No one likes cold feet while they are skiing, and you may find yourself wondering what products are on the market that can help keep the insides of your boots warm. When researching this you will notice that ski boot heaters are regularly recommended and ask yourself are they worth the price.
If you are very susceptible to cold feet then ski boot heaters are worth it. They will take the bite off in especially frigid weather, but they do have their limitations and there are some other things you can try out to keep your boots warm.
Below, we will not only explore what ski boot heaters are and how long they last, but we’ll also look into 5 other things you can do to keep your bots warm. Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know when considering if ski boots heaters are worth buying.
What Are Ski Boot Heaters?
Ski boot heaters are exactly what they sound like, heaters for your ski boots. Basically, they’re a battery-powered insole designed to lay on the flat of your boot.
What They Look Like
They look like shoe inserts with a wire attached and a lithium-ion battery pack on the end (remember, you won’t be allowed to have them in hold luggage on a flight). They come in a range of sizes and some can even be trimmed at the toes so they will fit the inside of your boot correctly. Like regular shoe inserts, they also come in a range of thicknesses and weights. Sometimes they may even include a remote to change the settings.
The battery packs are designed to clip onto the top of your boot so they aren’t pressing against your leg. Most manufacturers use specific battery packs which will be rechargeable either via USB or a wall plug, so bear this in mind if you are looking to travel overseas as you will need an adapter.
To be sure that you are going to get the best battery life try to buy your boot heaters from a reputable brand rather than somewhere like Wish so you will be able to fully check out reviews from people that have actually used them out in on the slopes.
How Long Can They Last
The battery life of a boot heater can vary on a couple of factors. Firstly, they don’t all have the same capacity. Mostly though you should be able to get a day of skiing out of them before you need to recharge. For most, it will roughly be 19 hours of use. Be wary of cheaper models as these will generally only last for a few runs.
Secondly, a lot of heaters have multiple heat settings, so if you have it set on high it’s not going to last as long as if you set it on the lowest setting. The last thing you need to be aware of is the air temperature. Cold temperatures can cause a battery to drain quickly so make sure they are tucked under your pants leg.
How Long Do Heated Ski Boots Last?
Most ski boot heaters will tend to last for a few years. But like most bits of gear the duration that they last will depend on the way that you care for them. If you treat them like trash you will find that they won’t last long.
The 2 weakest links in their construction are the connections between the insole and the batteries, and the batteries themselves.
As it is not exactly easy to get your boots off after a day’s ski it can be all too easy to pull at the wires coming out of the insole and damage the connection. In some brands of boot heaters, you can replace this part, however, cheaper models have them soldered to the insole which can lead them to easily get damaged.
The Battery Packs
The battery packs are an issue as they will start to lose their effectiveness, a lot like how a cell phone will after a while. This can be reduced by making sure it always has a bit of charge, watching the cycles, and limiting its exposure to extreme temperatures.
Some brands boast that they will last for about 200 charges which should be more than enough for a couple of seasons even if you are skiing for the whole period.
Overall, you should get a good amount of use out of them just make sure you don’t lose any of the parts in the off-season or you might end up getting to the slope and find yourself with a pair of expensive insoles that add nothing to your boot.
Are Ski Boot Heaters Actually Worth It?
If you find that your feet often feel cold in your boots or are usually skiing when it is bitterly cold then they are absolutely worth it. It can be extremely uncomfortable to ski with cold feet and there is the risk of frostbite, especially if you suffer from a circulation problem like Raynaud’s.
A decent set of boot warmers will last you throughout the day so even on the coldest days you will have that little bit extra to keep you out skiing. They are especially effective when paired with boot gloves as they will reduce heat loss and act as an insulating barrier.
However, if you find that it is more a case that your feet get a bit chilly then there are other things that you might want to try out before going out and buying boot heaters as they can cost anything over $350 for a decent pair. Later we will look at 5 things you can do to keep your boots warm while skiing to save you the cash.
Heated Socks vs Ski Boot Heaters
Other than ski boot heaters there is another battery powered option when it comes to keeping your boots warm, and that’s heated socks. Heated ski socks will generally look the same as a normal pair of ski socks but with one key difference, a battery pack at the top and heating filaments throughout.
The principle is similar to that of the boot heater and while not exactly cheap, coming to around $100-250, they can actually make your boot feel a little warmer than just a boot heater as they are in direct contact with your skin.
