Dry socks

Erik and Ted give me grief about my cycling socks, and now even ZipCar is getting in on it.

This note from ZipCar was in my email inbox.

ZipCar socks email

Here’s a handy dry sock trick I learned several years ago in Illinois that works well for snowy conditions, when you really don’t want wet socks: Put your socks on, then cover that with a long, skinny plastic bag — something like a bread bag or newspaper bag works well (for anybody who still takes a paper). Put your shoes on over the bag. Viola! Dry socks!

This doesn’t work well in temperatures much above freezing — your feet sweat — but for cooler climes it’s a very inexpensive but effective trick. Waterproof SealSkinz sockswork better, but baggies over your socks work pretty well in a pinch. I also see Goretex shoe covers but I’ve never tried them personally.

My California bike commute isn’t that long and even in the rain my socks usually don’t get wet, but I keep a couple of extra pair of socks in my desk for days like today when they did get a little damp.

I also used to keep an electric shoe dryer in my office until that day when it caught on fire. The facilities and risk management people like to avoid fire when possible, so no more shoe dryers in my workplace. The model I used is no longer available (gee, I wonder why), but I used one something like this.


  1. As a former New Englander who has braved many cold rides, you forgot an important part of the baggie-over-the-socks trick: apply talcum powder to your feet first to help keep them dry. Without the baby powder, it’s just a sauna for your toes that turns cold fast.

  2. The one thing I miss about my old job is the massive 21″ CRT monitor. I used to put my socks and gloves on it when I got in to work so they’d be dry and toasty by the time my work day was over. The dual 19″ LCDs I have now don’t emit nearly enough heat, nor do they have a nice shelf-like structure that’s out of eyeshot from easily grossed-out cow-orkers.

  3. =v= So today I’m sitting in my office and I noticed that my feet were getting pretty warm. Then I realize I’d left my neoprene bike shoe covers on.

  4. I used to do this as a kid, but I put the bag outside the shoe. Obviously this doesn’t work with clipless pedals, but you can take them off just outside the door and have clean, sno free shoes to walk around in.

  5. Another quick way to dry shoes is by stuffing them with newspaper. Change it once or twice during the day and your shoes will be fairly dry for the ride home.

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