Assessing the lower temperature limit for comfort in footwear

When selecting clothing and equipment for use in the cold, consumers often receive only limited guidance from product information provided by manufacturers. In the area of sleeping bags the introduction of standards for their climatic range assessment, though often heavily debated by manufacturers, has undoubtedly provided consumers with guidance. Currently no such standards exist for outdoor footwear. Many manufacturers of footwear do claim certain lower temperature limits, going to -40ºC in some cases. No information is however provided on how this is tested and what criteria are applied. Kuklane et al. (1999) did several studies on the relation between footwear insulation and comfort range, but so far this has to our knowledge not led to the development of a standard. In the present study, following up on work by Kuklane, an attempt was made to collect physiological data that may be used in setting criteria for the lower temperature range of footwear.