Keeping your feet warm during the winter starts with investing in a quality barefoot boot, but these tips go a long way in keeping your toes extra toasty! Here’s how to make barefoot boots warmer.
Barefoot boots aren’t necessarily known for their warmth as there’s the push and pull between creating a sole that’s thin and flexible and one that insulates from the cold ground. Barefoot shoe brands often consider the warmth factor when designing the soles of their boots, so they’re usually thicker than what you’d find in a casual barefoot sneaker.
Even with a little thicker sole, freezing weather calls for pulling out all the stops. These tips can help keep your feet as warm as possible when there’s a cold front coming on.
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Tips to make your barefoot boots warmer
1 Opt for a wide toe box
This is a given if you’re picking out a pair of barefoot boots since the wide toe box is a defining feature. But in the struggle to find the warmest boots, some might be tempted to veer back towards a conventional boot with a more tapered toe…but it may actually end up being colder. A tight toe box can restrict adequate blood flow to your feet and especially your toes.
2 Get a pair of insulated barefoot boots
Investing in a high-quality, insulated barefoot boot can go a long way at keep your feet warm there’s an extra layer built in. Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite insulated barefoot boots for winter that are also water-resistant.
- BeLenka Winter Boot: Code KELLY5 for 5% off
- Vivobarefoot Tracker Winter: Code KELLY10 for 10% off
- Xero Shoes Alpine
- Koel Rana Wool Boots: Available directly from Koel, or from PedTerra if you’re in the US. Use code KELLY for 10% off at PedTerra.
- Koel Faro
3 Size up in your boots
I recommend sizing up at least one size from your typical shoe size so you can insulate with warm socks without restricting blood flow. This doesn’t mean the boots fit too loose, it means they fit just right with the thicker wool socks.
Even with your thicker socks, you should have some space to wiggle your toes. And as the extra air around your feet warms up, it functions as another layer of insulation between you and the cold outside air.
4 Wear merino wool socks
Merino wool is one of the warmest fabrics as it can efficiently hold in heat relative to its thickness. Therefore, a thinner wool sock can be much warmer than a thicker sock made from synthetics. Wool has several other amazing properties; it’s moisture-wicking, breathable, odor-resistant and naturally antimicrobial.
I look for at least 70% wool, with a little bit of spandex for stretch and nylon for durability. These are going to be much warmer than a wool blend sock that has a higher percentage of polyester or another synthetic. Here’s a list of my favorite merino wool socks for winter.
Whatever you do, do not wear cotton socks! Once your cotton socks get wet, they’re going to stay wet until you take them off and put them in the dryer. If your feet sweat or some snow sneaks into your boots, wool will both work to wick the moisture away and will do a much better job at providing warmth even when wet.
5 Add a felted wool or shearling wool insole
This added warmth goes a long way, especially with barefoot boots that have a thinner sole. Some barefoot brands come with insulated insoles and others sell them separately. If a brand you like doesn’t have an insole, you can purchase a larger size from another brand and cut it down to make it an exact match.
You can also cut out and customize your own insoles from this felted wool.
6 Reapply Waterproofing Cream or Spray
Cold feet are wet feet! Maintaining the waterproofing of your boots is crucial in keeping your feet warm. Over time, the waterproof coating on boots may wear off. Regularly reapplying a waterproofing cream or spray creates a barrier against moisture, preventing your feet from getting cold due to dampness.
Have any more tips on making your barefoot boots even warmer? Drop them below.