Does all this snow have you yearning for the slopes? I know a few of us at the office are longing for the outdoors and the excitement that skiing or snowboarding brings.
Unfortunately, the curse of cold feet can seriously dampen your enjoyment out on the mountain. If you’ve been skiing before you know what I’m talking about. It’s a beautiful day on the mountain and you want nothing more than to stay out all day. But, the time has come that you can no longer feel your toes, you may even be starting to question if they are even there! So, you head inside to defrost while others are out having all the fun. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to help keep your feet comfortable and warm, prolonging your time on the slopes.
Wear the right socks
Consider investing in some quality ski and snowboard socks. They aren’t cheap, but they make a huge difference. Ski and snowboard specific socks wick sweat away from your skin and help trap in heat, they are also padded to help protect your Achilles tendon and shins. Can’t spend the extra cash on ski socks this time around? Look for socks that are breathable, moisture-wicking, knee-high, and thin or medium weight. Avoid using cotton socks as cotton will trap in the moisture, causing cold feet. Wool socks, on the other hand, will wick the moisture away from your skin, keeping your feet warmer and dryer. Refrain from doubling up on socks, and stick to wearing just one pair at a time. Wearing two pairs reduces breathability and results in sweaty, cold feet.
Make sure your boots fit properly
If you ski or snowboard regularly, it is a good idea to invest in your own boots and having them professionally fitted, rather than renting a pair. If your boots are too tight, you restrict blood flow to your toes. When your blood flows properly, your feet stay warmer. If your boots are too big, you’ll likely be gripping with your toes and the ball of your foot, pushing blood away from your feet, which will make them colder. You may also want to invest in a customized insole (check with your closest snow sports shop). Customized insoles keep your feet stable and relaxed which will allow for better circulation while you are on the slopes, which will keep your feet warmer.
Keep your body warm
Your body’s natural response to cold weather is to protect your vital organs. Your body will start pumping more blood to the mid-body or “core” and slow blood flow to your extremities. Feet seem to get the coldest as they are the furthest from the heart. Wear a moisture-wicking base layer, an insulation layer, and a waterproof outer layer over your body to keep blood flowing to your toes.
Disposable foot warmers can be used, but you should do so with caution. Never wear them against your bare skin. Unlike hand warmers, if they get overly warm, you cannot easily remove them. Also, they can cause your feet to sweat more, which could make your feet colder. Heat Factory has created a pair of socks that feature a pocket for the warmer to help with these problems. You could also try battery-operated boot heaters. These have proven to be extremely effective. Hotronic and Therm-ic are popular brands. You may need to ask someone at a nearby ski shop for assistance installing them. They are a little pricey, but they work wonderfully.
Dry your boots and warm them before wearing
Make sure your boots dry thoroughly overnight before wearing them again. Using a boot dryer can draw out moisture and warm your boots for the morning, so you can start the day off with nice warm feet. If you don’t have access to a boot dryer, remove the liners and place them near the radiator or fireplace to dry.
Stand in a warm bath
To pre-heat your feet, stand ankle-deep in warm water. This will get the blood flowing to your toes. If your toes start out nice and warm, your boots will help them stay that way. Just make sure you thoroughly dry them before putting your boots and socks on.
Make shapes on the lift
If your toes get cold or numb on the chair lift refrain from clenching. Instead swing your feet back and forth, make shapes, to get warm blood from your upper body to return to your toes. Do this for a good 30 or 40 swings to really get the blood pumping.
When you take a break, change your socks
When you stop to eat lunch, take the opportunity to change your socks. Socks absorb your sweat, which can cool feet down. A fresh pair will allow you to ski or snowboard for longer with warm, dry feet.