Best Ski Socks
From the socks up, your skiing base layers are just as important as the slope itself. A great pair of ski socks will be breathable, moisture-wicking, warm, and comfortable. Moisture wicking is arguably the most important quality because your feet could easily become wet from sweat, and then cold from being wet in a cold climate. With that being said, we are here to help you stay out on the slopes for as long as possible. We have rated each sock on this list in terms of comfort, insulation, wicking abilities, and fit.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Has a natural ability to repel bacteria and odor
The merino wool pulls away moisture
The durability is superb
- Darn Tough 5 OTC
- Smartwool PHD
- Eurosocks Zone
- Fox River Wilmot
- Burton Weekend
- Pure Athlete High Performance
- Flambeau Heated
- Minus 33
- Hot Chillys Mid Volume
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Darn Tough 5 OTC
Has a natural ability to repel bacteria and odor
The merino wool pulls away moisture
The durability is superb
For some, they may be too thick and warm
Is there such a thing as a sock that is too thick or too warm? If so, you may not be pleased with Darn Tough. However, this does not insinuate that your feet will be unbearably overheating as the merino wool has a natural tendency to wick away moisture.Read more
Cushion and high-density padding are integrated into the areas where you need it most, such as under your foot and in the shin, to deliver comfort for the entire ride.
Thanks to the merino wool, these socks are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Although, with the thickness at play here, they may not be very suitable for the summer (which is fine because who skies in summer?)
Merino wool is designed to wick away moisture so when your feet begin to sweat vigorously, your socks will not be drenched.
With its performance fit, you will not have to worry about the socks bunching up or slipping down. Plus, without any seams, it almost feels like the sock is not on your foot. Size-wise, you can select from medium to extra-large, as well as three color options: black, red, and cobalt.
2. Smartwool PHD
Overall, the warmth is superb
They are not too bulky
Features patented technology in the high impact areas for enhanced durability
Could have been thicker near the toes
Users have complained about the price
If you glance around the internet, you will most likely see this ski sock on many editor’s top lists. While it is not quite number one here, you will see why so many columnists rave about the PhD Ski Socks from Smartwool.Read more
To ensure that your feet are protected against impacts and sudden foot strikes, which can happen in violent skies, there is a medium cushion that is located in the shin that will absorb most of it.
Because Smartwool utilizes merino wool in their PhD Ski Socks, they are incredibly warm. But, other technology that is integrated into the socks also aids in warmth.
Smartwool designed this sock with creativity in mind. They specifically designed mesh ventilation in certain areas that need it the most. What this achieves, in conjunction with merino wool that wicks away moisture, is a very breathable membrane.
Integrating a 4-Degree Elite Fit System that uses two elastics, there is enough stretch and recovery for the sock to stay in place all day long no matter what the slopes have in store for you. Plus, there are size options for either small or medium.
Features fantastic ventilation and breathability
It is naturally resistant to odors
The ribbed cuff provides a secure hold around your calves
They can be a little too tight
Speaking of a critically acclaimed ski sock, how about this one from Icebreaker? While nearly everything is off the charts here, specifically, the breathability of this sock is utterly superb and maybe the best of any.Read more
The seamless toe design reduces the amount of bulk with the socks and, in turn, prevents blisters in the long run. Besides this, there is enough cushion for an ideal amount of comfort.
Yet another manufacturer that uses merino wool in their sock is Icebreaker. Again, this material is incredibly warm and combines a soft touch with thermal insulation.
Here is where Icebreaker knocks it out of the park. There is, what Icebreaker calls, a breathing zone and this improves the overall ventilation and breathability. Plus, as you already know, merino wool naturally repels odors and wicks moisture.
With support for your Achilles to keep the sock in place, an anatomical toe box for an ideal left and right fit, and an instep for stability, the fit is practically flawless (outside of some claiming it is a bit too tight). For size options, you can select from small to extra-large. As far as color options, there is black, gray and red, oil black and silver, and red, navy and black available.
