Will I Get Frostbite During the 2017-18 Canadian Winter? - Part Deux

In my previous post I shared my fears of a potential frostbite as I stubbornly (or stupidly) continue to use my barefoot shoes in the winter of 2017-18 in Toronto. I now find myself not that fearful. Multiple people have written blog posts on the web where they have expressed their dispair about not being able to find shoes that remain faithful to barefoot and natural movement while still having qualities that can keep their feet dry and warm. I share their dispair.

It seems that as of now (January 2018) there is no shoe manufacturer that is making winter / wet weather shoes that are durable, affordable and allow for barefoot and natural movement by the wearer. I can understand if the mainstream shoe manufacturers do not have such an offering, but I am saddened to see that even the shoe makers that cater to the barefoot / natural movement market do not have such an offering.

If I were a shoe maker I would want to put my money into making shoes that have the potential to have the best acceptance rate among buyers. Something that conforms to the notions of what a shoe is in the minds of biggest chunk of people. And the biggest chunk of people now (January 2018) believe in arch support, raised heel cushion, elevated toes, tight fit. The people who believe in barefoot and natural movement are currently a very very small percent of the overall shoe buying population. Of that small portion the number of people who want to use natural movement shoes and live in cold places is probably even smaller. Which means that if I were a shoe maker I am not going to spend money on making a barefoot / natural movement shoes for those one or two crazy people who are foolish enough to want stay barefoot in knee deep snow or slippery ice.

So, what is one to do?

Here is something that one can do. Instead of contiuing to search for shoes that don’t exist in the market. I can take a step back and look at the problem that I am trying to solve. Here is what I really want (my requirements):

  • I want my shoes to help me walk naturally without turning my foot into a brick
  • I want to stay dry during the days when the temperatures are above 0 deg C and there is slushy wet snow or rain water on the ground
  • I want my feet to stay warm

I need some solution that can cater to my requirements. I already have the right kind of shoes to help me walk naturally. I need a solution to keep my feet dry and warm. I already have heavy thermal socks that can keep my feet warm on the days the temperature dips below 0 deg C. The only thing that still need is a way to keep my feet dry when the road and weather conditions outside are wet and slushy. And for that I found that “Waterproof Socks” are the solution.

I did not know this before, but apparently there are water proof socks easily available for purchase online. These are usually made of three layers. An innermost layer that is made to wick away body sweat and keep the feet odour free. A middle layer that is made of a breathable waterblocking membrane. An outer later that is made of nylon, spandex, or other such materials.

So my solution to staying warm and dry while enjoying walking around in my barefoot shoes is pair them up with a waterproof sock so that I can stop worrying about getting my feet wet during the Canadian winter.

Written on January 28, 2018