I am planning to make a winter ascent of a mountain with a height of 4850 meters (15,900 ft). Its summit's lowest and wind-chill temperatures are around -30 C (-22 F) and -40 C (-40 F), respectively. It takes at least 3 days to reach the summit whilst the grade is D and in some parts TD based on the IFAS system.

Right now, I have a pair of winter mountaineering boots which do not have any removable thermal booties. I was wondering how can I use them in this expedition. I have heard from some classic climbers that they used fake wrestling shoes (because the fake ones are cheap) along with wool socks as a removable thermal boot in their boots, in the past. Do you have any better idea(s), that I can apply to my boots regarding this journey?

By the way, I am quite delighted to find this stack exchange website, specifically for outdoor activities with many experts on it :)


It is worth mentioning, my current boots are 2 sizes bigger than my actual shoe size, for example my normal shoe size is 45 based on EUR but my boots are 47. Thus they have extra space for the thickness of additional layer of insulation.

Regarding the usage of wrestling shoes, I have not done it by myself. As they said, they used wrestling shoes covered by wool socks inside their main boots. Therefore, the feet are neither in direct touch with socks, nor the boots. Keep in mind those wrestling shoes which they have used are made of cotton, at least the upper part. But I guess it has some more details which I am not aware of them, plus I do not count it as a rational approach.

Frankly due to uncontrollable variables in the end user, it's quite hard to temperature rate boots and in most cases they are altitude dependent. But based on my boot's brand rating, their extreme temperature are around -25 C(-13 F) to -30 C(-22 F).

  • 2
    Don't be coy, tell us what mountain it is!
    – user2169
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 21:20
  • 4
    Are your boots in a size big enough so that you have room for the thickness of this additional layer of insulation?
    – user2169
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 21:29
  • 2
    I'm not sure I see how wrestling shoes fit in this scheme, can you elaborate?
    – njzk2
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    Also, do you know the current temperature rating of your winter mountaineering boots?
    – njzk2
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    @MartinF, Sue Martin. I have done it.
    – Amid
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


Consider using a thin poly inner sock followed by a vapor barrier liner sock, followed by a thick wool or synthetic wool outer sock. Then put a super-gaiter over your boot.

The VBL sock will prevent sweat from degrading the insulating capability of the outer wool sock. The super gaiter will provide water and wind protection, and add another insulating layer.

  • 1
    I'm not sure that sweat degradation in an issue. Your own link says "vapor-barrier socks designed to prevent freezing condensation on moisture-soaked feet."
    – Martin F
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 19:20
  • I just realized, a tiny edit to your answer works well. I hope you don't mind.
    – Martin F
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 19:58
  • Regarding the usage of poly socks (polyester or polypropylene), the major problem is that they are not recyclable, thus they are damaging our planet Earth. Also as far as I know they are not breathable, But using vapor barrier socks could be a good idea. I have to see if it possible to walk with them or not :) as they are very slippery
    – Amid
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 13:01
  • @Amid - Polypropylene sock liners have been available for retail sales in outdoor stores since the 1980's. Their use is well known and documented for their insulating properties, ability to wick moisture, and in blister prevention. Damaging to the earth is a captious critique since you will be driving in a car or airplane to get to your adventure.
    – user20551
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 15:27

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