How to Keep Your Feet Warm Skiing

Top 15 Tips on Keeping Your Feet Warm on the Slopes

Mature Man and woman trying on skl boots in sports shop
Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Don't let cold feet keep you a prisoner of the lodge. There are several ways to keep your feet warm while skiing, many of which are easy and simple solutions. Here are the top 15 tips for keeping your feet warm on the slopes:

Make Sure Your Boots Fit Properly

Your ski boots should fit comfortably, without feeling too loose or too tight, in order to allow proper circulation. When blood is flowing, your feet stay warm.

But, boots that are too loose can become cold quickly.

Don't Over Tighten Your Boots

Your boot needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the forward-press of your shins throughout your turns, but that support needs to come primarily from the boot fit, not from tight buckles. Having boots that are too snug can be just as much of a problem as having boots that are loose, as circulation is cut off, restricting blood flow and resulting in cold feet.

Look for Insulated Boot Liners

Most boots feature liners that are relatively well-insulated. Ski racers' boots, however, are known to be especially cold, as their liners are very thin. When shopping for ski boots, make sure to inquire about the liners.

Wear the Right Socks

This might just be the most important strategy to prevent cold feet. Don't even think about wearing a pair of cotton socks pulled blindly from your dresser drawer. If you want your feet to stay warm and dry, you really need a pair of ski-specific socks.

Look for socks that are knee-high, breathable, moisture-wicking, and of thin or medium weight (if they're too heavy, your feet will sweat and get cold quick).

Keep Your Body Warm

When your body is cold, the warmth flees from your extremities. You can help reduce this effect by wearing an insulating mid-layer to keep your core warm, such as a fleece or a vest.

Consider Bootgloves

Some skiers wear bootgloves, such as the Dry Guy Bootglove, over their boots to seal in some extra warmth. While it's not a surefire way to ward off cold feet, it does protect against excess wind chilling your toes.

Invest in Battery Boot Heaters

Battery-operated boot heaters can be inserted into ski boots, and are extremely effective. Hotronic is a popular brand, as is Therm-ic. Unless you're crafty, you'll probably have to hit up a ski shop for the installation. While the overall cost varies, expect to pay around $200 - a pretty good investment for surefire warm feet.

Try Footwarmers

Some skiers swear by disposable, insertable footwarmers, but be sure to use them with caution. They shouldn't be worn against bare skin, because unlike handwarmers, if they start to heat up beyond your comfort level, it's not so easy to remove them. Another concern is that they can cause your feet to sweat excessively, which can actually make your feet even colder. To amend that problem, Heat Factory has introduced heated socks that feature a pocket for the warmer.

Wear the Right Snow Pants

Wearing insulated snow pants will keep your legs warm, and thus help prevent blood from fleeing your toes.

Also look for snow pants that have gaiters you can pull over the shaft of your boot, further blocking wind gusts or icy chills that reduce warmth.

Dry Your Boots Overnight, and Warm Them Up in the Morning

Invest in a boot dryer to draw out moisture from your boots at the end of the day. Your dryer can also be used to warm up your boots in the morning, making it easier to get them on, but also starting the day right, with warm feet.

Choose a Warm Spot to Buckle Up

If possible, on the most bone-chilling days, you should avoid putting your boots on in the parking lot, or on a bench outside. As it goes with your hands, once your feet get cold, they tend to stay cold.

Wear One Pair of Socks

Dress your body in layers - not your feet. Wearing two pairs of ski socks will reduce the breathability component of the socks, resulting in sweaty (and cold) feet.

In addition, double socks tend to get bunched up easily within your boot, which can cause distracting pain and irritation.

Cold on the Lift? Don't Clench Your Toes

Many skiers mistakenly clench their toes when they're cold, but this restricts blood flow, only exacerbating frigid toes. A better option is to swing your feet back and forth - of course, being mindful of your skis - to get warm blood from your upper body back to your feet.

Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break

On the coldest days, take your ski boots off during lunch to allow warm blood to re-circulate. Once you feel the warmth creeping back into your toes, you can put your boots back on. If your feet tend to get especially sweaty, stash an extra pair of socks in your pocket to change during lunch, so you can ski the rest of the day with warm, dry feet.

Read More