Boot heaters: They’re not just for women anymore |

Boot heaters: They’re not just for women anymore

Catherine Lutz
Boot heaters from Gorsuch

“Real men don’t wear boot heaters,” my editor said to me. In fact, the general reaction among my colleagues when I suggested a gear review on boot heaters was derision and contempt.

Perhaps it’s a stigma that’s held since the days of those early boot heaters, which were awkward, sporadically functional and even dangerous. Or perhaps it’s because people mostly see boot heaters on tourists – tough-as-nails locals don’t need such stuff.But the fact is that comfortable, snug, properly buckled boots are directly related to good performance. Feet – with all those little bones and intricately connected muscles – need to function well to make the boot and, by extension, the skis work properly. Millions of Americans suffer from poor circulation. I’m not one of those, but I have noticed that when my feet are cold or uncomfortable, I simply don’t ski as well.

So when my boyfriend, who works at a ski shop, suggested I try some boot heaters, I figured, “Why not?” I honestly didn’t expect much to change. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that my Hotronic boot heaters dramatically changed my skiing.The Hotronic system works like this: A pad made from energy-absorbing material is attached to the boot liner near the toe. The pad is connected to a cord – actually eight insulated copper wires – which is in turn connected to a battery attached to the outside of the boot. The strength of the battery, and thus the amount of heat the pad emits, can be adjusted from 1 to 4. These devices actually keep the temperature in the boot steady, which keeps circulation going in the foot.

With the Hotronics on, I noticed that my feet do not feel like dead weights at the bottom of my legs. They have better dexterity, more ability to direct the boot, and so I ski better. And for the record, I know plenty of men who use boot heaters. Matt Ross, one of Aspen’s best skiers and a guy nobody would dare call a girly-man, swears by them, as do most of the guys at the Gorsuch ski shop. On the Hotronic website are testimonials from 24 Hours of Aspen competitors, and even Everest climbers.Catherine Lutz’s e-mail address is

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