The last thing you want to worry about when you’re in a ski lift, heading up to the top of a mountain to run your favorite slope, is your socks. Having your socks be out of sorts is a massive hassle, as taking off ski boots (with all their latches and buckles) isn’t as simple as taking off a pair of normal shoes. Cotton, while comfortable, might just not get the job done here.
Which is why investing in a pair of ski socks is just as important as all the other ski gear you’d typically spend money on. Just like other outdoor socks, ski socks are typically made from merino wool and merino wool blends that provide a variety of good uses: they’re moisture-wicking in order to keep your feet sweat-free and warm, they’re durable and they’re often reinforced to provide extra levels of comfort. Additionally, most ski socks are cut longer to provide full lower body warmth. Altogether, they’re an essential tool that’s just as important to a good ski trip as the skis themselves. Below, we’ve rounded up eight of the best pairs to keep you on the slopes all day long, without worry.
1. Smartwool PhD Wool Ski Socks
Smartwool is responsible for crafting some of the absolute best socks around since ski instructors Peter and Patty Duke created the company back in 1994, and that still holds true today. Their over the calf ski socks are made from merino wool to help provide both long-lasting comfort and moisture-wicking properties to make sure your feet stay warm without overheating. Additional mesh ventilation zones offer further comfort by increasing the amount of breathing the socks do while sitting inside the boot. In short: it’s an extremely compelling sock that will be able to handle the majority of conditions you’ll encounter on the slopes.
2. Darn Tough Vermont Padded Ski Socks
Made and tested in the wilderness of Vermont, Darn Tough’s padded ski socks are also shockingly technical in their design. Darn Tough worked with boot fitters to identify the most common pressure points people feel when they strap on a ski boot — and then reinforce those areas with extra padding to alleviate any pressure and discomfort. Other little flourishes include extra Achilles padding to reduce heel lift and a pad zone across the top of the foot to protect against pressure from a secondary buckle.
3. L. L. Bean Midweight Alpine Ski Socks
Made from a blend of merino wool and PrimaLoft, L.L. Bean’s ski socks have a fun and striking visual pattern that will be sure to turn heads when you’re lounging around in the lodge in between runs — while also making sure they’ll provide you with the support you need to spend all day on the slopes. Made from mid-weight wool, they’re one of the warmer offerings on this list and the slight spandex will ensure the socks actually stay in place and don’t slip and slide around in your boots.
4. Lorpen Light Ski Socks
While not as heavy on the features as some of the other socks on this list, these Lorpen ski socks are still made from a sturdy wool and Lycra spandex blend to provide good moisture-wicking and stretching ability. A good entry-level sock, you won’t have to sacrifice any warmth just because you decided you didn’t want to go out on a nicer pair.
5. Stance Alpine JC Ski Socks
Designed specifically with higher elevations in mind, the Stance Alpine sock offers a bevy of sleek technical features: Built-in compression helps to regulate blood flow to help with recovery, their proprietary Wool FEEL360 material yields the same benefits of wool (i.e., warmth and moisture-wicking) while also adding a nice plush feel. What’s more, performance mesh keeps you from overheating inside a ski boot. Other small details like an engineered arch prevents strain and reinforce toes, while the heel reduces the chance of a blowout. We recommend these for the intense skier that doesn’t want anything slowing them down as they tear down the slope.
6. Bombas Performance Ski Socks
Direct to consumer sock brand Bombas has made a wool ski sock that’s just as capable of hanging with the rest of the big brands with this performance ski sock. Wool, nylon, polyester and lycra are woven together to make a moisture-wicking, zone cushioned and self-venting sock that won’t fail you during your run. Additionally, they’re made with just the right amount of tension and elasticity to keep them snug — but not too snug! — and in place all day long, so there’s no need to worry about having to take off your boots and adjust later on.
7. Icebreaker Ski+ OTC Ski Sock
Icebreaker’s Ski+ OTC (over the calf) ski sock is a lightly cushioned performance sock that’s built to last. The sock has added anchor support in the ankle, Achilles, and instep to combat any movement that may happen between your foot and the sock. Sculpted cushioning is there to provide a better fit and comfort, while merino wool keeps your feet warm and never wet.
8. MUSAN Ski Sock
One of Amazon’s highest-rated ski socks, this version of MUSAN is made with a higher than average merino wool count (55% of the blend is merino wool) to make sure that there’s plenty of high-performance built-in from the onset. But if that’s not enough, a special advanced yarn construction helps to better absorb body heat to keep your toes and foot from getting too chilly. However, should your feet overheat, there’s also anti-microbial material to actively fight against smelly feet. When you put it all together, it’s pretty easy to understand why it’s so beloved by so many.