How I wish refrigerated shoes were a real thing.
April 20, 2012 11:06 AM   Subscribe

My feet get really hot when I exercise. It's incredibly uncomfortable. What are the best shoes and socks for me?

I've tried various run-of-the-mill mesh-ventilated athletic shoes, and it's always about the same. I usually wear short-cut athletic socks, but I've also tried wicking hiking liner socks, which seem to be a little better for dissipating heat but not a huge improvement.

My exercise environment is generally an elliptical machine in the gym. I can't run due to a knee injury, so jogging outside isn't really an option. My feet don't get too sweaty, just hot. Barefoot unfortunately isn't an option in the gym.

I was thinking that maybe Vibram's Five Fingers shoes might be cooler, but this comment from I am the Walrus indicates otherwise. So are there any shoes that are specifically designed to keep feet cool?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a similar problem and have been using VFFs for awhile, but I recently picked up a pair of Merrell's Dash Gloves (road shoes). They are designed to be worn without socks and are really well ventilated. Keep in mind that they are "barefoot" shoes like VFFs so they might require an adjustment period if you have always used normal shoes previously. They're available on Zappos, so you can order a pair (or two, if you're unsure of the sizing) and try them out indoors, then send them back if they're not your style.
posted by permiechickie at 11:11 AM on April 20, 2012

How about hiking sandals, something like these?
posted by mareli at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2012

Best answer: There are different Vibram Five Fingers, the pair I'm wearing right now have very mesh uppers.

There was also a 5 or so year period of my life where I lived in Teva (or similar) sandals, occasionally exchanging them for climbing shoes when the terrain got steep enough.
posted by straw at 11:25 AM on April 20, 2012

Off topic, but have you checked your blood pressure?
posted by falameufilho at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2012

Response by poster: Off topic, but have you checked your blood pressure?

Good question. Diabetes runs in the family, so I'm slightly paranoid about issues that may be related. I actually had a physical and a full blood work rundown two weeks ago, and everything is within spec.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2012

Best answer: Have you tried Nike Free Run shoes or similar? The uppers are mesh inside and out, with rather insubstantial structural bits that provide minimal reinforcement. A lot of people don't bother wearing socks with them because they already have a sock-like fit. I find them much, much cooler than my old runners, which are run-of-the-mill mesh-ventilated Saucony runners.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2012

Best answer: So, the Vibrams I mentioned (and now run in) are the Bikilas. My feet do sweat, so these squeak when I run. Plus they are about a size too big. My next pair will be the Classics, which I'm hoping will be cooler. I'll probably get them next week, so let me know if you want a report in a month or so.

My two suggestions:
1) Minimalist running shoes. In addition to the Vibrams, I wear New Balance. When I go to the store, I know (after years of trial and error) to go for the ones labeled Lightweight Performance. The upper mesh on these is thinner than the regular running shoes, so it is a bit cooler. Look around and find one that works for you.
2) Running socks. They make running (not hiking) socks that wick moisture and help prevent blisters. I wear the Balega Hidden Comfort (note the "Specially constructed mesh ventilation panel to keep your feet cool and dry"). I tried Wright socks previously and didn't like them. So, again, look around and try some different kinds to see what you like.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:23 PM on April 20, 2012

Best answer: I'm enjoying my Merrell Pace Gloves. Light, breathable, non-stinky. So comfortable, I wear them all over the place (city, dirt trails, work).

They take some getting used to, but on top of keeping my notoriously hot and grouchy feet happy, I've noticed a huge change for the better in my balance; and some dodgy knee and foot issues have all but disappeared.

REI's fabulous return policy allows you to give them a full trying out, and return if they aren't suitable. Sizes tend to run small in my experience.
posted by quivering_fantods at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2012

Best answer: I was you!! Until I got these amazing socks. I run and do a lot of elliptical, and my feet would get so hot that I'd have to cut my workout short because it felt like my feet were on fire (like someone was starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together under the ball of my foot hot). Seriously, life-changing.
posted by stellaluna at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Like you, my feet get hot hot hot. In my younger days, I would run in the mornings and by the end of three miles my lungs could keep going but my feet were so hot I couldn't stand it. All leather workout shoes help, and I'll never go back to the nylon and leather shoes again. But my feet still got hot, often unbearably so.

Thanks to a mefite, I discovered Smartwool socks. They aren't cheap (although you can usually save 15% or so by googling), but they last several years and they've made an incredible difference for me when I work out (mostly on weight machines and the treadmill for 20 minutes of interval training). And they're not scratchy, even on my phenomenally ticklish feet.
posted by DrGail at 5:18 PM on April 20, 2012

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