Monday, January 21

Warm Feet, Happy Feet

From Mountain Equipment Co-op
Many of our guests at this time of year are coming from urban centres in Southern Ontario, cities where winter conditions are sporadic and short-lived, cities where an arsenal of winter gear is seen as something only a dedicated winter athlete would need. Not so!

A few simple staples in your wardrobe will mean you're ready when a winter storm blows through your town, when you have to shovel the drive or face a blustery trek to the subway or bus stop. Better yet, it'll mean you can treat yourself to a winter getaway to play in the snow in comfort!

From Canadian Tire
Winter is fun if you're warm and dry from head to toe. It's easy to layer on clothing from ankle to neck -- just add layers of thermal underwear, extra sweaters and double up on fleece pants. It's not so easy to improvise on footwear. For warm feet, you need proper winter boots.

Boots are the one item of apparel most people underestimate. They think they can add an extra pair of socks and make due with the same boots they wear to the office or the grocery store. Extra socks can help but it's possible to have too much of a good thing. If donning an extra pair of socks makes for very snug-fitting boots, they can actually make your feet feel colder. You need wiggle room around your toes to trap warm air in with your feet and allow for good circulation.

We recommend boots that go up mid-calf or higher; that slip on; are cinched at the ankle (with straps or laces) for a secure fit; cinch at the top to keep the snow out; and have a removable liner for quick and easy drying. As I mentioned above, they should be large enough to allow for wiggle-room to trap warm air and unrestricted circulation.

From Canadian Tire
Most boots have a rating from the manufacturer indicating what temperature they are designed for. In my opinion, the minimum to get would be -30°C but -40° or -50° are fairly common and should be easy enough to find. If you're prone to cold feet, go on and seek out a -100° rated boot!

Don't worry, you won't have to break the bank. Prices range from $80 to $200 and up. Good sources if you want reliable boots on a budget are Canadian Tire and Mountain Equipment Co-op. You can also find winter boots at most outdoor and sporting stores in the city. Locally in Muskoka, there are number of outfitters with retail stores carrying boots and apparel. In Huntsville, check out Algonquin Outfitters on Main Street.

Think of winter boots as an investment. A good pair will last you for years and provide warmth and comfort when the temperature drops. They'll let you enjoy the best part of the snowy season, letting you get outside and play when everyone else is grumbling and waiting for Spring.

From Mountain Equipment Co-op
Click for more information on What to Wear in Winter, the joys of FLJ's and other thermal underwear, plus an explanation of temperature rating from MEC.

Got a favourite piece of your winter wardrobe you wouldn't go without? Let us know and help us keep warmer and drier while we're outside having fun in the snowy season!

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