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Socks for the perpetually cold

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I always have problems with my feet being cold while skiing.

I have found that Smartwool socks seem to work best but I still get cold if it is below 25F to the point where I ski unbuckled for a little while to warm back up.

My boots are 4 years old and generally fit well. Recently I had someone add some padding to decrease heel lift. I don't think that significantly tightened the boots. As well it seems like most of the coldness occurs because of my arch.

Has anyone out there found some miracle sock that keeps them warm?
post #2 of 29

I like Thorlo's wool/silk blend and a low to medium bulk. I have warm boots, Nordicas, and they are very comfortable. There are so many different ways to keep your feet warm and they have all been discussed on this forum the past years. Check for the most recent in the archives or maybe Dchan or A.C. can tell you where it is to save some time. This is something i've never had to worry about but the Thorlo is a fine sock.


This post was in reply to some orphaned posts from the splitin the Crudology thread.  I moved it here and deleted it.  This was not Alex's fault.

post #3 of 29
What sort of boots are they, and do you have custom insoles, or just standard ones?

I'm just wondering if the problem is lack of arch support.

post #4 of 29
It sounds like if unbuckling your boots helps that you are having a circulation problem. Get yourself to a good boot fitter and let him/her adress this issue. I ski in ultra-light Ski socks from Ultimax/wigwam 100%polyprop and rarely have cold feet unless I'm standing around on the snow in very cold weather. If cold feet are a cronic problem and cut off circulation is ruled out, you might try the "bootglove" which is a neoprene wrap for the outside of your boot.

You mentioned some padding to reduce heel lift. did the cold feet begin after this was added? and was this added on top of your instep? pressure on the top of your feet near the instep will cause cold feet if I remember correctly.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 07, 2002 12:39 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #5 of 29
worldfishnski, as someone who ALWAYS has cold toes i can relate. First getting boots that fit has helped the most. I used to have to tighten them so much that I lost circulation to the toes. As Dchan said if loosening your boots gives you relief that may well be most of the problem.

Also I do ski with the Boot Glove, that has done the most, besides fit, to keep my feet warm. Trust me I have tried everything on the market. I bought mine through snow shack, you can link to them from this site.

Another thing I do is warm my boots before putting them on. On the drive to ski, I place them under the foot vents in the car. Its really hard to get a cold boot warm if your feet are already cold. I warm the boot glove too.
post #6 of 29
A friend who suffered the circulatory impairment that accompanies diabetes found the boot glove to be his best solution.
post #7 of 29
I've heard mostly bad things about the boot glove.

I think your socks are too thick. For skiing, thick socks hurt, not help. You should be using very thin socks. Myself, I like my "BlaxSoxs"; http://www.blaxsox.com/directory.htm

Been using them for 2 years now.

I also think you have boot problems. Sounds to me like your boots are cutting off circulation.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Tecnica TNS Explosion

I have always been cold footed.

I also dry my boots on a boot dryer after most uses which has helped.

I have a boot fitter that I am happy with but maybe more problems started when we improved my heel situation.

As far as the arch goes, they are adjustable but since I have custom foot beds, they are adjusted to flat.

I can't do the boot glove. I just don't need more equipment.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 07, 2002 10:14 AM: Message edited 1 time, by worldfishnski ]</font>
post #9 of 29
SCSA, what bad things have you heard about boot gloves?

I have thought about trying them because I have cold toes, too. But I don't think boot fit is my current problem. Almost every one of my toes has suffered frostbite -- due partly to poorly fitting boots in the past -- and it doesn't take much for me to start getting that lovely yellow waxy look in my feet again.

I have skied only three days this year, and I didn't have trouble with the feet until the third day when I skied in boot-deep snow. Brrrr. It was fun, but I thought that it sure would be nice to have something covering my boots.
post #10 of 29

Your foot warmth DOES NOT depend upon the type of sock you wear. Please, fellow Bears, let's do our part to explode this erroneous myth. :

The boot liner and boot shell provide all the insulation your foot needs to keep warm. If your feet are cold, usually it is because you have poor circulation. The cause of poor circulation can be hereditary, self-inflicted, or an Act of God. "Self-inflicted" falls into two categories - (1) as a result of cigarette smoking; (2) as a result of poor boot fitting, which includes over-tightening your buckles AND any other matter related to your your boot and foot interface. "Act of God" means it's so freakin' cold that no matter what equipment you use, your feet are going to be cold. PERIOD.

I used to suffer from cold feet until I realized the causes of cold feet. Once I stopped over-tightening my buckles, and started wearing extra-thin socks, my feet stopped getting cold.

Please, do not look to your socks for anything other than moisture wicking. If your feet are cold, and you have no hereditary circulation problems, and most everyone else has warm feet that day, then you need to go see a good bootfitter.

