Your socks are just important as the rest of your gear whether you are running, hiking , skiing or snowboarding. A pair of high-tech socks is your first line of defense for dry, comfortable and blister-free feet. Many outdoor companies offer a wide range of sport specific socks that will accommodate your sport and weather needs. Each of your feet are densely covered with about 250,000 eccrine sweat glands, making feet one of the sweatiest places on your body. Performance fabrics help absorb and disperse all that moisture. Cotton is not recommended for active use, they do not wick moisture but absorb the sweat and stay wet longer. Look for a combination of synthetic and natural fabrics such as Nylon and Lycra® spandex help socks retain their shape, create a snug fit and, in some sock styles, provide arch support. CoolMax® polyester, Wickspun™ acrylic and Isolfil® polypropylene are commonly used fibers that wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. Merino wool is a natural fabric that is used for athletic socks, it is a good wicker of moisture but a bit more expensive and dries slower than the synthetics.
www.REI.com for more information and a complete line of athletic socks.
As discussed before the proper gear including your socks will help you prevent a cold injury. When out in the snow and cold you want to have water proof shoe gear, be mindful that some shoes are water resistant meaning they are not designed for sustained water exposure. Your socks should wicked sweat and dry quickly to prevent wetness in your shoe. Be careful not to layer with bulky material, this will make your shoes too tight and decrease circulation. You can layer with socks that are specifically designed as liners, they are not for cushioning or insulation they are primarily to wick moisture and protect skin, you would pair these with a wool or thicker synthetic sock. You want to be able to freely move your toes when inside your shoes. Mittens are a better alternative to gloves in the cold whether as it allows the circulation of body heat.
To treat frostbite get out of the cold immediately. Protect your skin from further exposure. Once you're indoors, remove wet clothes. Gradually warming frostbitten areas is the key. If you're outside, warm frostbitten hands by tucking them into your armpits. Protect your face, nose or ears by covering the area with dry, gloved hands. Do NOT rub the affected area this will damage the fragile tissue. Put frostbitten hands or feet in warm water if possible — 104 to 107.6 F (40 to 42 C). Wrap or cover other areas in a warm blanket. Don't use direct heat, such as a stove, heat lamp, fireplace or heating pad, because these can cause burns before you feel them on your numb skin. Don't walk on frostbitten feet or toes if possible. This further damages the tissue. If there's any chance the affected areas will freeze again, don't thaw them. If they're already thawed, wrap them up so that they don't become frozen again. If numbness or sustained pain remains during warming or if blisters develop, seek medical attention. Many people with frostbite may also be experiencing hypothermia (body temperature that is too low), which can be deadly. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately.