When I started winter hiking I had problems with cold feet. As a newbie, I’d bought Merrell winter boots with 200 grams of insulation. I tried some tricks like putting aluminum foil and mylar under my insoles in the hope of reflecting more heat back to my feet, but that didn’t work. So I upgraded to Cabela’s winter boots with 400 grams of insulation, but my feet were still cold.
I was using Blue Superfeet Insoles at the time and saw that my insoles were wet from sweat after winter hikes. I wondered, could those wet insoles be contributing to my cold feet? I decided to try Merino Grey Superfeet insoles since I reasoned that they’d be drier and warmer, even when damp. I’d been slowly upgrading my hiking shirts and mittens to wool, so why not insoles? Merino Grey Superfeet Insoles are a unisex wool topped version of the popular Green Superfeet Insole.
I was impressed by how much of an improvement the Merino Grey Wool Superfeet Insoles were for me. I’d still have cold toes on really cold mornings, but I no longer had cold feet later in the day as I often did before.
Since then, I’ve switched to women’s Salomon Toundra winter boots and now use Superfeet Merino Wool Insoles, mainly because they’re gender-specific and less expensive. These insoles feature a deep heel cup, and the Superfeet, high profile shape. They have a layer of felted merino wool which helps with thermoregulation, plus closed-cell foam that supports and cushions your foot. Wool is naturally inhospitable to odor-causing bacteria which is a bonus in winter boots that don’t breathe well.
If Superfeet Insoles don’t work for your feet can find other sheepskin insoles on Amazon. Some of these have no arch support and they will all compress over time, changing the fit of your footwear. There are also wool felt insoles, but most of the ones I’ve found do not have arch support and will also succumb to compression over time. Still give them a try.
Regardless, take good care of your insoles and winter boots by thoroughly drying them out after you wear them. I always remove my insoles from my boots after a hike to make sure they both dry well and are ready to go for my next winter hike.
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Cool, I have always used Superfeet but had no idea they had these wool versions for winter. thanks!
This is interesting. I also have Salomon Toundra winter boots. They come with a thick, high density closed cell foam insole. Its very warm. I know because for a test I stuck then in another pair of shoes and they made a difference.
Ive actually tried to buy some more of them from Solomon.
So my question for the author is if she ever used her Toundras with the stock insoles? Because if these are an improvement over the original insoles, its saying something.
Chiming in here. I find the Salomon insoles too flat for my feet, so I stick Superfeet Green insoles on top of them and still have plenty of interior room. Just another data point. My feet do sweat like crazy, so I may give these wool insoles a try.
Ditto. I use custom orthotics in the summer but they offer little insulating value in the winter. The Superfeet are the next best thing for me.
Superfeet makes products that fit my foot well. The wool liner sounds like a great addition to standard Superfeet. About the Salomon Toundra boots: My feet start getting very cold after standing for a few minutes in standard Gore-tex non-insulated boots and ordinary socks, although I don’t have problems if continually on the move. I have thought about buying insulated boots for bird-watching / photography and for astronomy despite the relatively short cold season. How does Salomon Toundra fit run? I have thin (AA) low volume feet, W 9.5/41 with regular light or mid-weight hiking socks. Size up to 10? 10.5?
The Toundra’s run true to size and can absorb a Superfeet green without having to remove the existing insoles. That’s how it works for me at least. Try-’em.
I wonder what hunters do when they are stuck on their tree stands. Must get cold. Maybe those are the people using electric socks, electric insoles, disposable (iron-based) toe warmers. Ditto on ice fishers, the ice fishing shacks are just wind breaks. It’s hard to get acclimated when the temperature is 45 degrees one day and 0 the next day.
Sock-changing at rest break is a serious help in keeping toes warm.
I am chicken about sub-freezing camping, though, considering that I sleep with socks and nightcap when the house dips below 60 F. I have to get accustomed, I want to book an overnight stay in the Audubon hides on the Platte river, NE (500,000 sandbill cranes courting and migrating).
Can anyone speak to “Aerogel” as a footwear insulator? Theoretically, it’s marketed as the best of the best, but I’ve yet to actually ‘scratch & sniff’ the stuff, as I’ve only found it retailed on Amazon. I’m also curious how it got its name as no ‘gel’ seems to employed in its construction. I’ve also suffered from chronically cold feet when temps drop to the 30’s or lower. 400g of insulation is the only weight that has any promise of warmth for my feet. Once my boots come off in camp, fresh socks and Western Mountaineering down booties have proven to be my best chance of truly warm feet in cold temps. I’ve tried a number of down and synthetic booties over the years, and to date, W.M. booties have allowed my feet to actually feel warm, standing around on snow, doing nothing to generate some warmth on my own.
I have winter boots with 400g of aerogel in them. Works great. Unfortunately, I don’t think the manufacturer uses it anymore. Nasa developed it.
I have Superfeet Gray Merino inserts in Salomon Toundras, I also added a met pad as I find the heel cup pitches my feet forward more than I care for. They are pretty comfortable and the boots are warm, not -40 degrees warm, at least not for me. My toes started to feel cold standing around for 10 minutes this weekend at about 2 degrees on top of a 4000′ viewpoint. They warmed back up once walking again pretty fast.
all those -40 degree winter boot ratings assume you’re “active”. Have to read the fine print. None of these boots are for people who stand around.