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Voetenwerk (advies van baas Cody Lundin)


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Sock it to me!

Cold feet, at one time or another, have been the bane of all outdoor recreationists. At a minimum, cold tootsies make an otherwise pleasant outing a drag. On the other side of the coin, you could lose toes or even your entire foot to frost bite. While I’ll never write a book about footwear, I do have a fair amount of experience with socks. I have worn three pairs of “new” (holy socks don’t cut it) wool socks, sans shoes or boots, for years in cold, dry snowy conditions with great results. Put on the smallest pair of socks first, and then one or two larger pairs over the first pair. I reserve the outer sock for the pair that has the most wear. While this might seem like insane behavior, learning more about why feet get cold is all the explanation you should need.

Why feet get cold:

1. The feet are located furthest from the heart, far away from a warm circulating blood supply.

2. Feet sweat a lot, up to a half a cup per day, thereby soaking a socks insulation.

3. Most shoes and boots act as a vapor barrier preventing sweat soaked socks from drying.

4. Poorly fitted foot wear, lacing boots too tightly or trying to stuff a foot with two pairs of socks into a summer shoe or boot makes for a tight fit, impeding circulation. Foot circulation will already be compromised due to peripheral constriction of the blood vessels from outside cold temperatures.

5. The insulation the sock provides is compressed by foot wear and the fact that its being stood upon.

6. Feet lose heat by conduction to cooler ground temperatures. Sweaty socks further increase conductive heat loss.

Donning loose and layered, new wool socks allows for excess foot perspiration to freely evaporate while minimally compressing insulation and impeding circulation. Wool socks work best in cold, dry conditions (dry snow actually sucks the moisture from a waterlogged sock) but I’ve worn them in slush as well. Experiment in your back yard to see what works for you. In the wilderness, if your ability to walk is compromised due to lost or damaged foot wear, you might be headed for disaster. Two extra pairs of wool socks in your pack, kept dry in a freezer bag, might allow you to comfortably walk away from a deadly scene.

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