Staying warm has been a focus of mankind for eons during the Winter months, those long cold, blustery, snow-filled, Winter months. Staying dry goes hand in hand with staying warm. On the farm, during those long work days of our Canadian Winters, wearing quality work clothing is important for your health as well as your productivity. There are several things to consider before equipping your feet with a boot that is comfortable and warm enough to withstand the abuse of your labors around the farm.
Dry Feet, Dry Socks
In the early stages of WW1 soldiers stood in waterlogged trenches for long durations of time developing a possibly life threatening condition called “Trench Foot”. Their feet would turn cold, circulation would be lost, and sometimes gangrene set in. If only they had the boot technology we have today. Keeping one’s feet dry and warm goes beyond comfort, it is an act of self-care.
A boot with a draw-string, if you are not wearing an overall or pant covering your boot, will keep snow and other forms of precipitation out of the liner of the boot. Most boots we have used over the years have had removeable liners inside the boot that can be snugged into place with the draw-string liner. The liners wick up moisture so must be dried in a dryer or in front of a woodstove. At the farm, my grandmother always dried our wet liners on a metal drying rack over top of a furnace grate. On the farm, or on any job where you are exposed to the elements and on your feet for a large part of the day, it is crucial to keep your feet dry and warm. You can do this by either wearing a boot that has no liner or by drying the liners before the work day.
Inside of the liners you will still need to wear a warm pair of socks. Bare feet don’t do much in the way of holding warmth especially if snow gets inside the boot. Wool socks or a quality pair of thermal socks for men and women do the trick. For those of you with a relative that can knit with your own supply of yarn and wool, you have it made!
Get a grip, would ya?
There is nothing worse than a bad fall on the icy pathways around the barnyard. Good tread on a boot makes for good traction around the farmyard. As most farmers can attest, good traction is as much an integral necessity for the boot as warmth.
Everytime I’ve purchased a boot or received a boot as a Christmas gift (That happens in a farming family) my father would ask, “How’s the grip?” A boot with a poor grip is to put it simply, unsafe. When working around machinery or livestock, a slip or fall can be painful and at the worst, life threatening. Traction on snowy, icy, and hardpack surfaces can allow you to focus on the task at hand instead of your balance. Baffin boots provide some of the best grips on the market.
Steel Toed Protection
Around the farm and on the job site, protecting your warm, dry, and comfy toes with steel toed protection is common sense with the innumerable number of weighs to hurt your feet around tractor tires, cow’s feet, firewood, and other unnamed toe squashers. Some boots come with composite toe or metal-free toe protection, which works equally as well in it’s design to protect the toes.
When we buy winter boot footwear for the farm online, one of the first things we have to consider is the coldness rating. Finding quality boots where we are situated in Northern NB, Canada isn’t always easy and to be honest, purchasing online usually gives you more bang for your buck. We don’t really give it a second thought because, to be honest, there aren’t any boot makers around but Amazon is always open. Boots that are rated to -40 and below provide the best protection for cold Winter days. Boots are tested for cold crack testing to see what extreme temperatures they can withstand. Take the time to read the tag on the boots or research thermal/cold rating online.
Boots fit for the Farm
If the necessities of warmth, traction, toe protection, and comfort are met then you are well on your way to productive days around the farm, in the barn, and at work. There is nothing worse than cold and wet feet on a busy work day. For those of us who work in the great outdoors exposed to the elements we must keep our feet warm and dry, our productivity and health depend on it.
If you have any questions please feel free to comment below.