Best Merino Wool Socks
We as human beings love walking, not walking to the bus stop or around the shops, but walking in the countryside or the forest, or the hills, mountains or even the desert. When you’re walking your feet do most if not all of the work, and having a great pair of walking boots or walking shoes suited for the environment definitely makes your walk more comfortable and enjoyable. However, no matter how great of a pair of boots or shoes you have you will also need a great pair of socks. Here is where merino wool comes in. A great pair of merino wool socks will keep you dry, warm or cool! They are soft and prevent chafing, as well as wicking away sweat to keep you dry. Merino wool can retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
Top 10 Picks
1. Rockay Blaze
Limited design choices
Best Alternative to Merino Wool Socks:
The Rockay compression leg sleeves are made in Europe from high-quality materials; they are designed to give its user the best durability and stability. The sleeves are built to be long lasting and include a lifetime guarantee by Rockay.
These Rockay Blaze wool socks are known for how comfortable and durable they are.
These compression leg sleeves by Rockay are a blend of three different materials: multifilament polyamide, polyamide, and elastane. The blend of these three makes for a calf sleeve with unbeatable leg support, helping prevent leg injuries.
These Rockay leg sleeves are not only an excellent choice for those into intense fitness and running. They are also great to use during pregnancy, tiring flights, or any physically-demanding job. In addition, the materials of this product create a leg sleeve that will combat bacteria and odor, even after many uses. This wool sock is breathable and the wool material allows you to have ventilation while working out or running and wearing them.
Rockay offers these compression leg sleeves at a price accessible to everyone, not overly expensive nor cheap enough to question the quality of the materials. To assure customers they’ll love this product, they come with a lifetime guarantee, as well. These socks are insulated to make sure while you are camping or hiking you are warm and cozy.
3 pack set
Comfortable and has great breathability
Ankle area can get a bit loose
This all season 70% Merino wool hiking sock is excellent value for money they also come in a variety of different set options. The Sock has an incredibly high Merino wool content enabling the sock to be both breathable and moisture wicking if your feet get just too hot. NEVSNEV wool socks are made of 70% Merino wool they are perfect for hiking, biking, working, cycling, basketball, and other sports activities.Read more
These NEVSNEV wool socks are known for their comfort and durability. This sock has a toe and heel reinforcement and built-in arch support which also helps with the sock not moving or twisting while being worn. This sock improves the air permeability of wool socks and wear-resistance to make sure the is warm and it is sweat resistant.
These socks are made from 70% Merino Wool.
This Men 70% Merino Wool Crew Socks - NEVSNEV Warm Socks for Men are known for being very comfortable and have great breathability. It has a toe and heel reinforcement for overall sock longevity and to prevent the sock from twisting.
They are sweat-absorbent to help prevent odor and keep you comfortable during any activity. These socks come in 3 different colors and a 3 pack option. They fit feet sizes including 8 to 13 size feet and are three times the sick thickness to keep you warm and comfortable.
3. ROCKAY Accelerate
Organic Merino Wool
Natural and designed in temperature regulation
Toe and heel areas are padded
Targetted arch compression
No-show is the only version available right now
"Created by runners, for runners" is their motto. When choosing the best sock to get there are so many variables to think about and the creation of this high-performance sock is a result of very experienced runners giving feedback in order to produce a sock which meets all the requirements wanted by runners. As a runner, I want a sock which I know I can depend on, we don't want distractions resulting from inadequate design and the wrong materials. Put out a sock which has been put together with feedback from runners and covers every possibility for comfort, performance, support, and durability and we know this is going to work for us.Read more
Every runner wants a sock which will FIT properly and synchronize with their shoe performance. Feedback from runners pointed out that the toe and heel area in socks are quick to wear out so this sock has extra comfortable cushion style padding to prevent wear and tear while giving more comfort and protection. We see socks which are good for wearing in the winter or alternatively a sock which is good for the hot summer days, this sock is good for all seasons. To own this sock you have got all year round running fully covered. It is a good investment to invest in a multi-purpose durable and high performing sock rather than invest in different socks for different seasons.
Organic Merino wools are the best and this material has the characteristics for optimal temperature regulation. Add in innovative designing for varied zones to have different thicknesses to further promote breathability, targetted compression and support and we now have a sock which is designed with feedback from those who know, runners!
