The 10 Best Ski Socks of 2023

Smartwool's Targeted Cushion Over the Calf Socks are our favorite for days on the slopes.

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Best Ski Socks

REI / Rossignol / Darn Tough

Socks seem so straightforward and vital, but it’s amazing how complicated it can be to find the perfect pair, whether it’s the chunky variety for fireside nights or the no-shows to tuck into your favorite pair of loafers. Ski socks, in particular, are some of the hardest — and most crucial —to get right. There are huge ranges for personal preference when it comes to thickness, cushion, warmth, and durability, but a few key rules stay the same. Above all else, don’t go too thick. Novices confuse thick socks with warm socks, however, thick socks make your feet sweat more, which makes them get cold faster when you’re out in the elements. They also tend to bunch up, which can cause painful chafing and blisters.

“I really don’t like thick socks,” said Leah Evans, a professional skier from Revelstoke, British Columbia, and owner of Girls Do Ski free ski camps. “In fact, if you have performance-fit ski boots, you can’t even fit a thick pair of socks…and thin socks make your feet sweat less so there is less chance for blisters to form.”

As Evans mentioned, finding the perfect pair of ski socks — for your foot, for your boot, for your skiing style, for how warm or cold your body runs — can be more art than science. With our breakdown of the best ski socks, we hope to point you in the right direction so you, too, can get it right. Our favorites for men and women are the Smartwool Ski Targeted Cushion Over the Calf Socks.

Best Overall, Women's

Smartwool Women's Ski Targeted Cushion Over-the-calf Socks

Smartwool Performance Ski Targeted Cushion OTC Socks
Smartwool Performance Ski Targeted Cushion OTC Socks.


Why We Love It: They’re made with Smartwool's 4 Degree elite fit system for a perfect performance fit.

What to Consider: They may pill in the heels after multiple washes.

When you're looking to stay warm and comfortable for a day on the slopes, Smartwool's Targeted Cushion Over-the-calf Socks are the way to go. With a light compression, high cuff, and seamless toe, these socks are sure to support your feet and legs in all the right places for a full day out. They feature body-mapped mesh zones for enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking to keep you warm, but not sweaty. The women's fit is designed with a more narrow heel and overall slimmer fit than the men's sock, so you can make sure to get the right support for your body type. We also applaud Smartwool for its Second Cut project, which allows you to request that a prepaid bag be included with your order so you can send in used socks for the company to turn into new products.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: 57 percent merino wool, 40 percent nylon, 3 percent elastane | Sizes: S-L

Best Overall, Men’s

Smartwool Ski Targeted Cushion Over-the-calf Socks

Smartwool Ski Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Socks


Why We Love It: The mesh ventilation improves breathability and minimizes sweating.

What to Consider: They may run small around the calfs for some users.

Just like Smartwool's Women's Targeted Cushion Over-the-calf socks, these merino wool and nylon socks have just the right amount of cushion, comfort, and support for a full day in the snow. But they're also designed with Shred Shield technology to reduce wear from toes and have a wider welt for a secure fit on larger feet. As with the women's design, these socks offer a light amount of compression and a cuff that hits just below the knee to help with circulation even on the longest days. Plus, Smartwool's Indestructawool is made to last for many seasons to come.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: 57 percent merino wool, 40 percent nylon, 3 percent elastane | Sizes: M-XL

Best Cushioned, Women's

Darn Tough Function 5 Over-the-calf Midweight Ski & Snowboard Sock

Darn Tough Function 5 Over-the-Calf Midweight Ski & Snowboard Sock

Darn Tough

Why We Love It: They’re backed by a lifetime guarantee.

What to Consider: They can feel a little thick.

Some skiers prefer a cushioned sock that provides a little more support and comfort inside stiff boots. This sock delivers some serious cushion over the foot’s five most common pressure zones, with warm terry loopers underfoot and a generous shin pad. There’s also a degree of quality to Darn Tough socks that is difficult to match — they’re still made in the brand’s original Vermont sock mill, and they come with a fantastic “unconditionally guaranteed for life” warranty. And in a time when so many socks in the market are churned out with questionable quality in factories from further afield, it’s reassuring to know some of the best ski socks on the market are produced transparently. 

Price at time of publish: $31

Material: 66 percent merino wool, 32 percent nylon, 2 percent lycra | Sizes: S/M or M/L

Best Cushioned, Men’s

Smartwool Ski Full Cushion Over-the-Calf Socks

Smartwool PhD Ski Medium Socks

Back Country

Why We Love It: Indestructawool technology provides longevity.

What to Consider: Some skiers may prefer a thinner sock.

