United States


Winter Boot and Burning Rubber

For all of you out there that ride flats in the winter, you know it is especially hard to find a good boot that has all the different features you want. One of those key features is a sole that works well with a pedal. The large tread in a winter boot causes the pins on your pedal to float between the tread bloks. This causes your boot to slip around and forces you to hunt for a foot position, while riding, that interfaces with the pedal pins better. This is annoying.

I wear a pair of Columbia Agent-X boots for most winter riding. They have a slim profile, really wide spacious toe box, they're waterproof, relatively warm, and they are pretty easy on the wallet. Not a bad choice in my book.

However, like most other boots, the tread lug is too aggressive and deep to work well with platform pedals. So, about a month ago I decided to try and fix this. I figured that if I could just cut off the tread lugs on the boot, the pins in the pedal would dig in to the flat rubber sole.

Fortunately for me, I have a tire groover that I picked up for modding tires a while back. It gets wicked hot and the u-shaped blade slides right through rubber. It was the perfect tool for my experiment.

After breathing burnt rubber for a while, I chopped off pretty much all the lugs on the front portion of my boots. I left the lugs on the rear because they don't touch my pedals and I figured the extra grip might come in handy while walking around.

The result has been great so far. The boot definitely hooks up with my pedals far better now and I can feel the pedal a little better through the sole. I was nervous about the loss of traction for walking, but I haven't really noticed it. Plus, I figure that I want these boots to work best when I am on the pedals, not walking around, so I am willing to compromise.

I don't know if this modification would work for everyone, but I am going to continuing doing this with future riding boots until I find a decent sole out of the box. If you can get your hands on a rubber cutting tool of some sort, you should give it a try as well. Good luck.

Also, my buddy Jed is rad.

ThorHammer's avatar

About ThorHammer

Thor designs frames, tires, and lots of other parts for Surly. He has trouble fitting into most hats, as his head is surprisingly rotund, and he wears flip-flops as soon as it’s warm enough. On a bike, Thor rides like normal people can’t, which he always does on platform pedals in Vans with no socks because, and I’m quoting here, “I like to feel everything.” In short, Thor gets rad on a regular basis.

Learn More About ThorHammer

Continued Bloggage

Surly customer service, again

For those of you that read my last blog post about Surly CS and understood it for what it was, another failed attempt at humor, then you need to read no further. For those of you that didn’t get it and sent hate mail to my boss telling him to…

Read More