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Life Hacks

Are Your Feet Always Freezing? *This* May Be the Surprising Culprit

Plus, the special socks that’ll leave your skin soft, supple and snug as a bug!

It’s no surprise that cold weather, damp shoes or socks and poor circulation can leave your feet cold and your toes feeling icy. But some days it seems like no matter how thick your socks are, how dry your feet are or how many blankets you have covering your legs, your feet just can’t get warm. One possible cause? Drier winter air, which can lead to cracked heels that are less able to hold onto body heat, explains Rion Berg, DPM, a podiatrist with Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in Seattle. “And the effects can be most problematic for older adults with poor circulation.” Here, we asked the experts how to keep feet warm, no matter where you are or what’s causing them to feel cold. (Click through for more on what may be causing your cold feet.)

How to keep your feet warm while outdoors

1. Choose these socks

“Wool socks help wick away moisture and are ideal for keeping your feet warm and dry; they also prevent blistering,” says Dr. Berg, who recommends SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Buy on Amazon, $24) to his patients who hike, ski or have circulatory problems. For runners, he suggests Feetures Merino 10 Running Socks (Buy on Feetures, $20). Headed out for a long day in the cold? Consider doubling up on your socks. Just be sure both layers are moisture-wicking and that your shoes are roomy enough to accommodate the extra bulk.

2. How to keep your feet warm: Try *this*

spraying feet with antiperspirant
Yusuke Ide/Getty Images

To keep feet dry and warm, waterproof shoes are the obvious choice: They’re made from rubber, polyurethane or neoprene and are designed to keep moisture out of your shoes entirely.

Don’t have waterproof shoes? You can always add a waterproofing layer yourself. Find sprays at any shoe store, such as Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof Waterproofing Spray (Buy on Amazon, $11.95) or L.L. Bean Outerwear Care Kit (buy on L.L Bean, $24.94)

You can also make your own waterproofing solution using clear beeswax (find it on Amazon or in natural health stores) or candle wax. Simply rub the wax onto the outside of your shoes until it forms a thin layer. Run a hairdryer over the shoes to melt the wax into the shoes’ material, then allow it to cool down before wearing your shoes.

Check out the video below to see how it works:

The only problem with waterproof shoes? They will also prevent moisture inside your shoe from leaving — that means if your feet are prone to sweating, that moisture may eventually make your toes cold. If that’s the case for you, try spraying your feet with antiperspirant before putting on your socks.

3. Pop in foot warmers

These small pouches contain iron powder, salt and other chemicals that give off heat through oxidation when you open the package and expose them to air. “They come in very handy on snow days to keep little ones’ feet warm and dry while they’re outside playing,” says Stephanie Edenburgh, owner of “Just put them in the toe of the boot and go!” The duration and level of warmth vary depending on the brand and type of insert, but they typically stay warm for several hours. (Buy on Amazon, $6.97)

4. How to keep your feet warm: Pinpoint the right size shoe

Shoes that are too small around the toes or heels can curb circulation and lead to cold feet, says Dr. Berg. The best way to tell if your shoes fit well: When you place a finger between the heel of your foot and the heel of your shoe, your finger should have just enough space to fit snugly. If your toes are touching the front of the shoes, they’re likely too small.

You can also use the simple “shoe liner test,” as seen here:

How to keep your feet warm indoors

1. Turn on the humidifier

Not only is winter air naturally dry, turning the heat on lowers humidity levels even further. “People feel warmer when humidity levels are between 40% and 60%,” says Steve Hergott, HVAC expert and author of Healthy Harmless Home. “A simple single-room humidifier can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping you toasty from head to toe!”

2. How to keep your feet warm: Pamper heels with these moisturizers

How to keep your feet warm: Foot mask treatment

Dry, cracked feet are less able to maintain body heat, says Dr. Berg. So, when moisturizing your feet, look for products labeled balms, ointments or body butters, which contain a higher ratio of oil to water than products labeled creams or lotions, which are primarily water-based. Indeed, oils provide more moisture and a stronger skin barrier, which are needed to restore cracked, dry feet. The only potential pitfall? These products can feel greasier on your skin and leave residue on fabrics, so it’s best to apply them at night and then put socks on to lock in the moisture. This way you’ll wake up with warm, soft, moisturized skin and no greasy mess!

Related: How to Soothe Cracked Heels and Protect Them From Drying Out Again

3. Go for *gel* socks

Just as their name implies, these socks are lined with a special oil-infused gel. “They provide your feet with an immediate moisture boost,” says Dr. Berg, adding that using a combination of gel socks and a moisturizer can help condition your skin more quickly, helping heal cracks and boost circulation to keep your feet warmer. They should only be worn indoors while you’re relaxing and aren’t meant to be worn with shoes. Two great options: Barefoot Scientist Sleep On It Overnight Moisturizing Gel Socks (Buy at Barefoot Scientist Sleep, $24) or Gel Spa Socks for Repairing and Softening Dry Cracked Feet (Buy on Amazon, $19.99)

For more ways to stay warm, click through the links below!

Does Lowering the Thermostat Really Save Money? Plus the Freebie That Shrinks A Heating Bill

Dump the Frumpy Winter Wear! These 3 Faux Fur Accessories are Flattering and Warm

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