Saturday, 18 January 2014

Kayak Clothing - Winter Socks

When out on the kayak in the winter, there is one thing I suffer from badly and that is cold feet!  I have no problem keeping the rest of the body warm however; it is always my feet that succumb to the elements first.  I have tried all the usual layering such as, a pair of liner socks followed by a couple of pairs of high toggle rating thermal socks however, I still come in with numb feet caused by the cold.

I admit keeping your feet warm in the winter on a kayak is not easy.  The feet are in a stationary position with toes pointing upwards encouraging blood to flow away.  Another problem is water getting into the neoprene boot, which usually happens when wading in to launch the kayak.  Although the stocking feet of immersion suits are waterproof, any amount of cold water surrounding the foot is not conducive to keeping your feet warm.

After trying several different types of socks advertised as Arctic or extreme cold weather socks without success, I had just about given up on the possibility of going out on a winter’s day for six to eight hours fishing and coming in with feet I can walk on!  However, I then came across a pair of Lorpen Trekking Expedition Polartec Primaloft Socks.

These socks certainly looked and felt different from any other socks I had tried.  The manufacturer Lorpen describes the socks as follows: "the ultimate sock for the true expedition experience designed for hard shell mountaineering footwear and extended cold weather.  Two layers of Polartec Power Stretch fabric sandwiching PrimaLoft Footwear insulation in a left and right foot anatomical shape put these socks on the cutting edge of warmth technology.  Tested above 8,000 meters these socks are as good as it gets".

With a retail price tag of £55.00 I was hoping they were "as good as it gets".  Fortunately, in the New Year sales I picked up a pair for £32.97, which is still expensive.

It was unlikely that these socks on their own would be enough therefore; my layering plan was as follows:

A pair of 65% Marino wool liner socks.
A pair of Lorpen Trekking Expedition Polartec Primaloft Socks.
A pair of toggle rated four thermal socks.
The stocking feet of my immersion suit.
A pair of Crewsaver 5mm neoprene wetsuit boots two sizes bigger than my feet.

Despite all of the above, I did not expect the luxury of coming in after eight hours fishing in the cold with toasty warm feet however, if I could at least cure the tingling numb feet I could hardly walk on I would be pleased.  I am happy to report that is the case.

I have had two winter trips since purchasing the Lorpen socks and they have definitely made a difference.  My feet stay comfortable all day and when I come in and walk; my feet no longer feel numb.  The only improvement I feel I could make is a pair of longer neoprene boots that come up to below the knee instead of above the ankle.  This may stop some of the water getting into the boot.  To date, I have not been able to find a pair big enough (UK14) to have enough room for all of the layers and still maintain some important airflow!


  1. Rob, for a longer length kayak boot have a look at the Lomo Watersports Kayak Welly - Knee length - excellent .

  2. Hi Mark

    Thanks for the help. Unfortunately, I need size 14 in the longer boots. I have a pair of Palm Kola in size 13 which are fine in the spring/summer but too tight in the winter with the extra layers. I cannot find anywhere both in the UK and US that supply size 14 (UK) 15 (US). However, the Lomo kayak welly does look good. I had already contacted Lomo but they do not do a welly big enough.



Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.