How do you keep your feet dry inside winter boots?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by MissFire, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. MissFire

    MissFire Tracker

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    For the first time ever I purchased a good pair of winter boots. Picked up a pair of Sorrel Alexandria boots that are waterproof and warm down to -30 degrees.
    My feet being cold has always been my biggest winter complaint.
    It has been pretty cold here lately so I decided to wear them and break them in, but if I wear them for more than an hour my feet are soaking wet from sweat.
    I am wearing wool socks with them.

    How do you keep your feet warm and dry in a good pair of boots?
     
  2. RangerJoe

    RangerJoe Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    Vapor barrier socks are supposed to really help.
     
  3. Bad Hand

    Bad Hand Scout

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    I totally hate Sorrels for that reason and a couple more. In extreme cold the liners will freeze into the boots, the liners are almost impossible to dry over night in the house and impossible if your are camping. I used them for several years until I found Ice King and Iceman boots. They have a foam liner with a poly pro shell and sole. The boot has a rubber bottom that is also insulated. I have never had a cold foot even at minus -60. At temps above freezing my feet never get wet because of the wicking action of the liners. When I take off my boots my socks are dry and I only wear one pair of Dickies cotton work socks.

    With the foam liner it is like walking in house slippers very comfortable. The Iceman rated at -60 is comfortable at +40.

    I think the Icemen are rated at -60, the Ice King at -90 and the Iditarod at -125, I have and used all 3 at different times and they are my favorite winter boots.

    Where do you live and what are the winter temperatures in your area? What type of winter actives will you be engaged in? If it is setting in a blind or ice fishing where you aren't moving these are the boots you want.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  4. BigDaddyHoss

    BigDaddyHoss Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    The boots seem like they are possibly to warm for the conditions. Who knows how they rate them, but another key is that they fit right. Boots for cold weather should be a little loose, so air pockets are created around the foot helping with insulation and allowing your foot to breate. Wool socks won't keep your feet dry but assist in pulling moisture from your foot and adding to the warmth factor. I looked up your boot and you might play with how you lace them up, so they are supportive but not laced tight. Happy day

    PS a Peet boot dryer is worth every penny for drying out your boots also
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  5. Global Village Idiot

    Global Village Idiot Scout

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    Women's knee highs as liners.

    Old trick taught to me by an SF student I met who was a Ranger and general ground-pounder. Wear women's knee-highs and then put on wool socks. Wicks the sweat away to the wool and keeps the feet dry (hence warm) in winter, and takes up the friction on the foot hence no blisters.

    They take up no space whatsoever in the pack and weigh nothing.
     
  6. tennecedar

    tennecedar Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    I wear Sorel Blizzard boots and they are great for when they needed. But they are overly warm unless I'm in snow. I use Gold Bond down in the boot and it helps with moisture. I mainly use them for when I'm stationary for extended periods.
     
  7. mario

    mario Scout

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    I have a similar problem. My feet sweat and if it continues, I get a bitchin' case of athlete's foot.

    8 years in AK taught me, if your boots are waterproof, water (aka sweat) can't get out, either. The Bunny Boots/Mickey Mouse boots/Vapor Barrier boots used by the US military are used quite a bit up there, but I might as well wrap my feet in cling film.

    I went with Lobben's boots. Basically a felt boot liner with a rubber sole and laces attached. With a couple pairs of wool socks, I was pretty cozy down to around -30F or so. Lower if I was moving around. They aren't waterproof, but they also dry out in a REALLY short time while standing in front of a fire or while in your vehicle.


    Mario
     
  8. Indiana

    Indiana Tracker

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    That was my first thought, then decided not to specifically say womens knee highs. :eek: Thanks Global Village Idiot for not being embarrassed as I would have been. :)
     
  9. Mountainman300

    Mountainman300 Tracker

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    Wicking liners I "listen" to my feet as to determine how thick of wool socks I need. Otherwise, carry spares and change them often
     
  10. justin_baker

    justin_baker Bushmaster

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    You need some vapor barriers. Whats happening is your sweat is getting trapped in your waterproof boots.
    A vapor barrier is basically like plastic, it won't let any water in or out. Your sweat will be trapped in the vapor barrier next to your skin and unable to get into your boots insulation. You should wear some super thin liners under the vapor barriers for comfort.
    Fortunately a vapor barrier can be very cheap and easy. Just find yourself a plastic bread bag or grocery bag and put those on under your wool socks.

    Avoid the womens boots if you plan on using them in the woods. A lot of the womens winter clothing is fashionable and impracticable. The mens boots will work just fine if you adjust for sizing.
     
  11. Sweeneyguy

    Sweeneyguy Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    Like others have said, try a set of vapor barrier socks. I'm giving them a go this year after hearing good things about them. I'm trying out bread bags before I get a real set.

    You need to have them next to your skin and this causes a micro climate in your boot. Your feet will actually stop sweating rather quickly. This will allow your warmer layers to keep you warm without any sweat in them.

    Give them a look up on the google, you will see lots of hikers and backpackers telling what they have done.
     
