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Raynaud's: Thoughts on heated socks?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Mrs U has moderate/severe Raynaud's phenomenon (formally diagnosed, to the extent it can be; often triggered in summer in 38C by washing salad).

To date, she can continue to ski having excellent Blazewear liners (going strong) in her (Hestra) mittens and (2nd pair of) heated boot insoles (~3 years old?).

The insole batteries are drawing to the end of useful life.

She would like a more transportable solution (e.g. into her XC boots, touring boots, etc.)

Heated socks seem like a solution. And are not materially +/- expensive vs just replacing the insole batteries.

Requirements are: elements at least across all of the sole, ideally all around the toes; battery life to last a day's skiing in fairly chilly weather (e.g. -15C (yes, I know that's not Europe, but it can easily be e.g. a full day's heli in BC ) ). The Lenz ones currently look most interesting.

If you have experience of such, questions are:

- brand/model recommendations?

- longevity? (Inc. washability)

- battery daily life?

(Suggestions such as silk liners, better mittens, heated tea bags, etc. are not welcome, thank you. She requires a direct, primary heat source, all around her fingers and toes. We have been managing this for around 12 years, ski around 60 days a year and now, annoyingly, have accumulated considerable experience in the management thereof.)

Thanks,

UANN
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I have no personal experience, but these might be worth considering:

https://www.lenzproducts.com/en/heating-wear.html
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I have Lenz heated socks, but haven't worn them a lot - the weather seemed to get very mild as soon as I bought them. I don't have them in front of me but IIRC there is a heating pad under the base of the toes - a reasonable size, but not "wrap round" and not throughout the base of the sock. I did buy them a few years ago (Au Vieux Campeur in Albertville) and more recent models might be better. They wash OK. Battery life is OK if you don't dial the heat up high - but I don't have a lot of experience with them, and none in bitterly cold weather.
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I use the Lenz heated socks but not every day, only when it gets to around -5 or colder (not used them this week, for example). I rarely have gone above the mid point of the heat setting, and battery life seems to last for a full day quite easily at that setting. I did once set the heating to high, and within 15 minutes it was unpleasantly hot. The battery pack is pretty small, so gif you find that you run out of power during the day carrying a spare pair of batteries is fairly straightforward, in a pack or jacket pocket.

They are controlled by an app on your phone, so very easy to change heat settings, and the battery pack is very unobtrusive so I'm completely unaware of it when skiing. They seem to wash OK (at 30 degree setting, no hotter) and so far I've not seen the socks show any significant signs of wear. Charging them each day is very easy, you just plug the charging cable in to a USB charger and both battery packs are charged at the same time. In my usage both batteries have been fully charged before the evening is out, so perhaps three or four hours to fully charge.

As far as I know the heating element is only at the toe end of the sock, not underneath the sole. I use the version which completely encloses the toes with a heating element rather than underneath the toes (model 4.0, IIRC). The only drawback to this system is the socks are bulkier than I am used to. I'd much prefer a thinner sock, providing it offered a heating element that full surrounded the toes. It's easy to get the sock a bit ruckled up inside the boot, so you need to put your foot in to the boot with a bit of care. For anyone who gets unpleasantly cold feet (I have done since getting a touch of frostbite in both big toes a few years ago) I'm happy to recommend the Lenz heated socks, which for me were a step up (pun unintended) from heated footbeds.
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@Old Fartbag, thanks, those were the ones I was referring to ... wink

@pam w, thanks, the current marketing suggests all round the toes. We shall investigate further. Her indoors has to use them even in warm (winter) weather.

@rob@rar, thanks. One of the things we are thinking is that for alpine she has socks for main burden and runs the insoles on "low" as and when required. So even if it's only the toes that are heated, that should work. Given your usage, that's encouraging on wear. Bulky socks aren't a problem as for other reasons she has a slightly bigger boot than would normally be fitted.

Good info all, cheers!
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@under a new name, may be worth getting Mrs U tested for Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma). My wife had Raynauds. Luckily our GP’s specialist interest was Rheumatology and suspected it may be the onset of Scleroderma; which often first manifests itself as Raynauds. Unfortunately he was proved right. Other GP’s had missed it.

Please don’t get me wrong, only a tiny percentage of Raynauds sufferers may have the start of Systemic Sclerosis. But the earlier it is diagnosed the better. For some reason Systemic Sclerosis seems to affect middle aged woman more than any other age group, but they don’t know why.
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@Awdbugga, thank you, she did have bloods done when she was diagnosed but I was interested to read this eve that Raynaud's can be a sentinel symptom for a whole bundle of nasties, up to 20 years in advance. Sadly completely non-specifically.

