Frozen boots/shoes

I notice that several bloggers have been out in the cold weather recently (lucky blighters!) and have suffered from frozen shoes in the morning. Recent trips by Martin and Mac have testified to this unpleasant early morning experience. In the immortal words of Captain Mainwaring “here’s a little trick I picked up”.

Last year in November it was very cold in the Lakes. The water froze in my water bottle when I was out during the day. Not surprisingly my boots (Montrail Cirrus GTX) were a bit damp inside. At night, wanting to dry them out and prevent them from freezing, I popped a self-activating hand warming pouch in each boot. These produce a gentle heat when exposed to air and can be used in gloves to warm your hands and last for around ten hours. I covered to openings of the boots to keep in the warm air. By morning, the insides of my boots were dry and still faintly warm. Be careful with heat mouldable insoles. I removed mine first in case they deformed. Simple, but effective.


10 thoughts on “Frozen boots/shoes”

  1. A useful tip Robin, hopefully I’ll get to try it out before the holidays end.

    Probably the biggest problem I had was actually getting the shoes on in the morning, the laces are flat but quite wide while the lace holes are small and round. The laces were frozen and it was quite difficult to get them loosened off enough. Of course it waasn’t too pleasant initially when I did get them on.

    The heat pads look just the job.


  2. Its a relatively new problem for me Robin as in the past big old boots seemed to not freeze up so bad. Trail shoes freeze fast. Have some mids for the next walk (Fastpackers) so will see how they cope in the cold. Using crampons with them as well hopefully. Might just try your idea out. That is the great thing about blogs. You get to share experience and knowledge fast and free. No waiting for the next months magazine and hoping some useful stuff is in it.

    1. I find the Fastpackers quite cool especially if they get saturated, so my advice is to wear merino wool socks. I think they are fab boots. In the Carneddau in the summer, they were a bit damp inside after a few hours heavy rain and saturated outers. They didn’t leak, it was just sweat failing to go through the membrane. They dried over night, so if you put a heat pad in there should be no problem. In less extreme conditions, they breathe really well, and were comfortable even in the very hot day I had in the Cairngorms. They are definitely still watertight as I tested them after the Carneddau by filling them with water and there were no leaks. They are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. Hope they are as good for you as they are for me. I’ve even bought a second pair for when the first fail!

  3. A great idea, thanks, and one I’ll try in the Dales next week if I’m organised enough to get the handwarmers first. Thanks!

  4. The Fastpackers are for days in the winter where I need a of bit warmth and use gaiters as well, but not full on boots. Got steel Kahtoola’s for them as well. My old boots and my old Grivel G10s if conditions look like they are needed (I,e steep deep snow conditions). Got all angles covered this winter. Just need to get out and use the new kit. Once the winter is gone I am back to Inov-8 shoes. I like the Fastpackers walking in the snow the last few days. Good grip. I love the 3D Ultras I have but not the depth of grip. I might give a pair of Fastpacker trail shoes a go as well.

  5. If you use a gas stove they could be handy for getting the canister to temperature in really cold conditions. I’ve got some of the reusable to test this with.

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