(edited for completeness)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 07, 2002 11:23 AM: Message edited 1 time, by gonzostrike ]</font>
post #11 of 29
I suffer suffer from cold hands and feet as well.
I have tried thin sox, double sox, thick sox, boot gloves, etc. Have had all my ski boots professionally fitted. Still it hasn't helped.
The best sock I have found I discovered this fall at a craft show. They wick away moisture and my feet have been the warmest they ever have. Definately worth a try. Here's their web site:Thermohair

My other tricks are to always keep the boots warm on the way to the hill, and change into your ski socks just before you go out on the slopes. If necessary change sox at lunch time too.
post #12 of 29
Start with boot driers and make sure your boots are dry before you even put them on. Then use an anti-persperant and slather that all over your feet followed by the thin socks that move moisture, ie wool or poly.
post #13 of 29
Keys to happy feet.
1.Start with DRY boots.
2.Ski sock are for SKIING not driving to the mountain.
3.Sprinkle foot powder on your feet to absorb moister before you put on SKI socks.
4.buckle loosely, yet snug.

I also use extremely thin socks. Dchan and I use the same Ultimax lightweight.

Toe warmers, similar to hand warmers, work. Place them on top of your toes. Battery power works too.

post #14 of 29
I need to second what Gonzo said. it's not the sock thickness that counts but the ability to wick away moisture. I like the thin sock to just keep me from getting blisters. actually I ski in the ultimax ultralight ski which is even thinner than the lightweight.

A thought about dry boots... One time I noticed that my feet were getting cold and I could have sworn my boots were dry (the footbeds were dry to the touch and warm) When I got back to the condo later that day, I pulled apart my boots and found a layer of ice inside my boots under the foot boards and liners. Brrrrr. Since then every night I pull my liners out of my boots, and verify I have not had some moisture build up under the footboard/liner and if so, dry them under the boot boards as well. Then since they are taken apart that far, I usually pull the footbeds and let the whole system dry out overnight before re-assembling.

I too am interested in what "bad things" were said about the boot gloves. I have heard nothing but good things. The only thing I have heard negative is that on warm days they may make your feet sweat more which can cause too much moisture and cold feet.

I am more inclined to think that Worldfishnski's problem is the new padding to aleviate the heel lift is causing most of his problem. If this was placed over top of the instep to keep the foot from lifting in the boot, it will cut off circulation. Check it out...

I know it's more "stuff" but hotronics is always an option...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 07, 2002 12:40 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #15 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I too am interested in what "bad things" were said about the boot gloves. I have heard nothing but good things. The only thing I have heard negative is that on warm days they may make your feet sweat more which can cause too much moisture and cold feet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I use boot gloves on cold days. Cold is 0 degrees F on hardpack or 15F in powder. In subzero, it's the difference between 1 run and back in the lodge and 5 or 6 runs and back in the lodge. It's been warm this season and I haven't used them yet in 30 days of skiing.

My boots fit properly so I never need to mess with the bottom buckles... that's a problem with boot gloves...

You have to be religeous about taking them off before walking in your ski boots. The lower strap is good for about 1/2 mile of walking on pavement before it wears out.

The stitching on the inner plastic skid pads wears out on me after 20 or 30 days. I guess my stance is too close together?
post #16 of 29
Geoff, why on Earth would you walk on pavement in your ski boots? I don't put mine on until I'm ready to get into my bindings. I carry my boots (with a sock in each leg opening to stopper them from cold weather) from my truck to the lodge where I keep my skis, and change just before going out to ski.

If you think 15 deg in powder is what causes cold feet, you need some work on your boot fit. I ski at 0 deg in powder and crud and don't even sense coolness, much less cold, in my toes/feet.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Clarification: The recent correction was to eliminate heel lift; I didn't have heel lifts put in my boots (though I may based on other threads). My impression of what the fitter did to correct the problem was added padding around the achilles to keep the heel in place.
post #18 of 29
Previously had Tecnica Exp. 8's w/stock liners. Got some Icon Carbons this year with Raichle Thermoflex (sp?) liners. Much much warmer than the stock liners.
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

How much additional $$ were the Raichle liners? Financially does it make sense to put new liners in old boots?
post #20 of 29
Too much pressure on the top of the foot can decrease the blood flow to the fore-foot. I always open my buckles after each run, and clasp them again when a start my run. Doing this allows ample circulation to the toes. My new boots fit well enough that I could keep them latched all day, but force-of-habit has me opening the buckles all the time.

Custom fit liners or tongues can help with keeping the feet warm. Boot heaters also keep the feet toasty, but be aware that the batteries can run out. The common problem with the heaters is that people tend to turn them on too high, cause the feet to sweat, and then have the batteries die, creating size 9 ice-cubes. Others wait too long before switching the heaters on, and end up getting warm toe bottoms, but don't heat the whole toe box area. Play with settings so that you will have maximum effectiveness with minimal battery consumtion.
post #21 of 29

Think I paid around $120-130, and they retail for around $150-$170. My wife replaced her packed out Raichle Flexon liners a few years ago with these and also noticed the warmth improvement. A couple notes (and I've seen these comments posted here before), the Thermoflex don't have as much volume on the sides of the heel pockets as the stock Tecnica liners, had to add some padding on mine, and they take up more volume over the instep (which was a plus for me).

Regarding shells, shells last longer than liners. If you like the fit and flex of your shells, some new liners might be worth the investment.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
After the advice I received on EpicSki, I did some observing this weekend.

