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  1. #1
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    Selling: Boot heaters, possible beta project.

    I've been meaning to get this off the ground, but life and a pandemic haven't been so kind to my good intentions.

    I'm working on a foot-warmer setup that I'm considering/planning to offer to mags. I'm considering it a technical development project in consideration that I might actually sell it to a wider public.


    I haven't tried heated socks yet, but the version I currently have is really seriously wicked.


    I was going to work up a more detailed version of what I'm planning - but if you or anyone else on this thread is interested, just note so, and I'll try to finish the description and other details like cost for what I'd offer for the coming year.


    The gist is:
    It's a heater that will adhere to the insole/footbed in most any boot. So, it heats the bottom of your foot.
    The battery is a standard USB battery pack. (20K mah is a good size, but 10K will probably do if you don't need a ton of heat in a day.)
    The battery will power both foot-beds, and is generally stored in a pocket of your jacket or pants.
    Thus you'll have wires down each leg. There are disconnects for the wires at each ankle and at the waist.
    While I don't have firm numbers on cost, I think I'd charge about $45-50 + shipping for the heaters.
    I'd expect the buyer to get the USB battery pack - but I'll certainly help you find something reasonable and as inexpensive as possible.

    I'll flesh out more detail if there are more than a few that are interested in this. If you are interested, could you please let me know. Posting in this thread is probably best. And if you would, let me know how interested you are. Are you simply kicking the tires, or would you be pretty seriously interested in buying something if I get things rolling? [And the spec and price are in line with what I've posted. Obviously if pricing changes a bunch or there are other problems, I get that changes things.]

    -Greg

  2. #2
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    Very interested as long as you don't set my boots on fire.

  3. #3
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    Cool idea. I was intrigued until the wires down the legs thing. Sounds like a lot of fussery whilst booting up. No offense. Just my .02, and not that you should give a shit about my specific needs.

    My feet are usually fine skiing, but I want foot heat for long judging days where the feetz are the first thing to go. But I'm already fussing a lot with extra gear - food, pad, chair, pack, layers etc. - to spend the day sitting in the cold and adding more sounds like kind of a PITA.....

    Can the batts sit on a booster strap or something?
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  4. #4
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    Very interested as long as you don't set my boots on fire.
    The heating elements I'm using now might cause smoke, but no fire! More seriously, they are *VERY* warm. I can only leave mine plugged in for about 10m at a time. But after 10m on, I'm good for quite a while until I need them again. I usually start them either in the lift line and then turn them off the next time I'm in the line again. (Perhaps a little before.) I'll cover this in a larger post here as I have a little time. But I think the higher heat output is _better_ than a low output. They'll warm your toes up and then you're good. Low heat output will just slowly warm them, or if not quite enough, slowly freeze them.

    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    Cool idea. I was intrigued until the wires down the legs thing. Sounds like a lot of fussery whilst booting up. No offense. Just my .02, and not that you should give a shit about my specific needs.

    My feet are usually fine skiing, but I want foot heat for long judging days where the feetz are the first thing to go. But I'm already fussing a lot with extra gear - food, pad, chair, pack, layers etc. - to spend the day sitting in the cold and adding more sounds like kind of a PITA.....

    Can the batts sit on a booster strap or something?
    Yes, that would be possible. However attaching the battery packs to a boot is fiddly too, IMO. And you'd have to have two batteries. And make sure they were both charged, etc. This is something I've considered, but haven't spent any time trying to address, simply because it hasn't seemed like a big problem. And getting an injection mold or similar to hang a battery pack isn't going to be cheap.

    I thought the same - "Too fiddly" - but honestly, it's really very little extra fiddle. And I was always the guy who never had any issues with boots. My feet were never all that cold etc. [I started this project in an effort to get my wife to come ski.] But now that I've had a pair for a while - well, I won't ever go back. LOL.

    Let me get some pics so you know how it's configured and then see if you change your mind.

    ---
    Thanks to you both for feedback and comments!

    -Greg

  5. #5
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    I think this is a really cool idea and with more flushing out it could turn i to something pretty sweet that ideally significantly cheaper than hottronics.

    Iíd prefer two battery packs, then you could get some 5k or 7.5k ones that would be pretty small. As for mounting you can get flat kydex (or another similar plastic) sheets that are heat moldable with a heat gun and probably figure out a good way to make mounts out of that.

  6. #6
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    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
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  7. #7
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    Sounds really cool and I'd be interested, but like oftpiste, the wires down the leg thing turned me off.

    Having 2 battery packs and keeping them both charged always seemed like a given, don't know why that's something you're trying to avoid.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  8. #8
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    Wires in the pants are a nonstarter.

    Battery bracket attached to the boot spine at the stiffening bolts. Not all boots have them but most do.

    Or rivet or epoxy the bracket onto the shell.
    life ain't guaranteed, love your people while you can

  9. #9
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    I’m thinking it’s the price point.
    Hotronics are fugging pricey. Never had them, but isn’t it two hundy ish?

