The Gear We Love This Month: Heat Holders

A pair of socks with the name “heat holders” aroused my interest when I received them with an invitation to try them out. Now cold feet (and cold hands) are my nemeses in the hunting/fishing world. I can be sweating all over the rest of my body and still have numb fingers and toes. Thus, I've been trying most every new thing that comes along that suggests relief from this constant source of discomfort. Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn't work out well and so with plenty of experienced-based skepticism; I thought I would give them a try.

These socks are very thick. Boots that fit well with normal socks may be too tight when wearing these. They are too thick to wear with the bunny boots that are standard equipment for me from about November 1 until March 31 and are the only thing I've tried that consistently keeps my feet warm. But my late season chest waders, with 1600-gram Thinsulate in the boots, had enough room to accommodate them. The opportunity to really test the socks came the first week of December on a seaduck hunt out of Homer. At 25 degrees, the day wasn't extremely cold but plenty cold enough for me to know I would typically have cold feet in a couple of hours. Two hours into the trip, most of it sitting in an open boat, my feet, much to my surprise, were still warm. A little while later I lowered myself over the side into a couple of feet of water to set some decoys and was shocked with the never-pleasant feel of water running into both of my boots. With a fair amount of cursing I finished setting the decoys and climbed back into the boat, feet very cold and with the certain knowledge the next four hours were going to be miserable. 

I was wrong. I hadn't really thought about my feet until an hour or so later when my hunting partner asked about them. It was then I realized that they were in fact quite comfortable, no doubt why I hadn't thought about them. And they actually stayed comfortable the remainder of the day. Since then my hunting partner (her feet are hard to keep warm, too) purchased some and has been using them with good results in the recent sub-zero temperatures in southcentral Alaska. At around $20 a pair they are not cheap but putting out a little extra for a good product is rarely misspent. After so many years of hunting and fishing it isn't often that a product comes along that is a game changer but I have to say, these are and I encourage anyone who has trouble keeping their feet warm to try them (just make sure you have plenty of room in your boots).