Keeping your Feet Warm in Extreme Cold

Keeping your feet warm when photographing in extreme cold is a little less challenging, but a close second to keeping your hands warm.


They are many options when it comes to socks! As long as they work for you. Personally, I like:

  • Merino wool socks
  • Socks with T-MAX HEAT™ technology. Thicker cushion increases heat retention and comfort. Intensive brushing process increases air retention close to skin for maximum insulation and warmth
  • Home made fleece socks

Winter Boots

They are a must. As a night sky or aurora photographer, you will spend long periods of time outside without moving. Not walking around much and just standing by your tripod does not help with keeping feet warm.
I have two pairs of boots, one for daytime for walking and hiking, and one for night photography.

Here is what I look for when I buy boots for night photography up North:

  • Cold rating of at least -20°C
  • Waterproof
  • Thick rubber outsole
  • Removable inside liner
  • Loose fit – one to two size bigger than regular shoe size


This is why I have boots two size bigger that my shoe size, and still not tight when I wear thick socks: to add extra stuff in my boots.

Here are my go to:

– Insoles: Polar or Arctic insoles made of felt and aluminium weaved together are very effective. The felt traps heat and cushions the foot while the aluminum base prevents heat loss, and guards against dampness.

– Chemical heat warmers: regular hand heat warmers can be added under your toes. I find the toe warmers do not provide enough heat when it is very cold.

– Heated Rechargeable Insoles: powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries, they have three temperature settings run by remote control. Worth noting – these soles are not too efficient when boots are tight.


Anything that can insulate your feet from the cold ground will help. I have invested in a pack of interlocking foam tiles because they are easy to carry around and reusable, but cardboard or a yoga mat work well too.