We're transitioning from Swiss to French systems at the mo so adding that question into the general screening and reviewing will be a straightforward thing to do.

Happy
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My wife's got the Lenz 5.0 (heating element all around the toes, but not the rest of the foot) with the RCB 1200 battery pack. This lasts a day mostly on setting 2, while taking care to reduce the heating at times (e.g. at coffee stops). For her the toe element works well, but it was always her toes where the cold hit most. They've done 5 or 6 weeks so far we no noticeable degradation
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@under a new name,

I have some Thermic socks Mrs U is welcome have. I've never used them as although I tried them on with my zip fits when bought I then couldn't get my feet in my liners&shells while wearing them.

Also at the beginning of this season I got new boots and new heated insoles, if your failing insole batteries are the cuboid Thermic type I've spares.

As another Raynaud's sufferer that can't shop in Sainsbury or M&S foodhall without problems I know her pain.
My lovely husband bought me new Thermic mittens for Christmas and I'm very impressed, -14 forecast for next week so that will put them to the test!
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I don't have any direct experience myself with heated socks, but a French guide i skied with last year swore by them, and loved the ability to move them between boots. I am pretty sure he was using the Thermic ones.
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Two days ago I rode a lift in Whistler, where it was -22 C, and an instructor I rode with had the Lenz sox and said they were terrific.
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I have used the Lenz heat sock (toe 5.0 + older model) for 3-4 seasons now and they are good, or the Toe 5.0 is, the older models/versions have the element under the ball of the foot and can cause discomfort (and nearly crippled me one day in Norway) but I suffer from Princess&Pea feet. The Toe 5.0 wrap around the toe section (top & bottom) and don't interfere with the sole contact to the footbed (or for me they don't).

They have merino and can stretch 2-4 days depending on company wink I've never washed in resort and they do say not to hand wash but I know people who have and not had an issue (just to be careful of the heating elements and the cabling to the battery pack, I would think if a person goes ape_sh_it_e in the cleaning of them Toofy Grin

As already mentioned - 1-2 heat-level lasts a day (5hrs+) and keeps my feet nice and warm - with the 1200mAh battery.

The app has just been updated and gives a lot more control and a possible "interval" setting and independent Left/Right control but I've only had 2-3 days with it so far so can't comment too much. The battery level is potentially harder to read but will probably get used to.

Worth noting I use the AlpenHeat BootGlove (neoprene cover) with these as well to maximise the heat retention.
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This is one reason why I do love SnowHeads. Thanks all - excellent responses. @muppet, I'm just about to type you a PM.

One reason for the question is that the batteries on her insoles (SIDAS) need replacing and that's around €180.

The second is that even with the insoles on yesterday at max, her RHS middle toes were white into the ball of her foot. Now, every day is different, and random, but we haven't seen that before.

So....
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@under a new name, I’ve replied but not sure it sent.

I’m sure Mrs U has tried lots of things but what I’ve found this season that has helped slightly is using a foam roller on my legs just before putting my boots on.
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@muppet, doesn't seem to have arrived? Anyhoo, how very interesting/odd. how/why did you get that idea? We are very open to any suggestions that have a plausible mechanism, because it is really a PITA.
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@under a new name, Has Mrs U looked into medication? Or maybe she is already taking pills to aid circulation during winter? If not, maybe worth a conversation with her GP. Drugs such as nifedipine that help dilate blood vessels can really help....
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@under a new name, I’ve resent it.

Concerning the foam roller, the idea came from a boot fitter telling me to increase my ankle flex, this was passed on to guys I train with. One is an ex rugby player and the other ex pro basketball player, they both played in cold temps, Scottish rugby pitches and over air -coned basketball courts in the US. The theory is getting the circulation working to all extremities before enter a cold environment.
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Lenz - they are a wicked price though.
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I also suffer from v poor circulation and am considering getting the Lenz heated socks. The small size is harder to find and I’m at the top end of it (size 38 shoe) so wondering if it would be ok/better to get the sock size 39-41 but don’t want too much excess on the length. Any views on what the fit is like? Has anyone tried the 6.0 version - it seems to suggest it is a thinner sock which would be good as others have said they are quite thick.
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@LadyDi, So the Lenz socks have been acquired, 5.0. Size 36-38 - she normally takes a 38 or 38.5 shoe size. They are quite generous though in her opinion. And not terribly thick - about the same as normal ski socks.