  12. livetosurvive

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    I have had the same problem with liners getting wet from sweat. I was pulling out the liners and drying them over the hot air register every day.
    Two weeks ago I started using Walmart plastic bags "over my wool socks" when I put on the boots. They worked great right away, I just love them.
    The liners stay absolutely dry, no need to pull them out to dry them, which is really important when I go winter camping.
    My wool socks do get slightly wet, but it is much easier to dry socks, or carry a dry set for camping (I was carrying dry liners for camping).
    I can feel the dampness in my socks after wearing the boots for a few hours, but it does not bother me at all. I would not want the plastic against my skin, I think that would bother me more.
    The side benefit is the boot slip on and off much easier, which helps greatly when putting them on when camping and it is 5 degrees in the morning, (like it was last weekend).
    Terry
     
  13. 2stoves

    2stoves Scout Bushclass I

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    +1 on the Woman's Knee Highs as liners. Heck I can remember my uncle telling my Mom to save her nylons that had "runs" in them when I was a kid in the 50's so he could wear them for hunting.
     
  14. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    I have a pair of insulated waterproof Columbia boots and very rarely wear them. I wear my GoreTex Vasque Breeze boots in the snow. With a pair of wicking liners and a pair of wool socks I'm fine for an afternoon of sledding in the snow or going on a snow hike. They've never wetted through on me and I don't sweat in them, even in summer.
     
  15. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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    If you're a heavy sweater (and it sounds like that may be the case here), VBL may not be the best option. If you sweat a lot before the VBL induces the foot to stop sweating you run the risk of having your feet sitting in a pool of liquid, which hurts rather than helps.

    Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it, just that you might want to experiment with the homemade plastic bag variety before investing in VBL socks from RBH Designs or ID.

    This. Nylon stockings make fantastic sock liners. You can find ones that are ankle high if you want to preserve your manly image :D (although the knee highs also make an excellent base layer for your lower legs).

    [​IMG]

    Another old trick is to hit your feet with antiperspirant. It will significantly reduce the amount of sweat produced in your sock/boot.

    Edit: Forgot to add...Remember that everything works in unison. If your feet are sweating a lot then it's possible you are overdoing the insulation elsewhere. Venting other parts of your body a bit to let excess heat out may help in reducing the amount your feet sweat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  16. book

    book Tracker

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    Individual sheets of newspaper, wadded up and stuffed into a pair of boots will usually dry out the boots overnight. This will help dry them out if you are camped out but they are still apt to be a little moist in the morning. It can make the difference between frozen boots and frozen solid boots.
     
  17. MissFire

    MissFire Tracker

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    I'm in CT, but plan on doing some winter camping here and in Maine.
    Thanks for the info I will look into Ice king and Iceman boots as well as liners.
     
  18. MissFire

    MissFire Tracker

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    A lot of great info here! Thanks a lot!
     
  19. Gnut

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    What I do is put a pair of cotton socks on over the wool ones. The wool wicks the sweat away from my feet and the cotton absorbs it, keeping my feet dry.
     
  20. Shnick

    Shnick Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    Merino wool works much better that regular wool, wicks the moisture away well. But you still need airflow to carry moist air away. Multiple non-constricting layers are key. Make more air gaps.
     
  21. Mikewood

    Mikewood Guide

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    I wear cotton athletic socks and I change socks every few hours. They are cheep and pack easily so I don't mind packing a dozen pair for a few day trip.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Freez
     
  22. countrymike

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    i put baby powder in my socks it helps
     
  23. go2ndamend

    go2ndamend Scout

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    I was going to say I wear a pair of poly liners under my wool socks and that works well. Then I read the post by Bad Hand being out in -60 degree weather and realized I don't have enough experience. -60 is too cold for me!
     
  24. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    I've used the Sorels some. I always keep a spare set of liners and swap them out as needed when they get wet. I dry the damp liners on or right next to my wood stove, though have used floor registers in more civilized houses or dried them next to a fire. I've also worn damp liners when sleeping in my down bag, they dry fairly well overnight, but the foot end of my bag is covered with frost from doing it. It works OK if you can dry the bag the next day in the sun or by a fire.

    If you don't need that level of warmth from the Sorels, take them off, especially if you're inside, just like layering any other part of your body in variable temps. I believe Rutstrum endorsed keeping light moccasins for camp use. My feet sweat a lot, and I need to deal with the damp liners pretty regularly.

    I haven't used them in the temps Bad Hand has, just been out in 20 below a number of times. I went to retrieve a couple antelope I'd killed earlier, and hadn't changed my liners. The liners froze in a somewhat curled position while walking in to get the antelopes, but my feet were comfortable at 20 below so long as I was still moving. I have some Steger mukluks with double liners and felt or sheepskin insoles, they have some popularity with mushers and others. I've not been in cold enough conditions since getting them to really need them. Bad Hands boot recommendations are worth looking into though. I will be.

    I don't think the womens Sorels are any different in liner thickness. I had a set of womens Sorels years ago, the only difference was they were tan and made more in moccasin style than most Sorels, and had a fake fur ruff on the top of the liners, but worked fine until I wore them out many years later.

    I don't think anti-perspirant is healthy to use on your feet or anywhere else. Using a chemical to make your body do something its naturally trying to do doesn't seem smart.

    I've tried wal mart bags in my boots between my socks and boot liners. They were pretty annoying to me, my feet slid around in them and I disliked them very much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013

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