cold feet

Has anyone used battery operated heated socks? If so, what make and the results. I’ve been searching online and found quite a range of prices. So the quality must depend somewhat on cost. I’ve tried the chemical foot pads but they don’t work. Right now I use two pair of socks, my dry suit and neoprene booties over all that. I hate to spend $100 plus and not have good results.

What socks?

– Last Updated: Feb-12-15 8:24 PM EST –

Two pair of socks could mean anything from very poor to very good insulation.

The reason I think of asking, is that I have a lot more trouble keeping my hands and feet warm than most people do (I've been that way all my life), but with the right footwear I really don't have much trouble in weather that's warm enough for paddling.

For what it's worth, I wear the lace-up style of Chota neoprene boots for cold-weather paddling. I wear a synthetic liner sock and a Smart Wool sock. I'm pretty good down to about 20 degrees F. with that setup, and can tolerate down to about 15 degrees for a few hours. A larger boot that provides room for "real winter socks" would be even warmer (Smart Wool socks are nothing compared to old-fashioned THICK wool socks).

I've always heard that battery socks keep you "as warm as toast", and that was with the only kind that was available decades ago. Maybe someone else can be more specific.

As to chemical packs "not working", most people find them to be almost too hot, but if the ones you are using are a couple years old or more, they may have expired. A friend of mine has a whole bunch of chemical heat packs that are a couple years old and they do nothing at all. They don't last forever. Also, even fresh ones don't heat up much if not well insulated from the cold, which may go back to the sock question.

Have you tried dry boots?
Like scuba divers wear. They are similar to paddling mukluks but a mill thicker, and being waterproof they tend to keep your feet warmer unless you step into water over the top of the boots. And at least when I got mine they were running a little cheaper than the equivalent paddling mukluks.

Are your boots big enough
Like Guideboatguy I usually wear a pair of liner socks, and then a pair of smart wool socks. If it’s really cold, I’ll add a pair of neoprene socks inside the booties. I bought a pair of neoprene boots a size larger than I usually wear so all the layers would fit comfortably. If it’s too tight your feet get cold faster.

you dont want a snug fit
If you put on multiple socks and cram your feet into booties/shoes you will do two things.1) compress both layers of socks resulting in less insulation than one pair. 2) restrict blood flow to your feet resulting in even colder feet.

In order to stay warm you need blood flow to carry warm blood to your feet and insulation with lots of loft.

Cold feet
I do wear 2 pair good socks. 1 thin and one mid weight. Then the dry suit foot covers inside the 3 mm neoprene boots which are 1 side larger then I normally wear. But maybe you’re right about compressing everything to much. I might try the next larger size. Thanks for all the replies.

more on keeping warm
I used to be a wilderness adventure guide and winter camping/mountaineering instructor, also have worked many years in construction including working outdoors in sub zero temps. I’ve done a lot of research, both reading and personal experience on keeping warm. One thing I find that many people don’t take into account is that you have to keep your entire body warm if you want your extremities to be warm. Are you keeping your head and neck sufficiently covered and insulated from both cold and evaporative loss from wind? The old saying was,“if your feet are cold, put on your hat.” And it’s very true.

The body conserves critical heat for your core organs by restricting blood flow to your extremities (and the heat radiation that results) . This is more pronounced in women than men probably due to the evolutionary need to protect a fetus and is why women tend to complain sooner of cold hands or feet yet are less susceptible to hypothermia or frostbite (a man’s metabolism will be slower to deflect blood from the feet and hands and he will therefore lose overall heat more rapidly instead of conserving it.)

I used to run into misunderstandings of the wholistic nature of keeping yourself warm when I sold outdoor gear. I remember a woman who came in and bought our warmest coat, a baffled down polar expedition parka with about 8" of loft. She declined to buy the optional hood with it also. A week later (a week that we had daily temperatures in the single digits and wind-chills down to minus 20 F) she came in angrily demanding a refund because the coat failed to keep her warm, especially her legs and feet. I queried her about how she had been wearing the coat. Turned out she was a nurse who took several buses to her job – she wore a short skirt uniform, panti-hose and nursing shoes and no hat (did not want to mess up her hair, she said) but she expected just adding this giant jacket over that outfit to keep her warm all over. I told her she was welcome to return the coat but also suggested she try buying the hood, and a pair of zip off insulated windpants to add to the outfit – guaranteed I would refund for all of them if it did not work. She took me up on that offer and stopped in two weeks later to report that she was “finally warm.”

When I used to work construction in bitterly cold weather, I used to take two of those very small chemical heat packs and wear them over my kidneys under my insulated coveralls. I had a long tube of cotton knit material that I slid them into and tied it around my waist. It was a trick I learned from a couple of old deer hunters. It does help warm your feet.

It’s true if you keep your head warm the rest of your body will stay warm, but I sometimes find it too warm. I bought a neoprene helmet liner to wear winter paddling under my helmet, but I very rarely use it. It’s OK when I stop to take breaks, but I find it is too warm when I am actively paddling. The helmet alone keeps my head warm, but I do get cold feet. I am also in a canoe and often sloshing around in cold water. It’s a constant battle.

At the moment keeping warm while paddling isn’t really an issue. Everything is frozen solid and I haven’t had my canoe out for a month. It’s -2 degrees this morning, which is pretty cold for around here. Fortunately there is lots of snow for snowshowing or skiing, and more on the way today.

