Wearing running sandals in the cold

It’s time to answer a question I get at least once a week (even in the middle of Summer, which is when I’m writing this). And the question is:

What do you do in the Winter when you want to wear Invisible Shoes?

There are a few options. But let me preface them by saying that the only time I’ve worn anything other than my huaraches in the last 18 months is when I put on my running shoes… to shovel 2′ of snow. (Oh, and when I’m in my sprinting spikes.)

So that leads to the first answer: You’ll adapt.

I’m not superhuman, or missing nerve endings. I’ve adapted. And I’m NOTHING compared to my friend from, Michael Sandler. Check out THIS:

Think about it, our ancestors lived in some mighty cold places without shoes for quite a while. You can, too. Now, granted, they grew up that way and adapted, but you’ll be amazed at how much your body will adapt if you give it time.

My first Winter after I started wearing huaraches was a cold one. And I didn’t wear my Invisible Shoes the whole time. But by the 2nd Winter, it never occurred to me to wear anything else, unless I knew I’d be spending a LOT of time outside, mostly standing on frozen ground.

Okay, the second answer: Get some oversized wool socks (think “socks + flip flops”)

You’ll need to loosen your lacing to get the socks on, but that’ll help.

The third answer: Change the way you run.

In other words, if you feet can’t adapt, your brain can… don’t go out for a 10 mile run if your feet get cold after 1 mile.

Try something like this instead: Warm up inside. Go out for a 1 mile loop. Come back inside and run up and down your stairs to let your feet get warm. Repeat.

Oh, there is a fourth answer… but I can’t tell you what it is yet. Stay tuned ;-)

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There are (26) Comments for the Wearing running sandals in the cold

  1. if the 4th answer is that you’re making boots, you should release those now, because it’s 40 degrees already where i live. if not, you should make some and pay me royalties for coming up with the idea. or just a free pair :)

  2. Actually many Native American groups wear some form of moccasins during the winter. They still allow your toes to splay and stay warm! This looks interesting though, socks are a good idea.

  3. Hehe, I should have read this before I suggested moccasins recently. *very excited about the potential fourth option*

  4. We’ve already had frost here in Ireland, so I’m very excited about option 4!

  5. I have modified a pair of huaraches that work in the winter ( we get 6 plus months of snow). They are great fun in the snow! Can’t wait to see what’s next

  6. Just ordered some Ninja socks (socks that big toe is seperate), should be here tomorrow, also ordered some martial art shoes to see how those will work. I ran in Brazilian Capo shoes last winter, the toe box was a little small. Michigan winters are not very forgiving.

  7. Frost, schmost. We just got 2′ here in Colorado (it was 70 degrees yesterday!) ;-)

  8. Just coming out of a Texas Summer, we got our first sub 50 days this week. I ran in about 45 degrees for about 4 miles yesterday, and was pleased to find that my feet didn’t get cold til I got indoors and stopped moving. I think I’ll try what you’re saying and see how well my feet adapt if I play it smart.

  9. [...] I wrote a post about barefoot/cold at Wearing running sandals in the cold | Last Winter (my 2nd year barefoot), I decided to simply keep wearing my Invisible Shoes until it [...]

  10. its easier to use huraches in the cold because once the feet go numb it doesnt matter if a toe is stubbed on roots or rocks because the feeling is gone

  11. LOL! (I never really had that problem)

  12. What is the 4th option?!? The suspense is killing me!

  13. For the second option also think toe socks! I just bought a pair of Smartwool toe socks that will fit around huaraches and be the right size!

  14. I’m patiently, but not really, waiting.

  15. Tell me about it! Developing products takes WAY too long. Why can’t I just think it and then have it waiting for me the next day?!

  16. Some hardy soul was running barefoot along the road in my neighborhood with the outside temp 24 degrees and about 3 inches of snow on the ground! Only saw her tracks. She had a great stride, must have been in a sprint. Her foot size was about the same as mine, a 7, and from toe to toe her stride was 40 inches. You go girl!

  17. Calling in from Norway in January that 4th option sure sounds tempting… Worst case I will simply take the traditional Norwegian knitted stockings and pull outside both the feet and the Huaches – like we have done for centuries when cross country skiing.

  18. Have been going barefoot (sometimes Huaraches but mostly just barefoot) for 2 summers now (except for work) and this is the 2nd time I’m trying it as the colder weather hits. Problem is that though I’m fine in the cold – frosty grass etc, my feet then start to heat up so much as soon as I get warmer – like for a few days in the last week when the temp was unseasonably high – and now indoors.. painfully hot, almost burning. Hot showers are out of the question and I’m avoiding heaters even when the rest of me is cold! Can you suggest anything? My toes are becoming quite angy red looking when they heat up.

  19. In response to Sylvia:

    You might be suffering from chilblains. These occur after a drastic transition from cold to hot. Blood vessels in the feet constrict in response to cold, but when you go inside after a run, the blood rushes back into the constricted vessels. If it is an abrupt enough change, blood or fluid can leak out of the vessels, causing inflammation, itching, and burning.

    I deal with them every winter. I think it is genetic. It usually passes quickly enough, but it is very unpleasant in the moment.

    The best way to deal with them is to transition gradually from cold to hot. I know it is difficult after a frosty barefoot trot, when all you want is heat and plenty of it. Try soaking your feet in cold water until your feet normalize. It is counterintuitive, I know, but it works for me. And although the water is cold, it always feels warm on my feet.

    Hope that helps.

  20. Moccasins!

  21. What is the 4th option its been a year

  22. Hi Lance,
    Trust me, I know how long it’s been ;-) … suffice it to say, it has taken us WAY longer to develop “Option 4″ than we imagined… and we’re working hard on it now, with the help of our new Chief Development Officer. Sadly, I’ve learned that, in this biz, things aren’t done until they’re done (there’s no way to give a firm ETA on completion).

  23. I was thinking about gluing a pair of the Contact soles onto a pair of socks — anyone tried this yet?

  24. I was thinking about gluing some Vibram Cherry material onto a pair of socks — anyone tried this yet?

  25. I’m not sure if anyone has. The challenge will be a glue that works without getting too stiff, and that sticks well to both materials.

  26. Glue schmoo, sew them on.

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