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I come from a country with a warmer climate,but am now living in the Netherlands. It's not that bad really, but in winter, it sometimes gets to -5°c / -6°c - and occasionally with strong head wind when I cycle to work. I'm also very sensitive to the cold, and can catch a cold very easily, so I need to cover up. I'm wearing street clothes, rather than cycling-specific gear.

Now, I'm doing that well enough - for the most part: Gloves, balaclava, winter coat with a head piece, wind-and-rain overpants (is that a word?), gloves and well-insulated shoes. So, I mostly stay nice and warm.

There's one problematic spot though: Where my shoe ends and my pant-like clothing begins:

  • None of it is long enough to "grip" the shoe, nor do I think I want it to be.
  • It's a shoe, not a boot (and I dislike boots); so not long enough to tuck the pants inside the boot/shoe.
  • If I wore two pairs of socks, one on top of the other, I would have a hard time fitting my foot into my shoe.

What do you do, or what would you suggest, to keep that tricky area warmer?

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    Check out "gaiters" at an outdoor clothing place. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 3 '18 at 14:49
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    This seems pretty extreme for -6 C. – Batman Mar 3 '18 at 16:28
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    There really should be an answer that involves duct tape. – Argenti Apparatus Mar 4 '18 at 0:05
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    @ArgentiApparatus If you think the asker hasn't already tried all possible duct tape solutions, you should downvote for not "show[ing] any research effort". ;-) – David Richerby Mar 4 '18 at 12:46
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    Actually, I think that longer pants are the way to go. If you are wearing jeans that are just above the ground when standing straight, they will protect your ankles just fine when cycling. The heavy cotton breaks the wind just fine, allowing your socks to properly insulate your ankles. At least that's my experience. – cmaster Mar 5 '18 at 21:27
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I would suggest shoe covers, which look like a boot and cover the ankle.

Or wear mid-calf or knee length socks and roll the upper part down for double or triple coverage on the ankles.

Or, mini ankle warmers :-).

Pics of my Pearl Izumi MTB overboots. The sole is exposed so walking is possible. (Not a product recommendation, just what I happen to own.)

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I would think that leg warmers will suffice for your situation. They come in different sizes(width) and generally cover from the top of the shoe up to the middle of the calf. I wear them a lot in cold weather since I suffer from cold feet and hands due to thyroid disease since I was a teen and ended up having both types of the disease when I was a teen. It took me years to find them since there was no internet then; you should have no problem accessing a supplier now. The really neat thing about them is that you can wear more than one pair at a time and yes, they do make them for men.

  • Agreed. I have two sizes of legwarmers - one are full length ankle to top-of-thigh and work well with bib shorts and shoe covers for full protection. The others are shin length only and hang around the top of the calf muscle, then go down to the top of the shoe. – Criggie Mar 4 '18 at 1:44
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Wear skiing socks

  • They are long enough to cover the legs below the kneelings

  • They are very warm

  • They fit into most shoes if they are not overly tight

  • They often offer some protection

  • There are some in bright colors, what makes them great for visibility

  • They or similarly long and thick socks are very popular amongst bicycle messengers

  • The sock length is not much of an issue, but sock width might be relevant to look into. As for bright colors and visibility - this is Amsterdam, that's not an issue. Roads are populated by bikes on the bike lanes, you don't need any visibility for that. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Mar 6 '18 at 11:05
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    Also if you have long socks and only a small bit to cover you can fold them over so the notmal upper end aligns with the upper end of your shoes – Gimli Mar 6 '18 at 13:43
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If you wanted to go cheap, you could just take a pair of socks and cut off the foot or even half the foot, if fit into the shoe is the problem. Then wear this over your ankle and part-way down into the shoe. I like the idea of improvisational engineering so this works for me. I do something similar for my wrists, although in that case it goes all the way to my fingers. Toasty warm.

I have a pair of gaiters from backpacking but I hadn't thought of that, I'll try that next time. I bet that'll be great. Those shoe covers and overboots look great too.

I went though some plantar fasciitis. To fix this (along with stretching) I got custom orthotics which mandated bigger shoes, and I got them big enough to wear two pair of socks all the time. That alone is enough to keep my ankles warm on all but the coldest days.

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Wear "kniekousen", i.e. socks that go up to your knee.

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    How would that help? Your ankles would still only be covered by one layer of material. – David Richerby Mar 3 '18 at 21:20
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    Hello and welcome to Stack Exchange. Your answer is a good start but needs a lot more information to be useful. Adding a photo or two can help show what you mean. Also add how it works for you, and the advantages and disadvantages of long socks. I guess they're not particularly wind resistant. How do they go in the wet/snow ? Wool or cotton or some other fabric? You can use the "edit" link below your answer to expand it. – Criggie Mar 4 '18 at 1:03
  • I don't think that socks will help much: To protect limbs from cold while cycling, you need to protect them from the wind. Socks are typically not made out of wind-proof material; a thin jeans provides much more protection than any sock I would like to wear. – cmaster Mar 5 '18 at 21:18
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What you might be looking for are Snow Ski Leg Covers or Gaiters. It's a waterproof and windproof thing that covers your legs from under the heel up to mid-thigh. The good ones also have a little hook in front that's attached to the lacing of your shoes.

This really works wonders for ankle thermal comfort. I'm not sure how easy it is to get ski equipment in the Netherlands in general though.

  • People use gaiters when hiking, so the lack of... um... skiing tradition in the Netherlands may not be a problem. – David Richerby Mar 3 '18 at 21:21

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