When you are working as a stand-in in the winter months, your feet need to be protected from the colder temperatures.
Many stand-ins find that when their feet get cold on set, pure misery sets in. Extra layers of socks don’t seem to help. Toe Warmers work only to an extent. The best protection from the cold are warm boots, but even some of the priciest boots still leave their wearers with frigid toes.
No doubt when winter arrives, TV and film crew members start talking about the cold, and their preferred footwear makes an appearance, stirring conversation. In my own personal quest to find warm footwear when standing in, I surveyed the footwear of crew members I work around. I also eavesdropped on conversations about their footwear. Watching and listening in, I became more aware of their space-age boots — really, “overshoes” — called NEOS.
I purchased NEOS after reading and hearing fantastic reviews about them. Upon seeing crew members remove their NEOS to reveal mere street shoes and athletic socks, these overshoes seemed like the perfect item for keeping my feet warm when standing in, while also having footwear to transition into when moving from exterior shoots to interior shoots in the same day.
From my experience standing in in NEOS, I would highly recommend them to stand-ins working in cold weather. Below is my review of NEOS Explorer insulated overshoes.
What Is an Overshoe?
“NEOS” stands for “New England Overshoes.” An overshoe is just what the name says: It’s a shoe that goes over another shoe.
Actually, it’s more like a boot. When it comes to NEOS overshoes, you can wear any street shoe inside them. Simply put on your normal street shoe, then step into the overshoe, then close up the overshoe. (NEOS recommends that if you plan to wear boots inside your NEOS to purchase a size up for more room to accommodate the boots.)
Overshoes are a little bulky to wear since they wrap around your regular shoes and need enough opening to slip your shoes into, but from my experience the bulkiness is not limiting and they are easy to tighten. They look and feel a bit like astronaut shoes. Of interest to the stand-in, NEOS add a little height to your body — about 1 inch.
NEOS Explorer Insulated Overshoes
The Explorer line of NEOS is both insulated and waterproof. Insulation was important to me to provide extra warmth when standing in, and waterproofing was important should I step in a puddle or wet snow. I’m unsure if these insulated overshoes will feel too warm during a summer rain shower, but that I might be able to wear them year round as an option for rain boots meant that the NEOS Explorers were of added value to me.
After trying out my new overshoes on set in 30°F temperatures with only street shoes and socks on, I found that my toes and feet were immune to the cold temperatures. After wearing them while standing on snow and ice, I found that my feet felt slightly cold though not uncomfortable at all — and nowhere near numb. Similarly, my feet felt slightly cold when wearing the overshoes in the teens (°F), but they were not uncomfortable in the least. My toes never approached the miserable frozen sensation common to boots I’ve worn. In fact, my feet felt relatively invincible to the cold while wearing my NEOS Explorers.
In another test, during a morning snowstorm that covered New York City’s Times Square with slush puddles and snow, I walked through deep puddles of water and slush in my NEOS. My feet did not get cold. Nor did my feet get wet: The waterproofing of my NEOS worked without fail. These things were incredible.
A NEOS sizing chart suggested that my foot (a men’s 10.5) is the maximum size for the Large insulated lines of NEOS. After reading a review of another customer with a size 10.5 shoe, I learned that a street shoe could be a struggle to insert into the Large overshoe. Also reading the recommendation to purchase a size up to accommodate for boots, I opted to purchase the Extra Large size in the NEOS Explorer.
From what I can tell, this was a wise decision. I can easily insert my size 10.5 street shoes into the XL overshoes. I can also insert my North Face Snow Beast Boots without issue.
Increasing Warmth While Wearing NEOS
While NEOS Explorers will keep you warm while you stand in outside in the cold all day, you might want some added insurance that they don’t fail, especially if temperatures are forecast to plummet during the shoot day.
You can try any number of these options to add some warmth to your feet while wearing NEOS — and you might not need these at all given how effective NEOS are! Here are some ideas to increasing warmth while wearing NEOS:
Because NEOS have a larger footprint than your regular shoes, you will not want to drive to set while wearing them. You will want to wear your street shoes when driving.
That said, I usually take the subway to set, and I wear my NEOS on the subway (being a little more careful when I descend stairs). I have also toted my NEOS by hand on the subway, but they are a bit bulky to hold by the loops at the backs of the overshoes. A good solution for toting your NEOS would be to bring a dedicated bag for them, one that you don’t mind containing dirty overshoes.
Walking on Ice
The NEOS Explorer have a tread, but they are just as slippery as any shoe on ice. For better walking on ice and snow, some NEOS feature STABILicers®, which are replaceable cleats embedded into the sole. NEOS offers the Explorer line with STABILicers® for additional cost, though I would recommend being careful about buying NEOS with cleats because you may not be able to quickly remove them should you need to bolt indoors to stand in.
Personalizing Your NEOS
Since a good number of crew members wear NEOS on set, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to write your name on yours or otherwise personalize them so that when you take them off, no one else picks them up accidentally.
Since purchasing NEOS, my comfort standing in in cold weather has gone way up. No more am I afraid that my feet will get cold when I’m forced to stand in one place while in the cold. Television and film tand-ins would be advised to look into NEOS especially if they will be standing in long-term on a winter project. The cost of NEOS is cheaper than many boots intended for cold weather — and they may even exceed boots in their ability to keep out cold.
Have a question about NEOS overshoes? What is your experience wearing them as a stand-in? Share your stories below!