TIPS FROM THE PRO: Feet/Shoes - Snow Bike Festival | 4-Day MTB Stage Race
The Snow Bike Festival is a 4-day MTB stage race, which takes place in the wonderful region of Gstaad, Switzerland.
mountain biking, snow biking, atbike, extreme sports, gstaad, winter sports, downhill mountain biking
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30 Oct TIPS FROM THE PRO: Feet/Shoes

When it comes to keeping your feet warm and dry, there are more or less two options.

Either you wear your normal year round MTB shoes and you add shoe covers, or you wear winter MTB shoes. I usually wear my normal MTB shoes with covers! Keeping my feet warm enough is still a little bit of a challenge. There is a third option, but only for the really tough ones amongst you. Just the normal MTB shoes, no covers, just like that! I am jealous on that option, I wish I could do that!

Shoe covers: There is a wide range to choose from. In the winter time I prefer the thicker ones. Which do not only prevent your feet from getting wet, but also isolate and keep the cold air out!

Socks: also a very important point to consider. You should wear socks that insulate extra well, and also transport sweat out easily, so that your feet and socks don’t stay wet after you started sweating.

Here is what I do before/during races: I have my shoes in the living room, or at least in a place where it isn’t freezing. I want to start my ride warm. In most cases, I wear my normal cycling socks. Sometimes thicker ones, but then my shoes are a little bit too tight. That prevents my feet from being able to move properly, which doesn’t help if you want to keep your feet warm! I also don’t walk around the house barefooted on a cold floor, before I get into my shoes.

My cycling shoes are designed to ventilate very well. That’s nice when it’s 30 degrees outside, but not when it is freezing. Therefore, I like to tape the ventilation parts of the shoe shut, in order to prevent the cold air from coming in.

When you ride in the snow, it can happen that you need to walk a few meters, even if it’s just because you need to unclick for whatever reason. It can happen that the ‘toe’ part of the shoe cover lifts up.  If you then start to walk, the snow will get stuck in the shoe cover. Before I get on my bike again, for example when the downhill starts, I try to get rid of the collected snow and put the shoe cover back in the right place. Ensuring that there is no snow between my shoe and the shoe cover. This is important, as you can imagine that the snow would eventually melt and soak into your shoes.

Winter shoes: I can’t tell you about my personal experience, as I don’t own a pair. However, the people I know that ride with winter MTB shoes, all speak positively about them! They all recommend them and tell me that their feet stay warm and dry.

Key points:

– Before putting on your shoes, make sure both your feet and the shoes are warm (and not freezing cold)

– Wear normal socks or winter socks, but remember that you need to be able to move your feet and toes a little bit.

– Shoe covers: Figure out which ones you want to wear. Maybe not just water resistant ones, but also a set that insulate and keep your feet warm.

– Always get rid of snow that has been caught between your shoe and shoe cover.

All the best,

Hielke