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warm socks for cold feet

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Anyone have any recomdations for socks to keep feet warm? Do neoprene socks work for skiing?
post #2 of 23
Do not use neoprene socks!--Sweaty, crowded feet are cold feet (and way uncomfortable).

My advice is somewhat counter-inuitive (but well-known)- but here it is.

You probably need much thinner (not thicker) socks than you are presently using. Most ski boots/ski-inner boot liners are plenty insulated/moisture proof--what's most likely causing cold feet (in your case in in many others) is poor or restricted circulation. Want warm feet-improve the blood flow/ capacity to that area-use thinnest-good wicking socks you can get--and for God sakes-please don't use a ski sock and a sock liner together!!--

I learned the lessons of thin-sock blood flow many years ago winter mountain biking in New England.

Oh-and if that doesn't fix your cold feet problem-I'd say you were a candidate for those Hotronic (or some facsimile) Footbeds! But I'd try the $14 thin sock fix first.

Good luck!

post #3 of 23
If you have a performance boot fit, i.e. tight with little room to spare, thicker socks might not work for you. As Liam says they might interfere with circulation which will make your feet even colder. I use Smartwool Ultralight and (another Smartwool sock which is very thin) and I am pleased with them.

I just switched to a boot with a thin liner and they are much colder than my old boots. So I bought some "boot gloves" to try, and believe it or not they keep my feet very warm on cold days (though they look kind of stupid.)
post #4 of 23
Liam gave a good short answer. Here's the long answer:

Keeping your feet warm has relatively little to do with your socks. It's all about circulation. Once your body starts to get cold, it will sacrifice circulation to your extremeties to keep your core warm. This is the reason for the old cliche "feet are cold? put on a hat." If your body is working overtime to keep your brain and lungs heated, your hands and feet will be the first to know.

Second, once you've made sure the rest of your clothing is up to snuff and you're sure your body is actually sending warm blood to your feet, big socks or poorly fitted boots that are buckled down too tight can restrict blood flow making your feet cold. In a properly fitted boot, thin socks are warmer than thick ones.

Third, your feet can actually sweat a lot. Once wet feet get cold, it feels a lot colder. Breathable socks with wicking properties work best. In this age of high-tech eveything, wool is still hard to beat. Many find spraying Anti-persipirant on their feet helps, too.

Fourth, thick socks compromise the performance of the boots. If your boots are loose enough to fit a thick sock without cutting off circulation and being uncomfortable, then your boots are too big and you're working too hard to control your skis. Neoprene, being both quite thick and one of the least breathable materials around, is a terrible choice for ski socks. Thin wool socks are the consensus choice.

Fifth, putting your feet in a hard plastic shell without a lot of insulation in the middle of winter can be cold. There reaches a point where your feet will get cold, period. Everyone has their own threshold, but if you regularly ski when it's just plain cold out - wherever the point of "just plain cold" is for you - battery powered electric boot heaters are a good option. Women, in general are "just plain cold" at higher temps than men. For me, around 10F things get cold and at -5F I'm not going to able to ski for very long without heading in for a thaw and some coffee. Those temps aren't that common here, but they are routine in many places. My wife's threshold is high enough that we will put heaters into her boots soon.

Lastly, there is something called Raynauld's Syndrome where one's body reacts abnormally to cold - it sort of overreacts. If your feel you are overly senstive - you're cold when everyone else is peeling off layers - look into some of the strategies for handling Raynauld's.

My wife gets cold easily. The biggest thing that's helped is a helmet. They are much warmer than hats. Next up is a big puffy down jacket. I would be insanely hot skiing in something like that, but she loves it, even on quite mild days. She's in big, loose, sloppy beginner-intermediate boots and ready to move up to something more advanced, which will be much more snug. As I said, we'll put heaters in them. Many people balk at the expense of boot heaters, but what's another $150 over the 5 years they're going to last?
post #5 of 23
A little trick that works well for me is to apply anti-perspirant to my feet and hands after I use a blow dryer to get them as dry as possible first. This greatly reduces the amount of sweat and helps to keep them warmer.
post #6 of 23
Get as thin a sock as you can! Here is a recent thread on cold feet to add to the advice above: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ight=cold+feet
post #7 of 23
Second Findogg's suggestion . Using a good sport anti-perspirant on your feet may be just the ticket (combined with a thin sock). That works well for me on all but the coldest days. If that doesn't solve the problem, Hottronics are the next choice. They work very well, but you have to be careful to keep them from getting wet (they don't want to respect the off button when that happens). They are also a bit spendy and require some effort (or $$ at the ski shop) to mount, so I wouldn't go there until you've followed all the other advice in this thread.
post #8 of 23
I have been in thin socks for years. I use a liner sock from campmor.com or serriratradingpost.com. I have a number of pairs that I paid less then $3.50 a pair for. I also have the Smartwool Ultra light that they sell for $7.50.

Also your boots must fit well and not cut off the blood flow.
post #9 of 23
all I ski in is a silk sock liner, with my Thermoflexes, they are fine.
post #10 of 23
I've got the best fitting pair of boots I've ever owned, custom footbeds, and proper thin skiing socks. I regulate my body temp well with layers and wear a helmet. And my toes are cold by mid-day.

