Sock To Bootie Hack|
The thing I didn't like about the Xero Down Sock was the fact it was a sock. I know, that sounds stupid but I had purchased them to replace my heavier booties so I had to figure out a way to make them work as such. The main problem with a sock is that the underfoot down packs out while standing on the snow and the bottoms of your feet get cold, whereas a bootie will have some kind of dense foam pad under the foot. I fixed this problem by creating a footbed out of 1cm thick closed-cell foam. My first tests were done by inserting the footbed into the bootie like a shoe footbed, this worked well for warmth but it moved around while I walked creating cold spots. The next step was to cut open the sock, remove most of the underfoot down and insert and seal the footbed in place. This worked well with the process being faster and easier than I had expected.
Step 1) Turn the sock inside out.
Step 2) Place the sock against some foam and trace out the shape of the footbed.
Step 3) Cut the footbed and compare it to the inside-out sock bottom.
Step 4) Cut open the underfoot fabric inside the sock, I found a single cut from one side to the other worked well.
Step 5) Remove most of the down and place it in zip lock bags (I needed 5 in total). Save the down for a future project I hope to write about soon (I'll link it here when it's online).
Step 6) Insert the footbed by putting the longer side in first. The remaining side can be tricky, rolling or folding the foam worked but try not to force it in order to not damage the fabric too much.
Step 7) Cut a piece of tape as wide as the cut and tape the fabric from the inside. I used duct tape for the inside since I was running out of Tenacious Tape.
Step 8) Tape the outside fabric. I used Tenacious Tape for the outside as I have found it to be extermely durabile and I figured that this side would get more direct friction from walking.
Step 9) Turn the sock back right side out and try them out on snow!
Bootie Use Warmth/Durability
Once the foam was in place the socks were trasformed into true booties and worked great as such. My feet were warm while standing around camp for several hours at -20 to -25C and I have used them on test walks down to -40C directly on snow without issue. The bottom fabric has good grip on snow and doesn't seem to allow snow build up to be cleaned off for when I want to go to bed with them on. It will be a while before I find out how my foam/tape job holds up but I figure I can always replace the foam/tape in the future fairly easily regardless.
Better and Lighter
Usually when you alter a product to provide more function it ends up costing you something, in this case I thought it could be weight. To my surprise I ended up loosing a total of 20g, taking my total weight down to 160g. Of course the draw back might end up being long term durability issues due to having to cut the product open and using tape to patch it back. I have meantioned my alteration to PHD and I'm hoping they offer a similar product for those looking for a bootie over a sock but until that happens I'll take the possible durablility disadvantage to fulfil my needs. Obviously they now compress slightly less due to the foam but barely so. After it is all said and done they serve my individual needs better as a bootie.