4. Eurosocks Zone
These are specifically designed for winter athletes
There are elastic layers that stimulate blood flow to improve oxygen delivery
Loads of color options to choose from
Some users have claimed that the socks fray after several uses
The Ski Zone Socks are comfortable, they are warm in severe temperatures and they do a superb job of not bunching up during skies. But, they just tend to fray quicker than you would like, which does hurt their value in the long run.Read more
The comfort zone that is featured in these socks adapts perfectly for skiers and in conjunction with the dynamic thickness which provides a fantastic amount of cushioning and impact absorption, these could not be any more comfortable to wear and use.
Micro-Supreme technology manages to keep you warm and comfortable, no matter how bitterly cold it is outside or how hard the wind is howling.
Not only does the Micro-Supreme technology aid in warmth but it also comes into play with managing the moisture. As this will wick away moisture when it is released from your feet, the result is drier feet with less of a chance to develop blisters.
When you are busy focusing on the slopes ahead of you, you will not have to worry about these socks bunching up as the elastic arch band and flat-knit construction ensure that the fit and feel remain uncompromised. Also, you can choose from small to extra-large. As well, there are quite a few different color options that you can choose from. Some of them include black, black and mint, black and red, dark blue, and gray.
5. Fox River Wilmot
These are guaranteed against defects for one year
The spandex compression zones prevent the sock from sagging
Features Merino wool fabric
As opposed to others, it does not wick away moisture that well
Any time you see Merino wool in a garment that is designed for cold weather, you know you are promised exceptional warmth and moisture management (most of the time). But, what makes the Wilmot Socks so terrific is the URfit System that is implemented that provides the perfect fit for skiers.Read more
Due to the toe seam being both flat and smooth, it will not rub against or irritate your skin. This also comes into play with durability as it stretches without unraveling.
The most important factor to note here is the Merino wool that is integrated into the sock. As such, a considerable amount of warmth is provided for you straight from the get-go.
In conjunction with the Merino wool itself is Fox River’s exclusive technology that wicks away moisture. Unfortunately, some users have claimed that it poorly wicks away moisture.
Thanks to the URfit System that is utilized here, the fit is ideal for skiers. This system uses specific spandex compression zones to prevent the sock from sagging, a responsive fit with the memory knit compression, and a contoured rib top. As far as size options, you can select from small to extra-large. As well, a decent selection of colors is available and this includes pink, teal, charcoal, gray and lime.
6. Burton Weekend
Has rider-specific support and cushioning
Integrates snowboarding-focused resistance to abrasions
Features chafe-free toe seams
Can be a hassle to put your boots on with these socks on
Burton may not have necessarily designed these socks to be specifically for skiers, but they work fantastically for the sport. As a small bonus, Burton packages their socks with two pairs so you get double the offer.Read more
Featuring chafe-free toe seams, a reinforced heel, and toe, and medium-density cushioning, there is enough comfort and support for a full day of skiing. In addition, there is padding underneath the arch and around your ankle for enhanced comfort.
While there is not wool fabric within this sock, it still does an admirable job of warming your feet with its midweight nature.
The membrane of this sock is made from acrylic, nylon, and elastane. This unique combination of fabrics aid in not only breathability but also with its drying capabilities as it will dry quickly.
The addition of elasticity is what gives these socks the ability to stay up near your knees while you are skiing all day long. With options for canvas, mood indigo, stout white, and true black, there are not only a decent amount of selections to choose from but they all add a unique sense of style. However, for some odd reason, these can be a pain to wear when you are trying to slide your boots over.
7. Pure Athlete High Performance
Features an elastic arch that helps reduce foot fatigue
When they get wet, they do dry quickly
They are machine washable
Not as warm as other ski socks on the market
Maybe too many threads in the interior which compromise the smoothness
These “high performance” socks definitely live up to their billing as they are simply superb in areas you need the most; including the elasticity, comfortability, and breathability.Read more
There is comfort in all the key areas you need. This includes cushioning for your ankle, shin and under your foot to ensure that your feet remain comfortable when you put your boots on over these socks.
