How to Keep Your Feet Warm When Ice Skating

Ice rinks are naturally cold, or they’re kept cold, at near-freezing temperatures. You’re going to need to stay warm enough, or you won’t enjoy ice skating as much.

Most ice skaters experience their first-ever ultra-cold feet during their first LTS lesson. You’re there on the rink learning or practicing forward swizzles, backward swizzles, one-foot glides, half swizzles, simple jumps, and whatnot. And your feet get very, very cold.

Related: How to Ice Skate for Beginners

Yes, feeling cold on the ice is expected, but when the cold gets too nasty, it’s time to do something about it. Below are 10 ways of keeping your toes and feet warm, dry, and comfortable so that you can enjoy your LTS classes as well as public sessions more.

10. Tips for Keep Your Feet Warm When Ice Skating

Let’s glide!

1. Avoid Lacing Up Your Ice Skates Too Tight

If you’re a complete ice skating beginner, it’s possible you laced up your skates a little too tight. When that happens, it stops or reduces blood circulation to your feet and toes. And what happens? Your feet get cold.

This post isn’t about how to lace up your beginner ice skates properly. But I’ll quickly tell you how I do it to sidestep this problem.

I realized that tying my ice skates too tight around the bottom got my toes too snug. And I usually ended up with cold, numb toes. But then I found a resource that taught me how to lace up correctly.

First off, be sure you have ice skates that fit right for your foot shape. If they fit well, your toes should fit quite snugly but not too snugly in your skates.

So, what I do is make the first four holes on the boot less snug. Then, I make the boot portion around my arch/instep a tad snugger but not too tight.

But as I proceed towards the ankle, I keep the fit nice and tight using the first two hooks. And as I move towards the top of the skate, I loosen things up a bit to keep blisters at bay. That’s what works for me, and why not try it?

2. Keep the Rest of Your Body Warm

Keeping your core, hands, head, legs, and neck is a highly effective though not always appreciated way of keeping one’s feet warm. In a lot of cases, ice skaters have cold feet because they just didn’t warm up the rest of the body.

So, how do you keep your body warm for winter ice skating? First off, fuel up right before leaving the house for the ice rink. Also, wear clothing that’ll keep you warm on the ice for everyday practice. Layer up — as much as you need to given your body temperature behavior. Just don’t wear too many heavy layers that you can’t even skate.

Throw on a helmet, a neck gaiter, gloves, a headband, leg warmers, and tights if you need to — just do whatever you can to make sure your core, hands, head, neck, and the rest of the body stay warm.

When warm blood starts circulating from these warmed-up body parts, your feet will struggle to get/stay cold!

3. Use Foot Warmers/Toe Warmers With Adhesive

Toe warmers stick to the bottom of your socks, and they’re a proven solution when it comes to warming up cold toes and feet. Toe warmers count on a chemical substance to release heat and distribute most of it to the soles of the feet.

But toe warmers need to be exposed to air to work effectively, and it’s not like there’s enough of it in most ice skate toe boxes. So, make sure to exposure to your toe warmers to some air before you stick them under your socks.

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I’ve yet to use this toe-warming method, but my husband has, and it works for him. He rec0mmends the HeatMax Toasti Toes and Foot Warmer.

For around $70, you get 80 pairs (2 packs and 1 pack contains 40 pairs) of air-activated foot warmers/toe warmers. And your feet will thank you for that.  It might seem pricey, but you’re actually paying only $0.87 per pair. Pretty affordable, huh? 

4. Use Reusable Hand Warmers

If you love winter sports and like spending hours on the ice, using reusable hand warmers can make a huge difference. Not using these recyclable hand warmers can mean having to endure cold, numb hands that keep telling you they need to go home.

Disposable hand warmers rely on powdered iron and other chemicals to release heat through exothermic reactions. But reusable hand warmers use a supersaturated sodium acetate gel to do the job. As this extremely saturated gel crystallizes, heat is generated, and your hands will love you for it.

Hold these hand warmers inside your figure skating gloves and turn on an internal activation system, and it warms up… in seconds. Within minutes, it gets hot enough, making it feel like you’re holding a mug of hot coffee.

They’re cheap, but the downside is that reusable hand warmers last between 10minutes and 30 minutes.  All you have to do to make the plastic bag reusable is to boil it in water or bake it in your kitchen oven immediately you get home. The best ones can generate heat for longer, but they’re pricier.

