Skiing is a great way to engage with the natural world and rekindle your love for the great outdoors. It’s also a fantastic full-body workout and a tremendous amount of fun. But while we always fondly remember the apres ski, we can often forget how darned chilly it gets on those slopes. To stop your feet from turning into ice blocks, you need the best ski boot heaters on the market. That’s where we come in.
What are ski boot heaters?
While what they do is pretty self-evident you may not be aware that ski boot heaters even exist. Nor do you know how they work and what technologies they use. Yes, it goes without saying that ski boot heaters keep your ski boots and your feet toasty warm on the slopes. They prevent unpleasant numbness and cold toes while skiing. But how do they work, and what do you need to know before making a commitment to buy?
Here we’ll demystify ski boot heaters for you so that you can make an informed choice as a consumer. Not only will we take a look at 5 of our favorite ski boot heaters on the market today, but we’ll also look at what you need to keep in mind to choose the right ski boot heater for you.
You’re less than 2,000 words away from toasty warm and comfortable feet whenever you hit the slopes…
Choosing the right ski boot heating system for you
There are a number of ski boot heating systems on the market. Most of which use electrically powered heating elements. They gently warm your feet while standing up to the rigors of regular use. The design of these systems is exclusively for use with ski boots. They can withstand the realities of use on the slopes in cold conditions. You won’t need to worry about damaging them if your feet get sweaty. Nor should you fret about experiencing some moisture ingress in your boot from the snow.
Uncomfortable feet can be distracting. So the manufacturers made these systems, keeping the wearer’s comfort in mind. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of ski boot heating systems and how you might determine which is best for you…
Socks and gloves
Many people wear ski boot heating systems either as a knee-length sock or as a glove that fits over your foot. Both options have a built-in heat element which is usually built into the outer layer for the user’s comfort. You can heat the element by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The batteries fit snugly in the sock or glove without being intrusive or distracting. In most cases, this design is to distribute heat to the toes and the ball of the foot while supporting the ball and heel.
These socks are (thankfully) designed to be machine washable. So they are well suited for regular use. When charged, the filament activates by pairing the socks to your phone via Bluetooth. The manufacturer’s app will allow you to turn the heating element on and off. In some cases, you can control the temperature too.
There are also some heating gloves that do not contain heating elements. Instead, they use highly efficient thermally reflective strips. These strips help your feet to stay warm by bouncing back your own body heat. These may not be best suited to those who have issues with cold extremities due to their circulation.
If you’d prefer not to wear a heating system in the form of a sock, the alternative is insoles that heat. These work on the exact same principle. A heated element runs through the insole. It charges via an attachable lithium-ion battery. In some cases, however, the heating element is detachable. You can position it to get warmth where you need it the most.
These insoles tend to be one-size-fits-all. But don’t worry about sizing. In many cases, you can cut the insoles to fit snugly into your ski boots. Don’t worry, you won’t cut through the heating element when trimming your insoles to size.
Some insoles also come with built-in heel and arch support. This is to provide superior comfort and ergonomics as well as warmth. If you’re unsure about how to install heated insoles into your ski boots you may find this YouTube video very helpful.
Plug-in warmers and dryers
The third alternative is a ski boot heating system. This isn’t worn inside the boot, but used to store, warm and dry your ski boots before and after you hit the slopes.
These come in the form of sturdy bags that can comfortably accommodate all ski boots. They may even have room to spare for gloves, helmets, masks, socks and even ski pants. These bags plug into your car’s charger and get your gear toasty warm. Thus, you get the gratification of putting on warm and dry boots and gloves before you start skiing.
And when you’re done on the slopes, simply put your gear back in the bag. Then plug back in to dry it off while you enjoy your apres ski fun!
How do you know which is best for you?
Every skier’s needs are unique, so which is the best choice for you can be very personal. But, if you have poor circulation the heat you get from a plug-in warmer may be short-lived. So, a pair of socks or in-soles might be best for you. Likewise, if you feel that your boots could give you better heel or arch support, heated insoles might be a better choice over socks or gloves. If your feet tend to get cold in the same places you’ll be fine with socks or insoles with built-in heat elements. For those who feel the cold in different places, they might prefer a detachable element.
Take the time to compare brands to see which is best suited to your needs.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 of our favorites…
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This insole-based boot heating set by noted brand Hotronic comes with a pair of red insoles. The heating elements you get are detachable, so you can place them according to your needs. It comes with a pair of cambrelles to place over the heating element for protection and a secure fit. The set also includes two lithium-ion batteries and a wall-charger. This is to charge both batteries simultaneously.
The battery pack can control the elements rather than Bluetooth or a companion smartphone app. They have the option of low, medium or high heat. You can attach the element where desired. And, the cambrelle fits over the foot to provide a secure fit, while you ski. They are highly versatile and you can use them with ease with a custom insole or orthotic.
