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Cold Feet, heated insoles or socks
I have been having issues for years regulating the temperature of my feet. If my feet get cold, it is over, and it is impossible for me to get my feet warm. I carry extra socks with me to switch-out incase my feet sweat. I have been doing a lot of research on heated insole and or socks. When you look at product reviews for any product out there, the reviews are all over the place. I'm not looking for a product that is on all the time, I'm looking for a product that I can turn on to warm them when they get cold. The chemical toe warmers don't work in my boots, they stop working due to lack of oxygen. My question is do you use a product that you would recommend or would avoid?
Chemical “toe” warmers are different from “hand” warmers. The hand warmer variety won’t work long in a boot.
They make a foot warmer insole that you set in your boot. Different than the handwarmers. They work but seems like only for a couple hours.
What kind of boots are you wearing? In the regular bowhunting style rubber boots my feet freeze anytime it gets below 20 degrees even the 1600 gram thinsulate variety.
I went to a pac style boot for cold temps. You could also try mickey mouse boots.
I do recall some tv hunters slinging some kind of bluetooth controlled heated insole that i assume were rechargeable, but i havent seen those advertised in a while. Not sure if they are still available or not.
I like the baffin pacboots. Broke through the ice fishing first thing in the morning last year. Dumped out my boot, wrung out my sock and fished all day on the ice with that wet foot. 9 degrees.
I wouldnt say it was comfortable but it was warm enough that i survived.
So my suggestion would be look into some good pac style boots with merino wool or alpaca socks.
Theres a company called Neos that makes insulated boots you put on over just regular leather boots or even tennis shoes. They work pretty good too. Even kept the girlfriends feet warm ice fishing. You could look into those.
I work with a guy who runs plain old square toe cowboy boots and cotton socks all winter. Working outside in iowa. 20 below in a snowdrift. Dont know how that hillbilly does it. Id have the blackfoot.
Wear your regular uninsulated hiking boots in to the stand then put Arctic Shield overboots on. Add a handwarmer if required. Cut the end of an old wool sock off and slide over the end of your hiking boot, slip the handwarmer in the sock end on top of your boot toe. Like magic.
What style hunting are you doing? If you're stand hunting whitetails I recommend boot blankets, Arctic Shield I believe is the brand I have. I generally wear my uninsulated Muck boots with a midweight merino sock. This keeps my feet warm walking in yet not too warm as to cause sweating. Once in my stand I stick a foot warmer in the blanket and pull it on over my boot. I stand hunt in the Midwest in temps down into the teens with this combination with good luck.
I have these and they work well.
When it’s really cold and I’m sitting all day I’ll wear cabelas Alaskan insulated boots. I bought them a size bigger and can fit the runbber insole and add the heated insole in too. Can’t walk far in them and I look like a damn fool but I can sit all day. Turn them on and off as needed with the remote. Cold feet send me home early and no fun!
a couple years ago i purchased DG DEGBIT heated socks off Amazon. they're ok but i wouldn't recommend them. they are too small despite ordering the equivalent shoe size and the battery is somewhat large and awkward.
two things work best for me but, not completely. i find wearing gaiters keeps my legs warmer and therefore my feet. also, if i am gonna sit for a while, i put on the artic shield overboots as others mentioned above.
like you, i carry extra socks and change them when needed.
Lack of oxygen.. get a pair of good boots one size bigger so you have warm air around your feet. More room to breath .then one pair dress socks layered with heavy Marino wool socks over them. My shoe size 10 1/2 my 1200 alpha Burley's are 12s work fine and don't rub.
I have stupidly long toes. The toe next to my big toe is as long as my pinky finger. I have to work hard to take care of my feet when it’s cold.
I start by cleaning my feet with baby wipes. I then apply some unscented antiperspirant to my feet. I put on a liner sock then a merino sock.
Depending on temperature and distance I’m hiking to my stand, I’ll choose either my uninsulated or 600 gram insulated hiking boots. At the base of my tree, I’ll take my boots off, stick on toe warmers, then run my climber up and get myself situated.
Once I have everything set, bow on bow hanger, vest and fleece donned, backpack secured with lift line stowed, I pull my boot blankets off my backpack and put them on and settle in.
It’s some jerking around, but it works pretty well for me.
I use a Summit Goliath Climber. I have a very healthy respect for heights. The larger platform and rail make it easier and less nerve racking for me to go through these gyrations. I don’t know that I’d want to do it in one of the lighter climbers with smaller platforms and no rail.
First thing is your boots can’t be tight. Not even remotely.
I have same issues and what works for me is the same thing that is like a chemical hand warmer but it is an insole. Goes like 8 hours. NOT the toe warmer. Partial heat is terrible
"First thing is your boots can’t be tight. Not even remotely."
X2! When I stand hunted on cold days, I'd untie my boots when I got on stand so that I could literally lift my foot out of the boot with barely any resistance. Dead air space is what you need to keep your feet warm. The toes need to have freedom of movement almost like you weren't wearing any footgear at all.
