How is everyone keeping their feet warm these days? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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How is everyone keeping their feet warm these days?

My cheap RedHead neoprene boot foot waders exploded the other day, so its back to breathable stocking foot Simms and my $100 cheap secondary breathable backup waders that are also stocking foot.

Last two days with air temps around freezing and water temps not far behind its been frozen feet both days. Bad for my health and among other things my spirit; just not fun. Tomorrow I'll have the little foot warmer heat pads inside the stocking foot trying to curb frozen feet but generally they don't work all that well.

Contemplating another set of boot foots; cheap ones or not - have not decided yet.
I noticed Orvis sells boot foot waders now at a reasonable price.
Simms has some too but not cheap.

Are there stocking foot waders that are actually built for very cold water out there?

Also looking for other ideas. How are you keeping your feet warm in cold water these days?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 08:03 PM
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Check with Poppy at the Redshed to see if he has any of the boot foot dan bailey waders left, great value for the price.

Bruce Kruk

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Columbia River Flyfishing
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 09:04 PM
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I have just used a good pair of hiking socks that help, but recently I have been thinking about a pair of heated socks. I don't know a good pair from a bad pair right now as I am just looking into it. But it seem like a valid idea so far. Perhaps others have done this and have input.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 10:47 PM
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Make sure your feet are comfortable, but very dry when you put on your layers. Don't have your car's floor heater on high getting your feet all sweaty on the ride to the river. Better to be dry and a little cool than all sweaty and frozen.

1st layer, moisture wicking liner socks. They're very thin. The ones I have now are made by Heatgear, so they're some kind of synthetic. You really wouldn't think this makes a difference based on how thin they are, but it does.

2nd layer, high wool content socks with a thick pile, but not too dense weave. Wool retains some insulation value when wet, so if you have sweaty feet, like me, these are better than any thick synthetic sock. Loose weave allows more dead air space (room for warm air). Old school is still the way to go here. Redhead brand "forever" socks are what I'm using now as I got them as a gift.

3rd layer, stocking foot waders.

In my experience, those stick-on Toasty Toes things don't work for long inside of any sealed shoe or waders. They require a small amount of oxygen to create heat through oxidization, this oxygen is quickly depleted and they will quit working in short order. They make my feet colder than when I don't use them, as they make my feet sweat, which also stops the chemical reaction in those d**n things. They're also uncomfortable. Not worth the trouble.

Any cold-weather outdoorsy person will tell you, avoid sweat at any cost. It feels real warm until you freeze a few minutes later.

I also use the same system with my long underwear. Wicking synthetic under wool.

And don't lace your wading boots too tight. Tight laces are cool for the walk in an out, but loosen them to allow better blood circulation when fishing.

You gotta keep that warm blood pumping freely all the way from your core down to your toes.

You can also acclimate to the cold by refraining from using too much clothing during your non-fishing days, but only if it's safe for you to do so. Kinda the opposite of a guy I used to work with... he wouldn't stop wearing sweat-shirts until July some years... said it was so he still had a layer to take off come August!

Hope this helps!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 07:32 AM
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My Patagonia Rio Gallegos waders have 4-5 layer material from the waist down, which helps with the proper layering (Base layer, Insulating layer) and moisture wicking abilities. The booties are over-sized, which is what you want. I wear a size 14 street shoe and the booties can accommodate my foot, and a heavy sock. I bought the new Cabelas wading socks that go over the knee (makes my wife laugh everytime) and I find them to be the best I have ever tried. Moisture wicking and nice insulating properties. It also helps that my Rio Gallegos waders have a merino wool layer that lines each bootie. Very warm and talk about walking on a cloud all day ... very happy feet !! My Korker boots are size 15. This means once I get my foot inside the wading boot, nothing is restricting my feet. My wading boots are just "lightly snug" and applying minimal pressure on the bootie. Not enough to slip around on the inside, the boot has a liner to prevent that, but I am stable with no issues. The boots are not flopping around. The key is to not restrict blood flow on the outer layer of your foot and to keep some air circulation happening down there. Remember, air is an insulator.
If the rivers aren't frozen over, I'm out there fishing with happy feet

