The official start of winter may not yet have arrived, but we can all agree that it’s getting cold outside. And that outside cold can make it tough to keep your body—especially your feet and toes—feeling nice and toasty. So what’s the best way to warm up those tootsies without sacrificing supportive foot wear? How to stay toasty without getting so sweaty that your feet become breeding grounds for foot fungus? Just keep reading to find out.
Our Top Three Foot-Warming Hacks
Here’s the deal: if you want to stay warm in winter, you need the right gear. And the right gear includes:
1. Really warm boots
This may be your most important purchase of the season. And, while you may be tempted to splurge on that cute new style of Uggs, we’d rather you didn’t. Instead, look for boots with a thick, textured sole: this will create a nice barrier between your feet and the cold, hard ground, while helping you stay upright on slippery surfaces. Plus, thicker-soled boots typically have at least some arch support, which will help you avoid the kind of foot pain you see with flatter boots. It’s also important to select a water-proof, insulated style, since both of those features are necessary if you want to keep feet warm and dry this winter (and we sure do!)
2. Smart socks
If you’re spending the winter in Chicago-land, typical athletic socks just aren’t going to cut it when the job is keeping your feet warm. Instead, start with a warmer material, like wool, which will provide better insulation for your feet. But, a word of warning: if you plan on wearing wool socks all winter, slip into a pair when trying on new winter boots. Since these socks are much thicker than average pairs, your boots could rub if they don’t leave you enough room for the thicker material. And, while tight boots may not allow room for cold air to pass through, they also don’t give you much room for wiggling your toes, which could lead to pain and numbness over the course of the day.
3. External warmers
We have three options in this category. First, you can purchase one-time toe-warming packets. Once cracked, you can slip them into your boots and they’ll provide warmth for up to six hours. Or, if you want more frequent warming, you can always invest in a pair of heated socks. The frequently-freezing will appreciate this option since they come with rechargeable batteries. But what about those of us who are even freezing in the heated indoors? Allow us to introduce to you possibly the greatest invention in the known-universe: heated slippers! It turns out there are plenty of purchase options in this category: some slippers need to be plugged in, but some have microwaveable inserts that you can pop in and out for charge free, almost-instant warming options. Just one word of caution for any of these options: make sure you’re not putting your skin in direct contact with external warming devices. While not designed to get dangerously hot, temperatures can be tough to control, and your skin—especially if it’s sensitive, could get burned (literally) if you don’t use these devices with appropriate caution and follow all printed instructions.
Constantly Cold Feet May Need Medical Attention
One final word of advice when it comes to freezing winter feet and toes? If your feet always feel cold, even in warmer temperatures, your circulation may be compromised. Several conditions, including peripheral arterial disease and Reynaud’s disease, can leave your feet in the cold. So if nothing seems to help you maintain warmth in your extremities, it’s worth visiting your podiatrist for a comprehensive exam to rule out any contributing medical conditions.