Last season I began using the Grabber toe warmers in my boot, against the advice of some of the bootfitters I've talked to (it's a bandaid fix, as alluded to by the other posters). What can I say? At about $2 a day, I don't suffer cold toes anymore, and I can't say that the 30 second inconvenience of tucking the warming pads into my boots has negatively impacted my skiing (nor have the warmers changed the fit of my boots).

post #11 of 23
Jim_in_PC has written the definitive article on ski sock infrastructure above.

I would only like to add that whether your feet, hands, head, or whole body gets cold on the slopes, a good way to combat this is to eat well before skiing. Your body needs fuel to produce and maintain heat.
post #12 of 23
I bought the neoprene socks years ago and would agree , they don't keep your toes warmer.
post #13 of 23
Anti-perspirant on the feet? That's a good idea, never tought of that one and I have sweaty feet: we're talking about leaving big wet footprints on the floor when I walk after getting my ski boots off.
post #14 of 23
I am getting quite concerned about my toes.... I havent previously had serious troubles but I am sitting at home in ireland with no particular cold spell.... my toes are freezing inspite of being in socks and slippers.... how much are heated insoles and am I likely to be able to find them in a resort like Banff?


post #15 of 23
I have to say the Hotronics are wonderful. The only problem (and I may ask Jeff on the other thread) is that their own footbeds don't seem to fit my feet as well as the original footbeds in my boots. But they do a heating element that can be cut into custom footbeds so there is a solution
post #16 of 23
I use the Smartwool ultrathin sock too, and I have few complaints now (and my feet do tend to get cold). I have a friend who uses thin socks, the boot heaters AND the boot gloves. That's what it takes for her to stay warm.

In addition to thin socks and the other excellent recommendations, I also suggest looking at your nutritional intake when you're skiing. I suggest not drinking coffee (or other caffeinated products) in the morning before you go out or during the day while you ski. It's a diuretic and you can become dehydrated, increasing chances for getting cold. The military recommends drinking hot cocoa if you must drink something to warm up, plus it has lots of carbs (yes, it has caffeine, but much lower doses than coffee and other caffeinated products). Keeping hydrated is also important--drink lots of water. Don't drink alcoholic beverages at lunch if you plan to go back outside to ski more. Also, eat a healthy breakfast and stop for lunch and snacks. Your body needs more calories and carbs to properly function in the cold--most people need at least an extra 1000 calories. Ever wonder why after a day of skiing you crave a huge steak or pasta? That's why. You're body is burning up its fuel like there's no tomorrow to stay warm.

And no one has mentioned this, but if you've ever had frostbite on your toes (common in skiers), you probably have permanent circulation problems and will need to take that into account.

post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by buns
I am getting quite concerned about my toes.... I havent previously had serious troubles but I am sitting at home in ireland with no particular cold spell.... my toes are freezing inspite of being in socks and slippers.... how much are heated insoles and am I likely to be able to find them in a resort like Banff?


$200-$350 CAD and yes a few stores in banff will carry them

ultimate fit center (where I work) has a few options
post #18 of 23
I used to get cold feet all the time when skiing in some beloved Dachstein racing boots back in the early 90s. I installed Hotronics and they helped some, but were not a long term solution (for one thing, the battery packs would never last a full day). The boot fit was outstanding for ski performance, but just too tight.

Of course, I didn't realize this until many years later. One night, before my first day of the season at Sugarbush, I went to put on my Dachsteins and they wouldn't fit. Not even close. Either my feet got fat during the off-season, or the boot plastic or liners shrunk somehow. It was like twilight zone. Anyway, early the next morning, I made the rounds of a couple ski shops frantically looking for new boots. I ended up with a pair of leftover Saloman Performa 8.0 that have been great. And the big news is that I never got cold feet anymore (and still got a good boot fit). All those years I suffered cold feet in the Dachsteins was probably because they were too tight.

I agree with the recommendation for thin socks -- I get $10 wigwam wool/poly blend socks, and they are awesome.

post #19 of 23
Wear a good ski sock or no sock at all.

I went skiing last Tuesday with the thinest ski socks I had ever seen. After two and a half hours, when we stopped for an early lunch because my daughters feet were cold, my toes were numb. After lunch I gave my daughter a regular thickness ski sock to try; she had ordinary socks on in the morning. I, on the other hand went barefoot in my boots. My feet were fine for the rest of the day. My daughter's feet were better than in the morning.
post #20 of 23
Another vote for the smartwool ultrathin sock. I use them in my Tecnica XTs which, with a race fit, are a realtively cold boot and they do pretty well.

Like Ghost I have also skied barefoot in them and found it to be warmer than expected. Only problem tho is getting your feet in and out of a plug boot without crucifying your foot if you are bare foot!!
post #21 of 23
Definitely check fit issues. I had my footbeds redone (well, more accurately, I got new, better ones) before this season, and it made a world of difference. My feet were getting cold even in 35 degree sunny weather -- I KNEW it was a circulation issue; it just took me a while to get down to the bootfitter.

I also had some frostbite when I was a teenager (leaking rear-entry boots, anyone?), so my feet turn yellow quite easily.
post #22 of 23
Gosh those heated insoles are expensive! Not the thing for a 2 week skier at all! Think I will just try and go with the foot equivalent of the handwarmer pads!
post #23 of 23
Get some of these boys at rei outlet
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