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How to keep my feet warm in below zero temps ?

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:03 PM

Help me out guys.... My feet freeze when I am out fishing this time of year, to a point where it forces me to stop fishing and walk around for 5-10 mins to warm them up again... I have tried thick socks , two pairs of socks, and even plastic bagging my feet before I put on my waders and nothing seems to keep them warm .... I know the whole feet warmer thing, but I am trying to figure out the best possible solution with socks that will keep me warm without having to spend money on the feet warmers every trip... Thanks Dave

#2 irishfield


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:04 PM

Some battery powered socks...

#3 dobee


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:19 PM

i have orvis waders (bootfoot) 179 on sale... they came with thinsulate in the boots... i wear a thick pair of wool socks and these waders and i can stand waist high in water all day and be toasty warm...

before i got these waders i put a pack of the small hand warmers in each boot, kept me nice and warm also... other then that i was doing the same you are fish for 10, walk for 5 so on and so forth.....

good luck keeping warm

#4 verminator


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:31 PM

BPS has inserts for your boots that hold those footwarmers. Other than that...polypropylene socks to wick away the moisture and wool socks over them ...keep your head covered and you should be fine. Polypropylene underwear ($80 at the army surplus). I fished 3-4 times a week all last winter without the footwarmers and I was just fine. You should know , I'm a maniac...waiting for the slush to melt in the morning and don't leave until sunset.


PS. I wear breathables. Polypropylene underwear is the ticket!!


Edited by verminator, 21 November 2008 - 03:35 AM.

#5 DRIFTER_016


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:37 PM

The best thing in cold temps is oversize bootfoots (you don't want them tight at all) plus a wicking sock followed by a pair of Merino Wool socks.

#6 Okuma-Sheffield


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:52 PM

My secret trick: keep hooking into/fighting fish .. my feet stay harm for another hour or two after each fight ...

#7 Ramble On

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:55 PM

I hate cold feet. The wicking layer can be bery helpful as mentioned above. Air is teh key to insulation. Wool socks are a definate help, but alpaca fleese is warmer, and less itchy if that's any help. Try improving the insulation in the legs, and that should also help your feet. Stay away from cotton, and i find doubling socks does little for my foot warmth. Foot or hand warmers do help. I think in your case you might have to play around with products a little.


#8 Dutch



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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:59 PM

You can have as much insulation/thinsulate around your foot as you want, but if the soles of the boots you are wearing aren't thick and don't provide insulation from the cold ground, your feet are going to be cold no matter what.

You need a good quality boot with as thick a sole as possible.

I remember awhile back looking at Kamic or Sorel boots. The only real appreciable diffence between the -25 and -75 degree rated boots was the thickness of the sole of the boot.

#9 holdfast


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:02 PM

The best thing in cold temps is oversize bootfoots (you don't want them tight at all) plus a wicking sock followed by a pair of Merino Wool socks.

Yup and Ill add one other thing. KEEP MOVING YOUR TOES and feet if theyre cold. Trust me. excercise

#10 BillM


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:20 PM

Dave, I copied this from a post at GBO...

Staying Warm

Keeping FEET warm starts with the HEAD.
80% of your body heat is lost from your neck up. Keep your head, neck and face covered as much as possible. Use a wind breaker barrier over your toque. Wool hats and fleece are good but you need to keep the warm air IN so keep a hood or wind proof hat on over the thermal layer. Ball caps are NOT designed for cold weather. IF you MUST have your favorite - lucky ball cap then use as an extra layer. Still have an insolating layer and a wind breaking layer.
When I hear people complain about being cold outside and they don't have proper headwear, they don't get any sympothy from me.
(This same rule applies to hands.)

