Cold Toes

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Lioness
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by Lioness » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:13 pm

dreaming13000 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:56 pm
Lioness wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:42 am
4thPlaceAtFieldDay wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:44 am
A few things:

1. Did your feet get wet? I know you said you had warm boots, but when you took them off, were your socks wet? Obviously, make sure your boots are waterproof. Don't wear summer hiking boots in winter, go for a mountaineering boot. Did you have gaiters to prevents snow from getting in the top of your boots?
2. I usually wear two pairs of socks in winter (a liner and a wool sock). The liner won't help a lot with warmth, but every little bit helps.
3. Don't tie your boots TOO tight. This can limit circulation to your feet. You want boots tight enough where you won't get blisters, but don't suffocate your feet.
4. Stay hydrated. Dehydration causes the body to store energy and decrease circulation. This can make your hands and feet cold.
5. If you think you'll need toe warmers, you can put them in before you start hiking. That way you don't have to take your boots off once your feet are already cold. The only thing to be careful of is your feet sweating too much and getting wet. Don't put the foot warmer directly on your skin. I usually put it between my two layers of socks.
All good points. Boots can shrink a bit in the cold so you need to tie the loose at the start. I ball up my toes when I tie up the boots.

Also, you need to tie them in zones ... Use a sergeon knot at the instep.

Do you use 2 sets of laces ? I want to know more about this please???
https://blog.tatonka.com/en/how-to-lace-hiking-boots/
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jscully205
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by jscully205 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 pm

Specifically what boot are you wearing OP? Also, and it might be obvious, getting the sizing correct is critical. As stated, circulation is super important and not lacing your boots too tight helps with that. If they are a little small though it'll definitely have an effect on how cold your toes/feet get. I've regretted buying boots a half size too small much more so than a half size too big.
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Wildernessjane
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by Wildernessjane » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:31 pm

I suspect I get colder than most but I also really enjoy getting out during the winter months. Just a few quick thoughts. I always size my winter boots up 1/2 to full size and wear a warm sock with a thin liner sock underneath. Plus, I always carry an extra pair of socks in case mine get wet. I’ve also found that putting an extra layer on my legs will keep my feet warmer. Sometimes I’ll carry a lightweight shell pant on to throw over my soft-shell pants just in case. I know someone who wears battery powered boot warmers in winter (the ones made for ski boots) but I’ve never found this necessary and I’m a bit of a weight weanie. I do usually carry the chemical toe warmers just in case though.
“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” -David McCullough?
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Wildernessjane
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by Wildernessjane » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:50 pm

geg86 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:25 pm
If I’m still cold, I’ll tape hand warmers (they work better than toe warmers for some reason) to the inside of my ankle (around the posterior tib area/pulse).
I learned this trick from a physician friend and have used it many times as well. You can do the same to keep hands warm by taping a hand-warmers to the inside of the wrist over a base layer. Probably not a good idea to tape directly on the skin.
“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” -David McCullough?
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dreaming13000
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by dreaming13000 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 am

jscully205 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 pm
Specifically what boot are you wearing OP? Also, and it might be obvious, getting the sizing correct is critical. As stated, circulation is super important and not lacing your boots too tight helps with that. If they are a little small though it'll definitely have an effect on how cold your toes/feet get. I've regretted buying boots a half size too small much more so than a half size too big.
Merrell Thermo Rhea Waterproof boots. They seemed to stay waterproof entirely and they are quite warm. I had no issues until I was on the last windswept steep push for the summit, side note, I did have micro spikes and gaitors on. I did have one layer of smartwool socks that have always proved warm enough on snowboard days. These boots are size 9 and I wear 8-8.5, and without wool socks they are loose, so I think the size is good. I am thinking I need possibly thicker wool socks instead of the smart wool, something a little thicker. I am going to be shopping for that soon. Someone has mentioned getting mountaineering boots, and that would be fantastic if money wasn't an concern, but for as often as I hike, it is difficult to justify spending that sort of money.
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jscully205
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by jscully205 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:53 am

