How to keep your feet warm

This is actually a question I recieve quite often! How do I keep my feet warm when I’m out and about in the snow, and several degrees below freezing point? How do I keep warm when I’m “stuck” on horseback for hours in icy wind and temperatures? Well… here’s my tips for you all!

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I very rarely get cold feet. Literally, and figuratively speaking, haha. So how do I do it? What sorts of frozen landscape, insider information do I have? Nothing awfully intersting, but a tiny undertanding of physics will help you tremendously. Which I always find a little funny, becasue I have surprised several physicists with my step-by-step tutorial on how to keep your feet warm.

The first thing you have to remember, is that water and moisture freezes. “Well, duh, yes!” you might say, put on warm socks and shoes, get in the car and proceed to blast warm air down on your footsies. Whops!

What do we do when we get super warm? We sweat! What is sweat? (The answer is moisture, but I’m sure you noticed where I was going with my rhetorical questions.)

The second thing you have to remember, is how we are supposed to get warm. Yes, yes, wool socks and winter shoes – but what is this magical thing that makes your feet stay the correct temperature? Is it the wool? Is it the shoe? What are your feet supposed to warm up, in order to maintain warmth?

The air. It’s the air inside your shoe, that warms up and keeps you warm. So what happens when we buy shoes the correct size and fill them up with warm socks? There’s no room for air!

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So, after that long and tiresome chapter, I actually do have a list for you.

  1. Buy winter shoes one or two sizes too big. More room for that zupah important air!
  2. Don’t fill your shoe with fabric. One thin pair of wool socks, and one pair of slightly thicker wool socks, should be more than enough.
  3. Wool. Yes, wool. And if you are allergic to wool, choose a thin pair of 100% cotton to keep close to your skin, and then a fat nice pair of wool socks outside of that.
  4. Natural fibres insulate. Plastic and rubber does not. If it’s cold, choose winter shoes with as little rubber and plastic on it as possible (well, a rubber sole is needed, but not an entire coating of rubber around your foot). Natural fibres also provide better “breathing” abilities.
  5. Purchase a nice, insulating wool sole to stop the cold temperatures from travelling from the ground and into your shoe.
  6. Bring extra socks. We all break a sweat at times. Shit happens! If you feel your feet getting icky, change into a dry pair of socks immediately to stop the moisture in your shoe from getting cold.
  7. And if you forgot extra socks, open up your shoe. Out with the icky air, in with new dry air! If you’re wearing those thick, insulated outerwear pants, pull them up so you get proper fresh air down into your shoes. Yeah, you’ll look silly for five minutes, but it does help!
  8. Do something about your stirrups. Metal against shoe is one certain way to transfer the cold air into your foot. You can buy little stirrup hoodies you can attach to them, to make sure your feet are protected by the wind. Plastic stirrups, stirrups with rubber coating, no stirrups etc. Better than metal stirrups!
  9. Have extra shoes. Don’t sit with your -20 degree (celsius, -4 F) capable shoes in your comfy 20 degree (celsius, 60 F) car. If you’ll be walking around a lot in the stable, put on a pair of thinner shoes. Do. Not. Sweat! Treat your feet like your upper body, when you feel too warm, take layers off.
  10. Getting cold on a long hack? Jump off and walk alongside your horse! Great bonding opportunities, and it gets the circulation going.

I have to let you know that the shoes pictured aboove here was sponsored and gifted to me by UnderNull, but they are incredibly warm, and makes for such a good example of what I mean. They are made of wool felt, and are leather covered at the bottom. Super warm, resilient to mud and dirt, and comfortable to use when I’m i.e. working in the stable.

The shoes pictured there are the Femund 922 shoe, and it’s probably the warmest winter shoe I’ve owned. And I’ve been through “them all”, haha! I also have the Nesnalobben boot, a traditional Norwegian wool felt boot. It’s my dream winter shoe! You might remember I edited them onto Lillen’s feet x)

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Did you learn something new? Or do you have any other tricks that keep you warm on your footsies, no matter what? Share in the comments to help freezing riders out!

Emma

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