Aren’t your feet cold?

Now that the weather is colder here in New England and is official winter, I often get asked, “Aren’t your feet cold?”. Normally if I’m indoors, they aren’t. But yes, if I’m outside for a few minutes and the temperature reads 20F / -7C, my feet do get cold. The cold actually becomes unbearable and feel like they are about to fall off. I may be more adapted than most other people who habitually go shod, but I am human and posses no special talents.

Two components to cold weather adaptation

I believe there are two components to cold weather adaptation. Both of which take time and practice.

1. The first component I believe is psychological. Your feet only feel cold because that’s what your brain is telling you. It’s like entering a pool for the first time. At first, the water feels cold, but after some time, it no longer does. Your psychological base-line of what cold is, is lowered.
2. The second component is physical. This I believe takes takes more time to adapt, and genetics may play a role. Some studies show that women have colder extremities then men. Studies though do show that cold adaptation is possible. There have been reports of Sherpas surviving nights on Mt. Everest barefoot and unharmed.
Men vs Women colder hands heat map

Men vs Women colder hands heat map

What I do in colder weather

What I’ve personally being doing in colder weather is wearing Bedrock Sandals. They have huge advantages over flipflops, as they are more durable, have a heel strap, and are water proof. If I happen to be going through puddles or snow, the sandals are less likely to slip and the water will run off. If I happen to be outside for a long period of time, such as a hike or shoveling my driveway, I’ll wear boots.

Bedrock Sandals

Bedrock Sandals

There are some very talented barefooters (also called snowfooters) who do shovel their driveways barefoot. I am somewhat baffled by these people and applaud them. The important thing in cold weather is to be safe and be happy.

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