The desire to keep your feet warm while hunting is an important one. Once your feet get cold, there’s nothing else for it—your entire body will be cold for the rest of the day. At least until you get those toes warm again.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to keep your feet warm, including the appropriate socks, shoe or boot wraps, small thermal blankets for those sitting in the stand for hours on end, foot warmers, and some preemptive foot care.
Keeping your feet warm out in the field, regardless of what or how you are hunting, can’t be overemphasized enough. Dealing with cold hands is one thing, but cold feet somehow make your whole body cold as well, until you can feel the cold seeping into your bones.
13 Tips to Keep your Feet Warm While Hunting
We only touched the surface in the above list of ways to keep your feet warm while hunting. There are several ways to ensure your feet stay warm while you’re out, especially sitting still in a deer stand. While hunting isn’t supposed to be the most comfortable thing in the world, having warm feet isn’t too much to ask for.
1. Take care of your feet
Believe it or not, warm feet in a duck blind, a deer stand, or on the move while the dogs are barking in the foggy distance, starts at home. The key here is to keep your feet clean. Dirty feet tend to sweat more, and the sweat freezes once it escapes the boundary of your socks.
It’s often said that if you place cotton between your toes before you put on the right kind of socks for cold weather (more on that below), it gives your feet a warmth boost while absorbing excess sweat, wicking it away from your feet and between your toes.
2. The right socks make all the difference
No matter how much marketing you read on the warmth of cotton socks and how amazing they are, they don’t have anything on wool socks. Yes, wool socks are definitely more expensive, but they’re also worth every penny.
Most wool socks aren’t 100% wool, however. They contain enough polypropylene in them to wick away sweat. On the wool side, anywhere between 40% and 70%, the material effectively seals air in, keeping your feet nice and toasty. If you’re looking for a good pair, try Darn Tough, which comes with a lifetime warranty.
3. Heated socks
The only thing that can beat out a good pair of wool socks are heated socks. These are basically electric socks that require a battery. Keep in mind if the temperatures aren’t below freezing outside, these might be a bit too much.
4. Sock liners
Sock liners are generally made out of wool, so you should already know they are highly effective at keeping the heat in and cold out. One good thing about keeping the heat contained in one place is it dries your feet out, especially with other materials used for wicking away sweat.
5. Make sure your footwear fits right
Tight boots and shoes make your feet colder because they diminish blood flow. Blood carries your body heat, radiating it outward as it passes beneath the skin. Tight-fitting boots restrict the blood supply.
Besides, if you are doubling up socks, including sock liners, using heated socks, or stuffing cotton between your toes, you will need a little additional space anyway.
6. Use hand warmers
Fortunately, hand warmers are common and very inexpensive. You can buy boxes of the things for a fairly low price. They slide right in under the soles, aren’t too thick, and supply heat to your feet for hours.
The only drawback is that they will make your feet sweat if the day isn’t cold enough, just like the electric, thermal socks will.
7. Polypropylene socks
Wool socks are pretty expensive, and cotton just won’t cut it on cold days. Luckily, there is the perfect go-between in polypropylene socks. You will often find some of this material in wool socks because it helps remove sweat where wool would simply hold it in.
Priced in between wool and cotton, polypropylene is a good option if wool seems a bit much.
8. A good pair of boots
There is nothing worse than cheap boots when you’re trudging through 6” of snow. While you can get away with going cheaper than wool, you really can’t get away with going cheap on a good pair of boots.
Insulated boots are highly beneficial, both in the summer and the winter and they will keep your feet dry as well.
9. Pack extra socks for the day
No matter what kind of socks you have on, there’s always the chance that something goes wrong or they just aren’t enough. Pack extra socks to take along with you for the day. If nothing else, you can add an extra layer to your feet or replace a wet pair of socks if the water gets in over your ankle.
10. Duct tape
Good old duct tape. When there is no solution, duct tape always takes care of the problem until you can find something better. As it happens, duct tape also makes a good insulator and can help keep water away from the top of your high boots.
11. Bring a hot thermos
Drinking warm fluids, whether it’s hot coffee or hot cocoa, raises your body’s metabolism which increases blood flow. Hot coffee doesn’t warm you up directly, but it does warm your body up indirectly, especially with the addition of caffeine.
12. Shoe wraps
You can’t walk around in these too much, but if you’re hunting in a fixed position, you can always throw some shoe wraps on to help hold your body heat in and keep your feet warm. They don’t hold on very well when you’re on the move, however.
Plus, most of them come with pockets, which is an excellent place to stuff hand warmers. Since hand warmers last for a good while, they should keep your feet nice and toasty while you hunker down to wait.
13. Bring along a blanket
Blankets are a good idea if you’re hunting in a place where you won’t be moving around too much. It’s probably one of the simpler alternatives on the list. All you have to do is drape it over your feet, and you’re good to settle in for the long haul.
Keeping your feet warm while hunting helps out in more ways than one. Cold feet are a constant distraction, especially since it tends to make the rest of you feel just as cold. Icy feet are miserable, especially when you know you have hours left for the day.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to combat cold feet, including taking care of your feet and preparing well beforehand. Frostbite is also a real threat in really cold weather. Up there, it’s not just about keeping your feet warm, it’s about keeping your feet, period.