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How to Keep Your Feet Warm When Skiing: 10 Tips Against Cold Feet

How to your feet warm when skiing 10 tips against cold feet

A lot can happen to you on the slopes; you could lose your way, get wet or even fall on your face but all these cannot compare to the misery that comes with getting cold feet. Every skier has a ”cold feet” story-especially novices and self-trainers.

Not many skiers care to learn the basics of keeping warm, probably due to ignorance or simply the unavailability of information- most learn when it’s a little too late.

How Can You Keep Your Feet Warm When Skiing?

How Can You Keep Your Feet Warm When Skiing

The first and most obvious way is to wear the right clothes to prevent heat loss through body parts like your hands and face. Other ways include employing artificial warmers like boot heaters and body warmers and maintaining full body warmth.

The words might not stress it enough but cold feet can be a pretty fast way to end your skiing tour prematurely- you have to feel your feet to ski.

Aside from being very uncomfortable, cold feet can turn into medical complications that’ll soon affect your skiing performance– when you lose control of your feet, it becomes harder to control your skis.

Some falls are hard and can end your skiing tour or worse; your sporting career. This is why we encourage skiers to keep their feet warm when skiing or engaging in any winter sport.

You probably already know a little about how to keep your body warm but we bet you’re yet to learn how to keep your feet warm. Well, there are numerous tips you can add to your skiing culture that’ll surely throw the cold out and let the warmth in.

Your feet and hands are the most exposed to cold and other weather extremities and thus the most vulnerable to getting frozen. To stay healthy and at the top of your game, you must prioritize keeping these two parts of your body warm at all times.

Why Do Feet Get Cold When You Ski?

Why Do Feet Get Cold When You Ski

Your feet are most likely to get cold because you didn’t fit your skiing boots correctly. The boots might be too big for you and are trapping cold air on the inside.

Another possible reason is that the boots are too small and are restricting blood flow to and from your feet– when blood stays in the lower body for too long, it’ll get cold.

Whatever the reason is, you’ve got to find your way around it.

10 Tips against Cold Feet While Skiing

10 Tips against Cold Feet While Skiing
  1. Wear Skiing Socks
  2. Get The Right Ski Boots
  3. Loosen Your Ski Boots
  4. Get Disposable Boot Warmers
  5. Use Boot Heaters
  6. Use Boot Gloves
  7. Use Thermostats
  8. Keep Your Body Warm
  9. Stop Clenching Your Toes
  10. Take A Break

Wear Ski Socks

Wear Ski Socks

As expected, we’ll be mentioning and discussing several classes of footwear today. A ski boot might be well designed but without a pair of proper skiing socks underneath, it can’t keep the cold out.

Well, with ski socks, there isn’t much to say; grab a pair that’s thin and flexible or simply one made for skiing. Your instincts will tempt you to go for a thicker version but get this; thicker socks only place more stuff between you and the snow- in competitive races, this can affect your accuracy during tough maneuvers.

Thin ski socks are built so the thin material retains as much heat as it can without negating your contact with the ground. A while back, thicker socks were the most sought-after for going out into the snow but over the years, manufacturers have developed thinner ski socks from nylon, wool, and elastic blends- these are lighter and serve as a second skin.

The best position for ski socks is right above the calf so you won’t need to worry about them coming down when you’re sliding through risky slopes.

We advocate for thinner socks because of their breathability. Novices might not understand this but skiing being a physically intensive sport, results in a lot of sweat that accumulates around your feet.

If you’re wearing a pair of conventional cotton ski socks, the material will trap moisture and increase the chances of your feet getting chilled. And besides, who wants sweat collecting inside their boots? You must understand that dry boots and dry feet are essential if you expect to stay warm.

Thinner socks are loose and allow freedom of movement so you can ski with less restriction while still keeping warm.

Another way thin socks keep you warm is by creating a thin layer of warm air around your foot to act as a counter to cold penetrating from the outside environment. When you cramp your feet in tight boots, you create a circulation problem which is a catalyst for freezing feet.

