How To Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm | GCN’s Pro Tips

How To Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm | GCN’s Pro Tips

– A common question among cyclists is how to keep your
hands and your feet warm when you’re riding in cold weather, but the answer is coming up, a result of some hard-earned lessons and indeed, some handy hints. See what I did there? So why do we get cold
hands and cold feet, eh? The first point is that
the windchill when we ride is much, much higher than
if we’re walking or running because the speeds are higher, the wind blows over our bodies, and it cools us down. And then of course, there are also times we’re actually not really
exerting ourselves. Now, that’s certainly
not the case right now as I’m riding half up a mountain, but when you get to the top and
descend down the other side, I’m effectively gonna stop pedalling and, to make it worse, the windchill is gonna get significantly higher. In order to keep warm,
my body is gonna keep all the blood flow around my core and neglect my poor extremities. So what do we do about it then? Well, so like with your
hands, the simple answer is just to put on a pair of gloves, but doing that doesn’t guarantee
that you will get warm hands. You need to put a little bit more thought and a bit more planning into it, and certainly, investing
in a cycling-specific pair of gloves is a very good idea because although normal gloves
might get your hands warm, of crucial importance is being able to hold on to your handlebars,
change gear, and brake. So what are the options? What should we buy? We mentioned the effect
of windchill earlier on, so if you are buying just one
pair of winter-cycling gloves, make sure they’re made
out of windproof material, certainly on the back of the glove, but I think over the whole glove itself. That is gonna, of
course, protect your hand from the chilling effect of the wind and it’s also gonna do
so with minimal bulk so you maintain that all-important
control over the bike. Now as the temperature
plummets, you will, of course, need to add some insulation
to the mix as well, so a layer underneath
that windproof barrier is gonna keep your hand warm. There is also the opportunity
to layer your gloves. So just like with any
other part of your body, you could wear a thinner pair of gloves underneath your thicker pair of gloves and then really, really
cold-weather gloves will actually have your fingers
in the same compartments, so like a lobster effect,
and while that’s not ideal for riding, it certainly
better than a mitten and if you’ve got no other
option, if it’s that cold, then they are absolutely great. However, if the weather
is like it is today, why, a little bit damp, then you
want a different glove again. So one is that is waterproof, or indeed, one that is made out of neoprene, so that’s like a wetsuit material. It is not waterproof, but
it keeps your hand warm when it’s wet by using that
water as an insulative layer between your hand and the glove. But what you’ve got to bear
in mind with these is that your hand needs to be warm
before you actually put it on. Otherwise, you’ll just get colder. Having the right gloves, though, will not guarantee you having warm hands. We also need to think about
keeping our bodies warm and our arms warm as
well because that way, we’re keeping that blood flowing
down into our extremities. So again, choosing something
with windproof fabric is gonna help protect your arms. It doesn’t have to be a
dedicated cycling jersey. Even just a waterproof
jacket is gonna do that job really, really well. And then, there’s also
the question of effort. So long, steady rides in cold weather are really hard to keep warm during and so actually maybe you need to think about riding in a slightly different way. So going out riding shorter, but harder, and that way, you will stay warmer still. So what about feet then? Having cold feet is absolutely grim, but fortunately, there are
some easy and inexpensive ways that we have. The obvious one being overshoes, so literally, an article of
clothing that goes over the top of your sock and shoe,
blocking out the wind and keeping not just your
foot, most of your ankle, nice and toasty. There are loads of different
types on the market, from thin ones that are there
purely for aerodynamics; to windproof ones, neoprene ones, right up to warm, insulated
fleecy lined ones. Now just like with gloves,
there is an optimum overshoe for seemingly every
temperature, but unlike gloves, actually, I think you can
get away with just one, really thick, warm pair. So I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from hot feet particularly, and nor do you have the
problem of losing control over your bike. The only downside of thick overshoes is they make your feet look a little bit big. Now, why overshoe and not under-sock? Well, to get a same amount
of insulation as a sock, it’s gonna need to be really thick meaning your shoe can then
end up being really tight and that’ll mean that
actually the circulation to your foot ends up being restricted, so actually, despite
having that insulation, you get a correspondingly colder foot, so it’s much better to layer
over the top of your shoes. Now, you can’t argue with
the fact that an overshoe is probably the best combination
of value and function but you may well find that
a dedicated winter booty is a great investment. So there’s no mesh, no
ventilation, it’s just a waterproof and warm shoe, great for
really cold conditions but also great if you spend
any time getting off your bike and walking, which is an activity
that will make right work of an overshoe. Now before we leave the
issue of feet for good, we need hand over to my esteemed colleague for one particularly infamous pro-tip. Thanks very much Si, This is a technique that
I’ve been using for years to keep my feet warm in
the depths of winter. Get some decent-quality foil,
simply wrap your foot in them, over your sock, fit your
shoe, push your shoe over your befoiled socked
foot, tighten things up, and there we go. Make like a jacket potato. – So what do we need to remember then, to banish numb hands and numb feet? Well, first you need to think
about the type of riding that you do, so shorter,
harder rides are likely to leave you with warmer hands and feet than longer, slower rides. Then it’s not just about
wrapping up your extremities, remember, it’s also about
keeping your torso warm, your arms warm, and your legs warm. When it does come to protecting
those hands and feet though bear in mind windproof fabric for gloves that are worth their weight in gold and then also the concept of an overshoe, completely bizarre to non-cyclists but once you’ve tried them,
you will never go back. Now do make you subscribe to
GCN for leaving this video. To do so, just click on the globe and if you want some more content, we’ve got how to dress for
riding in the mountains, including a hack to keep
your hands warm this time. That’s definitely worth a watch. Or some for some winter riding
tips, click just down there.

