Best Warm Toe Solutions

We published a post little over a year ago on “Best Gloves for Raynaud’s Sufferers” and it’s gotten so much positive feedback, we decided to do a similar post on best warm toe solutions.

As with gloves and mittens, no one sock or toe product will work for every person, but we hope the options listed below will offer sufferers a good mix of potential choices available.

There are several categories of products to consider:

  • Shoes and Boots – the outer layer.
  • Socks – the next level of insulation.
  • Topical Creams and Accessories – that can offer short-term and long-term warmth and protection.
  • Heated Slippers – for warmth inside the home.

Shoes and Boots

In colder months, many Raynaud’s sufferers prefer to abandon shoes for the extra coverage of boots.  My ankles don’t see the light of day from October through March – or longer, pending the results of Groundhog Day and the timing of spring weather.

As with gloves, it’s best to have a portfolio of boot options available for different weather conditions, daily activities, time exposure outdoors, and the need to look business-like or fashionable.  The warmest boots I own are fur with good insulated lining.  Some were expensive (Technica brand – they also make ski equipment).  But I’ve also had success with less expensive fur boots from Bearpaw®.  Shearling-lined boots, like those from Bearpaw®, UGG® and La Canadienne also offer excellent warmth and comfort.

One feature worth noting is the soft inner lining of fur and shearling boots.  Raynaud’s attacks can leave the toes sore and sensitive to the touch.  Before I was formally diagnosed with Raynaud’s, I went to the emergency room with my swollen, sore feet – they hurt so bad I couldn’t put shoes or boots on.  The doctor on duty didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me (thought I must be a chain smoker…), but he gave me one excellent piece of advice:  Get some soft, fuzzy-lined boots that are a little larger than your regular size.  The soft lining won’t create friction against the skin, and buying them a half or full size larger will allow for the swelling along with thicker sock protection.  This advice has served me well for many years!

While office dress has relaxed quite a bit over the years, we can’t easily wear a pair of fluffy boots with a business suit to client meetings and dinners, so other options are needed for these occasions.   Well-made thick leather boots (including fun cowboy boots!) can provide sufficient warmth on less brisk days, or pair them with thicker socks (but buy them large enough!), along with some of the extras discussed below.

Sock Options

As with gloves and boots, I keep a full portfolio of socks of various weights, thicknesses and fabrics for different conditions and boot/shoe pairings.  When I pack for a trip, I make sure to carry a good variety across the portfolio just to be safe, and when fully packed I’m always amazed to count more socks in my bag than undies!  Because some boots are larger and roomier than others, they have to be matched up with the right socks, but there are certain fabrics you’ll want to plan to include in the mix.

Alpaca fiber is warmer than wool, but as soft as cashmere, and not itchy or bulky like some wool fabrics. It wicks moisture naturally to keep feet warm if they perspire (not too likely for Frosties, but good to know!).  Alpaca socks come in a wide variety of styles and thickness levels, so you might want several options in your drawer.  Cashmere is also a soft, warm comfy option.  And for those who aren’t bothered by the itch of natural wool, it’s a great insulator, particularly super-soft merino wool, which is known for its temperature-regulating features and moisture management.  For more info on the benefits of wool socks, see our post on Foot Warming Tips from Lumberjacks.

One of the warmest socks we’ve tested to date are Heat Holders® Thermal Socks.  They offer three levels of insulation proven seven-times warmer than cotton socks, and claim to be three times more effective at keeping feet warmer than standard thermal socks.  Fellow Frosties have given us very positive feedback on Heat Holders®, using words like “soothing, plushy, and fluffy”, with some telling us they are the warmest socks they’ve ever worn.  But there’s always a catch – these socks are really toasty, but really thick.  So you’ll need enough room in shoes or boots to accommodate them.  (Click here for our full product review.) 

More recently we tested Dachstein Woolwear socks from Sweater Chalet.  They are made of 100% Austrian Organic Wool and come in 2, 3 and 4-ply options.  These booties are really thick!  As with Heat Holders® socks, you’ll need an extra large shoe or boot to accommodate them, but you’ll feel the warmth delivered the minute your toes dive in! 

We generally haven’t been that impressed by heated options in this category, but recently had a very positive experience with Gobi’s Tread Heated Socks.  The batteries are thin and light, and the socks are quite comfy.  Best of all, the heat reaches all the way down to the pads of the toes.  Plus there’s a remote device for controlling the level of heat, a great feature!

Another option for consideration are socks with silver content.  Silver is highly conductive, and the silver content helps to reflect body heat and regulate temperature.  So while the socks don’t create external heat, they do help to keep heat in and to even out the temperature across the feet and toes. Plus they are thin enough to fit comfortably inside regular and dress shoes, great for days when you need a thinner option for work, special events or travel.  We haven’t located a good resource for silver socks in the U.S., and unfortunately the group we found in the UK isn’t selling them now.  But if you’re willing to pay for international shipping, the Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK organization sells them in their shop offering several lengths and sizes.  We haven’t tried these, but assume, given the source, that they work well for people with Raynaud’s.

Warming Accessories

The standard external heat source Frosties depend on in the colder months are HotHands® and Grabber Warmers®.  While many of us are well acquainted with their hand warmers (disposable warmer packs that heat up when exposed to air and keep hands yummy warm for hours), you