Preventing over-heating and moisture build-up is a must have and this sock has designed in zones which are thinner and allow heat and moisture to escape. The ingenious alternative weave styles in the sock can channel compression, channel air to where it is needed and muscle warming heat to where it is needed. The breathability performance designed into the sock is incredibly innovative. This sock gives a nice overall compressive FIT while also channeling compression towards the foot arch through innovative sock designing. We all detest socks which slip, this ruins the enjoyment of the ride and the final result is one or more very painful blisters. So, this sock will not slip away into your shoe so that you have to stop running, dig into your shoe to pull it up, this sock has a rear protective tab, you are in control, no sock slipping down and bunching up in your shoe causing frictions and blistering. Innovative designing has fixed this problem.
Runners want durability, socks that quickly show signs of wear and tear also become socks which are not functional. Organic Merino has exceptional durability and insulation has been designed in as padding for any areas which are subject to known wear and tear. This sock is constructed from seriously high-quality materials in order to ensure durability. When you purchase one of these high-quality and durable pairs of socks it means you can use it all year it shows a very good value for money.
4. Smartwool PhD Mountaineer
High Merino wool content
Dorsal venting mesh and seamless toe
Quick drying and odor resistant
No lace guard so expect wear in this area
A lot of thought was put into making these socks. The socks each have a two elastic fitting to keep them in place regardless of the activities you place then through. There is nothing worse than your sock bunching up under your foot, requiring you to remove your boot or shoe to adjust your sock. The ankle area has increased flexibility whilst holding the sock in place.Read more
The heel and toe areas have been protected and offer more comfort in the areas of your foot that work the most. The toe of the sock is virtually seamless, so less chance of the seam causing blisters on the tops of your toes.
This sock is made from 50% Merino wool 43% Nylon and 7% Elastane
These are a tall sock and designed to go over the calf and to just below the knee, with graduated compression to help in activity recovery. The front of the sock, or the area over the top of the foot or dorsal, has a ventilation mesh to optimize air circulation and allow moisture vapor to vent.
These Smartwool PhD Mountaineer wool socks are insulated and have targeted cushioning designed for runners or hikers at the outsole and heel provides added protection in high impact areas.
5. Icebreaker Hike+ Compression OTC
Seamless toe and dorsal ventilation allows exceptional comfort & breathability
A good amount of cushioning helps with impact protection
Quick drying properties make these great for multiple climates and environments
Fairly high nylon content
The Hike+ is a high mileage sock, designed for hiking long distances or other extended wear and difficult trails. The sock has been designed to keep the feet warm and dry, allowing breathability and warmth. They do this by improving circulation with a graduated compression over the whole calf, designed to increase circulation and improve recovery and performance.Read more
This Icebreaker Hike+ Compression OTC wool sock has plenty of support and is known to be very comfortable for runners, hikers, or people who are in recovery.
This Icebreaker Hike+ Compression OTC sock is made from 49% Merino wool, 44% Nylon and 7% Lycra.
The body of the sock is flexible because of the mix of Merino wool, Nylon, and Lycra. The front of the sock, that is over the dorsal part of the foot has a venting mesh, but no extra arch support. The heel and toe areas have been cushioned to help prevent tired feet after a long day on the trail and the toe is seamless helping to prevent blisters. The graduated compression is good, feeling comfortable and not too tight.
These socks are known for having great insulation with its over-the-calf length works with the compression fit where its insulation improves your circulation and promotes recovery.
6. People Socks. Merino 4 Pack
Good for everyday wearing
All the features of standard Merino socks
Stylish/nice color choice
Some buyers try to stay with bigger brand names
Constructed/weaved to a medium density, the balance is on target and these socks are made for regular daily use, they are comfortable while offering a confident level of durability which works for wearing each and every day.
Offered in a bargain deal of 4 socks so that you can rotate and wear daily nice design and color options. Wearable for sports or casual and offering the level of comfort which is expected from Merino wool.Read more
The style sits just under calf height and the socks are good for not slipping and causing uncomfortable friction. Nice level of subtle cushioning is strategically built into the sock for foot sole protection.
These socks are made from 71% Wool, for longevity with durability 21% weaved in Nylon, a blended in 7% of Poly, and for a gentle stretch factor 1% stretchy Spandex
The sock heel/toe is reinforced and the use of merino means the socks are able to have an anti-microbial performance which leads to odor free healthy feet. Reinforced Toe & Heel.
