Yes, really. Countless winter training miles have been made more bearable by stuffing a chunk of unsuspecting adhesive putty into the gaping apertures on the soles of my shoes.
The benefits are two-fold.
First, with the vents thoroughly blocked, water cannot penetrate the shoes from beneath. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of stepping into even the most shallow puddle in cycling shoes, you’ll know why this is important.
Second, the airflow in and out of the shoe is blocked.
Trapping a layer of warm air around your body is what keeps you warm in winter. Leaving vents open means all that lovely cosy air can simply be blown away.
As an aside, I am baffled that nobody makes a high-end road shoe without vents for UK riding. Not once in my many years aboard a bike have I ever worried about having excessively hot feet when riding. But I digress.
If the idea of stuffing something soft into a small hole has got you excited, you can go a step further by lifting your insole to pack-the-Tack around cleat holes, which can also help to stop water ingress.
‘But what about good ol’ duct tape?!’ I hear you cry.
Well, in my experience, Blu Tack is a far hardier solution than tape and, because it is solid, it’s almost impossible to wear away or puncture.
The only real disadvantage over duct tape is when good weather returns and it’s time to remove the putty – if your shoes have a very fine mesh over the vents, it can be a bit of a pain to remove every last dot of Blu Tack. With that said, I can’t say this would ever be a cause of concern for me.
If Blu Tack is too lamestream for you, you could consider Sugru.
This extremely useful, mouldable, silicone putty tends to leave less residue than Blu Tack, but it doesn’t hold quite as well as its stickier brethren.
Picking up a pair of the best winter cycling shoes on the market is, of course, the ultimate solution, but for those that want to make their shoes a little less frosty this winter, head to your office stationery cupboard and get pilfering. I guarantee you will not regret it.
Oh, and, PS, I know I need new cleats.