After a few ski trips in slightly painful hire boots, I decided to buy a pair that would fit properly. After trying quite a lot of pairs, I eventually found some that fitted well all over my foot, which fit with either one thick pair of socks, or two thin ones. I've generally gone for one thick pair. For most of my current trip, they've been amazing, making skiing easier, avoiding painful feet, and keeping my feet toasty.

However, today it was a lot colder, especially on the higher runs, and my toes got very cold (almost painfully). Without buying a second pair that'd be big enough for two thick pairs of socks just for the odd very very cold day, is there anything that can be done to avoid cold feet on very cold days skiing?

  • Personally, I buy ski boots to fit well OVER two thick pairs of socks. That way my feet stay warm. Why did you not do this? Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 18:31

3 Answers 3


You have several options for keeping your toes warm, but ultimately, toes are going to get cold on really cold days... it is just part of the fun.

Try the following:

  • Unbuckle your boots while riding up a lift (or stoppping to rest in the back-country) -- this allows circulation to more freely access your toes.
  • Wiggle your toes within your boots to keep the blood flowing
  • Err on thinner socks to keep the amount of insulating area in your boots at its maximum. Cramming more fabric into your boot is counter-intuitively a bad idea.
  • Try boot coozies. (I was just gifted a pair, but haven't tried them. I'll post here if if/when my pride can allow me test them...)
  • Pocket hand/toe warmers contain different chemicals/powders that can create heat when activated. Try placing these inside and the back of your thigh along your arteries to warm the blood heading to your toes.
  • For the truly desperate: electric boot warmers
  • 2
    inside and the back of your thigh along your arteries to warm the blood heading to your toes. Wow... thank you so much, it's a great idea!
    – Steve V
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 14:40
  • I do not understand "thinner socks to keep the amount of insulating area in your boots at its maximum." It is definitely counter-intuitive to me. You already suggest loosening the boots to ease circulation. Are you making the same point again, ie, too thick socks constrict circulation?
    – Martin F
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 23:01

Adding to what others have said:

  • First and foremost: make sure you get your boots fitted properly by a professional boot fitter. A proper snug fit will allow blood flow around the foot keeping them warm.
  • Often cold feet are a sign of problems elsewhere. Once your body/core cools it pulls blood/heat in from the extremities. So layer up and it might just solve the problem.
  • Another often over looked factor is food intake. Keep an eye on your food and water intake. Make sure you eat smaller meals throughout the day. A big hearty alpine lunch can take a lot of blood and energy to digest. Leaving the poor ole toes without any.
  • Avoid too much Alcohol. The more you have the thinner the blood gets, the less effective it is at warming and powering the skiing machine that you are.
  • Stay hydrated. The body needs water to perform. Especially at altitude.
  • 2
    this is an excellent answer!
    – user2766
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 13:20

Yes, add fat to your feet. I don't mean gain weight. Just slather it on before putting socks on. Petroleum jelly will work, as will almost any other fat (other than coconut oil). A nice layer of fat, even external, does wonders for heat retention.

  • This is a fascinating answer, and not one I ever would have thought of doing. Have you actually tried this? Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:03
  • 6
    Once again, bacon saves the day. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:08
  • Never thought of this- the only times my feet get too cold are when my boots are too tight, or if they get wet (which is always a danger in Scottish snow)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:37
  • 2
    @theJollySin -- Sadly I have tried it, only not with my feet. I can attest that it does work with larger areas of the body. I see no reason it wouldn't work for feet as well. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:49
  • Seems like the negatives (gooey feet, gunked up and compressed liners/insulation) would make this temporary solution bad news for long-term comfort...
    – Lost
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:33

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