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 08:30 AM
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This bit sounds as though I'm giving you a lecture on personal hygiene, nothings further from the truth.
1stly, start off with warm dry waders, hang and dry out after every single tip, trapped moisture(perspiration!), will lead to freezing cold feet in pretty quick time!.
I favour a quality thick breathable fabric sock next to the skin high up the calf too!, there's loads out there, sports shops and walking/outdoor socks offer greater choice and value over simply buying Simms etc.!.Over that I always have a pair of pure wool Sea Boot socks,I've several pairs and they are religiously changed every single day,I make sure I've enough for every day of trip away!.
Real good fit of the waders and associated wading boots is key here, you need enough space for air to circulate round the feet, but don't want a slack floppy fit at all.I presume your breathable's are neoprene feet ?, if not then that makes things a lot more awkward(and cold!), a thicker neoprene sock foot on the waders will help too.
It's the way of the world that some folk just perspire more than others!, if you're that unlucky, maybe a total re- think on wader foot sizing to accommodate more layers?.I know one unfortunate who changes socks mid day, even in summer as his feet are prone to getting very cold.
Remember, your waders may well be breathable, but the neoprene feet are not.Wicking sock layers will get any perspiration away from your skin and be trapped in the outer layers of the wool sea boot sock.Thats the best we can do!,try an extended lunch on the bank, let yourself dry out a little!
Sympathies and good luck.Yorkie.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 09:11 AM
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I have a couple of things I do to attempt to stay warm. For the coldest days I have a pair of insulated waders. They do make a difference when it's real cold but they are bulky so I only bring them out then. Normally I just use my regular Compass 360 sock foot waders and layer up. For my feet I have boots just for winter, oversized. This allows me to layer starting with a regular sock then I either add a wool sock over that or a Bama Boot(see Marks Work Warehouse). The key is to leave some space inside the boot for wiggle room. If the boot is too tight your feet will get cold fast even with good socks. For my legs I normally start with a breathable, wicking under pant. I have some from Cabelas and they work great. I recently purchased a breathable fleece pant that also wicks from Old Navy. Not tried them yet but they look promising. Over these I usually just throw on a fleece sweat pant. On top I start with just a T-shirt then a long sleeve T. For warmth I add a wool hoodie then my wading jacket. For gloves I just use the flip back mitt/glove made of fleece and I also use the heat packs. I stick one on the cork and one in my pocket.


Which way to the river?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 01:55 PM
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Alpaca wool socks. Winter boots a size larger than summer boots. Toe warmers. Fleece pants under ski pants with Simms g3 stockingfoot 35 or below. 35-45 ski pants only under waders. 45 or higher fleece pants only. Keep car cold on drive to river. Make sure to eat breakfast and snack or take lunch break during the day. Light layers of clothes so you can add or subtract as temps change or you hike to new spots. Keeping core warm and food to burn as fuel keeps hands and feet warmer. Boots can't be tight must be loose fitting if any hope if warm feet.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 02:02 PM
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This works pretty well for me, base layer thick Alpaca socks. Second layer thick merino wool socks. Keep boots nice and loose. Of course Thick Alpaca socks have worn through a bit these days so now it's newer, slightly thinner Alpaca socks, then previously thick Alpaca socks then wool socks and boots a little looser. I found that Alpaca makes a better base layer and wicks away moisture extremely well.

I've never had too much luck with the foot warmers but a trick to those is to open them 15-20 minutes prior to use, they stay heated better.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 07:52 PM
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I fish in the freezing cold Great Lakes all winter long. I use I base layer of wicking on my legs. Then redington fleece pants. Then wear one sock. A very thick heat holders sock. This does the trick for me. I also have a pair of Simms bootfoots. They don’t see to much use though.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 08:27 PM
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Since I live in, and most often fish the “Steelhead Riviera” I haven’t tested this out, but the guides (as well as the cook) in BC swore to us that using integrated bootfoot waders, even without added insulation, is like night and day in comparison to the stocking foot versions in the real cold - for everything, not just feet. They told me this when I confessed that I was pretty sure I was too much of a wimp to handle the “real” cold. If you get the kind of ankle support you feel you need from them ...

Otherwise even in the Riviera I almost alway wear Darn Tough merino mountaineering socks as the outer layer, and boots the right size to accommodate them. They are sweet and the thickest wool sock I have. But on really cold days you can try out some variation of the classic bread-bags-between-inner-outer-socks method. They serve as a vapor barrier cutting off evaporative heat loss which I assume is the main reason that integrated waterproof boots work so well.

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Last edited by Botsari; 12-17-2019 at 08:49 PM.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 09:11 PM
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There are a lot of half measures but nothing works as good as bootfoots. Its science baby!
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Botsari View Post
.... If you get the kind of ankle support you feel you need from them ...
That's the big negative difference with boot foots. Almost no ankle support.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 09:45 PM
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By staying out of the water!

Well, you asked!

Giving the fish a break, both of them!

Spending more time on the pipes, getting ready for 2020 competition season, and crabbing when I can get away.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man".--Heraclitus
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 09:52 PM
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I'm finally going to buy myself a pair of bootfoot breathables. I've got bootfoot neoprenes, but hiking into a spot with those is a real pain, and I end up sweating and cold anyways. Too many days cut short and days missed because of cold feet. I've got my eye on the frog toggs steelheaders. Not Simms by any means, but I've got plenty of aquaseal at the ready to keep them going.

Mend it!
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