“ Sock Shop / The ultimate thermal sock „
I always have cold feet & I hate it in winter when my toes turn to ice, I've tried various thick socks, welly socks, various materials etc & still I suffer!
I'd seen these socks advertised online and as soon as I spotted that they had a tog rating I thought i have to try them! Tog 2.3 doesn't sound so much I suppose, especially compared with my nice winter duvet but I guessed they were worth a try. For all I know all socks could have a tog rating of some description, if only anyone cared to check & rate them, but anyway the promise of warmer feet drew me in!
I found a pair in my local 'cheap' shop for £4.99, although I've also seen them in Matalan for this price and they are probably the same if not cheaper online. They are available in various colours, basic red, navy, black and I've since seen a few patterned ones and different variations.
The first thing I noticed was that they are very nice and thick and that they are lovely and sort of fluffy inside. They are not looped inside like many thick / sports socks, instead they are kind of brushed to give a lovely soft fluffy feel. Instantly your feet will love them! I have to say they do keep my feet snuggly warm and are very comfortable, I have actually since bought another pair. I wouldn't say they would keep my feet hot and toasty in minus temperatures but they are a lot lot better than any others I've tried!
My only niggle with these is that they don't 'grip' very well, they could do with a slightly tighter band at the top like most socks do because unfortunately they do tend to slide down throughout the day which can be a bit annoying. It is a shame because otherwise they are really great.
We live in a cottage which is over 100 years old that is situated on the slopes of the Great Orme in Llandudno. As such we do get a fair few draughts especially in the winter.
With this in mind hubby and I treated one another to a pair of Heat Holders as stocking fillers last Christmas.
Heat Holders and thick socks - similar to Totes only thicker. They are available from Amazon for about £7 per pair but we have also seen them in various local shops too. They are available in children's and adult's sizes and in a wide variety of both bright and muted colours. They also come in longer and shorter lengths too.
The socks come attached to a piece of cardboard with lots of information on it. They are billed as the 'Ultimate Thermal Sock' and have a Tog rating of 2.3. This compares with a normal thermal sock with a rating of 0.9 and a cotton sock at 0.4. On the cardboard packing it says that 'Heat Holders advanced construction holds more warm air close to the skin, keeping feet warmer for longer'. To be honest when we read this we thought that these were definitely a good buy for us!
On the back of the card there is a lot more information about the socks including the fact that they are made from extra bulky yarn, they have long pile cushioning and the inside has been subject to an intense brushing process. They are made from 91% acrylic, 5% nylon, 3% polyester and 1% elastane.
I chose the lovely deep purple colour for my socks and Dave had the blue ones as he thought they were a more masculine colour! They are available in black, bright red, pink and more, I have the size 4 to 8 - my feet are size 5 and a half and these socks feel very comfortable to me.
The bottom of the sock has the same rubber non slip grip as Totes - this time in the shape of little flames (I think) and the words Heat Holders. The socks are indeed nice and thick and the inside is SO soft and fluffy that my feet begin to feel warmer as soon as I put them on. They come about half way up my calves so they really keep the draughts out.
I wear mine just for walking round the house, although I have been known to nip out to the bin wearing them! They are thick but it may be possible to wear them inside your wellies or walking boots for extra warmth when you are out walking or working.
I find that they keep my feet lovely and warm which is great for me as I am one of those people for whom if my feet are cold the rest of me can't get warm either! These are great for wearing indoors and work well on carpet and almost as well on the tiled floor too. I can even wear them in conjunction with my slippers for even more warmth!
They are washable at 40 degrees but they should not be ironed, bleached or dry cleaned -not that you would have your socks dry cleaned - would you?
I would definitely recommend these socks to anyone especially in this cold weather - they really do keep the draughts out.
If you happen to be anywhere near Llandudno there is a shop called Claire's in Mostyn Street and they have Heat Holders in the sale for about £3 and yes, I shall be treating myself to a spare pair!
