Anyone who’s experienced the outdoors or lived somewhere cold will tell you that the key to proper layering is having insulating inner layers, and the right boot socks for men go a long way in keeping you warm. After all, it doesn’t matter how warm your upper half is if your feet are cold and wet. And while your winter boots are responsible for keeping your feet dry, it’s your socks that actually keep your feet warm. That’s why it’s always worth having a good pair of boot socks.
Boot socks don’t necessarily refer to one specific kind of sock — you can have boot socks in different cuts, materials and weights. But in general, boot socks will be tall enough to bridge the gap between the top of your boot and the break of your pants. Boot socks obviously need to be warm, but there is a caveat. If they’re not breathable, sweat will build up in your socks as you walk, making your feet damp and cold.
That’s why many boot socks are made from moisture-wicking materials, including synthetics like polyester and natural fibers like merino wool for boot socks. These fabrics can keep you warm while also keeping sweat from saturating the fabric and making you miserable. Merino wool is an especially popular option because it offers the natural benefits of wool (warmth, moisture-wicking, odor-resistance) without the itchiness that’s typically associated with the fabric.
Cotton is comfortable and soft, but it absorbs moisture and doesn’t dry quickly. If you expect to deal with rain or you’re picking socks for a wet weather hike, it’s best to pick an alternative fabric. Merino wool is naturally moisture-wicking, or you can choose a more affordable synthetic fabric, which will also help wick away moisture.
There are other details to consider when looking for boot socks. Style is worth considering, although in many cases, the socks will be hidden by the shaft of your boots. And while all boot socks are designed to keep you warm, there’s considerable variance in weight. Some boot socks are on the thinner side, while others will be almost as heavy as your favorite winter sweater.
We’ve rounded up some of the best boot socks to buy right now. Even if you’re not planning on hiking the Appalachian this winter, the best boot socks are still a great investment; you can wear them as you shuffle along on cold bathroom tile and hardwood floors.
1. Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion Socks
These boot socks from Darn Tough are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon and spandex. Merino wool is a popular performance fabric because of its moisture-wicking abilities and the fact that, as a natural fiber, it’s more durable and environmentally friendly than polyester. These socks have moderate cushioning for comfort and are designed to not slip in your shoes. When reviewing Darn Tough’s socks, our tester wrote, “you’ll find warm, yet ventilated feet [wherever] your activity takes you.”
2. Bombas Men’s Merino Wool Calf Socks
SPY’s workout-obsessed editor was skeptical of expensive socks, but since trying them, she enthusiastically recommends Bombas’ socks for performance and everyday use. Though she tested the performance ankle socks rather than the boot socks, we feel confident about this pick. Consider these merino wool calf socks if you’re specifically looking for a thick, warm option that works well with boots. Merino wool is basically nature’s performance fabric; it’s naturally soft, moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating. And most importantly, it effectively resists odor. These socks have Bombas’ unique honeycomb cushioning system that supports the foot. These socks come in a range of stylish, heathered colors that work great for any style.
3. Worn T3 Hike Sock
When testing hiking socks, Worn’s T3’s Hike Sock earned the highest marks, and it was our number one pick. If you’re looking for socks to wear with hiking boots or hiking sneakers, these deliver when it comes to durability and comfort. Our testing found that these were a great option for year-round use. The socks are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon and elastane, providing durability and temperature regulation.
4. Gold Toe Men’s Outlast Crew Socks
Bulk socks don’t always hold up as long as more expensive socks, which is why our top picks went to brands like Bombas and Darn Tough. But if you can’t get behind paying more than $25 for a single pair of socks, we get it. Our reviewer was impressed with Gold Toe’s Outlast socks in our testing. They’re crew socks, so they should be comfortable with boots and cost $20 for three pairs of socks. The fabric is a blend of 48% polyester, 33% viscose, 16% nylon and 3% spandex. They’re cushioned for comfort and moisture-wicking to keep your feet dry after a long day on the go.