And the OP didn't mention it, but I assume that you are NOT wearing cotton socks of any sort on cold days. Cotton next to skin on really cold days is a recipe for frozen feet!
Arctic shield boot covers with a hand warmer in them. Nothing even comes close to being that effective. I wear 200 gram boots down to 0 degrees.
Adam - I’m curious. When my feet get cold, it’s my toes getting cold and creeping towards the balls of my feet. The toe warmers keep my toes warm and that seems to work for me. I stick the toe warmers on the bottom of my socks and they fit well in the “arches” of my toes. I’ve never had that uneven heat result in my heels feeling cold. Until my day goes long enough that my toe warmers run out of juice.
I have never tried the insoles because of concerns about comfort when walking on them. Do you remove your boots’ normal insoles when using them or just put them on top of the normal insoles? If you’re covering some ground, do your feet become more fatigued without the normal insoles or with the additional thickness of the heated ones?
I assume that you occasionally encounter some brisk weather in Manitoba.
“I have stupidly long toes. The toe next to my big toe is as long as my pinky finger. I have to work hard to take care of my feet when it’s cold.”
Right there with you, brother! Basically, I just have a very low volume foot. They get cold extremely fast. And all the years I spent outside in cold weather ignoring numb toes has done me no favors.
I gave up. If I’m going to be sitting on a stand, I use -100° boots with heated insoles, or when the opportunity presents itself, I use a sleeping bag with 2, 1 L Nalgene bottles filled to the brim with water (or anything tasty to drink) that’s just barely off the boil. I drink the hot beverages and transfer them (about an hour later) into a different (disposable) bottle, but I figure there’s no sense letting all that heat dissipate on the ground…
Take the heavy boots off, settle into the sleeping bag with 2 L of hot water under your feet, and you are good to go for hours.
If you do that, you are allowed to wear whatever footwear works for you on the way in. But you’d have to be a complete idiot to wear anything other than wool or high-quality poly socks.
Bought the Arctic Shields a couple years ago and they are way too small for the size they claim to be. Could wear them over sneakers maybe but insulated hunting boots? No way. Can stuff a pac boot liner in them and wear that way on stand but I have pac boots so why bother? Might try the bigger 'Boot Blankets' to see if they fit better.
Don't know that I'd want to walk on those insoles with battery on the bottom.
Yes, definitely get the bigger sized Arctic Shields. I wear a size 10 boot and have the XL overboots.
Thanks for the input, I will order a pair of the ArcticShield boot blankets.
“ Thanks for the input, I will order a pair of the ArcticShield boot blankets.”
I use the boot blankets but I take my boots off and put on down booties and then put on the boot blankets.
I use the ArticShield boot blankets with an Ice King liner inside. I carry them to my stand and add a hot pack to the toe area. When I get to my stand, I slip off my knee boots and put my feet inside the boot blankets. I have sat in 0 for up to 6 hours before having to change hot packs. I wear a size 11 boot but went with a size 13 liner for more space. Just be careful you don't burn your toe with a hot pack like I did the other day and get a blister!!!
Arctic Shield...don't over think this one. Its one of those things that just works, like a thermacell.
Hard to believe with today technology,you still get cold feet. And half to switch shoes in the woods. I would hate to half to put them cold boots back on. Put more on your head to hold more heat in body also. Keep core toasty warm. And spend a lot of time out in cold. I work outside year round in some harsh conditions. So maybe I am just use to it. Lot of boots out there to do the job. You just need to look at others instead of hunting boots.
Orion I've never had any issue walking with them. I just stick them right in my boot insole where my sock makes contact with it. I've walked up to half a mile to sit. Yes, temps have ranged from 5F to 15F here the last week and half or so. So jealous of guys that can hunt the rut at just barely freezing temps.
I'm the odd man out on the ArcticShield boots. I bought a pair a few years ago and have tried them several times with no success. I typically sit an eleven hour day in temps from teens down to zero F. I don't walk out for lunch or "take a break" during the day. I finally just settled on the Baffin Polar Proven Evolution, which are light and comfy. They have a foam liner as apposed to felt. I put in one actual TOE warmer and if it's real cold, I'll change it out after five hours. Very simple, affective and minimal weight and fuss. I usually sit about twenty five days in November or until I connect on a buck I like. Every night my boots go on the Peet boot drier because damp boots are cold boots.
My Arcticshield booties are still in the box and I can't ever see using them again.
Keep them dry and stay warm.
Keep them dry and stay warm.
I can’t imagine going through some of the routines mentioned instead of just lacing on the proper boots. Cold weather calls for cold weather gear. Head to toe.
Arctic Shield boot insulators.
Arctic Shield boot insulators.
Icebreaker Boot Blankets
Icebreaker Boot Blankets
Some of you guys are referring to the Arctic Shield boot insulators as "boot blankets". Just to clarify, there are two products: Arctic Shield boot insulators, which are very thin and Icebreaker boot blankets, which are thick and puffy. I own both.
