We live on a small, green island in the north atlantic. It rains. It rains a lot. And if you're going to let a little precipitation spoil your ride then you're not going to ride very much. Alternatively here's our guide on not only how to survive rain but more specifically the dreaded WET FEET!
We appreciate that many of you wearing Wellies will be viewed as a ridiculous suggestion which is why we’re getting it out of the way. The irony however is that for some urban cyclists it really, really, really works. There are probably few things more waterproof than several layers of thick rubber. The one big advantage of wellies is that they are waterproof from all angles including the underside of your foot. On the down side rubber doesn’t breathe, is about as flexible as . . . a large thick sheet of folded rubber and the whole solution relies of wellies not being a problematic part of your wider day, not to mention the lack of a snug fit around your calves (the entry route for 50% of rainfall).
Good for the short distance commuter who is less interested in speed and performance.
Often revered as the avant garde of elite cyclists it’s easy to assume overshoes belong only on the feet of people with names like Froome and Cavendish. Not so. A good pair of waterproof overshoes can however make a great investment for any regular cyclists. They are small, easy to fold away and excellent at preventing that water which is falling from above. On the down side we know a number of people have struggled with their tendency to let large amounts of spray in from the underside. If you’re wearing a good quality cycle shoe and the overshoes fit like a snug glove this shouldn’t be a problem but for everyone else it’s an option which might require a little more careful thought. The aforentioned requirement for a snug fit requires patience when fitting. .
Take time to invest in a good neoprene layer and think hard about going for one of the many retroreflective options out there. We particularly like Altura's Night Vision City Over Shoe.
Good for a wide variety of users especially those with patience, cycling shoes and a nod to performance.
WARNING: Cycling overshoes are strictly for cycling, walk in them and you’ll get through them like hot dinners.
3: Waterproof Socks.
Stick with your traditional choice of shoe and simply invest in good socks. Your choice of sock needs to be both water proof, comfortable and highly breathable enabling moisture to move from the inside out while preventing any moisture moving from the outside in. This balance is best achieved by combining a merino inner lining with a waterproof outer layer (al part of the same sock). You should also pay close attention to the composition of the elastic straps around the ankle/calf; those containing silicon are likely to allow downward water ingress. Not good if you live on an island in the North Atlantic with a tendency for occasional summer rainfall and therefore ever intend to wear them with shorts.
Good for those who have a change of shoes on arrival at their destination.
4: Plastic Bags (Student option)
If waterproof socks feel like a bit on an indulgence and you don’t mind indecency then simply pay your 10p and put a pair of plastic bags over your sock before putting your shoes on. It’s ludicrously simple but it really does work! On the down side a plastic bag has zero breathability meaning your feet may be soaking wet for other reasons.
Good for the thrifty.
Part of the battle against wet feet is about eliminating the problem at source. 50% of your battle with moisture will derive from water spray exiting your front tyre. A full length mud guard with a mud flap may feel unsightly on some bikes but are guaranteed to make a huge difference and are thus deemed by many as a necassery sacrifice.
Good for all but the most elite road bikes although they shouldn’t be out in the rain anyway!
6: Winter Shoes
The most expensive option by a country mile. Winter boots are probably the most thorough means of arriving at your destination with dry feet while having had a comfortable ride. If you do long winter miles then investing in a pair of North Wave Winter Boots is an investment you won't regret.
Good for; those who can afford to.
7: Emmigrate to Spain
Good for. . . me!!
NB: If you feel like your feet are suffering don’t forget to take equally good care of your bike. Park your bike in the dry and then use a degreaser like WD40 or GT85 to clean your chain. Dry it off and then re lubricate with a Teflon based lubricant (available from the pod).