This PEOPLE SOCKS Men's Women's Merino wool crew socks are great for all types of seasons and built to last. These socks are medium-heavy thickness and are made with a reinforced heel to keep you warm and insulated.
7. Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks
Some feel that the fit is too snug
The Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks are uniquely designed to offer you the most comfort, air ventilation, and cushioning that they possibly can. Hit the trails knowing that your feet will be snug as a bug and ready to hike.Read more
Hike for longer with Injinji's Outdoor Midweight Crew Socks keeping your feet as cozy as can be. Injinji's NuWool provides odor-resistance, a soft feel, and thermal regulation. The unique five-toe design reduces the chances of pesky blisters, and the top which is made of mesh offers air flow. These socks also have arch support and cushioning along the bottom of the foot.
These Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks are made from 64% merino wool, 33% nylon, and 3% lycra
These socks are made to be breathable while wearing them and making sure you have ventilation while wearing them. This is the perfect sock for hiking, fishing, camping, or backpacking keeping your feet comfortable and prevents blisters.
These Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks are known for being the ultimate in foot comfort and performance. They hug your feet tightly keep you warm and cozy.
8. Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion
They’re extremely comfortable while running
Good in any weather
Great odor control
Darn Tough is a brand that specializes in making socks for running, cycling, skiing, so they fully focus on high-quality socks. Here we go with Hiker Cull Cushion and as the title implies, these will let you forget about the discomfort. Check them out!Read more
The socks don’t slip when you run. There’s a big amount of Merino wool, it doesn’t irritate your skin as many socks do. Merino wool allows more air and your feet can literally breathe. They’re also antimicrobial- you don’t need to worry about your feet smelling bad as these socks repeal bacteria. They dry really fast and they keep the moisture away from your skin. These socks have full cushioning, and this is the feature that many runners really adored.
This Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion wool sock is made from 66% Merino wool and 32% Nylon, 2% Lycra
This sock has a seamless construction to help ventilate your foot while wearing them. These socks can be used no matter what season- in summer they provide breathability and in the winter, they give you warm.
This Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion wool sock is insulated on the outsole and heel to make sure while you are running or hiking you are staying warm and comfortable.
These have a lifetime product guarantee
Great both for winter and summer
For some runners, they’re too short
Wigwam is a brand that specializes in socks but it’s not the only product they offer. Wigwam socks are a high-quality product and they’re comfortable when you want to do the hiking or just sit around the campfire. Discover more features of these socks.Read more
This Wigwam wool sock is a true seamless construction that provides smooth performance and is a comfortable fit. It also includes features such as no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters.
This Wigwarm sock is made from 67% Merino wool and 21% Stretch Nylon, 7% Elastic (rubber), 5% Acrylic
This sock has a mesh instep to help with adding breathability every time you walk or run. It helps get the moisture in and out and has a cushioned comfort under the outsole.
These socks are fully cushioned to provide more warmth to your feet. There’s a big amount of Merino wool and with the blend with the other fibers, this is a very durable material. The socks don’t fall down but it’s also very elastic and it’s not too tight. There’s a special ventilation channel that provides more air to your feet. The socks are very durable and remain the same size and shape even after many washes. Reviewers said that they adore the choice of colors. There are more than 10 colors to choose from so it may be a hard decision.
10. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew
Many different color options
Helps prevent your feet from blisters
Not as thick as described
This is a great sock for day hikes, but still with enough comfort if you decide to walk all day over some seriously punishing terrain. This Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew wool sock is a go-to sock for adventure seekers to make sure they stay warm and have plenty of support while hiking or camping.Read more
This sock will definitely not end up gathered under the arch of your foot. The height of the sock is mid-calf length is perfect for walking shoes and ankle walking boots. The toe of the sock is virtually seamless eliminating the possibility of blisters on the tops of your toes. The front of the sock, or the area over the top of the foot or dorsal, has a ventilation mesh to optimize air circulation and allow moisture vapor to vent. The underside of the socks has been cushioned with extra fabric making the socks perfect for varied terrains, whether dirt, rock or even road walking.
This sock is made from Merino wool content: 57% Merino wool other materials including 40% Nylon and 3% Elastane. This sock is made from merino wool is known for naturally having antimicrobial and antibacterial features.
