Buying Guide for Boot Heaters
By Steve Kopitz
One of the nicest additions to your ski equipment that you can have is a heating system for your ski boots. Shells of ski boots are made from plastic that transmits cold through them, liners offer you some insulation on cold days, but on cold days extra warmth is paramount.
By having a heating system in your boots you will improve the amount of comfort and performance you have on the slopes.
A heating system for your boots is especially important for skiers that get cold feet, skiers with Diabetes, or Raynaud’s Disease that are constantly plagued with having to take frequent to regain feeling and warmth in your feet.
Every hour you are out below 32 degrees you lose some of your muscle dexterity and balance. Your feet are the furthest extremity from your body and the last to get the warm blood that pumps from your heart, which is why they are the first part of your body to get cold.
Boot heating systems consist of 4 main parts.
Heating Elements get installed underneath the ball of your foot on the insole of your boots and generate the heat to prevent you from getting cold. These take up little to no volume inside your boots. The heating elements are only slightly thicker than a piece of paper, and do not affect the fit of your boot what so ever. Heating Elements have a wire that runs underneath the liner of your boots that attaches to your battery pack. Heating elements can be installed in any type of insole or footbed (custom, pre-molded or stock) without any issues.
Caberelle Covers are the covers that create a barrier across the entire insole of the boot so your foot is not sitting directly on the heating element. Failure to use Caberlle Covers may result in burns to your feet. Caberelle Covers are no thicker than a sheet of paper and will not alter the fit of your boots. They have adhesive on the bottom of them that sticks on to your insole that and prevents them from bunching up or sliding around in your boots.
Battery Packs are the source of power that generates the heat to the elements. Battery Packs can be made with NiMH battery cells, Lithium Ion Batteries, or they may use AAA Batteries for power. Rechargeable batteries are the most popular and the most convenient. When you first purchase a Heating System with rechargeable batteries it is always recommended that you give the batteries a conditioning charge to have them fully charged so they are ready to go when you need them. Skis.com also recommends that you give your batteries a conditioning charge over the summer to prevent the batteries from draining down all the way and losing their effectiveness during the season. These Battery Packs clip onto the Velcro strap of your boot up high on your leg and are not noticeable while you are skiing. Battery packs usually have a few different temperature settings that increase the amount of heat sent to the elements. Please keep in mind that the higher the temperature setting, the shorter the battery life will be. The colder the air temperature will have a slight effect on how long your batteries will last. The highest setting is typically a timed setting that once left on for a long duration of time, will kick down to the next highest setting to prevent burns.
A charger is included with all systems that require it. Chargers typically have an indicator light that lets you know when the battery packs are fully charged.
Ski Boot Dryers are a must have for any skier who will be skiing multiple days in a row. Boot Dryers have a tube that you can shove down in each boot, and a fan that pushes air down into the boot that allows it to circulate. Keeping air moving through the boots will allow them to dry faster than placing them by the fire (which is never recommended) or the heating vent. Just by circulating the air through the boot will help them dry much more efficiently, so in the morning you have a dry ski boot to put on your feet for another day of fun on the slopes. Boot Dryers can also be used to dry out gloves very quickly and easily, which makes them especially handy.
Boot Warmers are a great solution for very cold days on the mountain. They are very inexpensive in comparison to a boot heating system, but will alter the fit of your ski boots due to the higher volume. Boot Warmers have an adhesive that you can peel and stick down to the toe of the insole of your boots that prevents them from slipping around while you are skiing.