Take a look for yourself at http://www.heatholders.com/index.asp
While I am aware that writing in any category that contains the word "thermal" in it will resoundingly kill off any last vestiges of hope I have of appearing young, I am doing this for those of you out there who suffer with cold feet in winter like I do. I have always had poor circulation, which means that I struggle to keep my hands and feet warm in cold weather (or in not-particularly-cold weather if I am not active). Even sitting in my living room on cool days generally leads to the rapid loss of sensation below the knees, despite having so many layers on my lower half that I could pass for the Michelin man. After a while, this discomfort gets quite painful for my poor feet, and over the years I have tried numerous things to try and solved this problem - wearing thick hiking socks daily; wearing two or three layers of socks and then trying to wedge my feet into slippers of an evening, and even taking supplements that claim to boost circulation (none of them did to any noticeable extent). As the temperatures started to drop at the start of this winter, I faced my usual prospect of trying to avoid painfully cold feet. I went online in my annual ritual of seeking out new and improved hiking socks that just might be the thing that works, and at last found something interesting - Heat Holders, which claimed to be "the ultimate thermal sock" that promised "no more cold feet". It didn't take me long to decide to buy a couple of pairs and try out these claims for myself.
So what makes Heat Holders different to other socks? Well, they are made from an extra heavy bulk yarn that is intensively brushed to make them very soft and fluffy on the inside; the result of this is a material that holds the maximum amount of warm air close to the skin as is possible for the volume of material. This process has achieved a sock so warm that it has a tog rating of 2.34 (compare that to the rating of 0.33 for a typical cotton sock or the 1.3 of high quality four season walking socks). The resulting sock does look big and bulky - even compared to the heavy duty hiking socks that I normally wear throughout the winter - but they feel very soft, and the fluffy interior is light and comfortable next to the skin. I'm not going to pretend that they look attractive on (they reach nearly to my knees and make my feet look huge), but as the only person who will ever see them in all their middle aged glory on me has a vested interest in me not having icy feet when I get into bed anyway, then I could not care less about how silly they look.
Test 1: Walking through snow
My feet warmed up much quicker than I have come to expect whilst walking, and stayed toasty warm throughout my walk. I was pleased to note that despite the thickness of the socks my feet did not get uncomfortably hot or sweaty (something that has happened with some hiking socks in the past), so they seem to allow the skin to breathe well. This is important, as sweaty feet will cool rapidly and become very cold once exercise has finished. True to their name, the socks held the heat generated whilst walking very well for around 2 hours afterwards, a huge improvement for me compared to other socks.
Test 2: Wearing on cold feet around house
I have also tried putting my Heat Holders on to try and warm my already cold feet up whilst sitting still, but have had less success with this (presumably because there needs to be warm air to trap for the socks to be effective). If you are just sitting around in a cold room, there will be little warm air to trap so they are not going to work any better than a pair of slippers, I'm afraid.
Test 3: The cautious machine wash
While Heat Holders are advertised as being machine washable on a cool gentle cycle, I was a bit nervous that the fluffy brushed interior of the socks would disintegrate as soon as I tried to wash it. However, I am pleased to see that they wash well, retaining their shape and not leaving any fluff on the rest of my laundry. Many washes later, they look in good enough shape to last the rest of this winter easily, and I expect them to still be good enough to use next year as well.
The use of my Heat Holders has been hugely beneficial, and I have easily got my money's worth from them; while they struggle to warm your feet up from cold if you are not moving around, once you provide the warmth for the material to trap next to your skin, they are incredibly effective. The only problem I have experienced with these socks in the size of them; there is one size for women (4-8) and two for men (6-11 and 12-14), and they are very generous with them. I wear size 5 or 6 in shoes, and find the women's socks to be quite big and bulky, making them difficult to get into some pairs of shoes I own. Women with small feet may find them unmanageably large.
Heat Holders cost £6 per pair (£7 for the large size of men's socks) and are available in 11 colours from their manufacturer, the Sock Shop. I have also seen them on Amazon, outdoorgear.co.uk and in Sainsbury's, but external stockists only seem to sell the black version.
Highly recommended for people with cold feet.