dreaming13000 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 am
jscully205 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:55 pm
Specifically what boot are you wearing OP? Also, and it might be obvious, getting the sizing correct is critical. As stated, circulation is super important and not lacing your boots too tight helps with that. If they are a little small though it'll definitely have an effect on how cold your toes/feet get. I've regretted buying boots a half size too small much more so than a half size too big.
Merrell Thermo Rhea Waterproof boots. They seemed to stay waterproof entirely and they are quite warm. I had no issues until I was on the last windswept steep push for the summit, side note, I did have micro spikes and gaitors on. I did have one layer of smartwool socks that have always proved warm enough on snowboard days. These boots are size 9 and I wear 8-8.5, and without wool socks they are loose, so I think the size is good. I am thinking I need possibly thicker wool socks instead of the smart wool, something a little thicker. I am going to be shopping for that soon. Someone has mentioned getting mountaineering boots, and that would be fantastic if money wasn't an concern, but for as often as I hike, it is difficult to justify spending that sort of money.
Thanks for the clarification. I think as long as you can wiggle your toes if need be, then sizing is okay. Actually making a conscious effort doing that is a good tactic to help warm your feet too. As far as boots go, there inlies the problem. I looked those boots up and although they look warm, I just don't think they are enough boot for cold approaches up standard 14er routes in the winter. Those look like what someone would wear to some outdoor patio apres ski happy hour in Breckenridge. Anything in neighborhood of sub 20 degrees and you're gonna want a burlier boot. Yes, you can use chemical toe warmers but at the end of the day it's really just a band-aid. I understand that there is a cost barrier but can you really put a price on comfort and possible frostbite? You deserve better than that. Heck, one way to look at is having insurance for each one of your toes.
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easyridertme
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by easyridertme » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:37 am

jscully205 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:53 am
dreaming13000 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 am
Merrell Thermo Rhea Waterproof boots. They seemed to stay waterproof entirely and they are quite warm. I had no issues until I was on the last windswept steep push for the summit, side note, I did have micro spikes and gaitors on. I did have one layer of smartwool socks that have always proved warm enough on snowboard days. These boots are size 9 and I wear 8-8.5, and without wool socks they are loose, so I think the size is good. I am thinking I need possibly thicker wool socks instead of the smart wool, something a little thicker. I am going to be shopping for that soon. Someone has mentioned getting mountaineering boots, and that would be fantastic if money wasn't an concern, but for as often as I hike, it is difficult to justify spending that sort of money.
Thanks for the clarification. I think as long as you can wiggle your toes if need be, then sizing is okay. Actually making a conscious effort doing that is a good tactic to help warm your feet too. As far as boots go, there inlies the problem. I looked those boots up and although they look warm, I just don't think they are enough boot for cold approaches up standard 14er routes in the winter. Those look like what someone would wear to some outdoor patio apres ski happy hour in Breckenridge. Anything in neighborhood of sub 20 degrees and you're gonna want a burlier boot. Yes, you can use chemical toe warmers but at the end of the day it's really just a band-aid. I understand that there is a cost barrier but can you really put a price on comfort and possible frostbite? You deserve better than that. Heck, one way to look at is having insurance for each one of your toes.
dreaming13000--I tend to agree with jscully205 that if you're going to be doing a lot in the winter, you'll want a warmer boot. As people have noted, mountaineering boots are going to be the gold standard in warmth, but I'm not sure you have to go quite that far. There are lots of women here that can give better boot recommendations than a dude like me could, but I'll throw one option out there that's still affordable and almost certainly warmer than your Merrells: Oboz's Bridger 9" insulated (https://obozfootwear.com/products/women ... waterproof). The Bridgers have twice the amount of insulation as the Rheas and look like they cost around the same. I haven't worn Oboz personally, but I've definitely seen the brand recommended around here a lot as a great non-mountaineering option.