Next: Dress in layers. The key is to AVOID OVERHEATING - AVOID SWEATING!!! Do NOT use COTTON.
Your FIRST LAYER should have wicking properties and be made from a hyrophobic material such as Polypropolene, capolene, or a polyester. Make sure that there is no cotton content. Throw out the cotton long johns...they don't work. Cotton might feel good but it absorbes moisture / sweat (= water) and holds it. That is your enemy in cold weather. What happens to water in freezing temps? My point exactly!
The Next layer or layers should be insolating layers. Wool, Fleece (polyester),down or a combination. If you must throw in a cotton sweatshirt, then it should be the final layer just under the wind breaker, but have a warm insolating wool or synthetic between it and you.
The final layer should protect you from the wind. If the weather is wet, then a waterproof barrier is a must. Waterproof breathables work very well, but can be expensive. Keep in mind that breathable or not, they have a habit of holding in moisture so proper venting in important. DO NOT OVERHEAT! Remember...Sweat is your enemy!

Jeans are ok for hanging around the house or local pub but leave them at home when you're out in the bush. Dress the bottom half of you, the same way you dress the top half. Dress in layers using synthetics or wool and a wind breaking layer.
THINK OF YOUR WADERS AS THE WINDBREAKING / WETproof layer. The extra concern with waders is that they do not breath as other clothing does so when you're done fishing for the day, change your other layers if you're going to be hanging out in the outdoors.
The FEET: First layer (BASE LAYER) ...Wicking / hyrophobic sock liners. They work great and are not that expensive. They are thin so won't take up extra space in your boots. You only need one pair as the dry very quickly between sock changes...YES SOCK CHANGES. Your next layer of socks should be WOOL or a high quality synthetic. NEVER, NEVER use COTTON SOCKS!!! I can not stress this enough. For some reason we all have a problem spending money on good socks. Do yourself a favor and bite the bullet on this one. Buy yourself a minimum of THREE good pairs of quality outdoor socks, from a quality outdoor store (examples: Thorlo's or Smartwool Expedition Trecking weight socks). They will run you anywhere from $15 to $25 a pair. I know... I KNOW!!!!!! It seems insane but trust me on this one. Keep these socks clean and under lock and key if you must but you asked how to keep your feet warm...and the most expensive Anarctic boots won't work properly without the proper socks. We spend hundred if not thousands on our outdoor gear. Socks are NOT the place to try to save a few bucks.

NOW... WHY THREE PAIR?? Ok...you might be able to get away with two, depending on how long you will be outdoors at any one time...BUT...the key here is to be able to CHANGE YOUR SOCKS OFTEN, NOT MUTIPLE LAYERS of heavy socks. Sometimes I will have on my wicking socks, then a thick wool sock then MAYBE a thinner synthetic but not always. When you start to feel your toes getting cold, it's because your socks are wet. Remember what I said about the head loosing 80% of your body heat? Well, your feet perspire from between half a cup to 3/4 of a cup of water per day. More if your really working up a sweat. Take a pair of socks and dunk them into that much water and see what I'm talking about. Socks, even good ones can't manage that much water throughout the day so they need to be changed often. When your toes get cold...CHANGE YOUR SOCKS!! SIMPLE. I take my liners off and wave them in the air for a few seconds, put them back on, then put a fresh pair of inslolating (wool) socks on. (the thick ones) If you have a second layer of sock you can just put those back on or change them if they feel damp or you see steam rising from them when you take them off. Another secret I've tried when I'm out in the bush for several days is to start using antiperspirent on your feet. It's probably not that good for you, so I don't make it a regulare practice, but it does help to manage a bit of the sweating problem. (You need to start applying it a couple of days before your outing.) This is NOT to take the place of GOOD SOCKS...but to augment it. As I said...I may resort to this when I'm out for several days. I can only carry so many socks. I change my socks anywhere from three to six times in a day, depending on temps. work load, etc. When you break for lunch, that's a good time to change if you haven't felt the need (cold toes)to do it sooner.
Your boots should have plenty of room for your toes to wiggle around in. (Warm air space) If they are stuffed in there tight and you can't move your toes, get thinner socks or use less socks. (Keep the base liners and one pair of wools).
The boots I use for standing around are Sorels (the -100F jobs with the removable layers of felt and air flow mesh stuff). I call them my Frankenstien boots. For active times (hiking, snowshoeing, setting up a camp) I use a boot designed more for movement. They are not as warm but are better for getting around in and wehn I'm moving around I don't need the extra warmth of the Sorels.
Lastly...move around when ever you can. Sitting in a chair or standing in one spot does not help the body to generate the energy to produce heat. If your feeling cool...getup...move around. Clap your arms around you...do juming jacks... go for a ten minute brisk walk. Remember keep the furnace stoked with plenty of food and water. EAT!

