It is no secret amongst hunters that Michigan winters can be formidable adversaries. Depending on your location, you may be experiencing freezing temperatures that have a way of cooling off your mojo. You see, a cold hunter is a distracted hunter and a distracted hunter misses good opportunities. Since nobody wants to miss the game upon which they set their sights, it is important to stay as warm as possible, and a good place to start is with your feet.
A lot of people make rookie mistakes when it comes to keeping their feet warm. You may think it is as simple as tossing on a pair or two of socks and calling it good, but really there is a bit more science to it. For example, what about those big, thick, puffy socks that are calling your name? Ignore them. Socks that are that big tend to be too thick to wear with your normal shoe size and actually do more harm than good, constricting your foot and cutting off circulation to your toes. Never don socks too thick that you cannot still move your toes freely with your shoes on and tied.
Another sock no-no is cotton. Yes, cotton socks are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they should be on your feet. Cotton gets wet easily, such as when you sweat, and then rapidly loses heat. This can lead to your cotton socks actually freezing, which is not something anyone wants. Instead, opt for merino wool, which is thermostatic, helps manage moisture, and won’t make you itch. Merino wool also has some unique properties, such as an ability to both absorb and repel moisture. This allows them to absorb moisture from your skin and then repel it away so it can evaporate.
Another option for keeping your feet warm is to opt for waterproof footwear. This starts with a waterproof sock that has the ability to repel moisture and therefore keep your feet dry. You can take it even further and buy waterproof shoes and boots for hunting that will also repel water. If you want, you can even take the do-it-yourself approach at very little expense. Simply take your favorite hunting boots and clean them up, then give them a thorough coating with a waterproofing spray.
If cold feet are still a problem, there are a couple more things you can try. For starters, go with a liner sock. This can add additional warmth, but they need to still be thin enough to allow toe movement or else they will do more harm than good. Another option to combat cold is the various warming inserts on the market that will warm your toes for you. Footbeds can help as well by creating a barrier between your foot and the cold on which you are standing and walking; just make sure they are the appropriate fit for the inside of your shoes and won’t make you uncomfortable.
They say if you take care of your feet that your feet will take care of you and this saying couldn’t be any truer. Good feet are the foundation of a healthy body, not to mention a successful day of hunting or fishing. No one wants to end up with trench foot or frostbite as this could seriously sideline not only your outdoor activities but also your daily life. So be sure to take care of those tootsies, keeping them warm and dry at all times so that cold feet cannot ruin your hunting season.