Also, these hand warmers are environmentally friendly — there’s less of them at landfills. Plus, you won’t need to wait hours for them to charge as you would in the case of their electronic counterparts.

*When your hands warm up, your legs end up feeling warmer. But you can also put them inside the toe box of your ice skates after activating them.

Actually, putting reusable hand warmers inside the ice skates is one of the most effective and practice ways to keep your warm when skating in cold weather. But they can get your feet too warm. I recommend the HotsnapZ Reusable Hand Warmers. It produces heat for about 30 minutes,

5. Use Electronic Hand Warmers

What if you could find a hard warmer that’s chargeable and also charges your smartphone when you’re out there away from the grid? A chargeable electric hand warmer does exactly that. These devices feature an on/off power feature, and the best ones can keep your hands and feet warm for hours.

To make these devices work and produce heat, you’ll have to activate them. It’s not always a super-easy process for all devices, but it’s not hard to get them working either.

I recommend the Celestron Elements 2-in-1 hand warmer and Charger. Some users have reported that the power button doesn’t work flawlessly, but the device does the job. It’s not cheap but keeps you warm when out ice skating in the winter.

6. Use Insulating Silk Socks/Calf Liners

Some who end up with ice skates that are a little bigger than their feet often use thick wool socks to fill up the extra room. But these wool socks also serve to keep the feet warm.

But using the thickest socks isn’t the best way to keep your feet warm while on ice rinks. A better strategy is to use thin insulated silk socks.

These insulating silk socks are pretty thin — they’re not much heavier than the typical ice skating tights. But they have amazing foot-warming capabilities. I’ve used them, and they keep my feet toasty throughout my skating session.

I recommend these Unisex Terramar Thermasilk Over-the-calf sock liners. You can wear them under your socks if you like, but they’re designed to work without socks/as socks.

But how do the sizes of the Terramar Thermasilk run? I couldn’t find any reliable size chart for these silk ice socks. I later learned that the size chart on the back of my package was pretty accurate. Below is the sizing guide I got.

7. Pre-warm Your Body Before Getting on the Ice Rink

Warming up your body before an ice skating class or public session is a good idea. Jumping rope, walking briskly for some time, jogging, or fat-biking to the rink are all good strategies for warming up the body.

These simple, cost-free approaches get your heart working harder and pumping warm blood to all parts of the body, legs and feet included. I find I skate better and enjoy my pastime more if I heat my body up before getting on the ice. I usually

8. Dry Out and Pre-heat Your Ice Skates

Do you leave your ice skates in your car after a session when skating outdoors? If you do, you know there’s no way they’ll dry out properly. And when you wear them, you can be sure your feet will get cold. Make sure to bring your boots inside and dry them out completely before the next use.

Then, pair up dry, warm skates with a pair of warm dry socks. And you won’t have a hard time keeping your feet warm. But this idea separately isn’t enough to keep your feet warmed up, at least in some cases.

Here’s another idea that works. Go to your rink’s bathroom and treat your skates to a stream of warm, dry air from the hand dryer. This little strategy prewarms your skates and you’re off to a comfortable, warm, and dry start on the ice.

9. Pour Some Baby Powder into Your Skates

Well, I haven’t tried this feet-warming tip, but I e-bumped into a skater who gave us this suggestion. The person suggested that putting some baby power on the feet and also under the socks. According to that source, baby powder absorbs moisture really well, keeping the feet warm and dry. Maybe you should give it a try and see how it goes.

10. Keep Moving Around

One reason many beginning skaters end up with cold feet on the ice is that they’re not moving around enough. I get it, it’s kind of challenging to move around as much as you’d like during a LTS class. Because aren’t there times when the beginner ice skating coach takes forever describing balance and posture and stuff like that?

But here’s the thing. Whenever possible, avoid standing at the same exact same spot for too long. Honestly, though, this keep-moving-around advice applies mostly to public sessions rather than LTS classes.

Wrapping It Up

If you want warm, dry feet when skating on the ice, fuel up and layer up comfortably before each class or session. Also, use dry socks and boots. In addition, consider using electronic or reusable hand warmers.

Another idea is to use foot warmers/toe warmers. Silk insulating socks also do a good job, as does pre-warming yourself before practice. Also, pre-heating your boots under the hand dryer in the ice rink bathroom works.

Using baby powder on your feet and having some under your soles might help. Warming up for some time before getting on the rink is also a good idea. And once you get on the ice, make sure to keep moving as that’s the only way to keep your feet warm throughout the session. Happy winter skating!