I’m not talking about being too afraid to do something, as in “I was going to huck the cornice but I got cold feet.” I’m being a bit more literal here. As in “My feet are so cold that I’m going inside to warm up.”
A real wet blanket on a great ski day. And no, not an actual wet blanket.
Cold toes can be a bummer, but there are things you can do to keep them warm. (I’ll fill you in on my super-effective-OMG, it’s -20°F and my feet are still warm-combo later.)
So let’s start from the top.
Make sure your boots fit: Believe it or not, cold feet can be caused by ill-fitting boots. Something could be cutting off your circulation, and determining if that’s the cause is a worthwhile endeavor. A good boot fitter can help.
Wear proper sox: I know it seems counter-intutive, but thicker sox will not make you warmer. All they’ll do is 1) make your feet sweat, which will make your feet colder, or 2) bunch up in your boots and either give you blisters or interfere with your boot fit, thereby cutting off your circulation and making your feet colder (see above). You really want a thin ski sock. Trust me on this. And be sure to avoid cotton. Cotton stays damp. You want sox made out of merino wool.
Keep your boots dry and warm: This is pretty obvious, but if you store your boots in the car overnight, they’re going to be plenty cold when you put them on in the morning. So keep them inside. Also, dry your boots out from one use to the next. Sweat can make the liners damp, and once again, a damp boot is a cold boot. Use either a boot drier or remove the liners to dry.
Keep your feet dry, too: Dry feet are warmer feet. I spray mine with anti-perspirant before I head out to ski. Not only are they drier, but they don’t stink, either. 🙂 I also wear different sox over to the mountain, and put my ski sox on right before I put on my boots. Some folks even change their sox at lunch, to keep their feet extra dry.
Heat your feet: Heaters can do a lot to keep your toes toasty. You use use either disposable heaters that stick to your sox or the interior of your boot (some people swear these work better when they’re stuck on the underside of a boot glove). Or you can use a battery operated heater, like Hotronics. The former are very cheap, the latter, not very. The way you go is up to you. I prefer the latter.
Wear Boot Gloves: If you thought gloves were just for your hands, think again. Boot Gloves are neoprene covers that fit over the outside of your boots. Added bonus: they keep your boots drier and prevent snow from invading any cracks, too.
Replace the liners: Some boot liners just aren’t that warm. You can replace yours with a custom moldable liner, such as those made by Intuition. Not only do they keep your feet warmer, but they feel great, too.
Keep your core warm: The warmer your core, the less blood flow you’ll need to keep it warm. Which means more blood flow to your extremities — your hands and feet. So wear those extra layers and that warm jacket. It’ll help your feet.
Any one of these things may work for you. Or more than one. Which leads me to my secret works-like-a-charm method for warm feet;
A few weeks ago I skied in temperatures down to -20°F (Diva Safari Day #2, Diva Safari Day #3) . Yes, it was cold — but my feet weren’t. Why? Well, I dried my boots each night, kept my boots indoors, and even sprayed my feet with anti-perspirant to keep them dry throughout the day. On top of that, I used the triple threat: battery operated heaters, Intuition Liners, and Boot Gloves. Okay, maybe it seems like overkill. But if my feet weren’t cold in those condition, they ain’t never going to be cold.