It really doesn’t matter how great all of your gear is. If your feet are complaining, it’s really hard to have a good time. There are few things worse than cold feet unless it’s really hot feet.
Often we don’t realize how much stress and pressure we put on our feet. It’s very important to make sure that you have the correct footwear based on the weather and activity you will be engaging in.
During the summer months, the thought of insulated boots isn’t a “top of mind” concern. However, for those who work in the great outdoors, the right footwear should always be a top priority.
Plus, there are those of us who might be giving a thought or two (or more…) to hunting season. Because let’s be honest… you can never prepare too early!
In this article, I’m going to share with you an explanation that will cover everything you need to know about footwear insulation, and then we will look at what insulation levels are appropriate for each type of weather situation.
So let’s get into it!
Understanding Footwear Insulation Levels
It’s one thing to try on a shoe or boot and see how it feels. It’s another thing to actually put it to the test to see if it has the correct amount of insulation for your needs.
Thankfully, there is a rating system that allows you to gauge how much insulation a piece of footwear has and how much you will need. Unfortunately, most people do not understand it. But today, we are going to fix that!
Let’s start out with insulation itself – what is it, and what does it do?
What is Insulation?
While there are a lot of other brands out there, many tactical boots use a synthetic insulation called Thinsulate. When insulating a boot, you can’t have bulky, heavy fluff; you need something sleek and lightweight. Thinsulate answers this need. A very tough, durable material, Thinsulate maintains its insulating capabilities even when wet.
Here’s how it works: tiny microfibers hold onto air molecules, creating a shield that stops the cold air from getting in while also stopping the hot air around your foot from getting out. The result? Warm feet. Thinsulate is a leader in this industry because they have extremely tiny microfibers that do a great job at holding in the warmth while keeping the cold out.
How Many Grams of Insulation?
Now, for the rating system. Footwear insulation is measured by grams per square meter of insulation. For Thinsulate, this number can be anywhere from 100 – 1000 grams. Therefore, a boot with 200 grams of Thinsulate will have less insulating power than a boot with 700 grams.
Pretty simple right? The following will give you some reference points when trying to understand how much insulation you need.
- 200 grams: Cool weather with low activity OR cold weather with high activity
- 400 grams: Cold weather with moderate activity
- 600 grams: Colder weather with low activity
- 800 grams: Very cold weather with low activity
- 1000 grams: Extreme cold weather with very low activity
The Right Insulation Level for the Weather
For active work boots and hunting/hiking boots during the cooler parts of the year, you will probably be good with insulation in the 200-400 gram range. Once you are in the dead of winter and not quite so active, you are going to want to look for more in the 600-800 gram range.
Temperature, moisture levels, and activity levels are the three biggest determining factors when choosing the right footwear insulation level. There is a multitude of combinations between the three. However, understanding how footwear insulation is rated will help you take a big step forward in picking just the right footwear.
P.S. Don’t forget, a pair of boots is only as good as the socks inside them! Investing in high-quality socks will ensure that your tactical boot’s insulating capabilities are maximized!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
An avid archer, political junkie, and aspiring musician, Brady makes his home on the edge of society, just close enough to get good WiFi, but far enough to not be bothered.