Riding fat bikes typically means your extremities can suffer the worst from the cold. Despite your feet (and legs) doing much of your work your circulation and dealing with sweat play a big factor. Your feet and hands are the farthest from your heart so they will be the last to receive warm blood during aerobic activity but they are also outlets from your bodies perspiration. Adding sweat on the skin of your hands and feet adds to moving more heat away from these areas and results in even colder fingers and toes. The right footwear and layering can be crucial to warmth in these areas. Here are a few tips from Adam from our experience riding Fat Bike Ultras. The longer you are out riding the more extreme the need for warmer winter gear.
Tip #1 – It doesn’t hurt to wear your footwear a little loose. Up sizing one size so you have space for double sock layering. We have found on both feet and hands the less constricting or looser fitting the better blood flow and the better your insulating system will perform. This can also leave room if necessary to add toe warmers charcoal or a vapor barrier sock during endurance racing.
Tip #2 – Layer your socks – We use a thin next to skin mernino or polyolefin liner sock combined with a heavier weight Merino Wool sock. Can’t go wrong with Ice Breakers Hike Plus medium or heavy weight.
Tip #3 – Footbeds. 45nrth uses their Aerogel inserted footbeds which work very well for a thin design. We have also found some insulated footbeds from SOLE work quite well and are heat moldable for a superior boot fit. To keep your boot system working well we do recommend you replace your footbeds each season as they do get packed in and lose their insulating properties.
Tip#4 – Pick the right footwear for your climate and needs. There are many riders who can make do with insulated footwear models from North Wave or Shimano with the addition of an insulated shoe cover but for most riders out in the snow there really aren’t boot out there which match the comfort and insulation of the Lake MXZ-303 or 45NRTH Wolvhammer. For the extreme endurance riders out for 6+ hours and competing in Ultra’s that where teh new 45NRTH Wolfgar comes in – Extreme temperatures and dealing with perspiration over a longer time period requires more insulation to keep the toes toasty and your head in the game.