Some have claimed the warmth is terrific while others have complained that others are clearly more insulated. Either way, these are made partially from Merino wool so if nothing else, your feet will not freeze.
A unique combination of Merino wool and polypropylene prevents your feet from overheating as it will adequately wick away moisture. But, all in the meanwhile, it will not compromise the natural temperature of your foot.
To ensure that the socks stay up where they are designed to be, there are elastic bands designed into the socks. As such, they will not bunch up or sag down on vigorous skies. One thing is for sure, the visual design is impressive. With options for black, gray and blue, black, gray and green, black, gray and orange, among others, there are several to choose from.
8. Flambeau Heated
Fiber heating elements to keep feet consistently warm
High or low setting
Includes everything (socks, battery, charger)
Takes 5-8 hours to fully recharge batteries
A bit bulky for some boots
If you're looking for something more than a pair of socks with great materials, this is it! Aside from implementing great materials, these socks also come with carbon fiber heating elements. The warmth builds right under your toes and can keep you warm for up to eight hours.Read more
This medium weight sock is mostly designed for warmth. While reviewers tend to agree that they are generally comfortable, there is no extra padding designed into them. The built-in battery compartment sits below your calf, not imposing any discomfort. Unfortunately, some users have had issues with the side seam stitching opening up and exposing the wires.
Insulation is where these socks shine. First of all, they are made from a wool, polyester, and cotton blend. On top of this warm trio, these socks are electric! With each pair, there are two 3.7 Volt Li-ion batteries included, an AC charger, and a dual mini USB cord included. When inserted into its specific pocket in the socks, the battery supplies warmth to carbon fiber heating elements under the toes. You can choose from a low or high setting and enjoy your day on the slopes long after your friends have turned in because of cold feet.
The two main materials of these socks are (41%) Merino Wool and (44%) Polyester. Both of these materials are well-known for their moisture wicking abilities. The only concern with these socks is the small amount of cotton that takes away from the breathability. However, in recent reviews, there have been no complaints.
These socks are available in sizes Small to XL. A size chart is not listed on Amazon, but upon further research, we deduced that (men’s sizes) size 4-5 is Small, 5-9 is Medium, 9-12 is Large, and 12-15 is Extra Large. Following this sizing guide, they should fit just about true to size.
9. Minus 33
Great moisture wicking
One year warranty
Provides less cushion than other options
Could be warmer
Minus 33 is headquartered in New Hampshire and is no stranger to cold temperatures. They have over 100 years of experience with wool and their team of outdoor enthusiasts works together to create functional and affordable cold weather gear. This Merino Wool Ski Sock is no exception to their philosophy. It is so exceptional that it is actually the official sock used by the USA Luge team.Read more
Minus 33's Merino Wool socks feature a seamless toe that prevents blistering and makes it easier to slide your boots on and off. This pair is a midweight pair of socks and doesn't feature as much cushion as some of our other options. This sock is full-length and you won't have to worry about your skin showing as you cross your legs and your pant leg hikes up.
These socks are made from 78% Merino Wool and also feature spandex, nylon, and polyester. Reviewers claim that these socks are indeed warm and cozy, but don't recommend them for temperatures under 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
As all Merino Wool products, these socks feature amazing wicking power, are anti-microbial, odor-resistant, fire resistant, and still insulate when wet.
These socks are available in sizes Small to Extra Large and in four different colors, featuring black, blue, grey, and green. The Merino Wool features a decent amount of stretch and flexibility, but not enough to recommend sizing down. This socks will not lose shape or shrink in the wash, but you must remember to never use bleach or fabric softener. While there aren't many complaints about the socks staying up, some reviewers wish there was a tighter elastic along the top of the sock.
10. Hot Chillys Mid Volume
It is specifically designed with an increase in weight for more comfort
All day long, they will stay up without bunching up
They are not too bulky
After a few hours, your feet may start to get cold with these on
For skiing gurus and aficionados who are looking to spend hours on the slopes in one sitting, you may not be interested in this pair of ski socks. Hot Chillys designed this admirably, but after around one or two hours, they lose their ability to properly insulate your feet.Read more
Overall, these are very comfortable against your skin. Though they will not keep you warm throughout the entire day, the comfort will never be compromised and all day long your feet will not suffer from pain.