And they seem to work. Which is the most important thing Happy
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I was speaking to a guide who tested them climbing Mont Blanc last summer - his feet got sweaty, then the power ran out and his feet almost froze as the sweat refroze.

I imagine for skiing they are great though.
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@Skevinski, She is refusing the drugs.
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@davidof, A guide i skied with last year who had both heated gloves and socks he took the approach of pulsing them on and off throughout the day, the idea being to stop his feet from getting to cold but at the same time not overly warm and sweaty. He said that this method worked the best for him and had the also had the plus side of being able to get longer use out of them as they weren't turned on all the time..
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@under a new name, thanks for info on the sizing. I will stick to size small then. Just more generally I suggest your wife gets a pair or two of cashmere fingerless gloves from Turtle Doves. The lady who set the company up has been inundated by people with poor circulation telling her they have really helped so she now uses it in her marketing. The idea is that you wear them inside and outside (don’t need to use the thumb hole) if inside but by keeping the wrist warm it keeps the fingers warm too. I have used them this winter and they do work. I notice how much warmer my fingers are when I wear them. Perhaps not good enough outside in the Alps but work in Surrey and I wear them at home too.
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AT the weekend I was chatting to a woman in some new Salomon boots that have electrically heated liners. The batteries are neatly built into the top/back of the liner and charged via a USB port. There is no bulky box on the back of the boot, cables, etc. Heating element around the toes. Controllable via a smartphone app. She was very happy with them.

Have to say that they looked like a really good option.
Presumably Salomon or someone else will start selling them as an aftermarket option as well as part of a package with new shells.
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@jedster, they don't have such on the Salomon site? Sure it wasn't an after market e.g. Therm-ic?
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@under a new name, UANN - I may be stating the obvious but (as a fellow sufferer and with frostbite damage to add) it’s important never to forget heating the core. Make sure that her chest is hot, and the body can be fooled into keeping the circulation going to the fingers and feet. This avoids the ‘crashing’ of battery running out etc. I find ordinary boots entirely comfy hot when I really insulate my core and legs. Buff to seal round the neck, excellent gloves, and of course eat eat eat - that keeps the internal fire burning. Try feather layers (Haglofs Essens jacket or gillet; or Peak Performance similar), deep pile jackets or fleeces (Mountain Hardwear Monkey fleece or Mammut deep pile) - it all helps.
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I've just acquired some new Therm-ic heated insoles and before deciding on them did a fair amount of research and landed up talking to a very helpful individual at Sidas/Therm-ic. I hadn't realised until doing some digging that the two companies are one and the same, with a single development team. It appears that the latest (and best, based on what I was told) batteries are the Therm-ic rounded ones (C-pack). I got the impression that these would be in use on Sidas products next season, and also that the current Sidas and old flat Therm-ic batteries were not as good.

I've only had the insoles a few days, but have been very impressed so far. Therm-ic use the same batteries and also phone app for the socks, so would expect the same type of performance. Not sure if it would be helpful with Raynaud's, but the app can detect whether you are active or sat on a lift and automatically power up the batteries when you are on the lift and back down afterwards.

@under a new name, appreciate that you have now gone with the Lenz socks, but thought this would be good general info to add to the thread!
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under a new name wrote:
@jedster, they don't have such on the Salomon site? Sure it wasn't an after market e.g. Therm-ic?


Not sure they were this exact model but it was this system

https://www.theski-shop.co.uk/190213/products/salomon-quest-access-custom-heated-womens-ski-boots.aspx
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example on the Salomon site
https://www.salomon.com/en-gb/shop-emea/product/s-max-110-w-chc.html#color=19984
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Therm-ic have a similar liner that'll be in some Nordica boots next season. Has a button control on the cuff (like the Salomon one above) but can also be controlled from a phone app.
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@jedster, interesting. nice integration. cheers. Mrs U only skis Lange however, an old tradition or charter or something.
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another vote for the lenz socks. wife now swears by them. Several shops in Canada suggested they were the best option, largely due to the location of the heating elements.

Also, worth checking the boot fit... our very helpful fitter in revelstoke commented that good fit was key to warmth.... in particular, not having the front two buckles too tight.
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wardy89 wrote:
@davidof, A guide i skied with last year who had both heated gloves and socks he took the approach of pulsing them on and off throughout the day, the idea being to stop his feet from getting to cold but at the same time not overly warm and sweaty. He said that this method worked the best for him and had the also had the plus side of being able to get longer use out of them as they weren't turned on all the time..


That is very intelligent
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