Need a solution to keep my sisters feet warm in ski boots.
October 18, 2009 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Need a solution to keep my sister's feet warm in ski boots.

My sister has Raynaud's syndrome so whenever we go skiing she has to take constant breaks to go in and warm up. This year she's trying these Swany mittens that have an insert for handwarmers. We tried footwarmer inserts but her feet suck all the warmth out of them within minutes. I think she's going to need something battery powered but everything I've found online seems like it might be cheap(quality not price). Suggestions. Remember this is for skiing, socks would need to fit in the boots, so I'm guessing insoles might be the best bet?
posted by no bueno to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have Raynaud's too, and for that reason I HATE skiing. But for my winter running, I wear feetures bamboo & wool blend that wicks away moisture and keeps you warm. Over that, plain wool socks for extra warmth in case I do sweat through the first pair. This works running down to about 9ºF in snow and ice.
posted by cachondeo45 at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2009

How about battery-heated socks? Cabela's is supposed to be good stuff.
posted by olinerd at 1:24 PM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: I ski a lot. A couple of suggestions:

1. Thinner socks. I usually ski with just hiking liner socks. Every time I try bigger "ski socks" my circulation gets compromised resulting in various problems including cold feet.

2. If possible, get into telemarking. The boots allow for a much greater range of motion, and are much warmer.

And not to totally derail, but you might want to get her checked for thyroid problems, where stuff like Hashimotos (very common) results in cold-sensitivity. My wife (who also skis a lot) used to have hard time with coldstuff and had an original raynaud diagnosis, but since the diagnosis was revised to hashimito's and she is on some drug for it the cold sensitivity has gone way down.
posted by H. Roark at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Raise her core temperature, too. Hot shower before heading out. Drinking hot liquids throughout the day. Wear a good hat.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:36 PM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: I have insoles in my ski boots that have an older version of these Hotronics -- it's a metal pad that's heated by a battery pack which clips onto the back of the boots. I used them back when I used to race competitively, which meant a lot of standing around waiting (and so not getting a circulation boost from heavy exertion) in sub-zero temps, and while a lot of the rest of me was pretty cold, my feet never were. They're not cheap, unfortunately, but my set is still going strong after 13 years of use.
posted by dorque at 1:48 PM on October 18, 2009

Sprinkle some cayenne pepper in her socks.
posted by hortense at 1:50 PM on October 18, 2009

Response by poster: She has had her thyroid tested recently and it was normal but we do have a family history of hyperthyroidism so that was my first guess too. I'll have her look into the Hashimoto's. Thanks. I've tried to convince her about the thin socks as well, it sounds like those feetures might be a good solution to that problem.

My only concern with the Cabella's socks is that the battery pack would be too low to fit above the ski boot. Also D batteries are pretty big and bulky to have on all day. Anyone ever tried Thermosoles or anything similar?
posted by no bueno at 1:54 PM on October 18, 2009

Is she trying to use pictured here? If so, those require airflow to work. So loose pockets are in, but sealed environments like boots (or motorcycle glove palms, damnit!) are out. Just an FYI. The wikipedia page lists a few different types.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 3:02 PM on October 18, 2009

I know this isn't really very helpful, but I have the same problem, and the best solution I've found so far (after some ~15 years of downhill skiing): crosscountry skiing. I've just never found anything that prevents my feet and hands from becoming unbearably cold while downhill skiing. If your sister can find a pair of ski boots that leave enough room for her to wiggle her feet around a bit, that helps me a little. Try and hop around a bit while queueing for lifts.
posted by iona at 3:41 PM on October 18, 2009

Second Hotronics
posted by flummox at 4:52 PM on October 18, 2009

Heated insoles are a good bet, especially if her boots fit well to begin with.

Have a shop check her boot fit; too-tight boots restrict circulation. Same goes for bulky socks.

How about thinking outside the boot? A couple of my co-instructors use Boot Gloves and love 'em. They're cheap enough to be worth a shot, IMO.
posted by Opposite George at 6:36 PM on October 18, 2009

When I was a kid, I used to skate for hours playing hockey outside on a pond in freezing weather. I used to put some hand lotion or something similar, even Vaseline, on my feet ( in between my toes especially) before going out. Something to put a coating between me and the cold. I could always wiggle my toes around at least. Also, If you put large thick insoles inside the boots it might keep some of the cold from coming through the bottoms. I used to use those thick blue felt ones at work and my feet used to heat up pretty good.
posted by Taurid at 10:37 PM on October 18, 2009

I don't understand something, I'm afraid to say. You write:

We tried footwarmer inserts but her feet suck all the warmth out of them within minutes.

I'm sorry, but that's just not possible. If you're using something like hothands, that are air-activated, those things use a kind of slow-burn reaction. It doesn't matter how cold your sister's feet are -- the warmers are still going to produce heat at the same slow, steady rate.

I'm going to suggest two possible problems:

1) The warmers might have been old, or otherwise compromised (pinhole in the wrapper, just part of a bad batch, etc)

2) She might not have been using them right. Instructions vary, but normally you need to open them and shake them for a bit, or something like that, before you put them in the boot.

Also, get ones specifically designed for in-boot use. Like these or these.

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 12:07 AM on October 19, 2009

Great advice above, but a big second on boot fit. I had a company called "SureFoot" do insoles and fit adjustment for me and it transformed my experience. If the boot doesn't fit well, you have a tendency to crank it as tight as you can. That reduces circulation and your feet get cold fast. Also, get the boots thoroughly warm just before skiing. It makes a real difference.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 10:51 AM on October 19, 2009

Also, get the boots thoroughly warm just before skiing. It makes a real difference.

Ah, hellz yeah. The only time boots should be outside, and this includes your car trunk, is when you're skiing in them. Don't keep 'em in the car overnight, and keep them in the passenger compartment when you're going to the mountain. Put them on/take them off in the lodge, not in the parking lot. When you get home, bring them inside and pull them out of the bag so they can dry out. If you can handle pulling the inner boots out, even better.

These practices not only ensure the boots stay exposed to warm air but also keep heat-sucking moisture, snow and mud out.

Seriously, all this helps.
posted by Opposite George at 1:40 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Alaska Jack. Her hands do the same thing as her feet. I didn't believe it at first but we literally started rotating the hand warmers between her gloves and mine. I thought maybe they weren't getting enough oxygen in her gloves to react so I would take them out in the air while on the lift. I would put a set of hand warmers in my gloves and warm them up, we would take one run then switch the warmers. The set I gave her were BURNING hot because my hands are always warm, the set she gave back to me were freezing cold. We keep this up all day.

We dry the boots thoroughly every night and keep the dryers in them, insert the foot warmers(like the ones you suggested) into the boots and make sure they're warm. She then puts on the boots indoors, before we even hit the cold, and we head out. I think now you see why I've posted this question on here. I'm BAFFLED at how her body can do this. I was in the same boat as you, I had to see it to believe it. I'm hoping we can find any electrically powered solution that will help her out though. Unless you have any other suggestions....
posted by no bueno at 8:01 PM on October 22, 2009

Since circulation is important -- that's what lets us, you know, live ;^) -- I would strongly advise your sister to see a circulatory specialist. Raynaud's Syndrome, maybe, or something similar.

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 4:10 PM on October 23, 2009

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