Causes of Feet Becoming Cold & Numb During Exercise

Causes of Feet Becoming Cold & Numb During Exercise
Trail running, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are rewarding parts of an active lifestyle. When weather turns cold and feet get numb, athletes get frustrated and begin to stay inside. Here are some causes of cold, numb feet and some solutions for prevention.

Proper Shoe Size

When toes and feet go numb during exercise, it is because of reduced and poor circulation, states Dr. Cathy Fieseler, who specializes in sports medicine, in Running Times Magazine. Buying walking or running shoes a half to full size larger than dress shoes prevents tightness as your foot will swell up to a full size while exercising.

Lacing and Tying the Shoes

Tie your exercise shoe or boot, so you have a firm fit on the top of the foot, but also so there is proper space in the toe box. Do not over tighten the toe box, as this leads to numbness and cooling of the feet and toes.

Your Gait and Stride

Pay attention to your foot and toe placement while exercising. Relax your stride, and let the toes flatten out with each step. Curling the toes when walking or exercising causes numbness and decrease in circulation.

Heat Loss

Cold weather removes heat from the extremities. Add a heat source with good athletic, non-cotton socks to prevent heat loss on the feet. High quality socks are essential and can be found at

See Your Doctor

If you still experience numb and cold feet during exercise after trying these methods, make an appointment to talk to your physician. It could be the sign of an underlying medical condition that requires professional attention.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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