Winter hillwalkers needn’t suffer from chilly feet. Here are some expert tips on how to keep your toes toasty by our Gear Editor Chris Townsend.

This skills piece was first published in the January 2017 issue of The Great Outdoors.

1. Proof your boots

Wet feet cool down fast. So wear gaiters and ensure your boots are well proofed. This applies even if they have waterproof linings, as if the outer soaks up moisture then they will feel colder and also not let condensation through as readily – so your feet get damp from sweat.

2. Wear quality socks

Thick socks are excellent for keeping feet warm. Two pairs are better than one – as long as there is room in your boots. Don’t cram two pairs into boots if there isn’t room as this will compress the insulation and restrict circulation, leading to colder feet.

3. Experiment with different footbeds

If you can feel cold coming up through the soles of your boots, changing the footbeds for insulated ones can make a difference.

4. Try waterproof, windproof socks

If your boots aren’t very water-resistant, waterproof socks are a way to keep your feet dry. SealSkinz make waterproof socks with merino wool linings. These are also windproof.

5. Change your wet socks

Sometimes snow gets in your boots you step through ice into water that comes in, soaking your socks. Putting on a fresh pair of dry socks can help prevent your feet becoming very cold even if the inside of your boots is damp.

6. And if you’re really struggling… consider insulated boots

People whose feet can feel chilly in anything other than hot summer weather could consider boots with synthetic insulation. Insulated boots suitable for hillwalking come from Keen, Teva, Hi-Tec and some other brands.

Looking for more tips? Check out our top tips for staying warm in winter!

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