We often have customers come in looking for a pair of boots to keep their toes warm. But warm feet is about more than just the boots you're wearing. Here is the advice we give most people looking for ways to keep their feet warm on cold days.
Start with the right layers up top.
Keeping your core warm will directly affect comfort at your extremities. When it gets cold your body is programmed to send as much blood as possible to your core to keep vital organs like your heart and lungs functioning. If you layer up with a good thermal base layer, an insulating fleece or down midlayer, and a wind and water proof outer layer, you’re telling your body that it’s safe to allow more circulation around your fingers and toes because your core is protected.
Wear the right socks.
Cheap socks aren't worth cold feet. No matter what you do or how cold you are, your feet will perspire. And that moisture will eliminate the insulating properties of cotton in a heartbeat. If you want warm feet, invest in socks that are made of something that insulates even when you sweat. Socks made with merino wool are the top pick among people who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, hot or cold. That’s because merino wool insulates even when damp, naturally fights foot odor, and wicks moisture away from your body. On top of that, merino wool is known for being exceptionally soft and comfortable. It can come with a higher price tag, but many of the top brands who make merino wool socks offer some form of performance or satisfaction guarantee. For cold temperatures go with the thickest pair that comfortably fits inside your boots.
Pick activity-appropriate boots.
Just because you suffer from cold feet, doesn't mean you need the most heavily insulated boots on the market. It’s important to consider what you’ll be doing in those boots and how they fit. Fit should be secure, but not tight. You want enough room to accommodate heavy socks without compressing them to the point where they lose insulating value. If you’re going to be very active in the boots – think hiking or shoveling snow – you probably won’t need a very high insulation value because your body will produce excess heat from the activity at hand. For high activity we recommend zero to 400 grams of insulation. If you’re going to be moderately active, you’ll need a little more insulation – for example, if you’re working on an outdoor construction project, you may opt for more insulation. Think 400-600 grams of this scenario. Lastly, if you expect long periods of sitting still such as in hunting, you may opt for even higher insulation of 600+ grams.
Regardless of what boots you go with, keep in mind that wearing the right layers and the right socks can often have a bigger impact on overall comfort than your shoes.
Other tips for warm feet:
If you're commuting in the car try wearing a light weight pair of shoes for the drive and let your boots sit in the foot well on the passenger side. Run your heater on the foot vents and when you arrive you'll have a nice warm pair of boots and your feet won't be sweating on the drive.
If you have extra trouble keeping warm toes those little disposable heating packs can work well. Unwrap them and expose them to open air until they warm up (just make sure they're not too hot). Then put the packet on the outside of your socks, on top of your toes, and as close to the tip of your big toe as possible. Put on your shoes and, voilà! Make sure to pair with wool socks to help trap warmth and wick perspiration.
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