You might find it hard to ditch the thick socks because maybe you are a big fan of thick clothes in which case you are safer wearing multiple pairs of thin socks over each other. From a sporting expert’s point of view, this is safer than one pair of heavy socks.

Get The Right Ski Boots

Get The Right Ski Boots

Like in any physically demanding sport, your choice of footwear has a bearing on your performance. The first consideration will obviously be the size. Finding a pair your size can be daunting especially if you are renting skiing gear. We recommend finding your own gear if the prices won’t throw your budget off.

Aside from the size, you should check the heels and make sure they don’t lift your skis. You can curb this by tightening the boots so the heels don’t interfere with air circulation. This is however not the best idea; the tightening arcs your foot so strongly, it sometimes results in pain as the terrain gets more challenging.

If you’re not a professional ski racer, don’t get racing skiing boots. Competitive boots are only comfortable for a short period or during the race only and can’t be worn throughout the day like in recreational skiing. In place of them, go for all-mountain boots that are both light and ergonomic.

If you choose to rent your gear, make sure to get the right size. If you’re confused, use a measuring tool or simply test the boot on your feet– it should be comfortable to walk and glide in. Second-guessing the measurement will only get you a too-tight or loose boot that’ll make you hate winter sports altogether.

Loosen Your Ski Boots

Loosen Your Ski Boots

Whenever you are out on the slopes, take time to loosen up the buckles on your ski boots, from time to time. This allows for more blood flow; we’ve mentioned it above.

When you open the buckles, you allow for free flow of warm air around your feet and the shoes’ inner environment. Ten minutes should be enough after which you can buckle up and head out.

This method will keep your feet warm for longer when you return to the tracks. For some, it works so well their feet don’t get cold at all.

For the best results, open them up in a place with normal temperatures like a coffee shop or restroom.

Watch where you lay your feet when you take the ski boots off though. You cannot afford to stand on a cold floor or wet surface as this will only worsen the situation when you put your boots back on.

Get Disposable Boot Warmers

Get Disposable Boot Warmers

Keeping your feet warm while skiing can be a hustle for novices but there’s an easy way around it; disposable boot warmers. They are cheap, accessible, and quite effective. If you’re learning about boot warmers today well, know this, they’re like hand warmers but for your feet.

They act as insoles that sit inside ski boots; between your socks and the ski boot’s insole. From there, the warmth will spread to other areas of your foot and earn you warmer feet while you’re out in the wild.

You can buy them from your local ski shop or the resort’s equipment store.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Disposable Boot Warmers?

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact for easy storage
  • They get to work in minutes

What Are The Drawbacks Of Fusing Disposable Boot Warmers?

  • They only work for a few hours before going dead
  • They are potential environmental hazards
  • Since you cannot control the heat generated, boot warmer sometimes cause burns

There are skiers who’ve reported burns after using disposable foot warmers. They sometimes generate heat so fast you can’t get the boot off fast enough.

We recommend that you ask around before settling on any brand of these or at least test them before letting your kids use them.

Use Boot Heaters

Use Boot Heaters

Also known as ski boot heaters, these devices have taken the whole idea of boot warmers to a whole new level. They’ll set you back a few bucks but the results are worth it- you’ll never get your feet cold. They also take some effort to set up, so you’ll need to be handy and willing.

They work like conventional boot warmers; they sit right under your feet and above the boot’s insole when you ski. To use boot heaters though, you’ll need to own the ski boots because the whole setup process involves modifying the ski boots.

They rely on electric power from strategically attached rechargeable batteries somewhere on the ski boot that’s connected to the heated insole via a cord.

They serve pretty well especially if the weather is severely cold but like anything good, they are not for everyone. Some skiers find them too warm and others hot although this mostly happens in ski areas that are relatively warm and don’t need boot warmers at all.

As we said, boot warmers can be expensive but from the many sports experts vouching for them, we can say, they are worth the cost. They are recommended for skiers who glide in terrains with severely low temperatures.

Another item worth mentioning is ski boots dryers that work to remove moisture from inside your boots. If you sweat a lot or have an issue with moisture accumulating under your socks, ski boot dryers are what you need.