My feet were cold before I got to the top of the lift before my first run. The boots were not buckled from the time I left the car until I got ready to ski.

As well, there seemed to be no pressure points or tight spots in the boots. They are comfortable.

I'm going to try some of the brands suggested here. Thanks.
post #23 of 29
The boots were not buckled from the time I left the car until I got ready to ski.

are you walking in your ski boots? if so, why? they're meant for skiing, not hiking.

try carrying them to the lodge with something stuffed into the leg opening, or better yet, inside a bag.

are they staying warm between house and ski area?

the socks shouldn't need to be anything more than a thin wicking sock. if you use thicker socks to warm your feet, you are only asking for trouble.
post #24 of 29
Hi worldF_&_S,
Sounds like we have the same circulation_THING. Gonzo, Beta..& others have mentioned items of note...ditto on the Smartwool ultra-lights & hotronics!
The better the fit, the less you'll have to *clamp* down with the buckles..imo. I've experimented with/out coffee in the AM just to see what it felt like...NO DIFFERENCE with or without coffee for my feet, but with loosening *Each time UP*!! AND that 1.5hr major loosening...I've been staying warm all day.
One thing I've noticed..(may not amount to anything of significance)..but that initial room temperature can either keep the toes warm for the initial bootup!!(makes 100% difference!) or can begin to turn em' white (cool room temp) even before I get em' into the boots...even after using the warm air blowing boot warmers!..the toes stay cold until that initial *come in, take em' off, thaw out*...--> with the circulation NOW going from 10-15runs.
Stayed with friends over the holidays...was enticed to use the household gym (life sure can be rough..and the degree of coldness was far less...!, so I'm kind of leaning towards the fitness/health explanations..
I Have an internet friend/patroller that swears by the Hotronics, so I'm gonna grab some. But you know, there is another boot that looks pretty similar to mine...with more volume...think I will give them a try, although I luv how mine ski.

Best of Luck,
post #25 of 29
WF&S, adding padding around the ankle to retain the heel usually does not work well and pressures nerves between the ankle bones and the achilles tendon. This will make the feet very cold. There are much better ways of reducing heel lift.
post #26 of 29
Fishy--if its not a boot fit issue, and if you have room for a bulkier sock, try the Patagonia Expedition Wt. sock. A thick heavy sock that wicks. Too much sock for me; like most others here, I go with a thin capilene. But some people, my son for one, swear by the Pat. Exp. sock. Its bulky, so in a very tight fitting boot it could aggravate the problem.
Will second also two other suggestions made above: start dry (pull out yer liners each night); and don't put on the ski socks until yer in the parking lot or lodge.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. One-by-one.

@ Red Mtn, I literally get to park 60 feet from the lift if I get lucky (as I did both days last weekend) so I don't really have a need to change at the hill. Though I do wear the socks from my house to the mtn too. 10 minutes maybe.

I will try to be more attentive about going sockless to the hill though.

What do you suggest? These particular Tecnica boots came with four little banana shaped inserts that fit into the outside of the liner to put more bulk (and assumedly more friction) around the achilles. Whatever the boot fitter did to keep my heel from lifting, it added bulk to that same area.

I should add that it is not tight around the ankle and there is still a little movement if I try to move it. As well, I only had the heel lift issue worked on this year because as the boots got "packed out" (they have 150ish days on them) it got worse but it was never bad. I like the way they are now ....a lot.

I don't want to go with more bulk. I tried that before I posted with no effect. Some nice Fox River socks.

I use boot heaters at night to dry to boot as well as to warm it up. SInce I only have one heater. My boots may get taken off the heater @ 7 a.m. so they may not be hot when I put them on but they have been dried for 12ish hours since the last use.

I have always been a sweaty-footed too.
post #28 of 29
RED? man you suck! how's the snow so far this year? no wonder you can walk from your rig to the lodge so eaily.

if your feet sweat heavily, I suggest trying the funny thing of spraying anti-perspirant on them. but what you really need is to get the moisture wicked away as quickly as possible.

last thought - do your feet & boots stay warm the whole duration between leaving your house and putting on your boots? I know of some folks who stand outside their rig to put on their boots. that moment of exposed foot could be the start of coldness. that's why I carry my boots to the lodge to put them on in the warmth of the fireplace. usually I let my feet warm up before putting on my polypro socks and inserting my feet in the boots.

whatever you try, I hope you find something that finally works, because skiing with cold feet is the 2d worst skiing experience. the worst is skiing with foot pain.
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
I always found the word anti-perspirant so unnatural that I could never bring myself to use it. Anything that is "anti" a body function that keeps your body from overheating is repulsive. But..........I think I'll try that on my feet. I got nothing to lose.

We had a great December, a little bit of a drought near Christmas and New Year's, rain and snow mix last week and then some snow finally last weekend. If you know the place at all, 8 cm there let's you ski untracked lines all day (which I did!)

I am the designated driver so I take my shoes off at the back of the SUV and put my feet in the boots sothere is a few minutes wear the boots are in the SUV and a few seconds they are outside without my foot in them.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 15, 2002 12:51 PM: Message edited 1 time, by worldfishnski ]</font>
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