Another option you could consider is checking out craigslist, Facebook's marketplace, or the Swap/Shop for a used pair of mountaineering boots. I've seen a lot of examples of people selling mountaineering boots for relatively cheap that they used for a trip or two and then never again. The challenge there is that you'll be on your own to both ensure a good fit and to make sure the boot is actually appropriate for what you want to do. Even within the same model of boot, some brands make both insulated versions that may work well for winter ascents (e.g., La Sportiva's Trango Ice Cube GTX) and uninsulated versions that would be great for a snow climb in late spring, but a terrible choice in the dead of winter (e.g., La Sportiva's Trango Cube GTX).
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geg86
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by geg86 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:05 am

Just another way to look at this...the cost of medical bills for treating frostbite is higher than the cost of good boots if you can find a pair used (not to mention comfort). I say this as someone who once got frostbite and it sucked. Where are you located? If you’re in the metro area, Wilderness Exchange has a great selection of used boots that are much more affordable (I saw used Scarpa Mont Blancs for like $250 there!). If not, you can also browse listings on Mountain Project, etc. I tend to always approach winter outings (regardless of how short your planned hike is) with the mindset of “what do I need to avoid frostbite if I’m stranded for a night or two?” I’m a female and have done plenty of trial and error with boot shopping (and I have raynauds/cold feet), so feel free to PM me.
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dreaming13000
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Re: Cold Toes

Post by dreaming13000 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:31 am

easyridertme wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:37 am
jscully205 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:53 am
dreaming13000 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:53 am
Merrell Thermo Rhea Waterproof boots. They seemed to stay waterproof entirely and they are quite warm. I had no issues until I was on the last windswept steep push for the summit, side note, I did have micro spikes and gaitors on. I did have one layer of smartwool socks that have always proved warm enough on snowboard days. These boots are size 9 and I wear 8-8.5, and without wool socks they are loose, so I think the size is good. I am thinking I need possibly thicker wool socks instead of the smart wool, something a little thicker. I am going to be shopping for that soon. Someone has mentioned getting mountaineering boots, and that would be fantastic if money wasn't an concern, but for as often as I hike, it is difficult to justify spending that sort of money.
Thanks for the clarification. I think as long as you can wiggle your toes if need be, then sizing is okay. Actually making a conscious effort doing that is a good tactic to help warm your feet too. As far as boots go, there inlies the problem. I looked those boots up and although they look warm, I just don't think they are enough boot for cold approaches up standard 14er routes in the winter. Those look like what someone would wear to some outdoor patio apres ski happy hour in Breckenridge. Anything in neighborhood of sub 20 degrees and you're gonna want a burlier boot. Yes, you can use chemical toe warmers but at the end of the day it's really just a band-aid. I understand that there is a cost barrier but can you really put a price on comfort and possible frostbite? You deserve better than that. Heck, one way to look at is having insurance for each one of your toes.
dreaming13000--I tend to agree with jscully205 that if you're going to be doing a lot in the winter, you'll want a warmer boot. As people have noted, mountaineering boots are going to be the gold standard in warmth, but I'm not sure you have to go quite that far. There are lots of women here that can give better boot recommendations than a dude like me could, but I'll throw one option out there that's still affordable and almost certainly warmer than your Merrells: Oboz's Bridger 9" insulated (https://obozfootwear.com/products/women ... waterproof). The Bridgers have twice the amount of insulation as the Rheas and look like they cost around the same. I haven't worn Oboz personally, but I've definitely seen the brand recommended around here a lot as a great non-mountaineering option.

Another option you could consider is checking out craigslist, Facebook's marketplace, or the Swap/Shop for a used pair of mountaineering boots. I've seen a lot of examples of people selling mountaineering boots for relatively cheap that they used for a trip or two and then never again. The challenge there is that you'll be on your own to both ensure a good fit and to make sure the boot is actually appropriate for what you want to do. Even within the same model of boot, some brands make both insulated versions that may work well for winter ascents (e.g., La Sportiva's Trango Ice Cube GTX) and uninsulated versions that would be great for a snow climb in late spring, but a terrible choice in the dead of winter (e.g., La Sportiva's Trango Cube GTX).
Thank you for the information. When I was looking for boots I was comparing the merrells to the Oboz's Bridger ](*,) dangit! So I am curious now as to some real life reviews from other women on the Oboz's Bridger for winter hiking. Would that be an appropriate post in the gear section?
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