Use Boot Gloves

Use Boot Gloves

If electric boot heaters are too expensive for you, why not try a boot glove- it serves the same purpose and costs slightly less.

Simply put, boot gloves are neoprene covers that you slide your ski boots into- they are gloves but for your boots.

They most of the time come with Velcro straps so they don’t come off as you ski. When used effectively, they should raise the temperature in your boots by up to 50 degrees.

Like other cheap boot warmth sources, boot gloves should be stored indoors and if possible near a source of heat so they gain some in readiness for their next trip. To be safe out there, always ensure your boot liner is warm before heading out.

We advise against storing your ski boots in the car overnight because the temperature there will be low and any moisture around will linger inside the boots. When this happens and you use the boots the following day, the moisture inside will contribute to your feet freezing.

Use Thermostats

Use Thermostats

Another excellent and affordable way to retain warmth around your feet while out skiing is using thermostats. In the skiing world, thermostats are simply heat reflectors.

When employed in your ski boots, they’ll take the heat generated by your body and channel it upwards. This means that warmth will circulate around your feet for longer before it is finally absorbed back into the body.

By reducing the amount of heat lost by reabsorption back into the body, you can save up to 20 degrees of warmth- this ensures your feet stay warm throughout the day. The most effective thermostats are also the thinnest so comfort is not an issue. If you fit it correctly, you won’t even feel it as you walk or ski.

The good thing about thermostats is that they do not require you to make any modifications to your ski boots; just slide them in and out. This means you can use thermostats on both owned and rented gear.

Keep Your Body Warm

Keep Your Body Warm

This might sound odd but you need to keep your upper body warm as a way to keep your feet warmer. The concept is pretty direct; the more heat available in the various parts of the body, the more that can be channeled to the cold parts.

This means your feet will have an easier time fighting off the cold if other parts of the body are warm. Before embarking on a ski tour, look at the weather report in the said area so you’ll know what to expect.

Always keep in mind that your head should be the first priority when it comes to heating. Ensure your headgear is up to the task; it should keep out both cold air and moisture. And also, remember to keep your core warm too. If you can manage to keep your core warm, the effect will travel to other areas and soon, you’ll have warm feet.

The first step is having a base layer that won’t collect water so it doesn’t absorb moisture while under the other gear.

The second thing you’ll need is a pair of hand gloves that fit correctly and are well-suited for the climate at hand. Keeping your hands warm reduces the amount being directed towards them and thus reduces the overall heat consumption by the various body parts- hands get prioritized when heat is shared because they are closer to the core than your feet.

You should shield your legs from the cold too. If the cold gets to them, it’ll travel down to your feet. Always ensure your pants are fitting and waterproof so they don’t hold onto any moisture when you fall or sit on the snow.

Proper ski pants can be expensive but with the risks involved, nothing can be too expensive.

Stop Clenching Your Toes

Stop Clenching Your Toes

When their feet get cold, most skiers find relief in clenching their toes. It feels good at first but they do not realize that clenching restricts blood flow to the toes; cold blood will chill the already frigid toes and get your feet colder.

Whenever you feel like clenching your toes, swing the affected foot back and forth to trigger increased blood flow to the toes from other parts of the body.

Take A Break

Take A Break

When your feet get too cold, go into a shelter and take off your boots. This will remove the restrictions placed by the tight bootstraps and allow warm blood to circulate around your feet.

After a minute or two, you’ll start to feel the warmth creeping back into your toes. When satisfied, strap the boots back on and hit the slopes again.

If your socks are wet from the sweat, replace them with a dry pair- this is why you should always have two pairs of socks on you. Changing your socks at least once during the day can go a long way in keeping the cold out.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line 5

It might sound corny but most skiers do not know how to keep their feet warm while skiing. Those who do, have wrong or inaccurate information based on past studies and other beliefs. The most common mistake they make is wearing thick socks as an anti-freezing mechanism only for the sweat to chill their feet.

The best way to keep your feet warm is to prevent loss by wearing the right clothes or generating more by using devices like boot heaters. There’s a science behind each method but we’ve summarized the details to create a simple and direct guide to keeping your feet warm while skiing.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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