Tactics | January 6, 2022

Keep Your Feet Warm When It’s Cold

Want to avoid cold feet in the field? Don’t let them sweat. 

By Matthew Carroll 

So, you’ve dropped at least a couple bills on the super-duper tactical, waterproof, bomb-resistant, steel-toed, military-grade, mountain man hunting boots, but your feet still get cold. Chances are, you’ve already tried wearing basic wool socks along with your boots, but you still can’t keep your feet warm when the mercury dips. The problem, most often, is that your hunting boots might actually be keeping your feet too warm, which is causing your feet to sweat, and the damp feet then get chilled. Here’s some advice to avoid this common situation.  

   1. Wool Socks May Not Cut It 

Wool socks are great for keeping feet warm, but they don’t work for everyone. Some people sweat more than others, so standard wool socks might be too much. For the ultimate in comfort and warmth, here are three major ways to elevate your sock game: 

  • Wear thin, wicking silk or nylon socks underneath your wool socks. Wicking socks have special properties that transfer water molecules and transporting them away from your skin. 
  • Invest in a quality pair of merino wool socks. Merino socks are made from a special fabric and are not only breathable, but also dry quickly. 
  • Don’t wear cotton socks. They cause blisters, they absorb moisture and they are prone to trap bacteria. 

   2. Bring Extra Socks

This is a quick and easy solution, though you will have to carry around some extra socks. Wear your first pair to your stand or hunting spot and once you get settled in, change them out for a fresh pair. The rationale behind this is that while you’re trekking to your stand, your feet have likely begun to perspire from the activity. That sweat then soaks into your socks and once you quit moving and your body cools, the sweaty socks act to make your feet cool down more as well. Bringing an extra pair might just be enough to get you through your hunt. 

Pro Tip: If you’re worried about the scent of your discarded sweaty socks, put them in a Ziploc bag to conceal the smell. 

   3. Foot Powder

While it is not the coolest sounding product in the world, it might just prove to be the most effective for combating foot perspiration. Sprinkle some on before the hunt or day’s activities, sock up and get out there.  

Pro Tip: Baby powder might also work to absorb the sweat produced by your feet if you don’t have actual foot powder handy.  

   4. Air It Out

Okay, maybe you shouldn’t let all of your warm air out, but if you can feel your feet warming up once you reach your spot then consider letting some of that steam out. Depending on the boots and socks you’re wearing, the amount of walking you do and how much you exert yourself to get to your hunting spot, your feet might start sweating. Not good. Loosening up those laces for a few minutes could do the trick of getting your feet back down to a comfortable temperature and allowing some of the initial perspiration to evaporate before it becomes a problem. 

   5. Rethink Your Boot Game

As great as your boots might be, if sweaty feet is a consistent problem for you, then it may be time to rethink your boots. A lot of factors go into feet temperature–the climate you’re in, the distance you’re walking, level of insulation in the boot and the tightness of the boot among others. The actual materials your boots are comprised of makes a difference, so consider that as well. Old school rubber boots may be great for hiding your scent, but they don’t breathe at all making them virtual sweat factories for your feet. On the other hand, Gore-Tex lined Cordura boots allow feet to breath, while also keeping water out.  

For northern stand hunters who may only walk a couple hundred yards to a stand then sit in wintry conditions, a wool-lined pac boot might be the way to go. But if you plan to walk like a Wyoming spot-and-stalk mule deer hunter, you’ll need something that is lightweight, breathable and with minimal insulation since you will rarely sit for long. Choose a boot that matches your activity and average climate when you are outside. Consider a boot with no or little Thinsulate during warm days afield and go with one that possesses maybe 600- or 800-grams of Thinsulate for sitting a deer stand or duck blind in sub-freezing temps. 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Caleb Buse 

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Keep Your Feet Warm When It’s Cold

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