David Siegel’s Winter Sports Clothing and Gear Porn

Outerwear, footwear, and gear for winter

Outerwear

Footwear

My choices in footwear tend toward products with extreme warmth and high traction. I have osteoporosis. While I’m not likely to fall down, if I do, it will probably have disastrous consequences. I haven’t tried any of the boots here, so I can’t tell you how they fit. For more choices, visit Winter Walking.

The best spikes are the ones you have with you. These are cheap, so you can have a pair in the car, at home, and at work. $12
Kickspike Boots. If you want retractable spikes, look no further! Kick in the button and the spikes extend, kick again and they retract. These boots have inflexible rocker soles, but if you live in Canada you might want to make them your everyday boots. Click through and watch the video. $300
Merrell Coldpack Ice Polar Waterproof Boot. This isn’t the warmest boot, but the blue-diamond sole makes it 10x better for walking on ice. $100–300 on Amazon.
Muck Men’s Arctic Outpost with Blue Diamond Sole. Probably warmer than the Merrell and with more blue “diamonds,” this is another very practical boot with the right sole. $180
Olang Canada makes a wide range of fashion boots for men and women that have folding ice cleats built into the soles. Here’s a sweet video.
Glovii Battery Powered Insoles. Li-Po batteries can come in any shape, so they will be thinner than Li-ion batteries. Comes with a pocket remote. I would combine these soles with either of the boots above. $150
Outdoor Research Tundra aerogel booties, $150 and up.

Down Sweaters

Down sweaters are popular because they pack so much bang for the buck. I wear mine several times a week, often just with a t-shirt underneath. The fit is more important than anything else — it has to be snug to keep you warm. I wish I could find one with handwarmer pockets insulated on both sides — if you know of one, please tell me.

Winter Jackets

There are remarkably few good parkas on the market now. I think many people are migrating toward more layers for sports. The one brand I’ve moved away from is Arcteryx. They went all-American, so their sizes are now wide and their necks are huge. I have several of their Thinsulate jackets that simply aren’t that warm. Down is better when you’re in the back country or in deep powder.

Aerogels

We’re at the beginning of a new era in insulation. I hope aerogels put a lot of Hungarian goose farmers out of business. We could see smart designs that are easy to adjust for the temperature, giving them wider range, and eventually they may automatically adjust (I have ideas on this in case anyone is interested). We may need to learn how to design aerogel garments for performance, fit, washability, and longevity. They have already been through one design cycle and turned decidedly urban for the current lineup.

Hard Shells

I think of a hard shell as the thing you put on when the weather is at its worst: cold, wet, windy. It has to be completely wind and waterproof yet breathable. I wear mine nine months out of the year. Combine it with a down sweater and you have a parka. I think pit zips are a huge plus — I use mine regularly.

Pants

Pretty much all manufacturers have Gore-Tex pants now. Around $400, I don’t see much difference between them. Let fit be your guide. Mine are from Millet, I got them in Chamonix on sale. I try to get such things when they are half off.

Ski Suits

For a one-piece ski suit, down is too warm! You want thinsulate. If it’s too cold for your ski suit, it’s probably too cold for you to ski. I really prefer skiing in a one-piece suit, even though they are now completely out of fashion. Maybe I can help bring them back. For one-piece suits, I recommend Tobe. They don’t really make ski suits, they are more snowmobile/snowboard suits, but they are about as close to what I would buy today as anything else. You need less insulation than you think! They all have removable hoods, which I appreciate. Tobe doesn’t do fashion at all, their color schemes are ugly, the cut is too wide (their customers are fat snowmobilers), but they do make good hard-shell-style suits. I would love to work with them to design a proper ski suit — I sent them an idea they liked, but they never followed up.

Hats

For me, hats aren’t a product, they are a service. I pay a certain amount each year to have hats, and they come and go pretty much as they please. Occasionally, one will disappear and reappear years later. Every time I lose a hat, someone else gets one, so it’s all good. A merino-wool hats is perfect for fall but not warm enough for winter.

Mittens & Gloves

I don’t know why people wear gloves, even around town. I wear mittens. I don’t have large hands, but I always get large or extra-large mittens — I don’t like cold fingers! Do not get glove liners, don’t separate your fingers unless it just isn’t that cold out.

Cashmere Scarf

Goggles

Retailers

You can’t get everything at Amazon! Here are some of my favorite places to shop:

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