Cold Sports, Warm Feet? It Is Possible
A heat retention study conducted by MasterFit University probed several avenues of temperature research and dispelled several long-held notions about who suffers from cold feet and what causes the problem.
Using infrared temperature sensors, researchers recorded surface temperatures of skier’s feet following 337 boot tests at a Boot Test Camp. They measured each foot at four zones: Tip of the first toe, ball of the foot, instep bump and 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 the foot colder.
- Thicker socks don’t necessarily provide greater warmth. In fact, with snug fitting boots, the often made the foot colder since they reduced the air pocket around and constricted circulation.
- Thermo-moldable EVA liners yielded readings 2-4 degrees warmer than comparable stock liners.
- Tightly buckled boots can lead to 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 buckled boots recorded average temperatures 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 the foot colder than a snug forefoot.
- Damp boots lead to cold feet. Feet consistently showed a 5 to 10 degree drop when skiing in damp boots.