This merino wool sock provides plenty of breathability with its high density knitted reinforcement. It has an undetected toe seam in order for your feet to breath while you are hiking or camping.
The cushioning along the bottom of the foot provides the perfect amount of support and insulation for your feet to stay comfortable and warm while wearing them. This sock provides plenty of support including no blisters, no slipping, and no bunching.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Merino wool comes from the Merino or Jackson sheep. The Merino sheep originated in Spain and is one of the worlds most ancient breeds of sheep, and also possibly one of the toughest, due to the adaptability of the animal to different climates and landscapes, and is an excellent forager. There are several strains of Merino sheep, some produce excellent wool for clothing and especially clothing was worn next to the skin, however, some are bred for meat and then wool is not suitable for clothing.
The wool of the Merino sheep is not the scratchy itchy wool of the Christmas pullover your Grandmother knitted for you, Merino wool is soft. It is the thickness of the fibers of the wool which make it feel itchy, Merino wool has a much smaller diameter than other wools, this enables the fibers to be more flexible and bend easier, thicker fibers of other wools are less able to bend and flex and this makes the ends of the fibers prick the skin, and although the fibers are never going to penetrate the skin of the bodies natural reaction to this is to make you feel an itch. Merino wool is so much thinner in diameter means that they don’t prick the skin and therefore your body doesn’t have the adverse itch reaction.
Choosing a good merino wool sock is a personal thing. And as will all items of clothing personal style and color preferences are individual and important. Many come in various colors and others come in simple blacks and greys.
Wool content: This is important, many socks will state they are Merino wool sock and they are, but the amount of Merino wool is less than 50%. They technically are still Merino wool socks, but the benefits of the wool will be reduced if the content is less. However, if you need a sock which gives you good compression on the calf. A sock for circulation then is it difficult if not impossible to do this with a high Merino wool content. Although Merino wool is very flexible and strong it does not have the elasticity of Nylon or Polyester, and the compression needed for a good compression sock will mean that over 55% Merino wool content is not possible.
So we have to keep your feet dry, but what about keeping them warm or cool? Wool has the natural ability to trap dead air, the air is the secret to all insulators, the more air you can trap the better the insulator, even when wet the wool’s ability to move the moisture away from the skin enables excellent heat insulation. And because wool is a breathable fabric it will help to keep you cool, however, don’t expect to wear a thick heavy wool sock and have cool feet if you are walking in the desert. And if you suffer from smelly feet, wool socks will help. The odor of smelly feet is caused by bacteria, bacteria need a moist and warm environment to grow and live, well we have already covered that wool is excellent and removing moisture, so the bacteria can not increase enough in number to cause the odor. Wool also offers natural sun protection, the wool absorbs the UV radiation that damages skin and merino wool has an SPF 40+, but obviously, the weave density is also important and can affect this.
Think about a sheep for a moment, it lives in the mountains of New Zealand, in spring the sheep will be shorn in preparation for the hot summer months. Throughout the summer the sheep are exposed to temperatures around 35oC (95oF), wearing a wool coat. Does the poor animal overheat? No, guess what his wool is naturally breathable, letting him perspire and evaporate sweat to maintain his body temperature, does he get sunburnt? No wool has a natural UV filter, filtering UV better than cotton and silk and many manufactured fabrics. As the months pass the summer turns to winter and the weather gets colder as the sheep grow a thick woolen fleece. The mountainous regions of New Zealand where these sheep are farmed temperatures drop to -20oC (-4oF). Do the sheep need to be herded into barns and building to be saved from the extreme cold? No, the woolen fleece is more than enough to keep her nice and cozy, she is even protected from the rain and snow because the fleece doesn’t readily absorb water. Is it any wonder this natural fabric is known as a super fabric. If it can keep a sheep cool and warm surely it can do it for us?
