Need advice on cold toes during Canadian winter

4 months 6 days ago - 4 months 6 days ago #33268 by SpaceSputnik
Hi all

I am doing some (very careful) winter paddling around Toronto area. I am all sorted with drysuit and sufficient layering for ~2C water and 0C-ish air except my toes get cold no matter what I do. I tried various combinations of wool/neoprene sock under the drysuit with neoprene booties over, but still not there. 
It's just the toes, the rest of my body is quite warm paddling and swimming.
My current thinking is that the outer neoprene boots suffer from evap cooling. I notice that once I am on the beach my toes begin to warm up.
On my hands I wear Glacier Gloves, these are thinnnish neoprene but it's rubber coated and fleece lined inside. I find that in winter I only need a thin liner glove under those to keep my hands completely happy. Maybe the same principle would work on feet as well. Not easy to find booties constructed in the same manner though. Most are just thick neoprene, good while in water, not so much when exposed to fresh wind for a period of time while wet.

So. My current point of attack is to try these diving socks over drysuit. www.mec.ca/en/product/5062-193/Bretagne-5mm-Socks
They are about the only offering that comes with coated neoprene.

Any thoughts? 

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4 months 6 days ago #33269 by Fath2o
The only thought that comes to my mind is, a bootie designed for surfers may have a less aggressive and lower volume sole that might fit a foot well better?

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4 months 5 days ago #33270 by SpaceSputnik
That hasn't been an issue with neoprene boots I have, they all have pretty moderately sized soles. All I had to do is loosen the foot strap.

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4 months 5 days ago #33271 by Wavehugger
I think you're right: it's evap cooling. I have noticed the exact same thing: my toes/feet get cold once the booties are wet & even more so when exposed to wind. I don't have a drysuit, I wear a 5/4 Xcel infinity surf wetsuit. Which keeps me very nice and warm, no problems there. Under that I wear exactly the kind of socks you mention here (only from a French brand called Atan, made for windsurfers). Unfortunately they are not warm enough at all, I still get really cold feet. But I wear them on my bare feet, so maybe your idea of wearing two layers will work. Keep us posted, please! 
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4 months 5 days ago #33272 by SpaceSputnik
Yeah, bare feet with just a sock or a boot is a pretty massive non-starter in this sort of conditions.
Will keep this topic updated.

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4 months 5 days ago #33273 by M.v.E.
I had the same problem years ago in the winter when I began with surfski paddling. I quickly realized  that the reason for my cold feet was that I constantly dripped icecold water on my toes with my paddleblade.
The solution was quite simple and cheap. I bought a transparent and flexible plastic sheet in the next hardwear store
and attached it with self adhesive velcro over the front section of my surfski cockpit. Since then I never had cold feet
anymore. I wear a drysuit with attached latex/rubber booties and very thick smartwool socks underneath.   
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4 months 5 days ago #33274 by Wavehugger
That makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing that wisdom!

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4 months 5 days ago #33276 by SpaceSputnik
This is very interesting. Do you have a picture of the setup?

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4 months 4 days ago #33277 by M.v.E.
Yes, see the attachments below.
Attachments:
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4 months 4 days ago #33279 by Fath2o
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3 months 3 weeks ago #33291 by SpaceSputnik
An update.
I tried these rubberized 5 mm booties that I had mentioned. They seem a bit better than regular 7mm neoprene boots but still, after about an hour and a half my toes were cold again.
So now I have this concoction sitting in my garage. Basically just a foam tile attached with the meanest velcro I could find. I tried working with an acrylic sheet. While bending that with heat I got a little overzealous and the sheet cracked. I am glad it did because these cracks were nasty. Long and sharp pieces. I sure don't want that anywhere near me on the water.
The foam seems to be pretty secure so far but it remains to be tested.
Attachments:

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33293 by M.v.E.
The transparent plastic cover for my surfski that I pictured in my former post is quite flexible so there was no need to bend it into shape. It´s also not brittle. It takes a lot force to brake it. Unfortunately I do not know  how the material is called. But it seems that you found another solution that works.
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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #33294 by SpaceSputnik
Certainly hope it does indeed work. Haven't had a chance to test it yet.
The acrylic sheet seemed like a super idea as it was indeed strong. It would take quite a hit before breaking. But if it did break things would get hairy quickly. My boat is a V7 and I am not too leery of (gently) bumping into a rock here and there. For instance last time out I was helping a friend in a mini-break zone near a rocky shore. Not a big deal generally as the waves were small but they did flip the boat at some point with me standing next to it. Banging into a rock was a very real possibility.
Anyway, it's all in the specific material. After all Stellar does make hard footwell covers for some of their skis. I am sure that doesn't break into thin sharp knifes.
I am sure what you are using is better suited than what I have tried.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33297 by M.v.E.
I see. Well I use my homemade cover only in the wintertime in small lakes so there is no danger that it will break I guess.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33298 by mamaru
As far as I know it's polycarbonate and about 1 mm thick. Mine came on a roll and you can cut it with a strong scissor, it is quite flexible and will not splinter, even if it takes a hit. With heat you can bend it even sharply, I use it as material for a leaf-/seaweed deflecting device for the bow. Acrylic glass is much more brittle (mine broke in the attempt of making a cover, too). You'll just have to see that your feet and legs have enough room underneath and behind both paddling and upon re-entry.

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year, may all your wish of sun, wind and waves come true!
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3 months 3 weeks ago #33299 by M.v.E.
Yes you´re right with your description. That´s exactly the material I have. It´s really tough and it will last forever.   

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33300 by SpaceSputnik
Any issues when capsizing? The covers stay on with boat upside down?

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