Comparison: how to choose between heated insoles and heated socks?


Heated insoles and socks: different uses

There are two ways to protect yourself from the cold: either find a way to insulate yourself from the cold (a thick wall in a house, for example) or warm up your body (heating the same house). In fact, our body is a great heating machine, since we use all available energy to keep our body at a constant temperature of 37°C: this is thermogenesis. However, when the temperature drops, our body is no longer able to warm our extremities, and heating products have their place in the strategy to combat the cold. But how do you choose between insoles and heated socks?

When should you choose heated insoles?

When the user has to stay on a cold floor for a long time (workers in markets or the refrigeration industry, hunters, fishermen, etc.). The heat is diffused over the entire arch of the foot from below, providing effective insulation from the ground, as well as comforting warmth.

When the user wears rigid and/or high-lift footwear (ski boots, boots, etc.) which already have thick soles. In this case, the soles are more comfortable and the remote heat control is more appropriate than sock batteries, which can touch the boots or ski boots.

When should you choose heated socks?

When the user is looking for more versatility and wants to use heating products with street shoes, sneakers or for domestic use at home.

When the user is more dynamic in cold weather, or the foot needs to move (the stiffness of the sole does not encourage long movements). In this case, the foot's activity helps to warm it up, and the part of the foot that remains sensitive to the cold is the front of the foot and the toes. The sock's heating system is therefore located above the foot and toes at the end of the sock. This heats the ball of the foot while ensuring real comfort. The user can therefore move from static situations during the heating phase to walking situations when the heating system is switched off.

When the user wants a heating solution that's easier to set up. However, access to the top of the ankle is required to adjust the temperature.

Summary: Which shoe for which activity?

The main cases in which heated insoles are to be preferred:

  • Ski
  • Use in bunches
  • All predominantly static activities (no walking): markets, construction, caretaking, gardening, fishing, hunting, horse-riding...

The main cases in which heated socks are to be preferred:

  • More nomadic activities alternating between walking and stopping (birdwatching, hiking, mountain biking in cold weather...).
  • Domestic use and home comfort

By the way, why do our feet get cold?

Along with the hands, the feet are the two extremities most vulnerable to the cold, as they are harder to insulate than the head, which is (normally) only in contact with air, itself an excellent insulator. Feet and hands, on the other hand, are directly exposed. We use our hands to pick up cold objects, and our feet can remain in prolonged contact with surfaces of a few degrees.

As a result, unless we're equipped with MoonBoots or boots specially designed for the cold (with soles several centimetres crenellated), we end up with cold feet.

There are many factors involved in foot cooling:

  • poor footing insulation/conduction of cold through the floor,
  • Textile footwear sometimes unsuitable/wind chill,
  • fatigue and the body's inability to warm the extremities...


The cold is a source of discomfort, and can even lead to injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia. For those who are interested, you'll find a fairly comprehensive report on the effects ofexposure to cold published by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.