How to Make Snow Boots (without the Snow Boots)




 It's December 19, 2009 in Washington DC, and we have 16 inches of snow on the ground, with another 12 inches to come in the next 12 or so hours. 

Everyone's staying home, but after being couped up in the house and taking pictures from the bedroom window, I wanted a better view of the winter wonderland that waited for me outside. 

The problem is that I don't have any snow boots, and the only pair of gym shoes I have are mesh-topped. I had to figure something out though, because I wanted to get outside and play!

What I did worked perfectly, and I was able to romp around in 16" of snow while staying completely dry and warm. 

Step 1: Step 1 - the Base

 First, you'll need a base layer. I used knee-high socks, and highly recommend, but you can also use the tall calf-length socks. Ankle socks will NOT work.

Step 1 -- Put your foot in a sock.

Step 2: Step 2 - the Barrier

 Next, you'll need a couple recycled grocery sacks, or some garbage bags. Don't use Ziploc bags, they don't bunch right and end up being uncomfortable and not really protective.

Step 2 -- Put that sock in a bag.

Step 3: Step 3 - the Outer Layer

 Next, you'll need another pair of knee-high (or calf-length) socks. Put those on over the grocery sack.

Step 3 -- Put that bag in a sock.

Step 4: Step 4 - the Pull-down

 The last step to weather-proofing a foot is to cover it with a pant! The type of pant is not terribly important, but jeans work well to provide a little bit of buffer between when the snow hits your pants and when you can feel it through the sock/sack barrier. 

Step 5: Step 5 - Gettin Jiggy Wit' It

The first foot was lonely. Be a doll and go make another one to keep it company, will ya?

Step 6: Shoes!

After a comment in which someone didn't realize that shoes are needed to complete the project, I am now demanding that you add shoes on top of your socks and bags!

Enjoy the snow!



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58 Discussions


2 years ago

This did not work, your shoes become to small and it is sooo uncomfortable.


3 years ago

I'm going to try this! We have 20 something inches of snow out there #Blizzard2016 and my boots are MIA


4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the ideal, I will try this in the morning. It's an old school ideal I forgot thanks again.


8 years ago on Step 6

This same technique works well WITH waterproof boots to keep your feet warm when you're working outside all day in extremely cold weather (below-zero to 20 degrees F above). It keeps the perspiration from your feet from getting the outer layer of insulation (the outer sock) wet and losing its insulative properties. The inner sock should be thin and the outer one thick. Half of a black plastic garbage bag, with the seam on top of your foot and the rest folded around your ankle, is more resistant to poke through than a shopping bag. But it helps to pull the bag and the outer sock down on the toe, to create some slack, and to wiggle your foot around inside the boot, to make sure that the bag isn't stretched too tight against your toes.

Your feet come out kinda nasty at the end of the day, but it sure beats frostbite.

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

the bags the Subway sandwiches come in are awesome. have used them framing in portland when I was dumb enough to go to work with out waterproof shoe's

Good idea- May work in some areas where temps are higher- Here in Alaska
'Cotton kills" - Cotton is not a wicking material then wraped in plastic the sweat is trapped - and then freezes to sock and skin-
Dress socks and gortex - and a good winter boot -

Remember to do the buddy check when in the cold for long periods. Kids have smaller feet so they freeze faster- Keep the eye on th lil ones'

Good write up - good step by step

Keep going



8 years ago on Introduction

folks the best thing for both thermal and moisture protection is to have the plastic bag vapor barrier first against your bare foot then pull a sock over that. citation; robert wood, the 2 oz. backpacker, and my personal testimony.

Dr. T.

1 reply

8 years ago on Step 5

Y'all do know that using plastic bags is about the worst thing you can do for your feet. It does not allow for any breathing, so any condensation/sweat will stay on your feet and freeze em off.

Not the best idea.

10 replies

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

True. Your feet will freeze and fall off within a few minutes of touching them to snow.

It can also cause markets to crash, zombie Atlantis to rise from the sea, and large, painful blisters to erupt all over your bottom.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

FORGET THE BLISTERS OR THE STOCK MARKET!!!! BUT ZOMBIES?!?!?!?!! noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

This happened to a friend of mine's friend, it's true. And once I got an email warning me about it too.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Condensation (the verb not the noun) is a heating process. Evaporatoin is a cooling process. If your feet are sweating enough to form condensation, they will not freeze.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

And condensation (the noun) is a phenomenon that happens when cold meets hot... IE your hot feet in cold shoes.

Guess there's a big difference between an american winter and what we get screwed with up north. -30 last night. I wouldn't be walking around in socks and bread bags.


Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

If your base sock layer is wool, these work just fine since the wool stays warm when wet. I don't think the author is suggesting this as a permanent solution as a substitute for boots or one for a long trek :-) I think it's a great idea in a pinch & have seen it used since I was a child without anyone having their feet freeze off :-)