While a good pair of gloves and socks seem like the obvious solutions to keep your little piggies warm, here are a few more things that’ll help prevent freezing fingers and toes.
Top-down advice for how to keep your digits toasty.
“Chilling out” by going for a ride takes on a new – and undesired – meaning when your digits get cold. Your fingers and toes are the first to feel the effects of a drop in wind chill while your body busies itself keeping your core warm. While a good pair of gloves and socks seem like the obvious solutions to keep your little piggies warm, here are a few more things that’ll help prevent freezing fingers and toes.
- Windproof, lined outer layer – A windproof thermal cycling jacket is your ally against a bullying wind chill, and will protect you from the cold while holding your body heat close to your core. A cozy core frees up your circulation to dispatch warmth to your extremities.
- Balaclava – Keeping your head, ears, and face warm also contributes to your overall comfort (and contentment). A balaclava’s versatile purpose as a full head and face cover, or just a head cover, serves to keep heat in so it can travel out to your fingers and toes.
- Winter cycling shoes – Almost like lined boots for cycling, winter cycling shoes are designed to insulate your foot and block the wind from entering. Some cyclists will go up a shoe size in anticipation of wearing thicker socks when riding in winter.
- Overshoes – The name says it all, as these are external covers that go over your shoes. Overshoes come in all sizes and seemingly all types of fabrics, some more effective than others. Windproof, neoprene, insulated, or fleece-lined overshoes that extend above your ankles are the most practical for keeping your toes toasty.
- Gloves – Gloves share top rank with socks as the first line of defence in keeping your extremities warm. Go for windproof, cycling-specific gloves because wind chill prevention is your top priority plus, the palm and fingers are usually treated or padded with material to provide grip, which gives you better control when shifting or braking. Same as temperature and weather conditions, cycling glove options span a wide range. Lined gloves that combat the cold come in several designs, including a lobster claw design that combines finger fittings for shared warmth.
- Socks – Socks should be thick enough to keep your feet warm but not so bulky that you’re forcing your foot into your shoe just to get it on. No matter how good your socks claim to be, a tight fit can reduce circulation and result in cold feet even when it’s not that cold outside, so make sure your foot has some wiggle room.
- A thick neck warmer can close the gap between your collar and chin to prevent cold air from penetrating your torso area. It can also be pulled up over your nose to keep your face warm on descents.
- Carry an extra set of gloves and zip them in between your jersey and your outer layer. If your hands get cold, you can swap the gloves you’re wearing for the ones you’ve been keeping warm next to your chest.
Keeping out the cold also means holding in the warmth. How to avoid cold toes and fingers starts by keeping your core warm and preventing the wind from entering. Succeed at those two preventive measures and you’ll be snug as a bug in a rug all season long.