We had a about five inches of snow drop over night and went from 70 degree weather to frozen. I spent the better part of my winter trying to avoid the snow and keep my feet warm. This was no easy task given that it was my first winter wearing nothing but my Five Finger KSOs. I wore socks which helped and when I knew I was going to be outside for a long time without much activity I wore my Nike Frees. Today however I decided to leave the Frees in the closet and just go with it. I was surprised at just how much the cold did not effect my feet. I wore my KSOs with some Injinji socks and although my feet got cold it was not unbearable at all. In fact it was fine. The only time I really felt anything was when I stepped in puddles. Those gave me an instant frozen feeling in my feet but it went away in minutes. I won’t sit here and say my feet did not get cold because they did but that is all that happened. I could feel my toes and my feet felt fine, just a little cold. I think the point here is to not fear the cold. It is okay for something to be cold, it’s frozen that you need to worry about and even when it was 33 degrees out I was nowhere near feeling frozen. So for those of you who might still have that fear of the cold on your feet, here are my tips for learning how to be at one with the chillier weather.
1. Don’t rush out into it. Step outside the door and stand there for a minute letting your feet acclimate before you step out into the wind, snow, or whatever else might be on the ground.
2. Warm your feet up before you leave the house. Do some calf raises for a minute, walk around on your toes, or anything else you can think of to get the blood flowing down to your feet. Having that extra warmth and flow will give your feet some extra adjusting time.
3. Listen to your limbs but listen to what they are actually saying. It is okay to be cold. It is not okay to be frozen. If you cannot feel your foot or your toes individually then you are probably too cold and need to get your feet warmed up. Go back to those calf raises or run in place for a second. If that fixes the problem then you’re good. If not then you need to get inside or get something on your feet to protect them.
4. Train yourself for the temperatures just like you would for anything else. If you’ve never had cold snow on your bare foot then don’t just run out for the day with nothing to protect you. Wear some Five Fingers or something like them that will let your foot be colder than a regular shoe but still protected. Also don’t think that you can just handle it if you are not used to it. Go out in the cold in small spurts. Wear your Five Fingers when you know you are going short distances like from your door to your car and then from your car to the store or your office. Letting your feet get used to the cold slowly will help make the transition easier.
As in everything go slow and let your body be your guide. Like I said, I spent most of the winter learning and now I can stand in five inches of snow and enjoy myself without feeling like my toes are going to fall off.