Last week a friend was complaining about how her feet get cold even inspite of wearing winter shoes with really thick soles. So I shared my method with her, developed over years of being a person with low blood pressure who spends too much time waiting on bus stops in minus temperatures.
First, you need good shoes
It's worth investing in something warm, snow-proof and non-skid. Actually shoes like this should be the main investment piece in your entire wardrobe. If you live in a place that gets snow, you should own one pair of boots that gets you through snow, slush and polar temperatures.
Isolate the shoes with an insert.
Get a good insert, most of the regular ones I have tested don't make much difference when it gets really cold. If you want to experience foot heaven, get the kind that are lined with shearling, like the ones from LL Bean. Merino wool isolates really well, I have a pair of merino inserts from the DM Drogerie.
The two socks method
The trick to this method is two layers of socks. With just a single layer the feet sweat in the first minutes when you are still warm, and then get really cold in the moist socks. With two layers the sweat stays in inner layer and the outer layer stays dry. Plus two layers means more warmth.
For the inner layer regular thin socks are nice, though if you have nice socks that breath bonus points for you. For the outer layer get long thick socks. I recommend Smartwool, or anything with a high percentage of Merino wool. or at least sheep wool. Polypropylene is really warm too which has the added advantage of wicking away sweat. Your best bet here would be brands that make clothes for Alpinists, like Ice Breaker. If you wash the socks with care, and wear an inner layer to protect them from sweat and toenail snags, they should last you years. My favorite warm socks were thrifted, I think they were big men's socks out of really nice merino wool that shrunk a bit in the wash. Obviously how thick the material is also makes a difference. Plus, longer socks are always warmer, so something that goes mid-calf is great.
So, to recap:
good shoes + really good isolating inserts + inner layer of thinner socks + outer layer of thick socks = cosy feet!
Does it get really cold where you live? How do you stay warm?