It is essential to keep your feet healthy at all times, especially if you like to hike or have to conduct long marches in the military. Having sore feet is one thing, but developing trench foot because your feet stayed wet and cold for too long is another story. You might have to deal with drastic measures like amputation if you neglect your feet. Health Line can tell you more about the symptoms and treatment of trench foot. Here, we’ll tell you how to keep your feet warm and dry during a winter march.
First and foremost, wearing the right pair of socks is essential. If you’re still using the black boot socks you were issued in boot camp, you’re already heading in the wrong direction. You need to be more concerned about cold and water protection and proper use of your gear than the appearance of your boots and trousers.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to wear the wrong socks during long winter hikes. Even if they no longer use the standard issued boot socks, they have simply replaced them with the thickest socks they could buy. Then they have to loosen their boots to make them fit with the new socks. Before you know it, water or snow has gotten in through the loose opening or the feet have started to sweat. With moisture inside the boots, those thick socks that guaranteed warmth are suddenly completely useless.
The most important aspect to consider when selecting socks is that they need to keep your feet dry and work well with your boots. Remember that you can always layer your socks, just like any other piece of clothing. Since you want to prevent your feet from sweating during a long march—which can happen even in extremely cold temperatures—start with lightweight wicking socks that prevent moisture from building up. Depending on the temperature outside, you can add wool socks over your first pair to provide additional warmth. Do not wear cotton socks in the winter—they absorb moisture instead of pulling it away from your skin.
Boots are important to consider as well. Your boots should have a leather material towards the top, not a mesh-like material. Your feet should have enough room to fit comfortably even with layered socks. Once the boots are tied, you should still be able to move your toes. It is important to keep the blood circulating in your feet, so your winter boots may need to be a half or full size bigger than your regular boots.
A Few Additional Tricks
If you are fighting the elements and need additional warmth, consider using toe covers over your boots to assist them in keeping out of the cold while keeping your feet dry. If you do not have toe covers, then use a simple plastic bag from the grocery store.
You can also add hand warmers to your boot as an additional source of heat. This is not recommended as an everyday procedure, but in extreme cold, it can be a quick measure to take to avoid frostbite.
Considering the potentially disastrous consequences of cold, wet feet, it is extremely important to keep your feet dry and as warm as possible during winter marches. If your feet become wet, find the time to stop and change your socks, even if it is uncomfortable. With the right socks and boots—and perhaps a plastic bag—you can keep your feet happy and avoid future medical problems.
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.