46  47/48. 

Colour: black.

These are also available in the WaterFlex Shoe Cover version which are more aimed at heavy rain rather than cold weather. 

Shimano used to market their shoes under their sub brand name Pro and this year sees some serious revisions to the ranges and a rebrand to Shimano Clothing. They come in Endure H20, Tarmac H20, Endure 3mm and Blaze 2mm as well as several other variations. For the sake of argument and comparison lets look at the warmest and driest in our opinion.

With an RRP of £41.99 these really are not the cheapest from Shimano but we like to look at the best in the range. 

Endure NPU 3 mm Neoprene overshoe, with BCF and PU coating,

Endure NPU 3mm bicycle thermal overshoes.

  • 72% Styrene Butadiene Rubber, 18% Polyester, 10% Polyurethane
  • Optimal Panel Construction Design
  • 3mm multi-stretchable Neoprene with water resistant PU coating for cold and wet conditions
  • Bamboo Charcoal Fleece inner with strong insulating and antibacterial properties
  • Multi-functional sole with hook and loop strap suitable for Race & MTB shoes
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility
  • Sealed seam, Kevlar reinforcement on the nose and YKK zipper

Bare in mind that a winter wetsuit is 5mm and summer 3mm and in this case 3mm of Neoprene is warm enough for cycling conditions especially for your feet! (2mm version available.)

So there you have the two main comparable products and if it were down to me on price and value for money I would choose the BBB as a breakthrough entry. Their products are reliable and well known in the Netherlands but growing well and fast in the UK. Shimano are running a premium here and will be a little warmer due to the material construction. But all in all both well keep you warm and dry and on the road for longer, just up to you on budget. 

Feel free to post your comments about either or other below, being a small shop we are unable to test and review everything! 

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