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Many outdoor enthusiasts consider cycling to be a summer sport, but for those cyclists who pedal all through the winter, some specialized equipment will be necessary to ensure comfort and safety in the most inclement weather. Winter cycling shoes are important pieces of equipment that will have a significant impact on one's comfort and safety, and choosing the best winter cycling shoes should be done carefully. Warmth, comfort, water resistance, cost, and compatibility with the bike's pedals are the biggest considerations when choosing winter cycling shoes, and you will need to try on several pairs to find the ones that will work best for you.
Most winter cycling shoes are made of synthetic materials that are waterproof and breathable. The waterproof qualities ensure snow and rain do not work their way into the shoe and onto your foot, where the moisture can make the foot cold. The breathable qualities ensure that sweat can escape the foot and the shoe, preventing the sweat from building up on the skin of the foot and leading to conditions such as frostbite, numbness, or swelling. The best winter cycling shoes will keep your foot as dry as possible to avoid damage to the foot as well as discomfort.
Make sure the winter cycling shoes you choose have a strong, durable, and well-treaded sole. You will need to get off your bike and walk in many instances, and typical bike shoes may not have enough tread to handle inclement conditions such as snow and ice. Be sure your winter cycling shoes have a sole with significant tread similar to a hiking boot or winter boot, and that is stiff enough for pedaling but flexible enough for effective walking. Many people use clipless pedals, but others prefer not to; be sure the shoe you choose has options for both, and make sure the tread of the shoe will not interfere with your ability to clip into and out of clipless pedals.
Look for a shoe that fits within your budget, but don't be afraid to spend a little extra for a shoe that will last longer and keep your foot warm and dry. Spending extra on the right features will ensure comfort and safety, and you will be likely to get several years out of that pair of winter cycling shoes. Remember that more expensive shoes are not always better shoes, but if you are looking for specific features and find them all in a slightly more expensive shoe, it may be worth the extra investment.