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Wearing the right socks to prevent cold feet

Posted by Tony Bithell on 1st Feb 2021

Why are my feet always cold when walking? 

There are many reasons why you might have cold feet while out and about in the great outdoors. Health issues such as poor circulation or diabetes may be a cause, or perhaps something as simple as wearing incorrect socks, shoes or boots. This article examines a range of socks, footwear and accessories to help prevent or lessen the impact of cold feet. 

Regardless of your outdoor pursuit, having cold feet is never pleasant. Whether hunting, working, hiking or walking the dog, ensuring your feet are warm, dry and comfortable is conducive to a successful day. 

Wearing appropriate footwear is as important as wearing the right socks - check out our guide 'What are the best Walking Boots for the job?' for guidance and advice on footwear. 

Causes of Cold Feet

There are many reasons you may have cold feet. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Thin soles on boots or shoes
  • Sweaty feet
  • Historical health issues (such as frostbite)
  • Wearing inappropriate socks (e.g. cotton socks while hiking)
  • Wearing inappropriate footwear (such as fabric boots in cold, windy and wet conditions)

Socks for cold feet

Choosing the correct socks to wear when out and about will help keep your feet warm. It sounds counter-intuitive but one of the most common reasons for cold feet is actually overheating. When your feet sweat, they will quickly cool unless you are wearing socks and shoes that allow moisture to escape. For life in the outdoors, cotton socks are probably the worst socks to wear as cotton will quickly over-heat your feet and hold sweat. What you want is a sock with a moisture wicking capability such as 'Isowool' or 'Coolmax'

Below is a list of socks and accessories that will help to prevent cold feet to keep you warm and comfortable:

  1. Liner Socks
  2. 4 Season Socks
  3. Bootsox
  4. Insoles
  5. Welly Socks

1. Liner Socks

Liner socks offer an additional layer for increased warmth. Liner socks come in various forms, including Tactel®, silk, Coolmax and merino wool liners.

Tactel® Liners

Tactel® Liner Socks are great thermal regulators meaning warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer. Tactel® liner sock properties mean they won't cling to other clothing, are strong and durable and moisture wicking, making them ideal as an extra layer.

COOLMAX® Liners

COOLMAX® is a top performing fabric that has been engineered to wick moisture away from the skin. Socks made using this technology such as the Horizon Coolmax Liner (right) also help to prevent blisters so are perfect for walkers, hikers and any other country ports.

2. Heavyweight 4 Season Socks

Designed and manufactured to be suitable for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - they offer cooling and warming effects depending on the conditions. Great for cold feet!

1000 Mile Heavyweight Walking Socks

1000 Mile Heavyweight Walking Socks offer warmth and durability even in the most extreme weather conditions. Made from a blend of Merino Wool and WoolUltra™ they have excellent wicking capabilities, resulting in comfortable feet all day. Check out the key features of the Grisport 4 season socks:

  • Ribbed outer layer hugs foot but gives high volume to fill boots
  • Arch bracing for support 
  • Excellent insulation factor.
Bridgedale Explorer Sock

Designed for mountains and colder environments - an ideal companion for colder climates is the Bridgedale Explorer Heavyweight Merino Performance Sock (above). Resilient double density pads underfoot give additional comfort and insulation, moisture wicking technology keeps your feet dry and the merino wool will keep your feet warm. 

4 season heavyweight socks are great for hikers and walkers.

3. Bootsox

Wellingtons can offer great protection in wet conditions, however the more basic wellies are often not very insulating. Bootsox are a great addition or alternative to socks. Made from brushed polyester velour with a polyester inner foam, Bootsox will slip over your existing socks to give you extra warmth. They feature an elastic top to minimise slippage. Ideal for walking the dog on soggy winter mornings. 

If you suffer from cold feet in wellingtons, we recommend investing in a wellington boot made for cold conditions such as the Gateway Pro Shooter Wellington (right). With a comfort rating of -40C and specifically designed air-spacing technology, this boot is guaranteed to keep you warm in the coldest of conditions and cool in warmer seasons. 

4. Insoles

Thermal Insoles

Designed for colder temperatures, the Bama Felta Insoles offer an existing later of protection from cold, damp environments. They are breathable so will allow moisture out yet also insulate the foot to keep warmth in. Recommended for cold climate conditions. 

Cushioned Insoles

If you suffer from cold feet due to over-heating, the Grisport Active Anti Shock Gel Insoles are a good option. Designed with aeration holes for breathability, they work to minimise over-heating and will keep your feet warm and dry during hotter months. 

5. Welly Socks

We have a selection of socks that are ideal for wearing with wellies, and they will fit under your Bootsox. Wellington socks don't have to cost the Earth but they are a worthy investment to keep your feet warm during long days outside. We recommend Grisport's Outdoor Socks or Hoggs of Fife's Thermal Work Socks

Related post:
If you liked this blog, check out – Leaky Walking Boots? Get more from your outdoor footwear.

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