How To Use Toe Warmers?

I get cold feet a lot myself. When my feet aren’t cold, that usually means my air conditioner has shut off. Wearing extra socks doesn’t do anything but make them sweaty on top of being cold. I find walking on hot concrete works, but that’s going to become a scarcity soon.

I’m not anemic or diabetic and I take vitamin supplements, so it’s probably because I’m too sedentary. I should probably move more, but I usually solve the problem by sitting on my feet. Could someone with my problem benefit from toe warmers.

how to use toe warmers

What Are Toe Warmers?

Toe warmers deliver warmth and comfort for the feet. They are single-use, air-activated heat packs that warm up swiftly and can last for as long as eight hours. The warmers often have an adhesive that can hold them securely in place as you go about other activities.

They typically have an ultra-thin design and round shape that permits room for socks and feet and provides maximum comfort in both boots and shoes. Many come with activated charcoal on the inside that absorbs and reduces odors.

What Are Toe Warmers Made Of?

There are quite a few different types of hand and toe warmers but the most ubiquitous ones consist of small bits of iron, water, activated carbon, salt, a water reservoir, and a mineral known as “vermiculite”. Whenever iron is exposed to oxygen it starts to oxidize and produce heat.

Do Toe Warmers Really Work?

They sometimes work just a little too well! If you don’t want to get a hot foot you should only wear them in a solid boot and not directly on the skin. If they are exposed to too much oxygen, they can get so hot they cause second-degree burns.

N.B. Check this article for more options: Heated Insoles Vs. Heated Socks

How Do Toe Warmers Work?

As said before, the warmers contain iron powder, activated charcoal, and vermiculite. They create warmth through a process known as oxidation. This is when oxygen in the air around reacts with this iron powder to make heat with temperatures up to one hundred- and sixty-five-degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do You Activate Toe Warmers?

They come in a pouch. Just give them a little shake to get the contents to mix up before opening it and exposing it to oxygen.

How Do You Warm Up Toe Warmers?

Put the warmer in your shoe as soon as you open them. It should give you heat for hours,

Where Do You Put Toe Warmers?

Toe warmers should be worn on top of the foot, specifically on top of the wool sock. Remove them if they start to get uncomfortable.

Why Do Toe Warmers Puff Up?

This only happens if they’re not put in the shoes right away. It’s an effect of the oxidization.

How To Use Toe Warmers In Ski Boots?

You take the backing off the adhesive and stick them on the toe of your stocking with the foot inside. You then put your foot in the boot and you’re ready to go.

Best Toe Warmers

  • HotHands Toe Warmers seem to be the first thing that comes up on any search. They have a three-year shelf life, warm up quickly, and are TSA friendly. They can also be used on other parts of the body and are best for outdoor use. HotHands also makes an insole if you want more than just the toes warm.

HotHands Toe Warmers 20 Pair

  • Grabber also makes a good adhesive toe warmer that is convenient and odorless.

Grabber Toe Hand Warmers - Long Lasting Safe Natural Odorless Air Activated Warmers - Up to 6 Hours of Heat - 40 Pair

  • World-Bio utilizes clean and natural raw materials in order to deliver safe, soft, and natural heat. With their three-year shelf life and eight hours of heat, they are comparable to HotHands.

WORLD-BIO Disposable Toe Warmers with Adhesive Back, Air Activated Heating Patch Long Last for 8 Hours (40 Pairs)

  • Konhart makes toe warmers that are thin enough to be comfortable but are quite effective.

KONHART Body Hand Super Warmers with Adhesive Backing, Large Pads for Women Men Kids, Long Lasting Safe Natural Odorless Air Activated Warmers, 48 Packs

Are Toe Warmers Safe?

There are precautions you need to take. They should not be applied directly to flesh and an overabundance of oxygen can cause overheating. The iron in a used toe warmer is inactive. However, the iron in an unused one is dangerous if ingested.

You, of course, might not even think about eating one (they look and smell about as appetizing as a piece of paper) but keep them away from pets and small children. Otherwise, toe warmers are quite safe to use if you use them as directed.

Can Toe Warmers Explode?

Yes, if you wrap them in enough Black Cats and light them up. Grabbers have been known to melt nylon when wet. Shoddily made electric hand warmers have been known to explode. (Learn to electric, Hong Kong.) Chemical gel hand warmers have been known to explode but toe warmers that are made to work through oxidation should not combust.

Toe Warmers Vs. Hand Warmers

Toe warmers and hand warmers are built for different air-exposure levels. Toe warmers are for low air environments. If you use them on your hands, they may wear off more quickly or even get too hot to handle. Hand warmers are usually too thick to go in a boot and the lack of air would mean it wouldn’t get very warm at all.

Can You Use Toe Warmers As Hand Warmers?

Not for very long. Some people try to use toe warmers as hand warmers because they are adhesive and can stay inside a pocket. But to quote Lao Tzu, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” Exposing a toe warmer to so much air might cause them to burn out more quickly.

Hopefully, they won’t burn up before they burn out! They can get hot enough to burn if saturated with oxygen. Artificial fibers may melt under high heat. Even natural fibers might get a bit charred under high heat.

How Long Do Toe Warmers Last?

Depending on the kind you get, it should last anywhere from five to eight hours. One pair should last you for a day’s worth of cold-weather activity. The heat will gradually raise in the first twenty minutes after activating the oxidation process.

Do Toe Warmers Expire?

They do have an expiration date so check the package. Expired toe warmers are not effective. The expiration date should be a few years down the line. The average shelf life is three or four years.

Can You Reuse Toe Warmers?

It seems like most of these are single-use items. You use them once and throw them away. There are reusable hand warmers that don’t contain iron but use a supersaturated solution of sodium acetate instead. It releases heat as it crystallizes.

How To Dispose Of Toe Warmers?

You can just throw them away in the regular trash same as a candy bar wrapper. It may be even easier than throwing away a wrapper as everything in the warmer itself is completely natural and biodegradable. The wrapper may add an inch to your carbon footprint but it can all be easily disposed of.

How To Make Toe Warmers?

I have actually made a homemade foot warmer myself. It’s not only good for warming up chilly feet and hands but for relieving swollen sinuses and other aches and pains that can be soothed away with a little heat.

All you need is an old sock, some dry rice, a needle and thread, and a microwave. If the old sock has holes, you may want to darn them up. If it’s dirty, you should wash it, particularly if you plan on bringing it near your face.

This is a good project for socks that you’ve lost the mate to. Dry rice is best because it will be smoother and more malleable but dry beans or feed corn can work.

  • First, cut three inches off the toes.
  • Next, fill the sock with rice. It does not have to be packed, just fairly full.
  • Sew it closed.
  • Put it in the microwave for thirty to thirty-five seconds. You should have half an hour of warmth.

Be warned that it will be very, very hot when you take it out. You may have to toss it from one hand to the other a couple of times for it to go from piping hot to comfortably warm.

A long tube of rice may suit your purposes, but I like to turn the leg of the sock and sew it into a ball shape. Even when it’s not hot, it makes a satisfying stress ball.


Disposable toe warmers are a long-lasting way to bring warmth to your feet for eight hours of skiing, hunting, or ice fishing. They are quite safe as long as they are not directly on the skin or used in a boot that is too permeable.

For the sedentary writer, it may be best to stick to the microwaved sock of rice as there’s no need to worry about air overheating it and eight hours straight seems like overkill.


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