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Warmest Socks: They Serve More Than Simply Keeping Your Feet Warm

Warm socks
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

Some people are more sensitive to the really low temperatures and keeping warm can be a real challenge. Most of the times, their feet are the ones to suffer the most. The warmest socks can go a long way in the harsh winters that many areas experience, and they’re most likely made of wool.

There are many people that buy the cheapest socks possible without ever wondering why some socks cost up to 3 times more. I must admit I was one of those folks. But are those pairs built better, warmer, do they last for longer? It is time we exposed the truth about them and find some socks that will make our feet happy.

Best warm sock

We hope that after reading this article, you’ll be more inclined to give those pricier socks a chance and change the way you see this foot garment. We try to review some socks in an unbiased manner so that you will be able to see both their good and bad aspect, and make the best possible choice.

Our top picks

ProductCompositionHeightPrice
Wigwam The Ice Sock80% Wool, 20% Stretch NylonCrewCheck price on Amazon
Icebreaker Hike PlusVarious fibersCrewCheck price on Amazon
Falke TK240% Polypropylene 28% Acrylic 22% Merino wool 9% Polyamide 1% ElastaneCalf highCheck price on Amazon
SealSkinz Hydrostop100% Nylon,Merino wool liningMid calfCheck price on Amazon
Smartwool Heavy Crew73% Merino wool, 25% Nylon, 2% ElastaneCrewCheck price on Amazon
Smartwool Medium Crew67% Merino wool, 31% Nylon, 2% ElastaneCrewCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider before Purchase

So, you probably wonder what do people do to keep warm in the coldest weather. The answer is simple: some wear two pairs of socks to keep the cold at bay, while others wear the warmest socks ever. Sounds pretty easy, right?

Consider wool socks

Wool socks seem to be the answer to all the prayers related to having cold feet. There’s a reason for which wool is one of the best materials to make clothes from. The reason is that there is nothing like wool to keep warm in the cold weather or to maintain a cool temperature when it’s hot.

Wool Socks

Wool is one of nature’s best insulators, and there is no reason not to wear it when the temperature reaches below freezing point. Some socks made of wool are such good insulators, they can even be worn with sport shoes when you ride your bike on a really windy day.

You probably think that wool socks are thick, ugly, and itchy. This may have been the case when your great-grandmother was young, but these days things have changed. Wool can be treated to be thin, really soft and look stylish at the same time.

At the same time, wool socks these days are not always entirely made of wool. Instead the wool yarn is mixed in with other fibers that make it more durable.

Comfort

People who stand or walk a lot a lot know just how important comfortable footwear is. At times wearing only shoes that are comfortable is not enough. Oftentimes, socks are something that get overlooked by many people.

However, these days it is possible to buy a pair of socks that will help increase the comfort level of your feet. In addition to keeping your feet cozy, a good pair of socks can help you while walking as well as you’ll feel less tired.

Comfortable warm socks

For a long period of time people thought that cotton socks are the best to wear at all times, however this is not really the case. Cotton socks get and stay wet if your feet sweat, something that doesn’t happen when wearing wool socks.

What’s more, is that wool socks can be hung overnight in some well ventilated place and have them smell as fresh as possible. This is not the case with cotton socks: these retain their bad smell even if you hang them in the same spot.

Foot specific socks

Making socks for each foot in particular helps with maintaining their shape for a longer time. If you don’t believe it, just inspect your regular socks and see how they got looser overtime, even if they’re still in pretty good overall shape.

There are two types of such foot specific indicators in socks: visual and tactile. The visual one is self-explanatory – all you have to do is to look at the pair and you’ll generally see a mirrored designed on them.

Foot specific socks

The tactile indicator requires the wearer to put the socks on the opposite feet and feel a difference, a slight discomfort. Some of the medium weight socks are also cushioned to offer more support and protection during a variety of outdoor adventures.

The cushions are placed on the sports that suffer more when walking, and are meant to protect and support the foot. These cushions are another indicator of which sock goes on which foot, as the discomfort will be hard to ignore when the socks are worn on the wrong feet.

What’s more, is that you can even find medium weight socks that are completely waterproof: you could be standing in a puddle  wearing just your socks, and having your toes feeling dry. Many of these socks are designed to dry fast even when you simply hang them.

The best socks to keep you warm in winter

Wouldn’t you like to see some socks that will really keep you warm in winter, and that fit the bill of the above descriptions? The wait is over as we compiled a short list below.