While these are warm for a certain period of time, around one or two hours, they simply do not hold up in the long run. If you plan on skiing all day, you may need a different pair of socks.
Utilizing advanced moisture transferring fibers and antimicrobial technology, not only will these socks wick away moisture but they will also prevent odors from building up.
There are three size options that you can select from (medium, large and extra-large) and the socks themselves are engineered to be worn with ski boots.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The entire purpose of socks of any nature, beyond ski socks, is to provide your feet with comfort. When you wear shoes without socks, you are prone to blisters and general discomfort for your feet. But, ski socks are a little different than traditional socks. Because skiing is such an intense sport, one in which requires a lot of stress on your body (especially your feet), there are specific areas of emphasis when it comes to comfort. One is cushioning which can significantly aid in impact absorption. During skies, when you ride over a slope, you will slam onto the ground. Without proper cushioning, your feet will absorb most of the blow and if this happens an excess amount of times, injuries could result.
This padding, which does need to be placed in specific areas such as underneath your foot and near your shin, is vital. But, it goes beyond cushioning as the toe seam also matters. Typically, you would like to see a seamless toe design as this will reduce the amount of bulkiness and could prevent blisters over time.
If comfort is the entire purpose of ski socks, then the warmth is comfort’s brother. In other words, it is just as (if not more) important as comfortability. The last time we checked, skiing was done in the snow and if it is snowing outside, nine times out of ten it is very cold outdoors. Granted your ski boots will provide warmth for you, your socks need to just as much. There is nothing that could ruin a ski trip quicker than your toes freezing up as not only will it become painful, you need your feet for skiing.
So, what do you need to look for in warmth? First off, and probably the most important, is the fabric that is utilized. Many times, throughout this list, you saw Merino wool or some sort of wool. This is not a coincidence as wool is an incredibly warm material and is made specifically for cold, winter weather. But, one thing to look out for is how long the socks will keep your feet warm. A few socks on this list, for example, are great at delivering warmth for a certain amount of time but past that, may lose its insulation capabilities.
Along with warmth, may come sweat. How your socks respond to this and wick moisture is also important. If you wear your normal socks while skiing, you could probably get away with comfort and warmth. But, this area (most likely) would end up being your biggest downfall as it is vitally important. Even though you would think it would be about providing the most warmth possible, there is such a thing as overheating. No matter the weather outdoors, when your body builds up heat it is going to perspire. This also includes your feet and when they do so, your socks need to have moisture wicking technology.
Without this, the perspiration will build-up and soon, you will be left with drenching socks that feel clammy to the touch. Plus, this can also result in blisters in the long run. Again, this is why so many manufacturers choose Merino wool for their socks as it has a natural tendency to wick away moisture. But, mesh paneling is also a design feature to look out for as this will allow your feet to breathe when they begin to overheat.
Probably the most annoying aspect of wearing normal socks with boots is that a majority of the time if you are partaking in any physical activities they are going to slip around your ankles and bunch up altogether. Then, you must stick your hand behind your heel to pull up the sock. But, this will keep happening and this process will be repeated several times throughout the day. So, why not choose a sock that is designed with elasticity or spandex compression zones that will stay in place all day long?
Not needing to worry about this will ease your mind tremendously and be much less of a hassle. Above all else, this is the main reason why ski socks are designed differently than traditional socks. However, in most cases, you will also be given multiple sizing options to choose from. Typically, you should go with your normal size but if you notice many users complaining about the size, you can either go up or down a size.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Never wear two pairs of socks skiing. It may sound like a great idea to keep your feet warmer, but in reality, you're just creating more friction and more opportunities for blisters.
While we usually think of socks as unisex, it may be a good idea to invest in gender-specific ski socks. Because these socks fit like a second skin, a gender-specific sock will form to your foot better and be an appropriate height on your leg.
