Keep Boots & Feet Warmer During Winter With Foil Insulation Sole Inserts

foil insulation for boots

I had a brainstorm on how to keep my feet warmer in my boots or hiking shoes. Foil insulation sole inserts! And it worked!

It dawned on me the other day while working on a project in the garage. My feet get cold after awhile standing on the chilly concrete floor.

It can happen anywhere. Just being outside standing on the frozen ground after awhile. The cold creeps up through the soles and into the bottom of your feet. Even with insulated boots.

TA-DA!! Here’s how to keep your boots and feet warmer…

Do-it-yourself Foil Insulation Sole Inserts

I had a leftover partial roll of “Reflectix”. It’s foil insulation. Aluminum foil sandwiched / bonded to a layer of polyethylene.

check on amzn:

Reflectix – end view showing sandwiched foil layers

I had been using it behind my radiators to reflect heat back into the room that would otherwise go right into the wall behind them. (It works great for that by the way).

So I thought, why not cut some pieces the same shape as the sole inserts in my boots? In theory this would reflect the heat from my feet, back into my feet! And reflect the cold from the ground, back down to the ground where it belongs!

  1. I simply removed the inserts from my Merrell’s and the inserts from my snow boots.
  2. I laid the inserts on top of the foil insulation.
  3. Got out a Sharpie and traced the outline.
  4. Cut them with scissors.
  5. Then insert the new foil cut-outs into the boot.
  6. I replaced the original sole insert on top of the foil insulation cut-outs.

I was concerned that the additional inserts would make the boots too tight fitting. But it worked out okay. I just loosened the laces a bit more than otherwise. No problems.

Then came the test. I put them on and proceeded on a project that I had started in the garage. Fixing the electric Toro Snow Thrower that we use to clear the deck after a snowfall. I spent about an hour standing on the cold concrete floor, and whadayaknow… my feet stayed warm!

Reflectix Insulation Specs

  • Reflects up to 97% percent of radiant energy
  • R-values range up to to R-14 depending on application
  • Class A / class 1 fire rating
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Will not compress, collapse or disintegrate
  • Vapor and radon retarder
  • Not affected by moisture or humidity

Anyway, thought some of you might find this interesting…

UPDATE: A comment below mentions an additional brand choice, “US Energy Products”. So I checked it out. The reflective insulation is very similar. Though Made in USA.

Its thickness is nearly identical to Reflectix. Rather than poly ethylene as its core, this one utilizes closed cell foam. It costs a bit more, but I thought I would point it out.

view on amzn:

US Energy Products Reflective Insulation (24 inches x 25 FT )

US Energy Products Reflective Insulation (48 inches x 10 FT )

Continue reading: SNO-SEAL Beeswax for your Boots

5 Steps To Buy Boots That Fit


  1. Good advice with winter coming. I just added some of that Reflectix to my Amazon cart. I see there are lots of other uses for it.

    Also, as a former mountain climber, I learned that two socks are more than twice as warm as one. Always buy winter shoes/boots large enough to add extra layers.

    When I was a young girl, I almost lost some toes because of something that never occurred to me until after it happened: Back then (1950’s) we wore un-insulated rubber over-boots over our regular shoes. One cold day, I went to my piano lesson and left my boots outside so I wouldn’t get my teacher’s floor wet. When I went back out, I put those cold boots back on. On the two mile walk home I couldn’t imaging why my feet were so cold. By the time I got home my feet were white.

    For warm feet — always make sure your footwear is good and warm before you put it on!

    1. You said, “Always buy winter shoes/boots large enough to add extra layers.”

      I meant to mention that too. Very important! I always buy larger by 1/2-size or even 1 size if it still feels right. Not too loose, not too tight either. Tight is bad by not allowing anything to breathe, and lessens the effects of insulating material that may be lined in there.

  2. That is pretty awesome. My experiences hunting and selling Christmas trees all day long in Northern climates..

    What I have noticed you head outside just wearing a pair of jeans the cold air sucks the warmth out of your legs on the way to your feet. By the time your blood reaches your feet it has already cooled down and then your feet get cold fast.

    I guess this could be because my wife says I have chicken legs! :P

    To keep my feet warm it is best to keep your core body warm. Wearing insulated overalls keeps your chest and gut warm which sends warm blood down through your legs that are also insulated with the overalls. The warm blood arrives into your feet.

  3. Wow. simple, low tech, great idea for keeping your feet warm with your everyday shoes. I have been used to wearing the heavy insulated, clod-hopper safety toed boots around work sites. I can use this idea with my present safety toed boots. Thanks!

  4. Oooh, awesome idea! Believe I’ll hop over to Amazon to order some of this.

    1. For ~$10 for that roll, you can’t go wrong. The stuff can be used for other things too. Like I said, I tuck it behind my radiators for radiant reflection.

      1. Ohhh yeah, on the upper wall behind the LP heater. Was going to use aluminum foil. This will be much better.

  5. long ago i worked on snow removal crew in west ny state during one of the harshest winters on record the winter of 76 77 if i remember right at one point we got 5 FEET of snow in less than 2 days i had bought the best winter work boots i could find they just didnt cut it i tried several pairs of heavy sock as well finally i just gave up and bought a pair of snowmobile boots end of problem

  6. Well how cool is that! Or warm… I have been reading on non electric warming pet mats which is based on this same principle. Instead of the fancy mat I am going to buy some of this for the bottom of the cat boxes. Very good boss!

  7. I enjoy this blog very much. Great info and camaraderie. However Ken, today you made my day! Mr. and I have been struggling with a way to close off half of the house in case the power goes out. Between the kitchen and living room is a vaulted open 48″x10′ space. So while looking at this reflective bubble on Amazon I spotted a size just right for the opening. Some thumb tacks in the wall and we are ready to go. No curtains or folding doors to be in the way when not in use and will be rolled back up put away easy peasy!!! :-) :-)

    1. I opted for the made in America brand, U S Energy. Reflectix is made in China according to the info.

      1. @ Mrs. U,
        Thanks for discovering the alternative. I updated the article above with this info. and links. It costs more, however the R-value is 8! Looks good…

  8. The foil backed bubble wrap also looks like it will help those of us that have to deal with heat more than cold. Perhaps when it warms up an article on dealing with heat would be appropriate.

  9. Great idea.
    Someone is probably rushing that one to patent office.
    Don’t be surprised if you see it marketed next season. Or a simple version.

  10. Could of marketed this, made a bazillion, bought a bunker and lived happily ever after the apocalypse.

  11. Great job…

    Have seen a similar suggestion made from those giant front window shields to protect the front of vehicle from sun. Often found at doller stores.

  12. I’ve made inserts for coolers with this material taping it together with aluminum foil tape. Both can be found at our local DIY hardware outlet.
    Other uses: underneath your sleeping bag or popup tent mattress. I made a windshield sunscree, beer can coolers and crock pot warmers.
    It is very durable

  13. I had a huge box or tarps put aside, now I will add this stuff to my SHTF stash as well! Either way the ball bounces in November 2020, I believe we are being set up for Civil War.

  14. Ken,
    How are they holding up?
    I am on a farm in mountains of WV. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of rocks, snow, mud and horse uh mud. Do they slide around or bunch up much? Sounds like a good idea.

  15. WOW!

    The Amazon price on Reflectix has nearly doubled since you posted this article. I guess a lot of us must have ordered it. I put it in my cart and just now discovered it went from $10.85 to $21.05. I suppose it will come back down in time.

    1. well, I see it is back down to $9.98 now. Temporary bump in price because Ken advertised it, I guess

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