This is my system when it's really cold and I plan to sit all day:
Wear light hikers to my stand. Once at my stand, remove hikers, put a chemical toe warmer on top of my toes, outside my sock and pull on another pair of heavy merino wool socks. Then I put on a pair of wool felt pack boot liners. Then I put on the Arctic Shield boot insulators. And finally I slip on the big Icebreaker boot blankets. With that system I can sit all day and my feet never get cold.
The felt liners, Arctic Shields and extra socks stuff into the boot blankets and strap to my pack. It's all pretty light.
Artic shield for me. Just remember that for them to work properly, you have to put them on as soon as you get settled in (don't walk in them). DO NOT wait till your feet begin to get cold and then put them on. They are designed to HOLD IN the warmth.
I've been looking for the Boot Blanket, (size XL) can't find them - everywhere I check, they are "out of stock". Anyone know where I could find a pair? I'm going to keep looking. Thanks, Bob
Bob just look eBay xl there is a pair there.
tks, I must have missed it, I saw a size small, will look again.
All good advice with many common points being made in the previous responses. However, I am surprised I didn't see anyone mention one of the most effective techniques to keep feet FROM getting cold. I hunt on the ground so I clear all the leaves, sit and my boots are directly on the cold earth. BRRRRR.
Get a piece of thick carpet (house flooring carpet) roll it up and bring it with you. Place that on the ground and, number one, you're silent , number two...you're feet don't get cold!! If you're in a metal treestand, this technique works just as well.
The surface under your boots accounts for more conductive heat loss than you would think.
I have been doing some R&D here in Saskatchewan this week. Electric socks, hot packs, different sock and boot combos. One foot one way the other foot another way …
The enemy here is moisture. Feet sweat, and unless there’s a way for the moisture to escape, you are on borrowed time - regardless of what you’re wearing. FYI - the following applies to blind or stand hunting - sitting still all day long. Of all the combos tried this is the winner…
- antiperspirant on the feet to reduce the amount of sweat.
- light synthetic sock (no cotton)
- toe warmers / hot packs (the kind meant for feet!)
- thick wool sock (repeat - no cotton!)
- take boots OFF at the stand and slide feet into an oversized set of felt pac liners.
- final outer layer some sort of insulated boot blanket with wind breaker ( I was using heater body suit this week)
- a piece of carpet on the platform reduces the ability of the steel to suck heat from the feet.
I tried this same setup with an electric sock on one foot instead of the hotpack I had on the other … I could not tell the difference. I have to give the lower tech device the nod in this case. E-Socks are going back to Costco.
Yesterday’s sit was dawn to dusk and feet were warm all day. Who woulda thought the answer to cold feet would be taking your boots off.
For an all day sit I've carried spare socks, boot liners and toe warmers. Change halfway thru the day, warm past sundown. Bulky but nothing is perfect.
I have a Pair of KOM Mukluk's that I take with me every year but have not used them for several years. They always worked great, but I do not like packing them to my stand. This year I started using the Hot Hands Insoles and they seemed to work good, never could feel any heat from them while they were in my boots but my feet did not get cold either. When I would take my boots off, I could feel a little heat on them but not a lot. They say they are made to work in low oxygen environments, I did have to leave my boots loose for them to work though (800 Rubber knee highs with zipper up the side.
Definitely a heated insole. Even a tiny amount of steady heat in something that is insulated good goes a LONG way.
ArcticShield boot covers with dry chemical warmer on top of toes = perfection.
I kind of do my own rendition of what Cheesehead Mike does with a couple more layers.
Attic shield boot covers. Toe warmers. I’ll put two or three in there if it’s really cold. Works great.
Pro tip on the chemical toe warmers: Open them up and put them in an outer pocket a few to several minutes before you stick them to your socks (like on the walk in to your stand) to let them warm up first. This was a game changer for me.
Buy a pair of Mickey Mouse Boots from your local Army surplus store or via the internet. They're two models White for extreme cold & black very cold. Make sure the word "Bata" is on the bottom. These were designed for the US troops during the Korean war. They are not very cool looking, but once you try them your cold feet problems are OVER. Many of the guys on the oil rigs in Alaska used them. I have a pair of the black & white. I used them on a late season deer hunt in Saskatchewan where the temp never got above -20* F. My feet never got cold. Give them a try, you will not regret it...
PS: If the word "BATA" is not on the bottom of the boots, DON't buy them.
All, Thanks for all the input, I purchased Artic Shield boot insulators and they worked. I hunted Third rifle Mule deer in Colorado; one day anyways. It was -5 when I left the truck. Once I got to my overlook half hour before first light. My toes were Ice cold. I put the Artic Shield on and dropped in some hand warmers. 30 hour later my feet were comfortable. In Tennessee next week for family and some Whitetail hunting and will be using them again.
If I can keep my toes and neck warm and comfortable I'm good for 5 hrs. at least. Good boots and neck muffler are a staple for me while cold weather hunting.
"Midwest -Wear your regular uninsulated hiking boots in to the stand then put Arctic Shield overboots on. Add a handwarmer if required. Cut the end of an old wool sock off and slide over the end of your hiking boot, slip the handwarmer in the sock end on top of your boot toe. Like magic."
I tried this on Saturday and you are right, like magic! Thanks!