How to Keep Your Feet Warm While Skiing

Don't let cold feet keep you a prisoner of the lodge. There are several ways to keep your feet warm while you are skiing, many of which are easy and simple solutions. Manufacturers have worked to make ski boots airtight and water-resistant, keeping the chilly wind and melted snow off your feet. This has even inspired sock manufacturers to experiment with materials and designs to keep your feet comfortable, dry, and warm. Read on for tips on keeping your feet toasty on the slopes.

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Wear the Right Socks

Resting feet on a mountaintop

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This might seem obvious, but it may be the most important strategy for preventing cold feet. Don't even think about wearing a pair of cotton socks pulled blindly from your dresser drawer. If you want your feet to stay warm and dry, invest in a pair of ski-specific socks. Look for socks that are knee-high, breathable, moisture-wicking, and of thin or medium weight—if they're too heavy, your feet will sweat and quickly chill.

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Wear Only One Pair Socks

Woman pulling on socks

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Wearing two pairs of ski socks will reduce the breathability of both, resulting in sweaty (and cold) feet. Also, double socks tend to bunch within your boot, which can cause distracting pain and irritation. Instead, bring an extra pair of socks to change into during lunch if your socks get sweaty.

But, do wear insulating layers of clothing to keep your core warm. Keeping your core warm, helps warm your blood—and that means warm blood circulating to your feet to keep them warm too.

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Make Sure Your Boots Fit Properly

Ski boots on a rock

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Your ski boots should fit comfortably, without feeling too loose or too tight, to allow proper circulation. When blood is flowing, your feet stay warm. But, boots that are too loose can become cold quickly. Your boots should feel snug on your feet, but not too snug. There's nothing worse than skiing all day on boots that make your feet sore and chilly.

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Don't Overtighten Your Boots

Snowboots on a mountain

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Your boots need to be sturdy enough to withstand the forward-press of your shins throughout your turns, but that support needs to come primarily from the boot fit, not from tight buckles. Having boots that are too snug can be just as much of a problem as having boots that are loose, as circulation is cut off, restricting blood flow and resulting in cold feet.

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Replace Your Old Boot Liners

Boot liners

If you ski regularly, the chances are that your ski boot liners will wear out after a year or two. Factory-installed ski boot liners represent the manufacturer's best effort to create a boot that will fit as many feet as possible as comfortably as possible. This usually means that layers of liner material are built up in the hollow areas based on the average foot. Unfortunately, this construction has a definite skiing lifespan: All liners will eventually wear out, leaving your feet far less protected against the ​elements. Solve the problem by replacing your old liners with new, foam-injecting liners that provide much better insulation to keep your feet warm.

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Invest in Battery Boot Heaters

Boot warmers

Warm feet make for warm blood. With electronic boot warmers, you won’t get numb toes. With the introduction of smaller and longer-life batteries and a larger comfort range of settings, electronic foot warmers are the most convenient way to heat ski boots and keep your feet toasty. Battery-operated boot heaters can be inserted into ski boots and are extremely effective.

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Don't Clench Your Toes

Person massaging feat

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Cold on the lift? Resist the temptation to clench your toes. Many skiers mistakenly clench their toes when they're cold, but this restricts blood flow, chilling already frigid toes. A better option is to swing your feet back and forth (of course, being mindful of your skis), warming the blood circulating from your upper body to your legs and feet.

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Take a Break

Woman resting on a mountain

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On the coldest days, take off your ski boots during lunch to allow warm blood to recirculate. Once you feel the warmth creeping back into your toes, you can strap your boots back on and head out to the slopes. If your feet tend to get especially sweaty, remember to replace your moist socks with that fresh, clean pair you brought—that will keep your feet warm well into a late afternoon on the slopes.