100 thoughts on “How To Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm | GCN’s Pro Tips”

  • For really cold weather I place a chemical toe warmer pack on top of the toe area of my shoe, and then pull the insulated bootie/ shoe cover over the top.

  • Rather than tin foil, I use sandwich bags. If you ride fixed gear or an older bike with downtube shifters in the winter then you can use mittens and just like your feet, you can wear sandwich bags between the layers on your hands like over your glove liners and under the over-mittens.

  • Luis Filipe Galhardo Matos says:

    don't tight shoes too much, normally i keep from the day before near the boiler and will be more comfortable on the day, stopping for a few minutes it will help to improve the blood flow too (especial de arterial flow)

  • Pigs sans blankets; preheat oven to 200 Celsius (fan), wrap in tin foil, cook for 30 minutes or 20km whichever is sooner. Eat warm

  • Silver mylar emergency 'blanket' may be more hard wearing and a good option instead of aluminium foil, they're cheap to buy, just cut one up into the right size pieces.

  • dont buy the bullshit, save your money and but some planet x lobster gloves…. and planet x overshoes, some nice wooley socks should do,

  • Alexandra Francis says:

    'make like a jacket patato' next time I ride then I'm leaving the house dripping in butter with a side of baked beans 😁

  • If you suffer from really cold hands like I do try barmitts. Look ridiculous but work for me

  • I used the Matt Stephens patented "Jacket Potato" after the first time I saw it a few years back and it's BRILLIANT!! It doesn't take up room in the toe box, it also protects from small water intrusions, and it's recyclable!

  • Haha, what you called "a really really cold weather" for lobster gloves, is a normal winter weather here in Finland, from -5 to -20 degrees. 😉 So it's quite a relative: I bought pair of Mavik thermal gloves that should have been designed for "real cold weather". I used them riding in in plus 5 degrees, and got my hands cold. So someones cold is some others warm…

  • I suffer from really cold feet and have tried everything but what works for me is rubbing "Deep Heat"  or embrocatiion cream in to my toes before a ride as well as a chemical toe warmer pack such as Hot Hands on top of my sock and my feet are warm for hours, i also carry an insulated water bottle with a hot drink cause if you have to stop even for a few minutes your body temp with drop and you'll struggle to get warm again

  • Ok, related to keeping warm during winter rides, should a baselayer top get tucked into bib shorts, or leave it untucked. My white baselayer shirt is longer that my jersey.

  • When it's really cold then I won't ride longer than 2 hours. Make it short and fast – even 1 hour ! I tend to ride the MTB or Gravelbike in the forests where it's more sheltered from the wind.

  • Thanks for the tips guys. I’ve used various different cycling specific gloves and still find my hands take a long time to warm up. I either need to ride at 85% max HR to warm up quickly by that I mean 20 mins and put up with a sweaty body or they take 45 min to warm up at normal 70% max HR until then my fingers are painful. Any further tips welcome. And my current gloves are the gore with primaloft and even at +3-5 C my fingers hurt

  • Evan Cunningham says:

    Anyone have advice for keeping ears warm? What are some good hats/ear muffs that won't be awkward to wear with a helmet? My ears can get so cold they hurt after some rides

  • In really cold weather I wear wool socks, then shoes. I then put small plastic bags over shoes with shoe covers over that. I have ridden​ in snow and single digit temps with this technique.