For some skiers and snowboarders, a bit of cushion is just what you need for an enjoyable day on the slopes, and the winter sport socks experts at Smartwool have the perfect product for this segment of the market. Proprietary Indestructawool weaves wool and nylon fibers together for added durability and comfort, while the full cushion design adds extra support. They're also great if your ski boots run a bit large or if you like to have a tight and sturdy fit for added security.

Price at time of publish: $29

Material: 63 percent merino wool, 35 percent nylon, 2 percent elastane | Sizes: M—XL

Best Extra-warm, Women's

Icebreaker Ski+ Medium OTC Socks

Icebreaker Ski+ Medium OTC Socks


Why We Love It: They include sculpted cushioning for comfort. 

What to Consider: They can be slightly too hot for skiers whose feet run warm.

The issue with extra-warm ski socks can be that increased thickness and cushioning often means added bulk, which can shift and crease and chafe uncomfortably in your boot. Luckily, that’s not the case with these Icebreakers that feature carefully sculpted cushioning pads for warmth, breathable forefoot zones to improve ventilation, Achilles support to keep the sock squarely in place, and seamless toe closures to reduce friction on your foot. Less movement means less likelihood for blisters and chafing, more warmth, and more enjoyable time on the slopes.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: 49 percent merino wool, 49 percent nylon, 2 percent lycra | Sizes: S/M or M/L

Best Extra-warm, Men's

Darn Tough Men's Over-the-calf Midweight Ski & Snowboard Sock

Darn Tough Men's Over-the-calf Midweight Ski & Snowboard Sock

Darn Tough

Why We Love It: They perfectly balance warmth and breathability.

What to Consider: They have a 17-inch rise, which may be a bit tall for shorter men.

Warmth, without the bulk. These midweight socks from Darn Tough deliver an extra level of warmth for colder days but feature breathable mesh panels to improve venting and flexibility while also reducing bulk and pressure points. We like that although these socks deliver an extra degree of warmth, they still offer a performance fit that won’t slip up or down or bunch up in your ski boots. Machine-washable means they’re easy to care for, and they also come with Darn Tough’s classic lifetime warranty.

Price at time of publish: $31

Material: 54 percent merino wool, 43 percent nylon, 3 percent lycra | Sizes: S—XXL

Most Durable, Women's

Falke Women’s SK5 Skiing Socks

Falke Women’s SK5 Skiing Socks


Why We Love It: They have an extra-soft, silky feel.

What to Consider: This option doesn’t offer all the warmth of merino wool.

Falke has offered the highest standards in hosiery since 1895, and the tradition continues today with these poly-silk blend socks. While they may not be made from gold-standard merino wool, they’ll still be plenty warm enough for most days on the mountain. The sleek silk fit is actually a favorite for athletes because the performance construction of the sock allows for easy transmission of power and a high degree of control, which means that these socks won’t get in the way of you carving your best turns on the slopes. And because they’re made with silk, you can expect these (machine-washable) socks to last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Price at time of publish: $51

Material: 50 percent polypropylene, 25 percent polyamide, 25 percent silk | Sizes: 5-6—9.5-10.5

Most Durable, Men's

Rossignol Men’s Wool and Silk Ski Socks

Rossignol Men’s Wool and Silk Ski Socks


Why We Love It: There's a great degree of stretch so they stay snug for hours.

What to Consider: They aren’t quite as cozy as socks with a higher percentage of merino wool.

We put our socks through a lot — we pull them on, pull them off, wear them on our most high-adrenaline adventures, and then toss them in the washing machine. This durable sock from Rossignol can withstand it all. They’re knit from a yarn that combines the strength of a polyamide, acrylic, and silk blend with the warmth and natural antimicrobial properties of wool. They have a great amount of stretch that keeps the performance fit snug throughout all of your heart-pounding activity. Take care of these and they’ll last you for many winters to come.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: 51 percent polyamide, 29 percent wool, 10 percent acrylic, 7 percent silk, 3 percent elastane | Sizes: S—XL

Best Ultralight, Women’s

Darn Tough Women's Peaks Over-the-calf Ultra-lightweight Ski & Snowboard Sock

Women's Peaks Over-The-Calf Ultra-Lightweight Ski & Snowboard Sock


Why We Love It: You get zero cushion and zero gimmicks.

What to Consider: They don’t offer the support and cushion some skiers crave.

