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Poor circulation - are boot heating systems the answer?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,


I've always had bad circulation, and it seems to be getting worse year on year. Yesterday (which was admittedly a very cold day, with a -16 start) my hands and feet got painfully cold, in spite of the fact that I'd worn my warmest socks and gotten new thermal glove liners. The hands aren't as much of a concern, but I could feel my control of the ski decreasing noticeably when I got to the point of losing feeling in my feet. I don't object to getting chilled - that's part and parcel of the sport - but if it starts interfering with my skiing then it's a problem!


I've worked on this in previous seasons with new boot liners, different socks, and even tried those stick-on toe warmers (not effective when it's as cold as it was yesterday). I'm wondering if something like this might be the answer: http://ecom1.sno-ski.net/bootheaters.html


Has anyone tried boot heaters? Do they work? Are there any issues with fit and ski control (I already wear footbeds in my boots)?


Advice on this - and any other ways for keeping my hands and feet from turning into blocks of ice - welcome. Unfortunately poor circulation runs in my family and my mom suffers from Raynaud's Syndrome, so I hope I'm not headed in the same direction.

post #2 of 11

yes,  they can help BUT make sure that some other things are working first.


thinner socks let more blood thru, so you stay warmer with them.  thicker socks make the boot tighter and cut off blood flow


are your liners removed and 100% dry overnight?  yes,  take them out nightly.


dont wear your boots to the hill.  IN banff (my area) we have bus service and people wear the boots to the hill, and all the inside vs outside temp changes cause sweat so that makes your feet cold




now to warm the feet:  yes,  boot heaters help,  as do intuition liners, and the "boot gloves" do as well.

post #3 of 11

Mtlion has some good tips. Also changing ur socks at lunch. If you foot sweats alot try antiperspirant. The average foot displaces a 1 pint of water per day when exercising. Your feet should actually be warmer in your ski boots than your shoes! If not...the boot is cutting blood flow of the foot.


A heat retention study conducted Masterfit University  probed several avenue of temperature research and dispelled several long-held notions about who suffers from cold feet and what causes the problem.


Using infrared temperature sensors, researcher recorded surface temperature of skiers feet following 337 boot test at a Boot Test Camp at Mt. Bachelor in Bend Oregon. They measured each foot in four zones: Tip of the first toe, ball of the foot, instep bump and the instep flex point. They discovered:


>Men's feet are consistently warmer than women's are. Of the 100 warmest temperatures recorded 66 were

 on male feet , only 34 on women.


>No boot brand or model proved significantly warmer. Proper fit was a much more important determinant.

  Boots that were overly snug or exceptionally large made a colder foot.


>Thicker socks don't necessary provide greater warmth. In fact, with a snug fitting boots, they often made the

 foot colder since they reduced the air pocket around the foot and constricted circulation.


>Thermo-molded EVA liners yield readings 2-4 degrees warmer than comparable stock liners.


>Tightly buckled boots can lead to a lower foot temperatures. In a room temperature test, skiers buckled one boot tightly, the other to a normal range. After 20 minutes, the feet in the tightly buckles boots recorded average temperature readings 4-7 degrees lower.


>Race fits in key hold-down areas (heel,instep, forefoot) can restrict blood flow and cause cold feet, Because of nerve and blood flow patterns, a tight heel makes the foot colder than a tight instep or forefoot. A snug instep makes a foot colder than a snug forefoot.


> Damp boots lead to cold feet. Feet consistently showed 5 to 10 degrees drop when skiing damp boots.


> And Hottronic boot heaters help.


Jeffrey S. Rich C. Ped.




post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks - appreciate the suggestions. As far as I can tell I'm doing most stuff right, but I do have an issue that my boot shell is slightly too large (learned this from a bootfitter recently) which may be contributing to the problem. I'm going to see how my next few days out go, and then maybe invest in the heaters...

post #5 of 11

To large a shell usually results in extra tight buckling which restricts blood flow.  I'd invest in boots before investing in heaters.



post #6 of 11

I second Lou post. If u think the boot is to big...it is. I'd get a smaller boot. The boot is only going to pack out during the season and the boot will become even looser.


Jeffrey S. Rich C. Ped.



post #7 of 11
Have you ever tried heating your house with a candle, in effect that is what you are doing in an oversize boot

Along with the compression caused by over tightening buckles to try and get control the extra air space around your foot has to be heated by the heat from your foot, not enough heat and the cold air chills the foot
post #8 of 11

hi kcxd,


     Boot heaters will not make your boot smaller, in fact nothing will, and as long as you have these over sized boots, you will be inclined to over tighten the buckles trying to get control.  In order to keep your feet warm you need good circulation in the capillaries of the skin through out the foot.  You can improve this circulation by not compressing the skin and possibly by using "Bengay" rubbed into the skin (not between the toes) before you put on a sock (this actually works).


     If you were in the right size boot (shell size) you wouldn't need to over tighten the buckles, and your control would be much improved.  "Control" is a nice word if you have never had it you don't know what you are missing.  Read the WIKI and the beginning of this section about "which boot would fit you"and do the shell sizing procedure described there.  It has been suggested/estimated, that over 90% of skiers who own there own boots are in too large a boot (we don't like our toes to touch in our shoes).



post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I had the boots professionally fitted when I bought them, so had no idea that they were too large until I went shopping for AT boots very recently and saw a different (and much more experienced) bootfitter. I'm working on addressing the boot problem, but the difficulty (noted in another thread) is that my feet are too small for the smallest standard women's shell. I'm hoping to explore some of the options suggested in that thread, so based on the advice here I'll see if fixing the boot problem helps with the heating problem. 

post #10 of 11



     Look into a Lange World Cup RP (race plug) boot in a 22.0 the shell is 264cm long and 92mm wide, it would take a boot fitter to get them to work but worth the effort.  You will have to look around for a shop that carries this boot, any Lange dealer could order it, but could they fit it?



post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks - will add that one to the list. Do you know of a really good bootfitter in Vancouver or Whistler? The guy I'm seeing this time around seems good, but I don't want to repeat the experience of having the full fit done on my downhill boots and then finding out two seasons later that I should have been in a much smaller shell...

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