  • I have been working as a courier here in Toronto Canada the last few years and I have ridden in some pretty cold weather. I strongly recommend winter cycling shoes to keep the feet warm and dry. Booties/overshooes are fine when it's dry but below -10c winter shoes work best and for wet snowy mess days. As for gloves I like ski and snow board gloves for the really cold days and neoprene kayaking gloves for most others.. I have found that more important that what gloves you wear keeping your core extra warm helps to keep you extremities warm in the worst weather.Last year we had a few days below -20 that I enjoyed working

  • Won't debate whether better than foil or not but I have many times used plastic sandwich bags over my socks. Seems to work very well without having to bother with the forming process. Just slip the toes into the corner of the bag and slip your foot into the shoe. I've never had a bag tear but I'm guessing foil might.

  • Allan McPherson says:

    Google "Bar Mitts". I'm Canadian, but I believe using them in Britain should allow you to ride winters WITHOUT gloves.

  • Foil – as recommended use quality foil. I tried cheap thin stuff and it actually broke down into tiny pieces in my sock during my ride.

  • For safety I wish you wore some high visabilty clothes instead of black! Black is good looking but hard to see. Anyway,I use Gortex overshoes that easily velcro on and off. $50 USD and keep my feet warm and 100% dry in rainy Portland Oregon. For my hands I use various brands of medium thickness bike gloves or thicker ski gloves for really cold days.

  • I place tape over the vents on my shoes. Around my neck of the woods winter lasts about a month so buying another pair of shoes for for winter is pointless. But it works.

  • Kristi Chant & Achim Wagner says:

    I get cold hands no matter what gloves I wear. But I often wonder why a lot of winter jackets are black. I recently saw a guy in a yellow jacket followed by a guy in a black jacket. Visibility of the yellow fabric was worlds better than the black one. So why all the black things apart from fashion reasons?

  • Get Grip Grap Neopren Overshoes and Basta, not this Assos shit. He talking absolut bullshit. On a long ride to 0 degrees ur hands would be wet like hell. Then drive home with wet hands when u maybe 70km away from home, have fun. Buy Isolated good Isolated Handshoe and get a Runners or a Merino Handshoe over it u can take it off or on when it is to hot or not, and u dont even have to stop. Not everybody have a cameraman with hot coffee with him.

  • Any tip for putting on these overshoes? I always struggle with mine. Quite often it unlocks the closing system so I have to remove the overshoe and do it all over again. Maybe it's just me. #askgcn

  • Glove in glove is actually what I do in winter times. I just got the outer insulated glove on size bigger than it would fit me to make the air between the gloves an additional insulating layer. However this still keeps me warm only for about 2 hours when temperature is in the lower single digits °C.

  • Golden Retriever says:

    I live in Canada and ride in temps well below 0 Celsius. My tips: windproof tights and jacket, lobster claw gloves, wool socks and LOOSE shoes with booties. Loose shoes is the most important thing, doesn't matter how warm your socks are if your shoes are tight…and ride hard to stay warm.

  • Tried the foil option this weekend. Wasn’t great tbh. Feet still v cold and shoes filled with foil slivers afterwards…won’t be doing it again!

  • Wrist gaiters work great. They give you more movement in the fingers and thumb but also putting a second glove on top won't restrict movement.

  • My daughter lived in yellowknife, Canada and commuted by bike, wearing gloves in temps down to almost -40 (Fahrenheit& Celsius are the same at -40) . She could do so very comfortably with a pair of pogies I made for her.

  • BUT, also be aware that it is EASY to overdress! While riding, you don't need three layers of anything, usually.

    Case in point: I did a race in the woods, 30 miles, lots of climbing, two-track and single track. I started with a Smartwool base. Stellar idea due to wicking, and 'dead air' space. Then a thermal long sleeve jersey. It had a full zipper, so I figured I was safe. Then I put on a long sleeve Pearl Izumi bike jacket. and a rain jacket due to calls for rain on the route. Thermal gloves for the hands. For the bottoms, I started with Under Armour Base-2 long underwear, great idea, then Pearl Izumi Elite thermal bib-tights, and Smartwool long socks, and Lake MKS303 boots.

    I figured that I would be warm, yet able to control the temperature with the zippers on the tops. I was WRONG!

