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Gear Guy

Is it dangerous to wear electric socks with waders?

Will a pair of electric socks, worn inside waders, work when I'm steelhead fishing? More importantly, will these be safe if I'm wading in water? Ed Pawling, New York

A: Sure, they'd work. In fact, Cabela's sells a heated electric sock that is designed specifically for waders, imaginatively named the Battery Heated Wader Sock ($23; It's identical to their "regular" heated sock, but has longer cords so the battery pack can be attached to your belt or wader pouch. Not that the two D-sized batteries could do much harm to you in any event, but these socks are designed to minimize the risk of any shock.

That said, I'm not sure you really need to wire up your feet to keep them warm. You might just want to try some socks that contain Outlast, a material that absorbs heat when there's too much of it, then releases it as needed. Works great for gloves, socks, that sort of thing. Wigwam makes a sock called the Outlast Hiker Sock ($11;, made mostly of Outlast and wool. These are pretty tall so should work well with waders. You can find Outlast ski socks, too, which would be taller than a hiking sock. Use them with a good liner sock that has some wool in it, such as SmartWool liner socks ($10;, and your feet should stay plenty warm without the need to carry a pocketful of batteries.

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