Preserving body heat is very important during an outdoor winter sport like skiing. That is why every skier is encouraged to wear multiple layers of clothes.
But when it comes to keeping feet warm while skiing, you can’t wear multiple pairs of socks as it can reduce blood flow to the feet.
There are two better options that not only insulates your feet from freezing temperatures but also provide heat – Ski boots with heaters built into them and heated socks, both containing battery-powered heating elements.
In this post, I’ll compare ski boot heaters vs heated socks against a number of factors including cost, comfort, maintenance and many more so that you can decide which one suits your needs best.
Ski Boot Heaters
Ski boot heaters are a type of lining that fits inside ski boots and contains a heating element and a battery pack to power them.
There are integrated ski boot heaters that are built into the boots as they are manufactured, and aftermarket ski boot heaters that you can buy separately and use with different boots at different times.
Also read our guide on how to keep your feet warm while skiing
The batteries used are the rechargeable type and the heaters have different temperature settings that can be adjusted remotely.
Heated Ski Socks
Heated socks are special socks with integrated heating elements and packs of rechargeable batteries to power them.
Some brands of heated socks allow you to adjust their temperatures with your smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity.
Ski Boot Heaters Vs Heated Socks
It would be fair to say that both ski boot heaters and heated socks compete pretty evenly with each other, coming off better in one aspect and losing in another.
The main difference between ski boot heaters and heated socks is that ski boot heaters are durable, keep our feet warm longer and are easier to maintain. Heated socks are cheaper, comfortable and are more versatile than ski boot heaters.
Even though there is a wide range of both ski boot heaters and heated socks with varying prices in the market, ski boot heaters are a lot more expensive than heated socks.
Ski boot heaters cost around $50 to over $450, and heated socks cost around $12 – $50.
A ski boot heater is an insole with a heating element built inside in design, so it provides heat only to the bottom of the foot.
Heated socks, on the other hand, do a better job of heating the feet all around. Plus, they are thicker.
Compatibility With Tight-Fitting Boots
If you wear your boots snugly when you go skiing, you are better off having heated socks on rather than ski boot heaters pushing against your feet inside your tight boots and reducing circulation in your feet.
Also read our guide on ski boots circulation problems.
But some heated socks are thicker and may not fit your boot. I’ve known some people who have returned socks for this reason alone.
There are both ski boot heater and heated sock models in the market nowadays that allow the user to change the temperature settings remotely with your smartphone.
When it comes to how easy it is to maintain them, ski boot heaters come out victorious.
You don’t have to wash ski boot heaters after every day of skiing, but heated socks are a different story. Not only do they need to be hand washed in warm water after each run, but also air dried too.
To be honest, heated socks are more comfortable to wear than ski boot heaters as they do not differ that much from conventional socks in structure.
But one major disadvantage of heated socks is that they tend to roll down over time because the position of the battery in the socks makes the battery pull the sock down.
Also read our guide on do ski socks go over or under thermals.
Apart from making the boot feel kinda tight and adding extra weight to the ski boots, heated insoles are convenient.
It’s pretty obvious that heated insoles are more durable than heated socks. Ski boot heaters are designed for skiers and it has to withstand the harsh conditions while skiing.
These insoles can withstand impact, extreme temperatures and even moisture.
Heated socks are susceptible to wear and tear – they are just like regular socks. They are thinner and are made from lightweight materials.
Battery life is one area where ski boot heaters beat heated socks. They are designed to be used for extended periods while skiing.
Once fully charged, ski boot heaters in general would continue to provide heat for longer than heated socks in general, depending on the temperature settings.
Read more about ski boot heater batteries here.
Versatility Of Usage
You would not be able to use ski boot heaters for anything other than skiing or snowboarding, because they would only be compatible with ski boots or snowboarding boots.
On the other hand, you can wear heated socks for any winter outdoor activity imaginable, like snowshoeing or ice fishing. You can even wear them while sleeping!
This is one of the biggest advantages of buying heated socks over ski boot heaters.
You may have realized by now it is not a simple matter to decide which one is better, ski boot heaters or heated socks, as they perform differently in different aspects of their usefulness to you.
While ski boot heaters beat heated socks with their battery life, ease of maintenance, and durability, heated socks win against ski boot heaters in their costs, area they provide heat for, compatibility with winter activities other than skiing, comfort to the wearer, and compatibility with tight-fitting boots.
So, carefully consider your budget, the time and effort you can afford for maintenance, how much battery life you need, your boot fit, how much durability you look for, how comfortable you need your feet to be, and what activity you plan on doing this season besides skiing.