Five ways to steer clear of chillsville
1. Keep those dogs dry. Socks that are even the tiniest bit damp from sweat mean trouble once you’re out in the cold. So take a tip from serious winter athletes: After you get to the slopes or the sledding hill, slip on a fresh pair just before your first run.
2. Be mindful of materials. Cotton retains moisture; wool and high-tech fibers wick it away and provide warmth. Two to try: the washer-and-dryer-safe socks from SmartWool(888/879-9665; smartwool.com; $13) and the Eurosock (shown here; 866/323-9648; angustrading.com; $15), made with scratch-free microfibers.
3. Stop at one pair. Contrary to what your mother told you, a single good pair of socks is usually enough. Still prone to Popsicle toes?Add a thin liner sock made of silk or polypropylene, such as Wick Dry Sta-Dri Jr. from Fox River (888/472-5678; sockcompany.com; $4.50). No more than two layers, though—blood flow is constricted when toes don’t have wiggle room.
4. Try the skier’s cheap trick. Disposable foot-warmers from Grabber Mycoal (800/426-4840; rei.com; $2) stick to the bottoms of socks. The packets are filled with iron filaments and salt; when exposed to air, the iron rusts, generating heat—and keeping hooves toasty for up to six hours.
5. Bag ’em. If you’re going to be knee-deep in snow, a little old-fashioned waterproofing helps. Grab a couple of bread bags from the cupboard and wrap one around each socked foot. Add another sock on top. Now go build an igloo.
Look for well-fitting waterproof optionstoo big or too small are both recipes for chilly feet. Insulating, quick-drying interiors are also crucial. Consider Sorels Cubs (877/666-7352; moosejaw.com; $45), with multilayered hand-washable felt liners, and Kamik Rockets (800/426-4840; rei.com; $45)they have an exterior ankle strap for a snug fit, and are rated to minus 40 degrees. Your kids may never come in from the cold.