    The temperature was stated as being 35 for the route. The night before was in the low 20's. I thought that the cold would stay around in the woods longer. By the first mile, I was sweating. I knew I was in trouble. I tried to control the heat with the zippers, but just couldn't get a handle on it. I was already wet, so unzipping everything just made me freeze that much quicker. I had sweat pooling everywhere. My gloves were filled to near overflowing! My socks were soaked. I had so much sweat everywhere that the seat in the car was STILL WET the next day! I should have not worn the top jacket, and used a thinner rain jacket (or none at all). I could have well ditched the Under Armour underwear and the head covering too. I was miserable. I had such a problem regulating temperature, and keeping my soaked body from freezing because of the pooled sweat. I thought I planed to succeed, and overdressed. I had a reason for what I wore, but it was way too much! I was dressed for sub-zero temperatures, not the 33 degrees I encountered. So be aware, it's EASY to overdress!!!

  • Carl Blaskowitz says:

    Snowboarding gloves, I use a MTB so you work harder, drive in snow and use hotpacks in between layers of socks. Finish it off with a hat under your helmet, warm the head, to warm the extremities. Also I use a full face mask and boots. Winter does not stop the rides, they just take more calories to go the same distance. Love GCN!

  • I've Raynauds syndrome also, it means fingers are extremely cold when everything else work well. Eg.: I can ride with thin layer on the legs and baselayer+winter jersey on the upper body but no any gloves + liner gloves could help under 5Celsius.This year I found affordable handlebar mittens. I use it with autumn gloves and works much better than any winter cycling/skiing gloves combination.
    For the feet I use winter cycling shoes (expensive) + inner boot + double socks and newspaper or rockwool insulation on the front, but 2 hours long course is a nightmare, so I recently purchased an electric heated sole for the shoes and will tailor it to my needs, make it waterproof etc.
    Under 0 celsius I use indoor training, as liquid in the joint, especially in the knees are getting thicker and in the cold you can slowly kill your knees without any sign that you would notice. This is well known among older motorbikers and cyclists also 😉

  • Mrmarginofsafety says:

    Walmart HotHands adhesive toe warmer on top of your socked toes and then foil over the front of the shoe in front of the cleat, then neoprene over shoes…never get cold again.

  • Hi Simon – I use Pearly's Possum Socks, they keep my feet warm and comfortable. They are expensive and worth it. Love them.

  • I ride my atv in the wet and cold, cheap handlebar mitts from amazon or the like have been the hot ticket for me and don't need thick gloves.Give them a try

  • Old fisherman trick…Wear only 1 pair of good wool socks…Wash n dry feet then obliterate them with talc before putting socks on… Your feet would normally sweat slightly at the beginning of a ride, this moisture will then turn your feet to ice within a few miles… The talc will keep your feet dry, therefore Warmer longer and wool socks insulate n breathe best.. If your feet are still cold follow these steps AND also stick a chemical toe Warmer under your toes (little hotties from Costco) finish off with overshoes

  • Surprised that nothing was mentioned about wool socks. The smart wool socks that are available these days are not bulky and certainly help.

  • New England Bike Rides says:

    silk glove liners under thermal gloves. MTB shoes with less ventilation. Thin socks with plastic baggy over toes. toe warmers above toes (not wedged in front of toes). shoe covers (otherwise toe warmers will burn too hot/quickly). keep shoes dry.

  • I don't know why they make "black" bicycle clothing.. it's the hardest color to see and not safe at all day or night. I do wear black myself , but, in the winter under winter clothing which is in bright colors like neon orange or green, pink, white, etcetera. Or at least put on a safety vest…which I also use with dark colors. My gloves are even bright orange so when I hand signal it can be seen.

  • Tegera waterproof work gloves warm waterproof and 12 quid a pair if you need more there full on winter work glove 20 quid both are ace and way better than cycl gloves costing a ton more plus they look like cycle gloves not work ones

  • Rafael Ramos da Costa says:

    warm up your head and neck and your hands will be warmer. cold hands and feet are a sign that you are entering the hypotermia zone: the body reduces the blood flow to the extremities to keep 'the core' warm.

    i would strongly recommend a long neck balaclava

    this guy is really amazing. i recomend strongly his hypotermia series.

  • Nathaniel Conejos says:

    that's a swimming suit your nuts and the things you said was a paint you now that ahhhahahahahahhahhahahh

  • 3rdWorld Stomper says:

    Bull crap, over shoe is an absolute waste of money. Just buy a cheap packet of condoms and slip it over the shoes, works like a charm each time!

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