The 12 Warmest Winter Socks You Can Buy

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Best Winter Socks
Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

When looking for new socks, Ashleigh McClary from outdoor retailer Backcountry, recommends travelers first consider the height of their shoes to make sure there aren't any gaps in coverage. You also need to determine your cushioning level. "Cushioned socks are going to usually be warmer, so make sure you find some that fit your foot, but don't cut off circulation when wearing the boots/shoes you plan to wear," McClary said. "Make sure to try on the socks with the boots/shoes you are planning to wear before you take the tags off, and make sure the fit is snug with no bunching."

Merino wool is usually best as it's soft rather than itchy, and its temperature regulation, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial properties mean it will keep you cozy both by the fireplace and out in the snow.

We love that the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Sock is made in the USA and offers medium-level cushion under the foot and heel.

Synthetic materials can help add elasticity and a better fit to wool socks, or build a full sock that will dry quickly and wick moisture but may not breathe as well if conditions warm up. Cotton, however, absorbs moisture quickly but dries slowly and will pull heat away from your skin, making it a fabric to avoid when there might be snow involved.

"When you're traveling, all-day comfort is key," Randy Goldberg, co-founder of sock brand Bombas, said. "You're likely on your feet bouncing from place to place, so ensuring you have the proper support is going to make a world of a difference. Look for socks with added arch support and a cushioned footbed, or even small features like a blister tab."

Most of the brands we've chosen offer a variety of thickness and height levels, so whether you're looking for a warm athletic style, thick boot sock, or somewhere in between, these brands have you covered.

01 of 12

Best Hiking Socks: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Hiking Socks
Courtesy of Amazon

Most socks don't develop a cult following, but these aren't most socks. Darn Tough are some of the most popular socks on gear roundups (including the fastidious Outdoor Gear Lab), drawing lifelong devotees to their hardy construction and lifetime warranty.

Made of Merino wool, these socks are not only odor resistent and moisture wicking, but they are made to thermally regulate your tootsies. This makes them versatile travel companions in the mountains and for the beer garden afterwards. They are made in Vermont, so rest assured they are well tested to withstand all weather conditions. And, with eight different styles to choose from, all that's left is to pick your favorite.

To buy: (men's) amazon.com, from $22; (women's) amazon.com, from $22

02 of 12

Best Wool Socks: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks

Smartwool crew socks
Courtesy of Zappos

Smartwool socks often tie with Darn Tough at the top of testers' lists, with solid merino wool construction, fun patterns, and a slew of sock options for any activity. The PhD Outdoor Medium Crew is one of the most popular pairs, but they also offer heavier and lighter choices in varying lengths and a rainbow of colors.

To buy: (men's) zappos.com, $25; (women's) zappos.com, $25

03 of 12

Warmest Socks: Wigwam Ice Socks

Warm winter socks by Wigwam
Courtesy of Amazon

Wigwam's Ice Socks are a must-have for cold weather. If they can stand up to expeditions over the tundra, the merino wool/nylon blend should be able to stand up to your coldest glacier hikes.

To buy: (unisex) amazon.com, from $18

04 of 12

Best Cushioned Socks: Icebreaker Hike+ Medium Crew Socks

Cushioned socks by Icebreaker
Courtesy of Icebreaker

Where better to source your merino wool socks than from New Zealand, home to both millions of sheep and some of the best hiking trails in the world? Icebreakers Hike+ offer an anatomical fit and full cushioning to make the best of both of those resources.

To buy: (men's) icebreaker.com, $24; (women's) icebreaker.com, $24

05 of 12

Best Thin Warm Socks: Uniqlo HeatTech Socks

UniQlo HeatTech socks
Courtesy of Uniqlo

Uniqlo's HeatTech technology claims to generate heat using your body's natural moisture production and store that heat in pockets within the fabric. These futuristic socks are just as thin or thinner than your everyday pairs and they come in tons of colors and patterns.

To buy: (men's) uniqlo.com, $7; (women's) uniqlo.com, $13 for two pairs

06 of 12

Best Socks for Walking: Fit Socks Medium Rugged Crew Socks

Best socks for walking
Courtesy of Fits Sock

Fits socks offer a deeper heel pocket than most other designs, which stops them from sliding down no matter how much walking you're doing. Try the Medium Rugged Crew or Medium Hiker Crew for inner merino cushioning and a nylon exterior to minimize abrasion.

To buy: (men's) fitssock.com, $19; (women's) fitssock.com, $23

07 of 12

Best Winter Sport Socks: UnderArmour HeatGear Tech Crew Socks

Black and grey crew socks
Courtesy of Amazon

The UnderArmour HeatGear Tech Crew socks are made for any gender but customized with specific left and right feet for full arch support and a better footbed fit.

To buy: (unisex) amazon.com, from $14

08 of 12

Best Socks for Staying Up: Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks

Bombas socks
Courtesy of Bombas

Sock brand Bombas was created when its founders set out to design the perfect sock after learning that socks were the most-requested item in homeless shelters. Their quest resulted in a company that donates one pair of socks for every pair purchased and offers detail-focused everyday merino wool socks specifically designed to stay up even within your fussiest pair of boots.

To buy: (men's) bombas.com, $18; (women's) bombas.com, $18

09 of 12

Best Compression Socks: Vim & Vigr Compression Socks

Black tall compression socks
Courtesy of Amazon

If you want compression and warmth on a long flight, these merino compression socks should do the trick, created with help from vascular surgeons.

To buy: (unisex) amazon.com, from $27

10 of 12

Best Supportive Socks: Farm to Feet Damascus Midweight Crew Socks

Farm to Feet Supportive Socks
Courtesy of Amazon

The Farm to Feet Damascus Midweight wins praise for its versatile balance of durable fabrics and quick drying feature.

To buy: (unisex) amazon.com, from $26

11 of 12

Best Toe Socks: Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Crew Nuwool Socks

Grey tall toe socks
Courtesy of Amazon

If your toes just don't play nicely together, Injinji offers merino toe socks in weights ranging from the Everyday Crew to the Snow for full-foot engagement and individualized toe sweat wicking, just in case your pinky toe's been slipping.

To buy: amazon.com, from $20

12 of 12

Best Sock Liners: Fox River Outdoor Ultra Light Liner Socks

navy-liner-socks-WINTERSOCKS1120

If you want to extend the life of your socks on a long trip, adding a pair of lightweight liners will help wick sweat away from your feet — wear a new pair of thin liners with the same chunky sock for multiple days, helping cut down on packing volume.

To buy: (unisex) amazon.com, from $6

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