But you’re reading this because you want to know about socks. Your feet are going to be in a pair of socks and stuffed into shoes or boots. Then you are going to walk, run, jump or climb. You want your feet warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and in both cases, you want your feet dry. Hopefully, your shoes or boots will keep your feet dry from the outside environment, but sweat is how your feet may become wet from inside your shoe. This is not good as it can promote blisters, bacterial and fungal growth, and other uncomfortable conditions. As you all know, you need a fabric that is breathable, a fabric that is able to transport moisture in the vapor state away from your skin.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Good socks are necessary, and Merino wool is possibly the best material for good quality socks, and definitely the best natural, renewable, biodegradable, earth-friendly, organic and a product harvested from an animal that lives a free-range carefree existence, and doesn’t die in giving you its wool. Arch support or elasticated arches are a nice feature. This prevents the sock from bunching up inside your shoe, which can cause friction blisters.
Other Factors to Consider
Personally, I don’t like a full-length sock and prefer mid-calf length with boots and ankle height with shoes, but I am sure there are thousands of people who love full-length socks. But seamless toes are a must, even with the moisture venting and moisture wicking properties of Merino wool a seam rubbing back and forth across the tops of your toes will cause nasty blisters. Blisters are difficult to deal with on the trail and if you are planning to walk for more than a day, starting day two with raw blisters is soul destroying to even the toughest outdoors people.
Thick socks, if they do become wet, will take longer to dry, but High content Merino wool socks although generally thick dry relatively quick. Ideally, don’t get them wet in the first place.
Extra cushion on the heal/toe area is nice, but it will make the sock thicker. If you are buying socks for hiking and the store will let you try the socks on and put your boots on, socks with a large cushion will also make your boots feel smaller and may even lead to sore feet after a day walking.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are the others materials that can be used for socks?
There are many different materials above merino wool. We pointed out the most popular materials used for making socks.
Wool– this is the most popular material and merino wool is one of the kinds of wool. Most socks are made with merino wool as it’s itching free, the socks dry very fast. It makes your feet fresher and they don’t sweat as much.
Silk– this material is very comfortable and it’s not heavy. The problems appear when it comes to durability. This material won’t have a long lifespan if you run off the road
Polyester– this is also a good material for socks. This type has moisture-wicking proprieties so your feet stay dry during the run. It is also known from quick drying
Nylon– next popular material, very often blended with polyester, it also helps to dry faster and it makes sock much more durable
Spandex-this isn’t very popular material for socks but it’s sometimes used to keep the original shape of the sock
q: How to take care of the socks?
This question isn’t simple as every producer has its own instructions. Please, read the instruction carefully before washing the socks as you if you do it wrong, you can destroy the socks. However, we have some tips to keep your socks clean and prolong their lifespan.
You usually need to turn them inside-out. Then need to wash usually in gentle cycle. You don’t need to wash them every time you take them off as they stay cleaner longer than the other clothes. If you want to iron them, the low setting will be the best option. Don’t roll the socks into balls as this can change their natural shape.
q: Why should I choose merino wool?
There are many reasons why some people say that merino wool socks are the best.
At first, Merino wool is very breathable. It’s very easy to get blisters after a run because during running, our skin sweats and when there’s chaffing, it starts to hurt so bad. With Merino wool, your feet don’t sweat that much and this wool can also some kind regulate the temperature. It means that when you run in the winter, these socks keep the warm inside and you don’t need to buy other special socks. These socks have also moisture wicking proprieties. This means that after running session, your feet aren’t wet. Merino also helps you to fight the unpleasant odor during running. This material has anti-microbial proprieties and it really helps to reduce bacteria. As you see, merino wool is great material, it may be a little bit more expensive but for this comfort, it’s totally worth every dollar.
q: Where does merino wool come from?
Australia and New Zealand are the worlds largest producers of Merino wool, and with the vast open areas available in both countries, the sheep are able to be truly free range and carefree, to wonder is vast flocks foraging from a multitude of plants and grasses. Once a year having their fleece shewn. Wool is a renewable resource, and biodegradable, it will decompose in a couple of years if buried in the soil whereas man-made fibers tend to take hundreds if not thousands of years to decompose.
q: What is so special about merino wool socks?
With Merino wool as your feet heat up, the moisture vapor will be absorbed into the wool and released to the outside of the fabric. But what happens if you sweat quicker than wool can move the moisture vapor. At this point, the wool will move the liquid mechanically the same as synthetic fabrics do. This ability to wick moisture is apparent in wool and synthetics, however, only wool has the ability to do this when the moisture is in a vapor state. An interesting fact is that merino wool can retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch, most other fabrics will feel wet to the touch when they have only absorbed 7% of there weight in moisture.