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Best warm socks?

 
pollinator
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I tried searching the forums but didn't see a topic about this.  I'm looking for the warmest socks that folks recommend (especially from small and sustainable companies).  We live in Minnesota and I have a blood condition that leads to poor circulation and painfully cold toes in the winter time.  I frequently have to take scalding foot baths during the days just to warm them up, as they get so cold the pain distracts me from anything else and they turn white or purple.  It also keeps me from enjoying winter sports like ice skating and sledding with my kids because my toes start to ache so quickly even with layers and good boots. Now I'm recovering from covid several months ago and even though it's summer I can't get my feet to stay warm even with socks on (this thing can affect your circulation, blood vessels, blood pressure and more for months).  I am not looking forward to fall if my toes are this icy when it's 90!  I'm also doing all I can to improve my circulation but it's not making a big difference.  I'd love to hear recommendations for brands, materials, etc. of socks that work really well.  TIA!
 
gardener
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I think there are a few of us here with Reynaud's syndrome here, you're definitely not the only one with freezing feet.

I have some nice wool socks of all different types, but on the rawest winter days when my house is absurdly cold, I pull out the polar fleece socks. I know they're not the ideal raw material but they are the warmest, hands down, and I've had them now for nearly 15 years, and have at least that much more life in them, so I don't feel too bad. The other good thing is that they dry very quickly so I can have fewer of them. I got mine at a job-lot type place, but I know you can also get them on Etsy and support someone local.
 
gardener
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My #1 tip for warm feet are over large clompy boots with lots of toe wiggling space.

I own workboots rated to -100C. No, thats not a typo, they have more than an inch of thick foam. The first time I wore them, my feet froze at -20 because they were too tight, and kept my toes from wiggling. Now, with some wear and compression of the foam, they are too warm above -25C or so.

I typically wear uninsulated boots one size too big with a sheepskin insoles for all but the coldest days. Inside, I wear thick wool socks with lots of fluffy to them (J.B. fields Icelandic are my favourites). If it's extra cold, I wear a thin layer of wool or polyester socks underneath, as always, making sure my feet have lots of space to flex.


 
pollinator
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I find my circulation is poorer and poorer as I approach middle-age. I live in a place where it often goes below -40 (Celsius and fahrenheit meet there) and I like to get outside for recreation as well as work.

Some tools I've used:
Alpaca foot beds... felted alpaca wool is amazingly warm. A local farmer here has her wool felted into standard foot bed liners and they are great for slipping into boots, shoes, or even slippers for around the house. Alpaca foot bed on etsy

Hut Booties... these are used by mountaineers inside tents and alpine huts where they cant wear boots and crampons for obvious reasons. Basically a down jacket for your feet, with a grippy bottom. MEC down booties

Room in my footwear... I fit people into ski boots as part of my Winter job. Often people come in complaining about frozen feet, and their story often goes "My feet were cold, so I put on super thick socks and it didn't help!". Look at the top of your foot... you will see many blood vessels along the outside surface. If they are compressed, blood will not flow to your toes. Moral of the story is: sometimes a thicker sock is the problem, not the solution.

Footwear fit... do you pronate, are you an over supinator? Some shoes are built for certain gaits and will be horrible if you have a different way of walking. This can cause circulation issues as well as discomfort. Look at the bottom of your well used footwear. Are the scuff marks at your big toe and at the outside heel? You are a pronator. Down the middle is neutral. Wear at the pinky toe and inside heel is supination... that's pretty rare and hard to buy off the shelf shoes for. There are insoles that can help fit all of these gaits. A good brand is Superfeet.

Socks. A calf high sock made of wool (never, ever, cotton). Brands I've used and liked: Icebreaker, SmartWool, DarnTough, and Wigwam. Layering a thin sock under the wool to help move moisture away from your skin is a great way to help with perceived warmth as well. Like wearing a shirt under your down jacket so you don't feel wet and sticky.


feet-in-snow-1140x550-700x338.jpg
What it feels like
What it feels like
 
master gardener
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I use the standard backpacker approach.  Thin cotton socks on first.  Thick wool socks over that.  If I am going to be wet, I put a plastic bag in between.
 
gardener
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I bought one pair of the Heat Holders socks and they are very good, but expensive and need larger shoes. The plush piling is unbelievably thick. The best thing to keep my feet warm I've ever found is the military intermediate cold weather "mickey" boots. If you shop around, they can be had for $20-$30. They require no heavy socks either; I just wear short cotton socks. I've seen some complain they make their feet sweat too much, but I've never had that problem.
 
pollinator
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this is not a small sustainable company and its not cheap being from Minnesota im sure you've heard of them but Duluth trading post makes the best cold weather socks.
 
Alicia Bayer
pollinator
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Thank you all for such good info and advice!  I'm off to look at links.  :)
 
John F Dean
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I just noticed your location.  When I lived in MN I made good use of snowmobile boots with removable liners.
 
Clay Bunch
pollinator
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Look for hosiery plants near you. I get smart wool socks for 50 cents a pair from their imperfect sales
 
author & gardener
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Years ago I found socks in a home-shoppers catalog made with metallic thread. They were advertised as helping cold feet, so I bought a pair.



They work by reflecting body heat back, so I put them on first with a pair of heavy wool socks over the top. (Wool has wonderful insulation properties!) The metallic socks really help! When I wear them, I don't feel like my feet are two painful blocks of ice.

The only negative I have is that they have gotten runs in them over the years.

Those catalogs seem to be a thing of the past, so I'm not sure who sells these anymore.
 
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