7 tips on how to keep your feet warm and toasty!
One of the biggest mistakes about gear for keeping your extremities warm, is that it’s not regarded as an important, let alone critical, piece of kit like a pair of breeches is. Why is this? This is because after the cost and effort of a riding hat, riding boots, breeches etc, we riders often run out of steam and cash!
Starting the day with warm boots and/or chaps means that your feet won’t have to work overtime to heat them up. So try not to leave your boots outside, in a horsebox or a cold tack room. Instead try to leave them somewhere warm overnight or when you’re not wearing.
Heat The Core First
When your overall temperature drops, your body’s physiological response is to reduce blood flow to your extremities, such as your feet, so that it can use it to keep your vital organs warm. You have five vital organs and these are essential for your survival: the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. Simply put, this means that if there is a reduction in the blood flow to your feet, they will get cold. However, if you’re able to keep your core warm, it will be able to perform one of its key functions where it takes cold blood, warms it up and then sends it back out to all parts of the body including your feet!
Much like the layering system that you can use for your body, layer up on your feet too! If you really struggle with the cold, use a two to even three layering system:
1. lightweight wicking sock
2. lightweight wool sock
3. medium to heavy wool sock.
Thick doesn’t necessarily mean warmer
If you suffer with cold feet, you need to get serious about socks! If your socks are too thick inside the boots you wear for your jobs on the yard or for riding, the pressure on your foot could reduce the circulation to your toes. The result: your toes will feel cold. You wouldn’t wear a pair of breeches without trying them on, would you? So try on your socks with your riding boots. You should be able to wiggle your toes freely with the sock on your foot and inside the boots.
Avoid cotton. Seriously.
Not only does cotton get wet with sweat very quickly and despite what you might think, your foot does actually sweat in all footwear, cotton also doesn’t keep its warmth when wet which means it’ll freeze and you’ll have a bad day at the yard or riding!
Always go for merino wool
Merino wool is the best fibre on the market to keep your toes warm. Unlike “ragg wool” - a tougher fibre used in more “rugged” items - merino wool is thermostatic. This means that it’s able to regulate the temperature-regulating and consequently offers superior moisture management. If wool makes you itch, merino wool shouldn’t as it’s itch-free.
An extra pair
Always ensure that you have an extra pair of socks about you. Either in your car or at the yard. Why, I hear you say…because your feet sweat even when you’re cold, your socks get damp and your feet get cold. Having a spare pair will mean that you can change your socks if you need to.
Alternatively you may need a spare pair as a second pair, ie another layer, if your feet do get really cold.
So give your feet the treatment they deserve by following these simple tips.
Do your feet a favour!