Back in November, right before the ski season kicked off here in Vermont, we released an article and video going over the unboxing and setup process of the Lenz Heated Socks, specifically the new 6.0 Toe Cap Merino Compression Sock. Since then, a lot of things have happened. First, ski season started! Then, I broke my clavicle after about 18 days on snow. That unfortunately made it difficult to test ski socks for a little while, but I’m happy to report I’m back on snow and now have quite a few days in my Lenz 6.0 socks. In hindsight, it was actually good for testing, as I’ve had a lot of different days on them, which I’ll get to in a little bit. Ultimately, these things are awesome.
Let’s start by talking about fit. I’ll admit that I was pretty skeptical at first. I’ve tried a handful of heated socks over the years and have typically found they don’t work great with how tight I prefer my boots to be. Right now, I’m skiing most days in a 24.5 Nordica Promachine 130, which has a snug 98 mm last. In the past, with a tight-fitting boot, I’ve found the heating elements and overall design of the socks I’ve tried to be somewhat uncomfortable, often creating pressure points. At first, when I was tasked with testing these 6.0 socks, I assumed it would be the same situation. My solution was to just use them with my touring boots, which have a more generous 100 mm last. I had about 5 days in the socks using my hybrid touring boots, and was really enjoying it, but I prefer skiing in my alpine boots. Only recently, kind of on a whim, I decided to put my foot in my Promachines while wearing the Lenz 6.0 and I was pleasantly surprised. This new 6.0 is a Merino Wool blend and also has compression features. The heating elements sit very flat and the way the wires run through the sock is by far the best I’ve ever seen. Because of this, I can actually use these in my performance-fit alpine boots, which is a game-changer for sure. I know there are a lot of people out there in the same boat. I’ve talked to a lot of people first-hand that have avoided heated socks for the same reason. To those people, all I have to say is you’re probably going to be surprised.
Ok, so the fit is great, what about the functionality of the heating element? As I mentioned, I broke my clavicle early in the season. My first days back on snow were just coaching a group of freeskiers here in northern Vermont. The very first day I used my Lenz socks was while coaching a Rail Jam at Smuggler’s Notch, the other side of Stowe, our home mountain. This involved standing on snow for about 4-5 hours without actually doing much skiing. For reference, I’ve struggled with circulation and cold toes my entire life. Typically, on a day like this, I’d expect my toes to lose feeling about an hour in, and then I’d just deal with being uncomfortable for the rest of the day. The Lenz socks are a complete game changer. The parents that were there watching their kids compete were actually asking why I looked so warm and comfortable. My feet stayed toasty warm the entire day. Because I wasn’t skiing, I was able to access my phone and the Lenz app as much as I wanted to. I probably adjusted my heat settings 50 times that day. Partly just because it was fun and I was enjoying playing around with the socks, but also because it allowed me to dial in a perfect temperature throughout the day. After that day, I started actually skiing in them. My first days were, as I mentioned, in my hybrid touring boots. I was comfortable and warm, but I wasn’t particularly happy that I wasn’t skiing in my alpine boots. If I’m riding lifts all day, I don’t necessarily want to be in touring boots.
Fast forward to this week. It was during a quick photoshoot in our studio that I decided I should just try my alpine boots on with the Lenz socks. Why didn’t I do this sooner? As I mentioned, they are super comfortable in tight-fitting ski boots. Just this morning, we had a video and photo shoot scheduled for 2021 Rossignol skis. If you’ve ever skied in northern Vermont, you know it can get pretty cold. This morning, the reading at my house was a crisp -20 degrees. You better believe I reached for my Lenz socks. By the time I reached the mountain, it had risen to -15, but still was bitter cold. I went in the lodge, put on my socks, set the temperature on the app to 5 (basically a medium setting) and headed out on the hill. I’m not sure how I skied my entire life without these socks. Typically, on a morning like today, I would be freezing after about a run and a half and likely would go in to the summit lodge at Stowe for a quick 5 minute toe warming break. No need with Lenz! I was perfectly happy with the level of heat they were putting out on the 5 setting and through 5 runs, never felt my toes getting cold, and on top of that, I was comfortable and able to ski my alpine boots.
Now, will I use these socks every day? No, I won’t, but I certainly won’t hesitate if it’s a colder day. I can’t put enough emphasis on how surprised I was and how well they work with my borderline-too-tight alpine boots. I never really thought there would be a sock that worked for a low-volume fit like that, but I was wrong. Now, my coworker Alli does use her socks just about every day, and she loves them. Also, between the two of us, we have slightly different preferences for heat settings. Alli often sets her batteries to interval mode, where it cycles through heat and no heat. She finds in this mode on setting 5, they keep her plenty warm, and actually better regulate temperature in interval mode. This morning, however, during our -15 degree skiing, she bumped that up to 7 on interval mode, and was perfectly warm and comfortable.
A few recommendations, hints, and reminders for you. First, your batteries aren’t going to properly display their charge on your cell phone app if they’re not plugged into the socks. This was a bit confusing at first. I was trying to check my battery level, and didn’t immediately realize they needed to be connected to the socks. So, keep that in mind. Second, as we mentioned in our troubleshooting article, you may need to reset the batteries from time to time. Mine weren’t taking a full charge after sitting idle during my shoulder healing process. A simple reset of the battery fixed that problem. Lastly, the batteries function much better through the cell phone app than by using the buttons on the actual battery. I strongly recommend using the app. It’s also pretty fun to pull your phone out on the chairlift and tell the person next to you you’re just turning up your sock heat. It’s bound to turn some heads and spark some questions.
To conclude, are these socks worth the $400+ cost? In my opinion, yes, they are. They are a very high-quality product that’s going to last you a long time. I know skiers that easily spend $100 in a season on toe warmers. Also, think about the total cost of skiing. Add up everything you spend on skiing in a year. Season pass, travel costs, equipment. How much of your time in spent in the lodge warming up? How much money are you “wasting” sitting in the lodge? If buying a pair of Lenz socks means you’re spending an extra 20% of your time on snow, all of a sudden the cost of heated socks doesn’t seem so bad.