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For bicycling enthusiasts, dealing with low winter temperatures and rain means cold, wet feet as traditional bike shoes are designed for airflow to keep feet cool.
The only way to keep up your cycling regimen is to prepare for the cold by having winter cycling shoes or overshoes to protect against the elements to keep your feet warm and dry.
When you buy the right winter cycling footwear, you’ll avoid freezing toes and wet feet that prevent you from focusing on your ride, so I put the top picks for the best winter cycling shoes down below.
I also add a complete buying guide with all the pertinent features a great cycling shoe for winter should offer so that you can purchase wisely.
Best Winter Cycling Shoes & Shoe Covers
How Do Cyclists Keep Their Feet Warm in the Winter?
Cyclists with experience know that a quality set of winter cycling shoes or overshoes is the only way to protect feet in the cold winter months.
Pairing a weatherproof cycling shoe with a thick pair of socks keeps feet and toes warm and blocks rain or road splash from penetrating.
Fair-weather cycling shoes are well-ventilated to keep feet cool and dry, whereas winter cycling shoes need to stop wind and moisture penetration, so your feet remain insulated from the cold.
Depending on the weather you commonly encounter, you may opt for a full winter cycling shoe, a winter cycling overshoe or protective cycling toe covers to keep you riding all winter long in comfort.
There’s no “secret” on how cyclists keep their feet warm in winter. Serious cyclists invest in a quality pair of winter footwear that pairs best with their cycling routine and needs like these below.
What Are the Best Winter Cycling Shoes?
Best Cycling Shoes for Winter: Lake Cycling MXZ303 Men’s Winter Boot
The high ankle protection, neoprene cuff, and a sole featuring a two-hole cleat and deep treads make these insulated cycling shoes the top pick for winter. The mix of materials on these Lake Cycling MXZ303 bicycle shoes work together to form a barrier that retains body heat yet repels moisture, snow, and wind, so your feet stay toasty on any length ride.
Lake MXZ 303 - The Ultimate robust winter cycling shoe is made for cold, icy or rainy weather. It keeps your feet reliably warm. It is made of water resistant Pitards WR100 leather while the shoe is still breathable.
- Wind and cold protection below 20°F (-6°C)
- Treads provide grip in snowy conditions
- 3M Thinsulate toe box lining increases warmth
- BOA IP1 lacing and top-flap buckle keep the shoe secure
- Rugged Vibram Mountain V outsole and Thermosol insole contain heat
- Toe box is a bit short so thick socks may cause issues
- Expensive for a single-season cycling shoe
Best Waterproof Cycling Shoe: Fizik R5 Artica Shoe
The Fizik R5 Artica is the best winter biking shoes when you want to keep your shoe profile sleek. The shoes hug your feet with a foil-bottom insole and stretchy, soft upper that resists water to keep feet dry and warm.
The R5 Artica Cycling Shoe offers substantial protection from the elements without compromising anything you'd get from a performance-oriented road shoe. The Artica R5 is fully waterproof, using a membrane that blocks out water while maintaining breathability for more intense training sessions.
- Fully waterproof membrane keeps feet dry
- Speed internal lacing keeps fit secure
- Carbon composite sole is lightweight and durable
- Microtex shell retains warmth
- Road cleat has 3-bolt cleat compatibility
- Zipper is hard to pull smoothly
- High cuff may feel too tight on some people
Best Winter Overshoe: CXWXC Full Bicycle Overshoes
The Kevlar toe base sets these CXWXC winter road bike shoes cover apart, as it allows you to keep them on while walking without worry ground contact will tear the fabric. The reflective details add a layer of safety, and the inner storm flap helps keep water out.
Made with: Outer: Neoprene, nylon, rubber, kevlar; Inner: Microfleece polyester. Keep your feet dry and warm in wet cold weather, Kevlar base for wear resistance.
- Easy to fit over cycling shoes (option for road or MTB)
- Full toe and heel protection buffer wind
- Microfleece liner is soft and warm
- Zipper locks to stay secure
- Unisex design
- Sizing runs small
- Not fully waterproof
Best Cycling Shoe Toe Cover: ROCKBROS Thermal Shoes Toe Cover
The ROCKBROS toe covers provide the perfect level of protection, especially for BMX or MTB cycling in cold weather down to 10°F (-12°C). The thick SBR lycra fabric holds securely to the toe box and adds a layer of warmth without adding bulk. The dual elastic and velcro understraps offer protection from slippage.
EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE: Even in 10F degree, this cycling shoe toe cover can work well, keeping your feet warm during cold weather cycling
- Covers higher on the shoe for more warmth
- Kevlar bottom edging reduces damage
- Quick and easy to attach on cold days
- Straps and fabric grip snugly to shoe
- Water and wind protection in below freezing temps
- Velcro strap not long enough for secure fit on larger sizes
- Only covers the top of toes
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Cycling Shoes for Cold Weather?
Don’t buy any cycling shoes or overshoes without first learning about all the essential features to look for when you want to bike in cold weather.
Keep in mind that cycling shoes for winter often include extra space to allow for a thick pair of socks, so check closely for manufacturer sizing details.
The first feature to look for when buying winter cycling shoes is the cleat system.
Cleat systems vary between two-bolt (mountain biking or MBT) and three-bolt (road biking) styles.
If you have various biking shoes you alternate between, you may find you like the convenience of a winter overshoe for cycling that adapts to all different cleat systems.
Keeping your feet warm for cycling doesn’t require layers of bulky material that interfere with motion. The insulating factor of winter cycling shoes or overshoes should protect feet in below-freezing weather.
Look for thin, insulating layers within the shoe, such as microfleece, lycra, leather, and Microtex fabric that is durable, soft, and tightly woven to hold heat.
The insole should also offer a layer of insulation between the ground and your foot. Dense foam with a foil-back liner works well for this purpose.
A proper winter cycling shoe or overshoe must repel water, so look for Gore-Tex, neoprene, or other waterproof fabrics or coatings to keep your feet dry.
A waterproof layer is also a buffer against wind penetration, doubling its effectiveness in keeping warmth inside the shoe where you want it.
The best water-resistant fabrics are also breathable, which stops sweating feet, which leads to cold, uncomfortable toes.
Sole Firmness and Durability
Expect a winter cycling shoe to have a durable yet more flexible sole that warm-weather racing shoes.
The thicker sole provides more insulation, and treads offer better traction when walking, which is ideal for off-road mountain biking sessions.
There are winter cycling shoes with a firm flat sole that can accept a road cleat if you want to maintain a more aerodynamic look.
On overshoes or toe covers, look for a Kevlar base to stop wear and tear.
Look for ankle protection to keep wind and rain from flowing in from the top.
An extended cuff should overlap your leg covering and allow easy access to avoid struggling to get it on and off your foot.
The cuff should either be a solid stretchy material that hugs your leg without cutting off circulation or be adjustable but not have strings that flap about and interfere with pedaling.
Cycling shoes for winter may include a weatherproof zipper closure, a BOA IP1 lacing system, and an ankle flap.
Keeping wind and water out is imperative when trying to keep feet warm, so look closely at how tightly closure systems operate.
Check zippers for smooth action, and look for ankle flaps with a snaplock buckle or wide velcro, so it stays secure.
How to Achieve the Right Level of Foot Warmth
What level of foot warmth do you need to keep your ride comfortable?
Many cyclists don’t require a full winter biking shoe but do need an extra layer of protection from cold, wind, and water.
Those who want to keep the entire foot dry and warm should consider going with a high-rise cycling overshoe that straps on over your everyday biking footwear. These covers wrap around and insulate your entire foot and are an affordable option over a dedicated winter cycling shoe.
If cold toes are your only issue, the best solution is to use cycling toe covers. These covers are super lightweight yet buffer against wind, moisture, and low temperatures.
Toe covers are compact and easy to tuck into your cycling bag, so they’re handy when you need them.
Winter cycling shoes or overshoes are the keys to keeping your cycling training or adventures comfortable during low temperatures.
The best winter cycling footwear doesn’t skimp on quality or features, so your feet stay dry, warm, and pedaling smoothly without unnecessary bulk or slipping.
When you use the guide and recommendations above, you’ll have the best winter cycling shoes to keep you moving no matter what nature doles out.