Ah’s got cold feet…

– Last Updated: Feb-14-15 11:47 AM EST –

Once... but ah's married her anyway! Schood o' listened ta me feet!


buy oversized booties, neoprene socks,
and use knee high panty hose in between the rubber socks and the booties to make putting the booties on easier. The drysuits with the rubber/latex “feet” in them are warmer than the goretex socks. I prefer the durability of the goretex, don’t have to be quite as careful getting dressed. 2nd what others said about keeping your core warm but also sometimes overheating.

Two below zero is cold anywhere. Take it from me. I live in Iowa now and also spent three winters in northern North Dakota. Minus two is cold :slight_smile:

shocks from electric socks in a kayak…in the rip of course ? Hunter advice sez electric socks eat batteries may cause excess foot sweating. Hunters stand still, losing foot circulation, warmth thereof.

So you can wiggle your toes every 8 minutes n stretch ankles. Actually doing foot and ankle exercises/stretches may partially cure your cold feet.

Warming skin emollients are available.

I have a dry and semi dry Koko suits with a range of long underwear. I have zero fat on my body. Polartech 4 way stretch and Polar Fleece are so far waaaay to warm for 60 degree air temps even when sitting there for a hour.

A notch warmer than thick expedition wool

I bought some boot heaters…
…for ~$35 and they never really worked. I guess if you spend $100+ for similar products at a ski shop, you can expect better performance, until they get wet and short out. I don’t think I’d go that route for kayaking.

The problem with chemical foot warmers is that they require oxygen to work. In tightly sealed footwear, they won’t work.

There are multiple reasons feet get cold, but one that hasn’t been mentioned yet is perspiration. If your feet sweat considerably (mine do) your socks get damp and the result is cold feet after an hour or so. One way to prevent this is to wear a liner sock, a vapor barrier, then a heavier insulating sock. The idea is that the vapor barrier keeps your insulating socks dry, so you stay warmer.

You can buy vapor barrier socks, but if you want to test this first before spending the money (a good idea), you can use plastic bags between your liners and socks (bread or newspaper bags work well for this).

What I’ve Used
I had good luck filling a two liter soda bottle with hot water, wrapping it in a towel until I get to the launch, then placing it between my feet.

Minus 6 this morning
But it is going to get up into the teens later today - its gonna be a heatwave.

Cabelas ele. Socks
I have blood flow issues. I have a pair of cabelas electric socks.

They are expensive but boy do they work. They are full length so they stay put. but only a heated sole and toe none on heal. If you check them out you can feel/ see the the heat wires Do not cover the heal. It comes with to rechargeable battery packs, 3 heat settings.

Yesterday at the ice car races I was using an ice auger to pump water on the track so ice water was flowing over my boots. I was wearing lite boots as it is hard to race with my big ice boots on. And my feet never got cold. I normally keep them on low some times just a short burst of high if I forget I have them on and let my feet get cold. On high with wool sock heated sock wool sock ice boot it only takes 20 seconds or so to be too hot. So low it great. The 2 packs last very long I would guess about 4 hours on two socks. See it comes with a “y” cord that I run inside up to the chest pocket on my bibs. So both feet stay warm all day :slight_smile: warm feet = happy paddler.

Sorry just got for Xmas from my sis. So I have not used them paddling yet. I was wearing my ice boots in the canoe lots of cold water in wi. And I anticipate lite shoes and the electric socks this summer. The big boots looked funny on warm days. :slight_smile:

Limitations are shackles we apply to our selfs.


Who you gonna call?
Coldfeet here! Sounds like a case of Raynaud syndrom, sorry. Many of us have it in our toes and hands, poor circulation. Something that we inherited just like our good looks. Everyone added the same ideas that I was going to share. If you can buy dedicated boots for winter paddling then try that. I also inherited a size 13 foot and have a difficult time locating size 14 and then I’m not to sure if that will work. I’ve been dealing with the “hot” packs between a liner and a thick sock. But the boot is tight because of the drysuit booties that go on after them. I did go to a scuba store and almost bout a pair of boots, not to expensive, app $50-60. I read somewhere about using powered pepper on the toes, just haven’t done that yet. Also read about eating black licorice for the circulation, ummmm I ate the package while driving home from that hiking trip, but did have warm feet in the car. It’s a good question and I will continue to follow it and try some inexpensive ideas. My dad did take some meds for it but it was low blood pressure meds and I already have low blood pressure so the idea of passing out on a paddle trip doesn’t sound like fun. Especially with my buddy Waterspyder and Mr. D slapping me around in my deep sleep! I did see some type of remote control heat insert at REI, think it was like $190! I used to use the old Herman’s electric socks until my feet were like on fire taking the subway into Wall St in the mid 80’s! Ahh, lower Manhattan was the place to be then, still is! Be well, CF signing off.

per willowleaf’s…keep a beanie/hat on,
wash the feet after a night’s sleep and at midpoint in the day, wear wicking socks(ski socks are great) and keep your breathing going without holding it at any time.

Interrupted breathing minus any needed anti-histamin/decongestant adds to loss of circulation in extremities. Combine that with not washing off the previous 6hrs’ perspiration…on one’s feet = cold feet.


she won’t wait forever