The best ski socks
Avid skiers who spend hours on the slopes all agree on one thing: avoid cold feet at all costs. Ski socks are engineered to provide comfort, protection, and warmth.
Ski socks use unique material blends for a superior fit that is supportive and not too constricting. Finding the right pair of ski socks is also a matter of balancing warmth and moisture-wicking properties.
Take a look at our buying guide on ski socks so you can hit the slopes in style. We're including our favorite pair, the PureAthlete High-Performance Wool Ski Socks, which keeps feet and calves dry during long days on the mountain.
Considerations when choosing ski socks
The thickness and warmth of socks are referred to as weight. Lightweight socks are better for warmer conditions, whereas medium and heavyweight socks are better for plunging temperatures. If you find yourself bothered by feet that get sweaty quickly, even in cold temperatures, you may do best with lightweight socks.
Ski socks are made of a combination of materials, which vary between manufacturers. Merino wool and acrylic provide warmth and breathable softness. Spandex, Lycra, and nylon add flexibility, support, and compression. The more complex the blend, the more features you'll get -- but the price tag follows suit.
Since ski socks provide a better fit than traditional socks, you'll have to select the correct size. The pairs we examined were generally unisex, so manufacturers provide conversion scales between men's and women's sizing. Sizing isn't very uniform between brands, so you may need to try before you buy.
Comfort and support
If you're picky about fit, comfort trumps almost all other features. An essential detail to consider is the cut and ribbing at the calf, as the fit should be snug but not constrictive. Seamless toes are ideal if your foot rubs against your boot's toe box, as they minimize friction burns. If you need a softer pair, opt for an acrylic blend.
Ski socks that are supportive tend to have compressive features, particularly around the heel and arch areas. These are essential features if you suffer from any foot or ankle conditions, as the added support promotes circulation and ease swelling. They also combat foot and calf cramping.
Look for ski socks with strategically-placed cushioning and padding. Heels, shinbones, and even reinforced toes can aid in shock absorption. Some socks feature additional cushioning at the instep, which is ideal if you prefer a snug fit inside your boots.
Toasty toes don't need to be sweaty or smelly when you choose ski socks that have moisture-wicking and odor-absorbing properties. These pairs are often made with polypropylene, which pulls moisture away from your feet. As wool is naturally odor-resistant, it's an ideal material choice.
Although this is not the most important factor, there's no harm in choosing stylish ski socks. Some socks only come in a few colors, whereas others feature pride fantastic patterns and designs. If you wear ski socks the whole time you're at the lodge, you might as well have a couple fashion-forward pairs to wear around indoors.
Ski socks with simple support and modest-quality material blends go for less than $10 a pair. If you want a better blend with superior fit, warmth, and moisture-wicking properties, expect to spend closer to $25 per pair.
Q. My ski socks have a complex fabric blend. Should I wash them differently than other clothing?
A. Yes. Stick to gentle detergents without bleach or harsh chemicals. If the blend has any stretchy materials, you should forgo fabric softener and the dryer. They tend to break down the material prematurely, and you end up losing elasticity.
Q. I have a deep indentation on my calf from my ski socks after skiing. What's happening?
A. It could be that the socks you wear are cut narrow at the cuff area, which is why they're digging into your skin. You best bet is to choose a pair that is either wider or has a higher percentage of stretchy materials for a more comfortable fit.
Ski socks we recommend
Best of the best: PureAthlete's High-Performance Wool Ski Socks
Our take: The ultimate pair with superior warmth, comfort, and fit.
What we like: Unique blend of 5% Spandex and 25% wool promotes a compressive fit with arch support.
What we dislike: Not ideal for those who prefer a looser sock fit.
Best bang for your buck: Fox River's Over-the-Calf Merino Wool Blend Snow and Ski Socks
Our take: Wallet-friendly two-pack that is incredibly warm while being lightweight.
What we like: Impressive shin and calf fit with padded soles. Wool/acrylic blend is super soft.
What we dislike: If you're tall, the calves come up a bit short.
Choice 3: Eurosocks' Ski Zone Over-the-Calf Socks
Our take: Won't fall down your calves given their ribbed closure, so they're ideal for fuss-free socks.
What we like: Padding in shoes and shins offer protection and warmth. Unique fiber blend keeps socks in place, comfortable, and dry.
What we dislike: A bulkier fit. May sustain holes after moderate wear.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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