The new S series has a more energy-efficient battery. It can provide 19.5 hours of continuous heat on a low setting. Between 6.5 and 9.75 hours of heat on a medium setting and anywhere between 2.5 and 4 hours on high setting. That’s usually enough to keep your feet toasty and warm on even the most rigorous skiing sessions.
The maximum temperature is a toasty 76C (168°F). Also, the elements have overcharge protection for your peace of mind.
Pros and Cons:
|Reasonably priced||No Bluetooth connectivity making changing temperature potentially awkward|
|Impressively long battery life||One-size insole|
|You can attach the heating elements and batteries wherever and however you like|
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If you don’t relish the idea of carrying an electrically heated element around in your boots while you’re on the slopes, you may instead prefer these boot gloves by DryGuy. These ski boot covers slide over your feet and are comfortably secured via the velcro strap. This means that you can get a nice, snug fit whatever your foot size. And because these come in a range of sizes (small, medium and large) virtually everyone will be able to find a size that suits them.
Rather than generating their own heat, these gloves reflect your body heat back to you. They increase the temperature within your boot by as much as 20 degrees. This may be helpful for those who want to focus on their skiing rather than grappling with a smartphone app to get the perfect boot temperature.
Pros and Cons:
|Come in small, medium and large sizes||May not be effective for people with cold feet due to poor circulation|
|No electrical elements so no need to worry about battery life||S, M & L sizings may be confusing for some (if in doubt, buy larger sizes)|
|Durable, water and windproof||Retain heat rather than generating it.|
|Fit comfortably inside all kinds of ski boots|
|High thermal efficiency for toasty feet even in long ski sessions|
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If you want a heated insole but don’t want to have to fiddle around searching for the perfect position for the heating element, these rechargeable heated insoles from ThermaCell make it easy.
They come in a broad range of sizes from small to XXL. You can trim these insoles to fit. So again, it may be best to err on the side of caution and opt for a larger size if in doubt.
The lithium-ion polymer batteries embed within the insoles. Yet, these are easy to access and recharge. So you don’t have to worry about where and how you’re going to secure the battery. Or, what you’re going to do if it moves or comes loose. It includes a charger and you can charge the batteries up to 500 times. They will offer up to 8 hours of battery life per charge.
There are three settings, no charge, medium (100 degrees) and high (111 degrees). A companion remote control controls the setting. While this might not be as effortlessly cool as using an app with Bluetooth, it may be much easier to toggle while wearing ski gloves.
Pros and Cons:
|Fully integrated unit with no straps or cables||Relatively high price point|
|Fast and effective heating||Sizes may be awkward for some|
|Generous battery life||If the remote control gets lost… you could be in trouble!|
|Range of sizes|
|Remote may be easier to use than your phone using ski gloves|
|Durable and long-lasting|
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The trouble with some insoles is that they suffer from uneven heat distribution. and while removable heat elements can help offset this, giving you heat where you need it most. Sometimes you want an insole that gives you warmth throughout the foot.
That’s where this entry from Thermrup really shines! These electric heated insoles are completely machine washable. You can trim to fit a broad range of sizes from 5.5”-12.5” making them a great fit for men, women, and children.
In this set, you’ll find 2 heated insoles, 2 2200 mAh 7.4V rechargeable batteries. There is also a gaiter to securely fit the battery pack to your ankle. This connects to the insole via a 70cm cable.
From the battery pack, you can control the heating settings. The heat has four adjustable settings.
The design of these insoles is to give you both even heat distribution and complete freedom of movement.
Pros and Cons:
|Decent battery life of 5-6 hours||Some might consider the battery pack unwieldy or awkward to access with the boots on|
|Fast heating and even heat distribution|
|You can trim to suit most adult feet|
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Finally, this unisex insole from Therm-ic uses a single-cell lithium-ion battery for heat distribution via a detachable element. It is compatible with all ski boot types and insoles and comes in a single size.
This set comes with two heating elements and cambrelle covers. There are also two insoles, two batteries, and a charger.
The battery is highly efficient, offering 3-4 hours of battery life on “high” setting, 5-7 hours on “medium” and up to 13 hours on the lowest setting. The battery pack offers an easy to use a single-button interface to toggle the settings. No fiddling about with awkward little buttons within your boot.
Pros and Cons:
|Affordable||One size insole|
|Good heat distribution||Temperature adjustment still has potential to be a little awkward|
|Generous battery life|
|Easy to use interface|
The right ski boot heaters can not only make skiing more comfortable, but they can also assure better reaction and performance on the slopes. While there is a wide range to choose from, we think that the effort from Thermacell is the best of the bunch, here. It’s easy to use, has a good battery life and offers impressive heat distribution. While not the cheapest on our list, it offers excellent value for money.