Gear Pick: ThermaCell Heated Insoles: A heat feat for feet
by Chad Abraham, Time Out Staff Writer
On the Elk Camp gondola last winter, I stared longingly at a fellow passenger’s battery-heated gloves.
My gloves are fine, but still, I knew his digits were toastier than mine. So when a colleague offered up the chance to get a free pair of heated insoles from ThermaCell, I quickly said yes.
During a cold night recently, I plugged in the charger and a cable into the back of each insole, waited a few hours and then slipped them into my boots before walking the dogs. The product has lithium ion polymer batteries that are rechargeable, and the insoles come with a wireless remote about the size of a key fob that offers three settings: high, medium and no heat, which essentially acts as a “sleep” mode that better preserves the batteries.
I chose high, which brought one of the insoles to 111 degrees (medium puts them at 100). I realized halfway through my walk I had forgot to switch my right insole on before it went into the boot. But this was OK, as now I had a control group of sorts to compare how ThermaCell worked on my left.
And what a difference. The heat is emitted onto the mid-foot and took about a half-hour to feel. The product comes with detailed instructions and helpful hints, one of which points out that the insoles do not get hot to the touch, so as to avoid causing sweat that could freeze. They also do not reach the temperature of disposable/chemical warming pads.
But nevertheless it afforded plenty of warmth that, as claimed, was just this side of hot, heat that the insoles can provide for up to five hours.
Some of the tips are vague, such as a recommendation to use the “no heat” setting when engaged in strenuous activity, a relative term.
I was hoping to see how they fared on the hill, but, impatient on a powder day, gave up trying to cram them into the ski boots after a few minutes. But I can see the insoles as being advantageous on a trek to a backcountry hut, a day of sledding or while on the mountain, provided you or a ski tech can wrangle them into your boots.
Just don’t forget to hit the on switch on each insole.