For skiers or snowboarders who don't have the extra space in their boots for a thick sock, Darn Tough's Peak Over-the-calf Ultra Lightweight sock is the perfect lightweight option. While the sock cuff reaches just below the knee of most wearers, the material is still thin enough to fit inside even the tightest boots. Plus, they're anti-slip and won't bunch, causing sore spots or blisters. To make this even better, the socks have an unconditional lifetime guarantee, so at any time, you can return them for a new pair.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: 37 percent merino wool, 59 percent nylon, 4 percent lycra spandex | Sizes: S—L

Best Ultralight, Men's

Swiftwick Pursuit Twelve Ski Socks

Swiftwick Pursuit Twelve Ski Socks


Why We Love It: They have a reinforced heel and toe for maximum durability.

What to Consider: They're not the best choice for extremely cold days.

Some skiers and riders prefer a sock with a super low profile that squeezes into tighter-fitting boots, but the problem is that very often this category of sock lacks support and cushion. These warm and absorbent Twelve socks are the perfect companion for any skier ,and they're just thick enough to give you the support you need. While the cuff reaches just below the knee of most users, it's four inches thick to prevent any sliding or slipping, so you won't have to make any adjustments throughout your day.

Price at time of publish: $35

Material: 61 percent merino wool, 36 percent nylon, 3 percent spandex | Sizes: S-XL

Tips for Buying Ski Socks

Merino wool is typically the gold standard

“Any sock that is not made from merino wool should not be put into a ski boot,” says Tyler Olk, a Backcountry Gearhead and professional skier from Salt Lake City, Utah. Indeed, the natural temperature-regulating properties of merino wool can keep your feet warm when you’re sitting still on the chairlift and comfortable when your blood starts pumping on the slopes. While synthetic fibers might offer more durability or more attractive colors and prints, a ski sock with at least a fraction of merino wool will be worlds ahead of the competition. And whatever you do, don’t even think of wearing all-cotton socks in a ski boot. Your feet will thank us. 

Don't go too thick

A common misconception with ski socks is that the thicker they are, the warmer your feet will be. Nothing could be less true. In fact, thicker socks tend to make your feet sweat more — and that perspiration quickly becomes your worst enemy by causing friction that leads to blisters and turning your feet icy cold in lower temperatures. When it comes to thickness, personal preference is key. Some skiers prefer a barely-there feeling, while others opt for a sock that is thick and substantial. Just remember: a sock that’s a little thinner than you think it should be is probably just right. 

Take good care of them

As with any gear in your ski arsenal, ski socks will perform better and last longer if you take good care of them. But make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions, because not all ski socks need to be washed with every single wear. “Too much washing of wool products can prematurely wear them out,” says Olk. “You need to remember that merino wool is naturally very odor-resistant and shouldn’t need to be washed after every use.”

To extend the length of your ski socks, make sure to hang them up and allow them to fully dry after each time you wear them, and only put them through the washing machine after several wears or when they really start to stink.

Check for warranties

Many ski socks — especially from domestically produced brands like Darn Tough — come with limited or lifetime warranties, which can come in handy if your socks need repairs or wear out more quickly than expected. 


Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are ski socks made of?

    Ski socks, like any socks, can come in any range or combination of materials. That being said, cold-weather experts for centuries have known that merino wool is one of the best materials with which to make socks because of its temperature-regulating nature and anti-microbial properties (that prevent smelly bacteria from blooming). 

    Ski socks, in particular, tend to be made from a merino wool blend that varies from brand to brand, and sometimes even within brands. Each manufacturer of the best ski socks tends to develop and offer their own proprietary blends, which typically include fibers like merino wool for the aforementioned warmth and anti-stink reasons, polyester for durability, and perhaps a little lycra or spandex to ensure a snug fit. 

  • How do I wash ski socks?

    Of course, you’ll want to check the manufacturer’s instructions and follow those. Merino wool-based products can usually be washed in a washing machine using cold water, and then put on tumble dry or hung out to dry. Use a wool detergent if you can. “I try to wash all my wool base layers and socks together with Nikwax Wool Wash,” says Olk. “However, I only do this when I really need to. Too much washing of wool products can prematurely wear them out. Just remember that merino wool is naturally very odor-resistant and shouldn’t need to be washed after every use.”

  • How should I store my ski socks in the off-season?

    Ski socks should be carefully washed, totally dried, and then stored flat during the off-season. Tying them up into a tight ball can cause them to lose their shape when stored for months at a time, so it’s best to simply fold each sock with its mate, and store it in a cool, dry place until next winter. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Todd Plummer is a travel writer and outdoors enthusiast living in Boston who spoke to professional skiers while researching products for this list. He and T+L writer Taylor Fox studied dozens of products and drew upon their own years of experience to curate this list of best ski socks. 

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