Huaraches in Winter – Cold Feet or Not?

Despite some recent warm temperatures the trail this weekend still had ice on it in places, and the melt water was icy. So I was left wondering why my feet weren’t feeling cold, despite being barefoot, wet and muddy.

Even after I washed my feet off in a creek they didn’t feel particularly cold, though the water certainly was! It’s not because my feet don’t get cold. Sitting at my desk, they can turn them into proverbial blocks of ice.

Bare feet and hiking huaraches on frozen ground

Hiking in huaraches is fine even when there’s some ice on the ground. If you are concerned that I’m being totally irresponsible, I carried a pair of woolen toe socks with me in case I got cold, but I didn’t need them.


Thinking about it as we hiked, I realized that wearing huaraches my feet work harder. My ankles are constantly moving and rotating, my toes grip, my feet arch. I can only think that all this work serves to increases the circulation and keep my feet warm. If my feet get wet they quickly dry, minimizing the chill inducing effects of evaporation. I also have an adequate depth of sole to give good insulation against the frozen ground. Hardly a scientific study, but an interesting thought.

Update December 2013: I took advantage of some recent bad weather to try out my huaraches in colder conditions: 18°F (-8°C) and six inches of snow. I wore my huaraches and woolen toe socks while I did some chores outside in the snow. Ginger thought my choice of footwear was hysterical. So much so she was reduced to tears of laughter. Whatever. I wanted a chance to try the socks & huaraches out. Fifteen minutes isn’t long enough for a proper test – but I must admit to being impressed. My feet didn’t get cold.

hand made huaraches and woolen toe socks in six inches of snow

Huaraches and Woolen toe socks in the snow

In contrast I suffered painfully cold feet when wearing the very thin soled Vibram Five Fingers on frosty days.

What do you think?