Winter riding is still very new to me. I’m loving it though, and slowly amassing all me gear; base and mid-layers, shells, gloves, neck warmers and, yes, booties! I started the winter riding season with just varying combinations of multi-layer socks. That was okay, but not great. My feet would stay warm for a while, but once my shoes got damp, it was bad news… And you know what they say, ‘cold head, cold feet, cold core.’
I then tried cheaping out and getting the neoprene toe covers…
These helped a lot, keeping the wind from rushing through the mesh on the shoes near the toe area. But, the covers just wouldn’t stay on. I should point out, I’m trail riding on a mountain bike, not road riding, so I have cause to put my foot down here and there and more often than not this would just push the cover right off the toe. I think if you were road riding, they’d stay on with no issue. But, for me, riding in the trees on icy, snowy single-track trails, I couldn’t keep them on, and so, after a while I’d still end up with cold feet anyway. I figured I either needed to get way better at staying on my bike, or invest in something else.
Some of the folks I ride with where wearing the whole bootie cover, and that seemed like the solution to me. A zip-up, insulated and wind-proof shell that goes over your whole shoe – perfect! But, not so fast. Everyone was having trouble keeping them on too, and for the same reason – the toe would slip off after any pushing, or hike-a-bike. I’ll point out here that three of the people I ride with were wearing the Sugoi Resistor Bootie – the one with the yellow toe strap. I still figured I wanted to graduate to the bootie, but wasn’t too keen on the Sugoi ones given how poorly they were staying on for the riders I knew. It was only about a week later that I was at River Valley Cycle and I asked the crew there what other kinds of booties might be any better. Jarrid looked at me for second and said, ‘hold on a minute. I have some new ones for you to try.’ He came back out with a newer version of the Sugoi Resister. ‘Here you go. They’re the wrong size for me. Try these out.’ Sweet!
When I got home, I fought with them for a good 20 mins just to get them on my shoes. These booties were size ‘large’, and I wear is a size 10.5 shoe. For a while, I figured they weren’t going to fit. But, with some stubborn determination, I got them on and that Sunday I headed out. Right away I was cautiously confident that they’d at least be a little better at staying on. The toe cover is more robust, and the fabric bridge that runs under the arch of your shoe is also a little beefier then the previous incarnation. And so, after 2 hours of trail riding, push-offs, and even a run up or two, they held on without issue. And on top of that, they were super warm, at least in temps from -2 t0 -10 degrees celsius or so. I haven’t tried them out in really cold weather yet, but yeah, so far so good. A potential downside though, is that the new ones are more ‘fibrous’ or mesh-like on the outside. This allows them to be more form fitted, and fit more snugly, but I can see this possibly being less durable than the other bootie, which had a seemingly ‘tougher’ exterior. That said, I’ve been out on two solid rides now and can’t see any wear or tear.
Verdict: New Sugoi Resistor bootie – GOLD!