Tips For Keeping Your Feet Warm

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By Bill Lokey, Founder, FORTY BELOW, Ltd.

We are the product of a culture that has advanced beyond the necessity of being self reliant on a daily basis. Technology has eliminated problems of heat, thirst, cold, and in many cases hunger and fear. When you go climbing, you take some of your technology with you, however, technology alone may not keep your feet warm.

The fundamental concern is your body’s ability to produce heat and the measures taken to conserve it. Cold problems can be prevented by experienced leadership, good physical conditioning, body management, adequate food and water, and using your equipment correctly. Also, different persons’ metabolism and reaction to cold may be different. Heat is lost five ways–conduction, convection, radiation, respiration, and evaporation. Using different clothing systems and body management, one can minimize their heat loss.

Your clothing protects your vital resources including your ability to think and act. In our clothing system, we want the following:

1. A dry, ventilated layer next to the skin.
2. A layer of insulation to keep in body heat.
3. An outer cover to keep out wind and water.
4. Key areas of the body where heat loss is most severe(head, wrists, and ankles) should be covered. You can also use this fact to regulate heat loss when you are active so you do not get overheated.
Here are some tips to keeping your feet warm:
1. Drink plenty of liquids and eat a balanced diet.
2. Don’t restrict circulation and ventilation around skin.
3. Use a combination of layers on your feet.
4. Keep your legs warm and it will help keep your feet warm.
5. Don’t lace your boots too tight.
6. Avoid overheating which causes moisture buildup.
7. Insulate between your boots and crampons. (overboots)
8. Clean your feet at night.
9. Wash your socks. Dirty socks don’t insulate as well.
10. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, they may impair peripheral circulation.

About the author

Joel Attaway

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