Other Factors to Consider
Just about everything else has been documented at length here, so it is time to unwind for a short second. Even though no one will ever see your socks while you are skiing, you still may have a preference in the color design. It may not be as important as a jacket or your pants, but nonetheless, people will still care about the visual design of their socks. As such, it is a bit of a bonus when manufacturers provide you with multiple coloring options to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do you wash wool ski socks?
Merino wool, or just wool in general, is the most common fabric for ski socks. But, it is a little different than other fabrics, such as cotton and polyester. First off, as wool has a natural ability to repel odors, you do not need to wash it as frequently as other fabrics. As such, you could get away with merely airing them out after several wears. But, there will come a time where you need to thoroughly wash them. When that time does come, be sure to abide by the following steps.
Firstly, turn the socks inside out to protect the membrane. Then, toss them in your washer and use either cold or warm water. However, avoid hot water as it can ruin the integrity of the wool. Also, run it on a gentle cycle and avoid using any bleaches or fabric softeners (just use mild soap).
q: Is it true that wool ski socks are itchy?
If you know anything about wool, you may have been confused about the notion of why it is used so often. Because wool is infamous for being a very itchy material. However, this is not the case for Merino wool as it is able to avoid an itchy membrane thanks to its thinner fabrics. As they are thinner, when they are pressed to your skin they offer a softer blend than typical wool. In fact, some manufacturers, such as Fox River, craft the Merino wool to be so fine that five strands of it equal the width of a single human hair. Think about that for a second before you question if Merino wool is itchy.
However, if it is not Merino wool, then it may be itchy and that may be enough to steer you away from the pair of socks
q: How do you store wool ski socks?
Again, wool is a special material and that is why you are seeing so many questions alluding to it. This time, it is in reference to what you need to do when storing your wool ski socks. Unless you plan on wearing them in the summer, which is not uncommon as Merino wool can be cool in the summer, you will need to store them away once skiing season has concluded. But, do not fall into the trap of thinking you can merely toss them away in a random location in storage. First off, make sure they are thoroughly clean.
While you may store your normal socks in a ball, with both socks, you want to avoid that with wool. It is much better to simply lay them out flat, one on top of another, because balling wool up can compromise the shape and form of it. Finally, you could include some cedar wherever you store them as this is a great repellent to moths.
q: How long can you expect ski socks to last?
Durability is always an area of products that will come up, time and time again. After all, would you rather have a product that is exceptional for a short time or one that is good for a long time? The answer to this question is merely your preference but it is worth asking, how long do ski socks generally last? Much like anything else that is fabric-based, this question does not have a straight up answer. For example, five months, five years, etc. Instead, a number of different variables come into play.
One, how well is the craftsmanship of the sock itself? If the designer does not design the sock to last, then there is nothing you can do to extend the shelf life (in general). But, if they do, then it is up to you to ensure it lasts as long as possible. As you now know, there are certain ways you need to store and wash certain types of socks (Merino wool) and if you simply ignore the advice given to you, the socks will not last as long. Of course, it also depends on how frequently you use them. Someone who skies every day as opposed to someone who skies once a week will probably see their socks deteriorate quicker.
q: Manufacturers stress it a lot, but why is the right fit important?
When you research a specific ski sock, you will probably notice that the seller stresses how important the fit is and all the design features that improve it. But, it is worth noting, why exactly is it so important for the fit to be proper? While you already know about the bunching issue, it is as simple as this. Socks that rub against your feet and are too small will provide discomfort over the long haul and in turn, ruin the skiing experience as you will be uncomfortable the entire time.
q: Do ski socks shrink in the washer?
This really depends on the material that is utilized in the ski sock but with most of the versions that made an appearance on this list, shrinking in the washing machine will not be an issue for you. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon and Merino wool will rarely ever shrink in the washing machine. Of course, as you know, shrinking generally happens with heat so it is just wise to avoid washing in hot water and drying at high temperatures. But, even if you decided to do so, granted that they are not made from cotton, they should not shrink too much on you (if at all).
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