#11 bigugli



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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:20 PM

Do not put too many layers in yer boots. You take away air spaces in doing so and speed up the chill.
I have an extra sole liner to thicken the insulation from below, and a double layer of wool socks. I stay toasty.

Edited by bigugli, 20 November 2008 - 10:23 PM.

#12 SNAG


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:30 PM


Put on waders

2. Early Morning,

Lots of liquids

3. Dawn,

More liquids,

4. Post dawn,


5. Rinse
6. Repeat


#13 Ted & the Gadget

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:55 PM

I have been really impressed with Red Hat Lifetime merino wool socks @ Bass Pro - ~$15...
Worth every penny!

#14 Guest_skeeter99_*

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:04 AM

sounds like your waders are too small IE. boot size

get a pair at least a size or 2 bigger and wear one pair of good wool socks, with the larger size boot the air will insulate better than anything with the warm sock, no air around foot means nothing to hold and trap the heat

found this out years ago and now never get cold feet

you can actually wear less of the right clothing in the correct configuration and be warmer than the guy all bundles up

ice fishing I only wear the cheap walmart rube socks with rubber insulated boots 1.5 sizes to big for my feet and never get cold




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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:19 AM

Pinch your Ol' Lady's leg warmers.. You know the ones that the girls wear in the workout videos. Warm blood in your legs keeps the rest of you warm.

tip # 2 Southern comfort and hot chocolate isn't half bad when its -40.

tip # 3 when the whiskey freezes its time to check your fingers and see if they are still there.

#16 splashhopper


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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:02 AM

foot warmers duct taped to the bottom of the INNER sock only, and then a pair of wool socks.

I will spend the $1.50 everytime for 6/7 hours of PRIME fishing.

Think about it.... $0.20/ hr !


How much does your coffee cost and then you piss it out AFTER you are all bundled up!

#17 douG


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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:48 AM

I agree with the long cut and paste - start with two or three layers on your brain bucket, a toque, fleece hood, and the hood from your coat. As your body loses heat through your head, it is your extremities that get cold first, no matter what you are wearing on your feet and hands.

#18 super dave

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:56 AM

I'll second the BPS hunting socks. They are good with lots of cushion. I still do get the cold feet but not as quick as I used to.
Other tricks I'm going to try this year: Poly. socks, merino wool then neoprene socks. May be too much bulk but we'll see. Poly socks, merino wool socks then metalic insoles I see being sold at CT. The idea is the shinny layer will reflect the heat back to your feet. If these don't work, back to the foot warmers.

#19 Headhunter


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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:01 AM

Be sure to remove the insoles of your boots EVERY TIME you complete a trip. It's amazing how much condensation accumulates in yer boats after only a few hours waring them.
I always take out my insoles after every outing... a dry foot has a much better chance of staying warm, then a foot swimming in condensation.

#20 Jason Hamilton

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:19 AM

I wade year around and have no problem with my feet getting cold. I wear stocking foot breathables mostly but neoprene in the coldest temps.

First a pair of dress socks followed by a good pair of either burton snowboard socks or similar wool.

Best tip is when youre going to be fishing in an area for a while, loosen your wading boots right off, then tie em back tight when you need to hike to the next hole.

My hands are what limits the fishing time in the winter rivers...

Also by putting some cayenne pepper in your socks improves circulation to the feet....

Edited by troutologist, 21 November 2008 - 09:39 AM.

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