There are a couple of different styles available for heated socks as some will heat at just the toe while others will have the filament throughout the sock to keep your whole foot warm. The best thing about them is that they can be washed as you would a normal pair of socks (just remember to remove the batteries and check the care instructions).
Unfortunately, there are a couple of negatives when it comes to heated socks vs ski boot heaters as the batteries a usually far smaller than that of a boot heater so you will be looking at getting at the most six hours of use. They are also exposed to a lot more wear and tear than a normal boot heater, so you can expect them to hold up about as well as a regular pair of ski socks.
They can also be a bit stiffer than a regular pair of ski socks, due to the heating filaments throughout the sock and the battery pockets on the top, which some may find uncomfortable
All in all though, if you have the money to buy both it is well worth it as they are great to pair together. It’s worth noting that you should be careful that you don’t let your feet get too hot as you don’t want to get your feet sweaty as it will make your boots damp, causing them to end up colder later.
5 Tips For Keeping Your Boots Warm When Skiing
1. Dry Your Boots Out
It is not uncommon that t the end of your day’s ski the insides of your boots are a little bit damp. This can be either from sweaty feet or water getting into your boot. If you leave your boot damp inside it will, first, lead to a stinky boot, but more importantly, it can make the inside of your boot colder as the temperature outside drops.
Many resorts will have boot dryers available for you to make use of at the end of the day, if you can’t find them you can also buy a pair. All you need to do is pop your liners on the dryer for a couple of hours and you’ll be set. If you are using boot heaters just make sure you remove the batteries so they aren’t exposed to direct heat.
They are basically hairdryers for your boots, just remember to make sure that they are actually on before you walk away as it can be a little annoying to come back after a few hours to find them powered off. These are also great to give your boots a little warmth before putting them on.
2. Make Sure They Fit Correctly
As well as impacting your skiing an ill-fitting boot can actually make your boot feel cold. If your boot is too tight it can reduce circulation making your boot feel colder. Having a boot that is the correct fit is a great way to keep your boots feeling warm.
Ideally, they need to fit so that your toes will need to touch the tip of the boot while standing normally, and when in a skiing position your foot will slide to the heel giving a little space to wiggle your toes. You also need to make sure that the boot is wide enough for your foot to be to rest flat on the bottom, but not so wide that your foot is free to move to the left and right too much.
The best way to make sure they fit correctly is to go to a specialist boot fitter when buying ski boots and if you are renting most rental places will allow you to swap out your boots if the fit is off. Another thing you should remember is to wear the socks that you plan to wear while skiing when checking the fit as that can change the fit.
3. Use Boot Gloves
Boot gloves are neoprene sleeves that go over the foot of your ski boot. They are designed to be an extra layer of insulation keeping the heat inside your boot. They don’t generate any heat themselves but they do help retain that extra bit of warmth when the weather is cold or you’re skiing in powder. They also are a relatively cheap option as they won’t usually cost you more than $40.
4.Wear Good Quality Ski Socks
It may be tempting to wear any old pair of socks, but a proper pair of ski socks make all the difference. The warmest ski socks are usually made from wool. But most on the market are designed to keep you warm. As mentioned previously you can even buy heated ski socks which work in a similar way to boot heaters, using a heating filament and battery.
5. Make Sure You Are Wearing Enough On The Core Of Your Body
It may seem a bit strange that keeping your feet warm will be affected by the temperature in other parts of your body, but it actually makes a big impact. If the core of your body is cold it is going to draw the heat from your extremities as it is more important that your chest is warm than your feet.
The best way to counteract this is to make sure you layer your clothes under your jacket. A good thermal base will suffice most of the time, especially if you have an insulated jacket rather than a shell. Merino wool thermals are perfect for this as it is a great insulator and will wick away moisture.
If it is very cold out, then it is well worth adding a mid-layer fleece, sweater, or even a light jacket. Down is a great insulator and can often be packed down small so if you get hot you can easily stash it in a bag or even a pocket.
If you find yourself often getting cold feet while skiing then they are definitely worth it, especially if you are going to be out all day or are hiking. If you don’t quite have the money for them, you can also try heated socks.
However, if you don’t find yourself suffering too badly or don’t want to drop a large amount of money, there are other things you can do first, such as getting some boot gloves, checking your fit, and drying out your boots after your day’s ski.