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Cold Feet?

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Several years ago I was looking at the various boots sold into the hunting market. Non-hunters also buy these boots, and I read the published temperature ranges that were stated for the various boots. Several were listed for use in temperatures as cold as -100 degrees, most for -35 to -50 degrees. I called each of the companies inquiring how they arrived at these temperature capabilities and for all intents and purposes I was never given an answer. That response was not unexpected by me since I knew they basically advertised what they wanted regardless of any practical use. Cabelas happens to sell most of the brands so I went into the Cabelas web site to see what they were saying today about the various boots they are now selling. Much to my surprise I couldn’t find one boot with a temperature rating assigned to it. Maybe my calls and the article I wrote at the time stating that I believed the rating blatantly wrong caused these companies to end the practice of publishing such nonsensical information. Also maybe they had customers telling them as well the boots did not work as advertised. That said there is a cure coming from Wiggy’s soon.

Lamilite socks! As I wrote in the December 2013 #4 newsletter I have been wearing my Lamilite insulated boots without socks, so I decided to make a Lamilite sock. At this writing I have been wearing the Lamilite socks inside my boots inside my office and out in the field. The temperature has ranged from 0 to 34 degrees and still about 8 inches of snow. In my office the temperature is 70 degrees. First of all I have not had cold feet when outside, nor over heated feet inside. However, I have noted some interesting characteristics that were initially expected and also unexpected. Aside from the fact that my feet were warm, as expected, when I removed the socks they were dry and free of odor, which was unexpected, and was also something I hadn’t thought about. I remember buying a pair of Rocky shoes years ago with a thick sole since I worked on my factory floor which was concrete when I first started the company. These shoes have a Gore-Tex film in them. The first evening when I took them off the odor from my feet was an extremely strong odor that I had never experienced before. I ultimately bought odor eaters, charcoal inserts, and that solved the odor problem but my socks were very wet. That is when I really found out how “non-vapor permeable” (Gore says breathable) their film is. Ultimately I threw the shoes away even though they looked good. My current leather boots were made for me originally by Herman’s Survivors (long out of business) and then Wellco Company several years ago. When I ordered about 800 pair made with Lamilite from each company and each asked if I wanted the Gore-Tex package and I said absolutely no. The moisture coming out of my feet as a vapor did what it does when it comes out of your body in a Wiggy’s bag it just migrated out of my boots in each use as the leather is vapor permeable. The end result is dry feet when I took off the Lamilite socks and the socks were also dry as well as odor free.

There are other benefits as well that are biological; when the blood supply enters your feet warm and if there is not any moisture in your socks to absorb the heat that means the blood supply leaving your feet en-route back to your heart is warmer than it is if you are wearing even wool socks. The wool socks do absorb the moisture and the moisture as well as the fabric does absorb the heat of your feet. When you are out in the field for several days at a time you must take additional socks but with the Lamilite socks you only need the one pair. Why, because they do not absorb moisture so they do not need drying time, they do not get stretched out of shape either and they do not develop an odor and you can wear them as booties in your sleeping bag. Wearing the Lamilite socks in any boot will help to keep your feet warm. I did note when I was reviewing the selection of boots on the Cabelas web site almost every model had Thinsulate as its insulation as well as a film such as Gore-Tex. The weights ranged from 200 grams to 2000 grams in one boot model. I know from talking with many customers who have purchased these Thinsulate insulated boots that they constantly experience cold feet. The fact that the moisture is also trapped in the boot is a contributor to having cold feet. If you are wearing wool socks the moisture is absorbed and since there is a film and a solid wall of Thinsulate it has no chance of getting out of the boots. The new Lamilite socks will help that enormously. They will be available in January 2014. The size range will be from 3 to 16 in two widths. I do not know the cost yet, but I do know that they will last for years regardless of the number of times they are worn and laundered.

I am also looking into getting back into the boot business. I am having the maker an American company give me a price for a 100 percent cowhide boot free of any film obviously in both black and tan. They will also be insulated with Lamilite. The size range will coincide with the size range of the Lamilite socks.

From my personal experience the comfort range for the boots with the Lamilite socks will range from, and this is based upon my personal experience, the mid 30’s to the minus teens. How well this will work just standing around for several hours remains to be seen. That said if you already know you will be motionless as in a tree stand for a while I recommend my over boots. With them on I know -25 will not be a problem, as I have used my leather boots in the over boots at that temperature hunting at 12500 feet in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness. If you want to go even colder to -50 degrees then get the Muk Luks. I have one more recommendation, if you wear steel toed boots and your feet specifically your toes get cold because the steel gets cold get a pair of either over boots or Muk Luks depending upon the temperature you are experiencing. The combination of the Lamilite socks and over boots will make your feet happy.

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