    Fiddy bucks plus your usb pack is cheap. Esp. For a part time skier with whiny cold feets

    One thought is the length of the cable. Inseam from 26” to 36” means you need to tie up the slack.

    Wires in the pant leg seem easy. Buckle boots, plug in wires. No big deal.
    But where is the battery, how does the wire get to the pant leg?
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
    Hunter S. Thompson

  10. #10
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    @gregorys is this still in process? I'm looking for something for my wife and I'd be interested in helping develop a 3D printed battery holder if you want to explore that as a way to let people put a battery on each boot. (I have all the tools for design and printing.)

    IME with other boot heaters two batteries wasn't bad, though it helped to have a charger with two chords. So these days, two USB ports?

  11. #11
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    Jono - so weird/serendipitous that you'd post about this today. I'll PM you direct - but yes, this is EXACTLY where I am.
    I have a lot of the work done already - figuring out many of the details - but I've spent the last couple of weeks learning Fusion 360, and attempting to get a functional 3d part(s).

    I almost purchased a 3d printer yesterday. Probably still will - but lots of detail to work out. Like I said, I'll PM you. I could use more advice etc.

  12. #12
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    IME anything with wires and batteries transistors is gona fuck up and i made a career of fixing it so ever time I look at them on sale i give my head a shake and keep walking

    i do get cold feet so buy a big pack of toe warmers, becuz toe warmers have the sticky back, i seen the ski club with them stuck to timing gear, i-phines ect
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  13. #13
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    In the past, I would have agreed with you.
    Now, however, I'll never be without a heated boot.
    This year, especially, I suspect wanting to spend less time in the lodge, etc - well heaters are going to be super nice.

    So, I'll just say - regardless of my project and if it happens or not - heated boots are worth the effort. Way worth the effort.

    You know how you giggle about skiing into a particularly nice stash of pow on a bright sunny day? Well, for me at least, my boot heaters elicit that kind of joy when I kick them on.

  14. #14
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    Just a couple thoughts, Greg... You need to make any setup turnkey. Nobody average is going to want to have to go shop batteries.

    Be nice to have a control unit for temperature. Also, have you looked into a wireless transmission of the energy like the pads you can charge a phone on?

  15. #15
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    cuz this is TGR i will risk Toxic Masculinity and point out the rule of 3 T's

    if something has tires, transistors or tits sooner or later you are gona have trouble with it
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  16. #16
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    If you need some CAD work, I would be interested in trading you for a set of heaters.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, I'm working on a complete unit - batteries included in a "box" that will attach to the boot. (Probably via a velcro strap around the ankle portion of the boot, for now - a complicated attachment system to the boot is down the road.)

    The proto (or nearly proto) I have now, and have tested has these general features/specs.
    It charges via a standard micro-usb plug. 2.1a
    It has a single heat output - but I'm trying to make the heat output enough to warm you up fairly quickly, without also running into issues where you might burn someone if they left the heater on for a long time. (Namely, we need to keep the feet themselves < 110-114F or so. But since having a feedback loop with a temperature sensor is complicated - and how do we actually measure the temperature of the skin/tissue anyway!? - we simply try to have a reasonable heat/wattage output. And we have to trust that the user will take action when their feet feel too hot. So, this isn't for drunk/stoned skiers, or people with neuropathy, where they can't accurately determine the heat status of their feet.)

    The design, as it stands now, has a wireless key-fob remote where you can turn on/off the heating elements, without needing to fiddle with the units on the boots. (You'll switch the units (on your boots) on at the beginning of the day, use the remote to control heat, and then at the end of the day, turn the boot units back off again.)

    I've messed with variable heat output - but that increases the cost of the unit, the size of the box that attaches to your boot, and makes the unit more complicated.

    As for wireless power transmission to the heating elements. That's simply not possible. In short, transmitting watts of power over multi cm distances is a really complicated problem. It's kind of the "cheap, quick well-done, pick any two" problem. That kind of issue is way outside my realm of knowledge - but even my theoretical knowledge says - it would be really difficult, and likely very bulky. It would almost certainly be super expensive. Even your phone - it has to be right up against the stand. Even a few mm of separation, and it's not going to charge. And ferrous metals in the general field - well that would cause issues too. So, no, I can't imagine wireless power transmission to the heating elements unless you're willing to pay a ton of money to get it. (And have a ton of very specific requirements.) If you're the kind to buy diamond encrusted iPhones I'm sure we could accommodate you for a serious monetary commitment. If not, well...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlh View Post
    If you need some CAD work, I would be interested in trading you for a set of heaters.
    What I really need is a local [Portland OR] mag with a 3D printer I can run a bunch of test prints from.
    I don't *need* exotic materials, at least for now - PLA will work - just for me to get an idea of what works and what doesn't. I'd love it, if it could print in ASA/ABS or, better yet, nylon - but that can wait. (Injection mold isn't in the picture until volumes go way up, and it's a big investment.)