5. Sodello Classic Boot Sock
It can be hard to earn respect in a world as old-school as bootmaking. Thursday Boot Company has quickly proven its bona fides by using premium materials and traditional construction techniques without charging premium prices. Unsurprisingly, they also offer great socks to go with their boots. Thursday Boot’s Sodello socks are stylish and available in solid or patterned styles. They’re made in Italy from Egyptian cotton, with 13% nylon and 2% elastane for stretch and durability.
6. Carhartt Boot Sock
Boot socks can be expensive, but Carhartt’s version is affordable enough to stock up on. It makes sense, given that Carhartt built its brand on making hard-working clothes for hard-working people. These boot socks are made primarily from acrylic, with 16% wool added and polyester, nylon and spandex. That means they may not be the softest, but they’re plush enough to keep you warm and comfortable.
7. Uniqlo HEATTECH Pile Socks
In addition to making stylish and affordable basics, Uniqlo also innovates when it comes to fabric. Their innovative fabrics include Airism, designed to keep you cool in summer, and Heattech, which keeps you warm in winter. These socks are insulating and have cushioned soles for comfort. They’re insulating but moisture-wicking, meaning they’ll keep you warm without giving you stinky feet.
8. Smartwool Crew Socks
Merino wool is everywhere, and Smartwool is one of the leading brands in making performance-minded merino wool clothes. These crew socks are Smartwool’s warmest offering and have maximum cushioning for all-day comfort. Plus, they’re made with sustainability in mind. The socks are 74% merino wool, 25% nylon and 1% elastane. The wool is ZQ certified, while the nylon is 17% recycled.
9. LL Bean Merino Wool Ragg Socks
LL Bean is best known for its legendary duck boots, and the Maine-based brand also makes great socks to along with them. The socks come in a few classic colors, and they’re made in the US from a blend of merino wool, nylon and spandex. The merino wool keeps you warm without being itchy or overheating. Each order includes two socks, and they come in sizes that suit both men and women.
10. RealTree Boot Socks
MERINO WOOL BLEND
These socks are made in the US by RealTree, a brand that specializes in outdoor camouflage equipment. And much like the way camouflage is designed to disappear, these socks are comfortable enough that you can forget you’re wearing them. They’re made from a blend of merino wool, which provides warmth and moisture-wicking, nylon, which adds durability and spandex, which makes the socks stretchy.
11. REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks
MADE IN THE USA
REI knows the outdoors, so it’s no surprise their house brand is an excellent place for hiking and boot socks. REI makes everything from travel bags to outerwear and even bicycles. These crew socks would work well with a pair of the best hiking boots. They’re made from a blend of merino wool and nylon. Since they’re merino wool, these socks are naturally odor-resistant and moisture-wicking. Plus, the socks are made in the USA and meet the Responsible Wool Standard, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your feet. They’re lightly cushioned for all-day comfort.
12. Timberland Men’s Comfort Crew Socks
Timberland makes some great boots, and we don’t just mean their 6″ classic boot in wheat (or as most people call them, “Timbs”). The brand also has a solid selection of other boots, and they also make great accessories, like these economical crew socks that are great for boots or casual wear. They have half cushioning and arch support, so they’ll keep your feet comfortable, whether you’re going on a long hike or breaking in a new pair of boots. Each order includes four pairs of socks, making these socks one of the best values on this list.
13. Wrangler Men’s Western Boot Socks
These American-made socks blend polyester, nylon and spandex, making them moisture-wicking and stretchy enough to pull on and off easily. Ribbed panels provide support to the arch of your foot as well. They come in a pack of three and are available in white, black or gray.
14. Dickies Men’s Work Crew Socks
These boot socks from Dickies are made primarily from cotton, making these a good option if you find wool and polyester uncomfortable. It features compression panels on the insteps for all-day comfort, no matter how long you’re on your feet. The socks are also cushioned to provide warmth and protection from stiff boots.
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