A pair of feet in warm socks sit near a window with a winter scene outside

5 Tips for How to Keep Your Feet Warm in the Winter

If you’ve struggled with how to keep your feet warm in the winter, then it’s time to try some new tactics in your quest for toe-stiness. 

Suffering from chronic cold feet during the coldest months is the worst. As the days get shorter, weather gets colder and your home gets draftier, your feet settle into a seasonal state of frigidity. Like a hibernating bear, their temperature seems to plummet and stay several degrees below normal for months on end. Why won’t they warm up? Whyyyyyy?

There are a variety of reasons your feet might be cold all the time. Poor circulation is often the culprit. Diabetes, anemia, peripheral artery disease and hypothyroidism can restrict blood flow to your lower extremities. Regardless of the cause, though, every winter plays out the same. Reenergized by summertime, you return to the battlefield to once again declare war on your arctic archnemesis. But within a few weeks, you’re waving the white flag. The cold, it seems, cannot be defeated. 

If this sounds sadly familiar, don’t give up hope quite yet. The best way to keep feet warm may be hiding in plain sight. Here are five tips to help you end the era of frozen feet once and for all—or at least until spring arrives.    

1. Invest in some super warm socks—and maybe liners, too.

Wait, wait, wait. Don’t stop reading. Maybe you’ve tried different socks to no avail. But maybe it’s because you didn’t buy the right type of socks or didn’t layer them for maximum insulation. You can’t just grab the first pair of socks off the rack and expect them to solve all your cold toe woes. You need the best socks for cold feet.

When looking for socks that keep your feet warm, it pays to be discerning. Sure, wool is the obvious choice but don’t get tunnel vision. There are some great synthetic options out there, as well, like Thermolite. Wool’s thickness helps keep feet warm, and it possesses moisture-wicking powers your cotton socks lack. If you find wool itchy or unkind to your skin, try merino wool for a softer substitute.

If your feet are still cold with wool socks on, it’s probably time to double up. Lightweight liners might be just what you need to trap the warmth in and repel the cold. As a last resort, try some battery heated socks. This pair has rechargeable lithium batteries you can juice while you sleep. 

2. Equip your shoes with insole foot warmers. 

Are your feet so stone cold they need a layer of heat to stay warm? Although not ideal, insole foot warmers are another viable option if you’ve had it with cold feet in winter. 

Disposable adhesive foot warmers should keep your feet comfy for several hours, but then you have to pitch them and buy more. Maybe save this effective-yet-expensive strategy as your last line of defense. If you decide to go this route, you might as well buy in bulk. L.L. Bean sells an 18-pack of toe warmers that last six hours. By our calculations, that’s more than 100 hours of heated feet heaven. 

Reusable insole foot warmers do exist, and some have earned outstanding online reviews. These insoles come with chargers and cables that plug into outlets or USB ports. Some even have remote controls that allow you to change heat settings. Just be ready to spend big bucks—these gizmos aren’t cheap.  

3. Go with the old standby—a compact space heater.

Space heaters have come a long way over the years. They’re safer, more energy-efficient and smaller than ever before. They’re also a great option for people with cold feet who spend most of the day in one spot at home or the office. Plug that baby in, point it right at your tootsies and bask in the mini heatwave. 

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a space heater, but we recommend going the compact route to thaw those ice blocks you call feet. Adjustable settings or a built-in thermostat will help you better control the heat output. And the best models have cool safety features like auto shutoff and tip-over protection. Be extra careful when using space heaters—the federal government estimates they’re involved in about 1,700 house fires each year.  

4. Buy some boots; they’re like igloos for your feet.

There’s a reason people treat winter like boot season. Boots are made for warming, and that’s just what they’ll do—if you buy high-quality ones, that is. Still struggling with how to keep your feet warm? Try wrapping them in wool socks, sliding them into snugly fitting boots and lacing them up tightly. 

Buy boots that are like a fortress for your feet. Breathability may be great for those running shoes, but you want to create an airless vacuum. Think of it as a tiny igloo or foot-sized sauna. The cozy combo of a waterproof exterior and fur- or fleece-lined interior will greatly increase the chances of keeping your feet warm. Thick rubber soles will also help.

Wondering how much you should spend on a good pair of winter boots that will last more than one season? Budget anywhere from $100 to $200 for the top boot brands. Trust us, it’ll be money well spent.

5. Try an innovative product that fits your lifestyle.  

There’s a gadget for everything these days, and there’s no shortage of products for keeping feet warm. A simple Google or Amazon search will have you sifting through all sorts of thingamajigs that promise to remedy cold feet that won’t warm up.

Sometimes the key to combating cold feet in winter is a constant source of heat. If you’re not keen on wearing boots or shoes with insole warmers around the house, there are alternatives. Try an ergonomic heated footrest in your home office or beneath your feet while you’re lounging on the sofa. Or, slip your brittle toes into this heating pad with a plush pocket for your feet. 

We’d love to tell you there’s a surefire answer for how to keep feet warm, but what works for someone else may not work for you. The path to warm feet is paved with trial and error. May you reach your balmy destination sooner than later!