    Honestly the difficulty of this project is the investment of time and equipment. It's not a huge cost, but it's kind of hard to invest a couple+ thousand dollars and then make 5 sets of heaters where mags will complain, because they're not $40 a pair, and never even break even. LOL.

    I don't have a bill of materials yet, but I can't imagine these are going to be <$100 a pair, batteries included. I think they'll be better than Hottronics, at a much cheaper price - but once we start talking custom heat elements, custom designed battery/control enclosures that are 3d printed etc - well it's just a lot more costly. And the amount of time spent is non-trivial. (Seriously non-trivial.)

  19. #19
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    Iíve ran various boot heaters for years. One thing to note is none of the footbed heaters work with a damn as all of your circulation is on the top side of your foot. So a heater element attached to the top inside of the liner works 1000x better.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunder View Post
    I’ve ran various boot heaters for years. One thing to note is none of the footbed heaters work with a damn as all of your circulation is on the top side of your foot. So a heater element attached to the top inside of the liner works 1000x better.
    Have you actually done this?
    The big upside about the heater under the foot is that heat transmission to the foot is pretty efficient.
    Above the foot, there's a lot more air, non-compressed sock (and other insulating items) etc - so heat transmission seems like it would be far less efficient/rapid.
    (I'd imagine you end up heating air and sock and not so much heat transfer to the foot.)

    I find the several I've tinkered with all work quite well on the footbed, so I'm puzzled about your experience.

    I'd certainly be interested in more detail.

  21. #21
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    A cold mountain bike ride this morning got me thinking about boot heaters and heated socks and this thread.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregorys View Post
    Have you actually done this?
    The big upside about the heater under the foot is that heat transmission to the foot is pretty efficient.
    Above the foot, there's a lot more air, non-compressed sock (and other insulating items) etc - so heat transmission seems like it would be far less efficient/rapid.
    (I'd imagine you end up heating air and sock and not so much heat transfer to the foot.)

    I find the several I've tinkered with all work quite well on the footbed, so I'm puzzled about your experience.

    I'd certainly be interested in more detail.
    My current liners have the heating element built in right on top of your toes. Itís by far the most efficient and effective setup Iíve used (Iíve had all of the major brands over the years). The liner insulation keeps the heat in. Try it both ways and you will quickly see putting the element on top of the toes VS under is a massive improvement.

  23. #23
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    If you want any input on the electronics I'd be happy to help. For what it's worth I've seen a few surprising micro USB connector issues at way below the rated insertion lifecycle. Some of them are way better than others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunder View Post
    My current liners have the heating element built in right on top of your toes. Itís by far the most efficient and effective setup Iíve used (Iíve had all of the major brands over the years). The liner insulation keeps the heat in. Try it both ways and you will quickly see putting the element on top of the toes VS under is a massive improvement.
    If the placement is connected to circulation, couldn't you put the element on top of the foot instead of at the toes? That also would make it easier to work for a variety of foot sizes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraham View Post
    If you want any input on the electronics I'd be happy to help. For what it's worth I've seen a few surprising micro USB connector issues at way below the rated insertion lifecycle. Some of them are way better than others.

    If the placement is connected to circulation, couldn't you put the element on top of the foot instead of at the toes? That also would make it easier to work for a variety of foot sizes.
    I'd definitely like to take you up on some advice.
    I also have some serious concerns about the usb ports.

    I'll PM you and send my email address.
    If you're willing to help me work through some details that would be fab.

    ---
    As for heating above the foot.
    It's an interesting idea.

    I've actually run some tests already.
    As I'd expect the top of the foot is more sensitive to heat. So it's somewhat easier to get to an uncomfortable place heat-wise that way - using a power output that's less of a problem on the bottom of the foot.
    I obviously am not out skiing, but simply testing in a pretty moderate environment. However, I didn't feel the heating was particularly better than under the foot. Perhaps a bit, but not enough to really write home about. IMO, anyway.

    But there are some potential upsides that may well be more beneficial.

    I think it would be far easier to create a setup where the heaters are installed with far less drama when they're above the foot. (Namely, having to slice a small slit in the liner to route the wires out.)
    I think I could come up with a way to put the heat element in a "sleeve" that would/could just go on top of your sock as you insert in the boot... and then run the wires out the tongue and up to the cuff of the boot. Or the sleeve could attach to the "upper" in the liner, which would be less fussy.

    That could also be nice, as it would allow someone to try a setup without having to buy them and mess with the install etc. (And then find they aren't happy etc.)
    Or swap boots without needing multiple pairs of heat elements. Or replace a damaged set of elements/wires far more easily.

    So, above the foot has some real upside, I think.

  25. #25
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    Interested.

    I cant imagine skiing without boot heaters anymore, but the weak spot I've always encountered is the wire connection from the battery to the heating element. They break in different places but they always end up breaking.

    Any ideas to mitigate this?

    Sent from my SM-A505W using Tapatalk
    Goal: ski in the 2018/19 season

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