I think I could start a new temperature rating scale for companies to use if they would like to rate the warmth factor of their winter gear! After a disappointment my version of the Ugg Buttee boots I featured before Christmas which had to be returned as they simply weren't warm enough for my cold feet. I have always suffered from the cold but since being under the weather with this bug which has been with me from Christmas time I have to admit I am even colder than before. I am sure the boots I had to return would be more than warm enough for most people although several features of the boots had been skimped on in the children's version. Dad's boots of the same style are lovely and warm and have been given a warmth rating by the brand whereas mine were really a cut down version which I soon learned about as my feet were solid cold when testing them inside the house!
After a lot of research and reading reviews to the point I was about to give up. I tired adult sized boots locally and fell in love with the very stylish warm boots but they were so wide and big the warmth factor would have escaped into the air! I stopped looking but dad insisted we tried another brand. I would not give the brand any stars for their customer care and almost dismissed them completely due to the lack of knowledge when I rang the number they encouraged customers to ring for advice. I would have expected more advice than the details I could read for myself on their website. Enough said about this plus I am still waiting for their technical team to ring me with answers to my uncomplicated questions. I trawled through various brands but in the end decided to order the boots from another retailer of the brand. The parcel arrived on Friday and due to all my doubts I didn't want to open the box. I was sure they would go straight back but I had to give them a test. First test surprised me they were comfortable and had a lot of plus points including the length of the leg despite being the children's version of the boot. There are advantages with having small feet but I have found with boots manufacturers don't put the same technology into their children's styles.
The big boost came with there was a warmth factor rating of -40 on the boots! Small plus add narrow feet which means problems with the width of the boot. Off to the sports shop to buy extra thick socks. The only pair the shop had in my size had to suffice to enable me to double check the boots were going to be adequate for me. Pushed along by dad to test both I was surprised to find my feet felt very comfortable and warm although the ultimate test would be outside and there was no going back once I took this step.
I don't think anyone would believe it if I listed the layers I had on to keep me warm when we ventured out on one of the coldest days. I have a geniune ski jacket and snow trousers with the recommended base, mid and top layers (yes, I am that cold). My rechargeable hand warmers are an essential now too. I walked about in the bitter wind and couldn't believe that my feet stayed warm and comfortable. We explored parts of Mount Stewart we hadn't seen before, all because I had happy feet!
We started to take some photographs and enjoyed our afternoon in the fresh air. I still have to recover fully but the fact I feel more confident that I will be warm is amazing. I really couldn't take much more of feeling so cold and having white fingers with blue feet to match! Maybe I should rename the boots as they are called Joan of the Arctic to Beverley of the Arctic.
If anyone reading this blog really suffers in the cold weather I can sympathise but recommend checking out ski wear rather than hiking clothes. I have a Roxy jacket and trousers which I was told I wouldn't need in our climate, hmmm Ice Breaker merino base layers, Teko socks and the recent addition Sorel Joan of the Arctic boots. I will replace my rechargeable hand warmers if I run out of charges as they really do work. My fingers can go ghostly white in the house therefore I know I couldn't take one photo outside if I didn't have heated pockets. I am now investigating Patagonia warm gear. I am also beginning to think I am a geek in the construction of socks! They are most important and I hope to add more quality, socks to my gear. Don't just think 'one size fits all' plus there really should be one specific to the left or right foot.
I still can't believe my feet were warm and dad was happy trekking along in the fresh air. I think he has done enough shopping to escape where his heart belongs along little paths with gates to open or climb over!
Off the boot subject: After our walk we paid our usual visit to the second hand book shop in Mount Stewart and I bought two books, one of which takes me out of my comfort zone of the type of books I normally read. I am looking forward to a book outside of reality which might be a little scary and it isn't a true story or a classic which topped my list of books for 2014.