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 Hunt Merino Wool Insoles (despite the fact that they’re pink), mainly because they’re gender-specific and less expensive. Hunters are hikers too! These insoles feature a deep heel cup, and the Superfeet, high profile shape. They have a layer of felted merino wool which helps with thermo-regulation, 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. They also have Scentlok odor control technology to keep you hidden from your prey, and your car pool buddies will probably thank you too.
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.
About the AuthorWanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.
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