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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!
 
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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 steward
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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
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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
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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 & steward
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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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I’ve worked construction and played in winter for 30+ years. My go to are wicking sock liners and thick wool socks (70%+ wool mix). Stay away from cotton of most all clothing in winter, as it will hold moisture and make you cold. Wet in winter is trouble.

Biggest secret I’ve come across in 20+ years, came from ice fishing in -15*. You move a bit and create moisture, then sit, for hours. Moisture can build up, and sit around the foot bed. Get it away from your foot! We learned to place a FEMININE PAD (heavy flow) under foot bed of at front of boot, as toes are the place moisture stays most. On long days it works very very well, and can change out pretty easily.

Laugh, until you try it. Like I said, 20+ years.
I use to work on communication towers in winter. Not going to be sock changing up top, so you better learn the best everything techniques and clothing for that kind of extreme cold.

Be warm and safe. All my best!
 
master gardener
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My current go to are Carhart Men's All-Terrain Boot Crew Sock.

They are on the thicker side, but I wear them pretty much every season. They wear nicely and last a decent amount of time. They are comfortable to boot! The negative is that they have a good ratio of synthetic fiber to them. I'm in search of something a bit greener but my work really demands wear performance that other socks lack.
 
                    
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Definitely wool or Alpaca. Got some made in I think Montana. Also, layer socks, think layer topped by a thick layer. Also depends what will fit inside your shoes/boots. Polar fleece will not fit inside my shoes but I do wear them to bed.

When I get really cole I use hot hands(really the foot version called hot feet). Yes they are expensive, so I don't use them often.

Also I have tried rubbing benGay or some other warming cream such as Badger Balm with cayenne on your feet.

 
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J B Fields icelandic socks, super warm super tough! Not as tough as darn tough but much warmer and less expensive
 
master pollinator
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I hike a lot, and am section hiking the Appalachian Trail with my oldest son and another hiking buddy from Indianapolis. Through those adventures I learned about a great product. The hiking community is enamored with Darn Tough socks out of Vermont. You buy them once and if they ever fail and you can send them back, they replace them for free. For life. They're merino wool, and are super soft. Another sustainable company making a great sock product is PAKA Apparel. Their Performance crew socks seem to be as tough as Darn Tough, but there's no lifetime guarantee. They are softer than merino. Silky even. I wear nothing but these two brands anymore.
 
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The best warm socks are clean ones.
 
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