Warm woolen mittens…stuffed with Grabbers

I love warm woolen mittens.  They are cozy and perfect for crisp fall weather.

(and whiskers on kittens! because why not.)

But woolen mittens are not cutting it any longer, as December approaches.   My fingers and toes are extremely sensitive.  While other cyclists seem to get by fine with a regular pair of gloves, my fingers and toes start to freeze/burn after ten minutes in 30 degree temps, even wearing wool glove liners with down-filled ski mittens (fingers) and wool socks with leather snow boots (toes).

The only solution for me – I’ve tried everything over the years – is warmers.  I buy Grabber brand (made in the USA and non-toxic) by the caseload from Amazon, making them 50 cents a pair.  A fair price to avoid daily misery and still much less expensive than the L train.

A pair lasts long enough to use for the morning and evening commutes, if stored in a ziplock bag during the day.  Grabber also makes toe warmers, but they are pricier and not as warm, so I save them for my regular shoes and  stuff hand warmers in my roomy snow boots.

Now if only I could get Amazon to deliver them in brown paper packages tied up with string…

How do you keep your fingers and toes warm during winter?

  • j.D. Kimple

    I use military surplus trigger finger mittens. Wool liners plus a shell, usually you can find for $15/pair US. Most of the time I don’t need the shell. But the trigger-finger part makes it easy to shift AND they’re a lot cheaper than lobster mitts. I have a bag of those hand warmers, too.

    On the feet, wool socks. Sometimes with a liner sock. If it’s my ‘cross bike than Mavic’s rubber-ish shoe covers work great, with the Grabbers you mention. If it’s the city bike than the warm work boots work.

  • j.D. Kimple

    I use military surplus trigger finger mittens. Wool liners plus a shell, usually you can find for $15/pair US. Most of the time I don’t need the shell. But the trigger-finger part makes it easy to shift AND they’re a lot cheaper than lobster mitts. I have a bag of those hand warmers, too.

    On the feet, wool socks. Sometimes with a liner sock. If it’s my ‘cross bike than Mavic’s rubber-ish shoe covers work great, with the Grabbers you mention. If it’s the city bike than the warm work boots work.

  • http://mariannika.wordpress.com/ Marianne

    I’m happy to hear you like the Grabbers. I don’t know why, but I’m really having a hard time with cold toes this year, in spite of my leather boots, fleece lined tights & wool socks. I’m debating whether to buy a bunch of warmers or try to find a DIY solution. I’ve made microwaveable rice/corn warmers in the past and I’m wondering if I can make something small enough to fit in my boots.

  • http://mariannika.wordpress.com/ Marianne

    I’m happy to hear you like the Grabbers. I don’t know why, but I’m really having a hard time with cold toes this year, in spite of my leather boots, fleece lined tights & wool socks. I’m debating whether to buy a bunch of warmers or try to find a DIY solution. I’ve made microwaveable rice/corn warmers in the past and I’m wondering if I can make something small enough to fit in my boots.

  • David

    Have you ever tried reusable hand warmers? I have the same cold-hand problems that you do, though enough gloviness can usually make things good enough. I typically don’t spend more than 45 minutes at a time getting anywhere in the winter, so single-use handwarmers didn’t seem worth it. I didn’t even know reusable ones existed until recently.

  • http://melaniesuzanne.blogspot.com/ Melanie Suzanne

    I’m pretty good with a couple pairs of Smartwool socks and snowboots for my feet and multiple layers of gloves — Smartwool liners, fleece gloves, snow gloves — on my hands. My trouble spots are my knees. I don’t need full leg warmers, just some kind of windbreaker for my knees.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Interesting! My knees are never a problem. I guess everyone has their winter biking weakness. :)

    • Scott

      Sounds like a good strategy.

    • Scott

      Sounds like a good strategy.

    • Scott

      Maybe cut a leg warmer up into knee sized hats. :-)

    • Sophia

      I have felted sweaters that I purchased from the thrift store and then cut the sleeves into leg/knee warmers. Much like Scott’s leg warmer suggestion.

  • Mackenzie

    this is such a good idea! my floridian brain is still adjusting to all the ingenious ways northerners (and new northerners like me) find a way to stay warm! definitely going to buy these soon :)

  • Scott

    Neoprene booties and two pairs of gloves. Just the shot

  • http://www.anniebikes.blogspot.com anniebikes

    What about Ugh boots? I have a cheapo version and they work wonders for me. If I leave the house with warm feet then they usually stay that way for at least a half hour, but if I’m cold nothing seem to help.

  • ladyfleur

    It’s not super cold here in the San Francisco area, but until recently I had problems finding gloves that worked well in the rain. I finally found a pair at Nordstroms that have nylon shells and are lightly insulated.

    So far they’ve been awesome. They stay warm when wet and if I hang them on my coat rack during the day they dry out by the time I go home. http://instagram.com/p/SofScrn42P/ http://instagram.com/p/SofScrn42P/

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  • Natacha

    I live in Germany and have very sensitive fingers too. I usually use ski gloves, and have some angora gloves (knitted by my grandmother) to wear under the ski gloves. But it’s not enough for me wenn it’s very cold .
    I’ve bought Basil Hand Warmers 2 weeks ago. They look special but could be my solution, with or without mittens. They were stolen after 6 days … I’m going to buy some again but won’t let them on my parked bike any more. I thought they looked so ugly nobody would steal them.

  • Guy

    LL Bean hunting boots worked great for me in Germany thru all the rain and snow. They have neoprene bottoms and leather tops around the ankles. Wearing regular cotton socks with a second wool hiking sock really worked great. Waterproof the leather top. My pair of these boots are 25 years old and still perform great. These boots are Made in the USA and is the signatue product of LL Bean.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Thanks for the tip! For some reason, I never think of L.L. Bean, but I’ll remember to check them out in the future, since I hear a lot about their high quality and they manufacture in the US.

      • Guy

        I should also mention LL Bean also has a line of winter shoes and boots for both men and women. The term “hunting boot” makes them sound clunky, but that is not the case. LL Bean also provides a re sole service as well.

      • Ulrike Fiedler

        Not all their stuff gets manufactured in the US, so, depending how important that is, you have to double check. I know their base layers aren’t made here.

  • Julia Ringma

    I use Gordini brand puffy mittens. If you bought them a little big, you could fit a thin pair of fleece gloves under them as a base layer, so as not to expose bare hands when locking or unlocking your bike. Down filled mittens would be the warmest. Also, layer a waterproof shell mitten on top for extra wind (and water) protection. If I want my hands to be warm, I do not wear gloves.

    For feet, a liner sock plus a quality wool sock on top (i.e. two pairs of socks) is the minimum requirement. Proper waterproof boots are a must, for insulation and keeping dry. Nothing worse than a wet foot. Well, maybe some things, but we’re talking bicycling. For me, it’s all about layers. I ride to about 10F but hang the bike up when it snows (and sticks), as I do not want to slide under a bus. Plus the salt on the roads is nasty on the bike.

    I live in Ottawa, Canada and have not had a car since 2003, so my bike is my transportation. When I hang it up, I’m on the bus.

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  • Stitches and Spokes

    I think you mentioned that you knit, and if you do, you might want to look into thrummed mittens. http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/thrumfaq.html
    The thrums eventually felt down and create a nice wind proof barrier.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Thanks for the tip!