How do I keep my feet warm in winter while walking? Walking is healthy for both mind and body, but nobody likes cold feet.
Cold feet are caused by contracting blood vessels. When the temperature drops, blood vessels in the skin contract to limit heat loss.
Do you ever get cold feet after a while during a beautiful winter walk? What can you do about this?
As a general rule to keep your feet warm in winter while hiking: keep moving, find the right shoes and socks and avoid getting your feet wet. You may also want to consider an extra layer on the lower body or even try sprinkling some pepper in your socks before putting them on.
Read on for a whole host of helpful tips on how to keep your feet warm during winter hikes.
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How do I keep my feet warm in winter while walking? Tips
There are a few good measures you can take to avoid cold feet while hiking:
- First of all, it helps to be in motion. All good when hiking. But if you take a rest, your feet can quickly become cold. Try to keep moving your legs and feet to keep the blood flowing properly.
- It seems logical to put on extra-thick socks, but too thick socks can cause your feet to pinch in your shoes. When buying good winter socks, look at the material. Wool socks provide more warmth than cotton socks. You can also choose shoes with a wool lining if necessary. Merino wool is great if allergic to other wool. There are also thermal socks made of synthetic fibers.
- Choose socks in which you won’t get sweaty feet while hiking. If your feet get wet, they will cool down quickly. So sandwich bags or plastic in your shoes is not recommended.
- For clothing, especially on your upper body, it is better to put on several layers on top of each other. Don’t put on too many socks on top of each other. The socks will rub together and cause blisters. And that’s at least as annoying as cold feet.
- Make sure your shoes are not too tight. Shoes that are too tight pinch the blood supply to your feet, making you more likely to suffer from cold feet. You should still be able to move your toes in your shoes.
- It actually goes without saying but never put on socks or shoes that are still damp. Always allow shoes to dry thoroughly after use and put on clean, dry socks before your walk.
- If you hike in extreme temperatures (below freezing, for example), there are special snow boots. For a hiking trip or walking trip to a winter sports area, for example, these can be a godsend.
- It may help to rub your feet with petroleum jelly. Vaseline has an insulating effect. However, the disadvantage of this is that you are clogging the skin pores of your feet and your feet are no longer able to breathe properly, increasing likelihood of blisters.
- In cold and hard rain, shoe covers or gaiters can be useful. These are a type of cover that protects your lower legs and the top of your shoes. This reduces the amount of moisture and dirt from the top getting into your shoes.
- For example, warm your (cold) feet again after your walk by keeping them in lukewarm water. Never use hot water to reheat your feet (or other body parts).
- Make sure your shoes are not worn out and in need of replacement. Shoes with holes in them will obviously have difficulty to keep your feet warm.
Warm feet: winter walking socks
A thicker sock prevents cold feet but beware. Your shoes might not be roomy enough. Otherwise, they will pinch, reduce blood circulation, and your feet will actually get cold faster.
Too warm socks aren’t the way to go either. You get sweaty feet faster because of it and therefore you get blisters faster too.
Really warm socks really only add value if you are standing still for long periods. Never put on several pairs of socks on top of each other because the friction can cause blisters and other discomforts.
Hiking boots for winter
Most hiking accidents in the winter are the result of slips. Old snow turns to ice, and walkways and sidewalks can then become extremely slippery.
Walking sticks are a great tool to prevent slips. There are also aids such as non-slip soles.
Metal pins in these soles that give you more grip. Those pins are of little use on soft snow, and you are better off with a proper snow shoe.
The better shoe brands have hiking boots with special soles that give a good grip on snow and ice.
The downside, however, is that these shoes are quite pricey and are only worth purchasing if you will be hiking on snow and ice frequently during winter.
Tip: Consider your weight as well when purchasing walking shoes, find good shoes for heavy hikers here.
More tips to keep your feet warm while hiking
- Consider insulating socks. You can also warm your feet under someone else’s armpits in an emergency. Not pleasant but anything is better than a frozen foot, isn’t it?
- Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper in your shoes and you won’t have cold feet anymore.
- Under your hiking pants, put on a pair of simple leg warmers to keep your lower legs warm and so your feet will stay warmer as well.
- During cold weather (for example, in snowy mountains), hike with thin elastic socks that do not retain moisture, with wool socks over them.
- Are you sensitive to temperature shocks? Then remove your shoes and socks and place your feet in a towel. Wrap the towel around your feet and move your toes. This way you warm your feet with your blood circulation and the heat remains trapped better thanks to the towel.
- For the women: Wear a pair of tights under your hiking socks, it helps in terms of heat retention.
- Warm up your shoes and socks before putting them on. This can be simple when you leave home. And if you still have to travel by car, you can warm up the shoes under the heater.
- If you can’t warm up your shoes, don’t tighten your laces while traveling to the start of the hiking trail to promote blood circulation in your feet which will help to warm up the shoes.
How do I keep my feet warm in winter while walking? Conclusion
While it might be obvious that you need to keep your feet dry, sometimes it’s not enough.
Keeping the rest of your body warm, and wearing the right socks will also help to keep your feet warm on a winter’s hike.