Today may be one day closer to springtime, but don’t be fooled — around Canada and, indeed, the world, the incoming sun does little to embolden those whose feet are incurably cold. In fact, scientists at The Canadian Centre for Functioning Capillaries estimate that, globally, upwards of 1.6 billion people suffer from “cold-footedness.”
It is no joke.
Cold-footedness was responsible for 40 per cent of the deaths on the Oregon Trail. The Smiths’ album Meat is Murder was based on Morrissey’s six-month bout with cold footedness. It’s #4 on the FBI’s list of greatest threats to humanity, sandwiched in between “the ghost of Pol Pot” and “hella nukes.” (Cold-footedness, not Meat is Murder. That’s #12.)
In fact, cold-footedness is where the term “to get cold feet” originates from. In the Ottoman Empire, it was common that soon-to-be-wedded grooms would bolt in the night upon a discovery that their betrothed’s feet were freezing. Historians disagree on whether this was a relic of ancient Mesopotamian superstitions wherein cold feet were said to be possessed by demonic super-beasts, or if it just came down to how jarringly unpleasant your fiancee’s cold feet are.
Luckily, modern science has come far. And by that, I am of course referring to the advent of fuzzy socks.
If you have acute cold-footedness, however, sometimes even fuzzy socks aren’t enough. But you know that saying — “when the going gets tough, the tough amputate their frostbitten feet with a chop saw.” And you sure don’t want to be that dude.
So with that in mind, footwear is key. It’s important that you find a shoe or boot that can, at minimum, survive a nuclear apocalypse. While examining potential shoe purchases, ask yourself, “Will this outlast, at the very least, a Twinkie’s half-life?” If the answer is anything other than a resounding yes, throw that thing as hard as you can at the nearest Footlocker associate and get the frick out of there.
A good example of a cold-footedness-combatting shoe is the Blundstone, which, long before it was a popular accessory for those in the Lower Mainland, was the footwear of choice for my father. He chose Blundies for the same reason you’re about to. No, not because they look like stale loaves of rye bread on your feet, but rather because they have both A) the longevity of a Chicago Cubs’ World Series drought and B) ample room for at least three layers of fuzzy socks. This durability means you spend less money on replacement shoes and more money on — you guessed it — fuzzy socks.
Other antidotes to cold-footedness include Dale of Norway sweaters bundled around each foot, baby wolves (if you can get them to sit still — excellent heat source) and flame throwers. The latter can be a bit tricky since it involves circumventing the Geneva Convention, but should you overcome that minor obstruction, sweet Christ is it effective.
Of course, it’s the sweater option that is the easiest. Contrary to popular belief, Dale of Norway’s namesake is the Manitoban pioneer, Jacoby Norway, and not actually the seafaring nation famous for such feats as “pillaging the deuce out of Britain” and “oil.” But just like those pesky Britain-pillagers, Mr. Norway experienced harsh environments wherein he became a bona fide expert at insulating his frigid phalanges.
If those sweaters can withstand January in the prairies, I think they’ll do A-OK protecting cold feet from your house’s broken thermostat — or at least prevent the need to chop saw your gangrene frostbite.