When you are used to 70s and 80s most of the time in sunny Southern California, a 45-degree evening can feel pretty chilly, especially during a February rainstorm. Then there are weekend trips to the mountains for your favorite snow sports. If you don’t know how to keep feet warm in cold temperatures, that can mean a couple of days with freezing toes. Not fun!

Three things affect the temperature of your feet:

  • Circulation
  • Moisture
  • Protection

To keep feet warm, you need to keep the blood moving through them. This means practicing good dietary habits and getting adequate exercise to keep blood vessels open. It also means keeping your whole body warm, because a drop in core body temp drops automatically constricts blood flow to your extremities to protect your vital organs. Warm up your core with a hot drink, movement, or extra layers of clothing, and the flow to your feet will be restored.

Dampness on your skin helps cool it, which is why we sweat in hot temps. But bundling up too much in the cold can make you sweat too, which makes you feel colder when it evaporates. Using a moisture wicking fabric to keep dampness away from your skin helps.

The trick for regulating body temps is to wear layers of protection and adjust them so you are comfortably warm but not overheated. It is best to wait to put on your thick socks and insulated boots until you are ready to head out to the slopes or the ski/snowshoe trails.

If you like winter camping, put your socks and liners in the sleeping bag with you at night so they go on warm in the morning. Make sure your boots are roomy enough to fit extra layers of socks, and maybe an insulated sole as well, and use an insulated pad if you will be standing in one place for a while, to reduce conduction of cold through your boots.

Remember, if your feet start to feel cold, the quickest way to warm them is by increasing blood flow, so do jumping jacks or run around a little to increase body heat. For other tips, or to find treatment for frostbitten toes, call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists for an appointment. You can reach us at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) or by filling out our online contact form. Stay warm out there!