Down Booties: Keeping You Warm From The Floor Up
Don't Touch That Thermostat! Warm Up Your Feet First
That's what we did last winter, and we never had to touch the dial. The thermostat stayed at 64 degrees Fahrenheit from October through April, and then we turned the heat off.
Our house is wall-to-wall tile, and the cold would go right through our feet and invade every part of our bodies. That is, until my husband and I both got down booties, and what a difference they made. With feathers surrounding our feet and the rest of our parts often in fleece, we were comfortable despite the chill in the air. Not to mention happy when our heating bills remained fairly constant and reasonable throughout the coldest months.
Here's some more info on down and why we're such fans of these booties for keeping warm from the floor up.
What Is Down? And why is it such a great insulator?
Down is the layer of fine feathers beneath the tougher exterior feathers of adult birds, like geese and ducks. The downy feathers provide the birds with insulation.
Because down feathers can be packed tightly into tiny spaces, trapping air and providing warmth, they make an excellent component in textile products and outdoor gear, such as jackets, vests and sleeping bags. And booties! Down is also commonly used in bed comforters and pillows. In addition to its insulating properties, down is extremely lightweight and therefore cooler in warm weather, making it useful year-round.
Down insulation is rated by "fill," described by the number of cubic inches displaced by an ounce of down feathers. The higher fill, the better the insulating value. Most outdoor equipment is in the 400 to 900-fill range, with the coldest-weather gear being 800 to 900. Down rated 500 to 600-fill is adequate for most conditions.
Some manufacturers produce synthetic alternatives to down, which are generally made with polyester.
In its Natural State
A Downy Bird Booty
This one belongs to a male peacock.
Down Booties for Inside Or Out
Down booties are great for around the house, the campsite and the hotel. They're not only lightweight but also compress nicely for packing. Many down booties come with reinforced, gripping soles like those pictured here (these are my husband's), making them compatible with both indoor and outdoor use.
A Best-Seller of a Bootie
This is one of the most popular styles in the world of booties.
There are eight colors and multiple sizes available for men, women and kids. While these make great gifts for any time of year, they're especially nice for cold-weather holidays or birthdays. I've had mine for ... gosh, twenty years or so now, and they're still in very good shape after lots and lots of use, indoors AND out.
Cold Feet = Cold Body
And Vice Versa
Why do cold feet make the rest of you cold?
Your entire body, including your feet, is constantly giving off heat. At the same time, your nerve endings are telling your brain about any temperature that differs from your body temperature, be it hotter or colder. When you stand on a cold floor -- tile, stone, wood -- the heat from the bottoms of your feet is rapidly conducted to the floor, and your nerve endings down there are shouting, "Hey! This is colder than we are!" so your whole body feels the chill on the way up.
Also, many people have chronically cold feet, often due to poor circulation or lack of mobility. And if the core of the body is cold, the blood flow to the extremities is reduced, which leaves the feet vulnerable.
Warm Feet Save Money - I can attest to that....
Q: How much does turning the thermostat down 1 degree save on your heating bill?
A: I've found multiple sources that agree on the 3% figure per degree, with a few that go as high as 10%, and another suggesting 15%. Going with the lower figure, we should have saved 12% on our monthly heating bills during the winter, because we lowered our thermostat from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 64.
Comparing our actual bills between two October through April periods, before and after the thermostat change, our real savings appear to be in the range of 12 - 20% per month (for 4 degrees), which came out to be between $12 to $30 per month. Of course, the average outdoor temp will not have been exactly the same for the two years, but this gave us a rough idea of how much we saved by lowering our thermostat. Every bit helps!
Booties For Women
Surround your feet with soft feathers.
I'm a big fan of the Sierra Designs company. I've always found their products to be well-made and reasonably priced at the same time. (Love their camping tents too!) I've had a number of different Sierra Designs products for well over a decade and still use them often.
But don't just take my word for it. Read a review of Sierra Designs Down Booties on MountainZone.com.
For extra warmth in your sleeping bag or for wearing around camp, try this Sierra Designs style for women. Warm and comfortable, these booties have a tough nylon sole, which will hold up through lots of wandering around camp and certainly, therefore, the house.
Down Booties For Men
This was my solution for getting my husband to take his dirty or snowy shoes off when coming in the house. Bought him his own pair of super comfortable goose down booties and he was happy to exchange sneakers or boots for this toasty pair as soon as he'd come home.
They cushion your feet with a Granite Grip padded sole made to prevent slipping and to hold up against countless short trips out to grab the mail or or wandering around camp after a day of hiking. And you can cinch in the warmth with the cord-lock at the ankle.
Unisex Styles Too
I think most booties are pretty much for him OR for her, but these are specifically made for both.
This style has an adjustable drawstring to keep them secure on your feet and keep out the snow. They come in five colors and six sizes. This is the "espresso" color....
The Softest, Squishiest Slippers
If you don't want something that covers your ankles, these would be a good choice. They come in a variety of colors and have a drawstring closure to cinch these cushy, squishy slippers onto your very comfortable feet. This is my husband's second down bootie style of choice.
Going on an Expedition?
These TAIGA Expedition Booties are made specifically made for the outdoors.
The bootie on the right is folded down, while the one on the left is pulled all the way up, which is great when it's really cold or the snow is deep.
These come in a variety of colors and sizes. Look below this particular product on Amazon to see other options.
These adjustable Goosedown booties have 700-725+ fillpower and a water-resistant Dryloft shell with a "Snow Gaiter" extension. They also feature a Cordura/neoprene sole with 10 mm EVA foam/fleece insulation
You can find all these bootie styles and more right here.
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury