No matter how long you've skied, there's one thing that is guaranteed to send you running for the lodge on a miserable day: cold feet. It happens to everyone. But, there's no reason why cold tootsies should mean the end of your ski day when there are so many affordable, simple solutions waiting for you at your local ski shop.
The secret to keeping your feet warm begins with the right pair of socks. In the early days of skiing when ski boots were made out of porous leather that would lap up moisture, it was a good idea to wear several pairs of heavy socks. That's all changed. Most snow sports professionals will advise you to wear a thinner sock designed especially for skiing. Ski socks generally tend to be lighter weight and made from a blend of wool, nylon and elastic. Smartwool makes a durable sock designed to fit like a "second skin" and free of irritating seams and pressure points. Choose an "over the calf" length so you won't have to worry about them slipping down during the day.
Another effective way to keep your feet warm is to make sure you're wearing the correct size ski boots. Rental shops often will rent you ski boots that are up to three sizes too big to make sure they're comfortable - bad idea. Invariably, you'll have to keep tightening your boots to keep your heels from lifting. This causes pressure points over the arch of your foot and cuts off the circulation. Poor circulation ultimately means cold feet. Make sure you're given the proper size, if you're renting boots. You'll want to make sure that the fit is correct before you leave the store, if you have your own ski boots.
You can install ski boot heaters, if you're fortunate enough to own your own boots. Ski boot heaters are like miniature electric blankets and are attached to the bottoms of your footbeds or insoles. A cord runs out of the back of the boot and is attached to a rechargeable battery. Hotronics makes quality boot heaters and are sold in packages that include two NiMH batteries with four temperature settings, a battery recharger that has European and American plug adapters, a free pair of Ready insoles and a limited, three-year warranty - all for less than $200.
A simpler and less expensive solution is to wear BootGloves. BootGloves are lightweight neoprene covers that you slip over the outside of your ski boots. BootGloves can add as much as 53 degrees of warmth to your feet, according to the manufacturer. They temporarily fasten to your ski boot shell using Velcro enclosures. BootGloves retail for $29.95. Note: BootGloves are not easy to find, despite their popularity, even at major ski resorts, so buy them online.
Try adding a pair of ThermoFeet heat reflectors to the inside of your boots, if you're on a budget, ThermoFeet are aluminum insoles that reflect the warmth of your feet upward, back into the inside of your boots instead of out through the soles of your feet. Promising to keep your feet 10 to 20 degrees warmer, they are about the same thickness as a dollar bill, won't compromise the fit of your boots, and are affordable at $19.95 a pair.
One of the least expensive solutions for cold feet is Grabber Warmers. Grabber Warmers offer a variety of products designed to keep your hands and feet warm on cold days. Similar to hand warmers, feet warmers are thin, air-activated insoles that slide underneath your feet, between your socks and the insoles. They're available in several foot sizes and a package of 10 sells for $34.99.
Regardless of which solution you try, one of the most important things is to start your day with warm feet. Never leave your ski boots overnight in the trunk of your car. It can take hours to warm up your feet after you slide them into frosty ski boots. Consider buying a portable ski boot dryer, if your feet perspire while skiing. Boots that don't dry overnight will grab onto cold air, meaning cold ski boots in the morning. Serius makes a compact, lightweight boot dryer for around $20 that can be tossed into your suitcase or left in your car. It also can be used to dry cold, wet gloves.
There's no reason to suffer with cold feet on your next vacation with the variety of products available online or at you nearest ski shop. Do what the pros do: keep your feet warm and dry.