Wigwam The Ice Sock

Wigwam The Ice Sock

Height: Crew height

Specific features: Unisex, breathable

Best use: Hiking, outdoor, biking

Some people have to deal with cold feet all winter when going outside, no matter what they do or wear.

It’s perhaps time they tried these Wigwam The Ice Sock as they’re heavyweight thermal and meant to be worn with winter boots. On the downside your boots should be one size larger, or you won’t be able to wear them together.

Furthermore, the sizes are for men and the ladies should size the socks down if they want to purchase a pair for themselves. You’ll also notice that if you wear them while riding your bike, wind won’t even bother you.

As they’re made with wool among other fibers, you can wear these over and over without the need to wash them: they keep moisture away and as such your feet won’t smell. Many people are sensitive to real wool as it can itch, but the wool used in these socks is soft, and as such there will be no itching sensation.

PROS:

  • 80% Wool
  • Unisex
 CONS:

  • Too thick
  • Run large for women

Related: If you’ll be dealing with extreme cold weather anytime soon, you better have a look at the Wigwam Men’s 40 Below Socks designed for -40 degrees temperatures, or below. These socks are meant to be worn with boots as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Icebreaker Hike Plus Socks

Height: CrewIcebreaker Men's Socks

Specific features: Foot specific, odor resistant

Best use: Hiking, cold weather

It doesn’t matter how long you have to walk: 1 or 100 miles, for these socks will keep your feet dry, comfortable and blister free. They’re made of a combination of yarns, one of them being Merino wool which was proven to offer proper climate control in your shoes.

You’ll probably be better off by buying lighter socks in summer as you’ll feel slightly too hot in these ones at that time. The other types of threads used, help with keeping the sock in place, but also dry.

Some people like to always wear their socks the same way as they did the first time. This is not always possible with most socks, however these Icebreaker Hike Plus Socks have a design to indicate how they must be worn.

Furthermore, if you were to ignore the visual markings, once they’re on the wrong way, they’ll feel uncomfortable, prompting you to switch them around. Cleaning them is easy as all you have to do is to wash them in the machine, according to the instructions.

PROS:

  • Anatomical built
  • Easy maintenance
  • The price
 CONS:

  • Mix of fibers
  • Hang to dry

Related: Single color socks can be boring, so if you want some color in your hiking wardrobe, you can always opt for the Lifestyle Lite Crew Socks offered by Icebreaker.

Check the price on Amazon

Falke TK2 Socks

Height: Calf high
Falke Tk2 Socks

Specific features: Anatomic shape for each foot

Best use: Walking, camping, hiking, year round

When you spend a lot of time on your feet or walking a lot, you want to be sure you will also feel comfortable. The Falke TK2 Socks are a good choice for this purpose.

They are made of a mix of fibers, including 22% virgin Merino wool which maintains a constant temperature around your feet.

If your feet sweat a lot, it’s time you forgot about this issue for all the fibers used in the making of these socks are meant to keep moisture away. While hiking or walking, some areas of the foot need more cushioning than others. These men’s socks have cushions all in the right places to keep your feet as comfortable as possible, for the longest time possible.

What sets these socks apart from other socks is their anatomic build specifically for each foot. Their outer design will also indicate which sock is for which foot therefore you’ll never lose time wondering how to put them on, or having to take them off because you mistook them.

PROS:

  • 22% virgin Merino wool
  • Anatomic shape
  • Year round
 CONS:

  • Mix of several fibers

Check the price on Amazon

SealSkinz Hydrostop Socks

Height: Mid calf
SealSkinz Hydrostop Socks

Specific features: Windproof, waterproof, breathable

Best use: Wet weather, winter cycling, canoeing, mountaineering, caving

A good pair of socks can go a long way, should you be willing to pay the price.

These socks are a perfect choice for anyone spending a lot of time in a water related environment, no matter you’re fishing, boating, sailing, or if you stepped in a puddle of water by mistake.

The SealSkinz Hydrostop Socks offer protection from the elements, keeping your feet warm and dry. These specific socks use a hydrostop band that prevents water from entering the socks from above. The band is silicone free and moves when the socks move, however it always stays tight on the leg.

This band is an addition to the special treatment against water and humidity, the outside of sock received. If you worry about your feet sweating, you shouldn’t: the Merino wool lining controls the moisture. If you like cycling, you shouldn’t stop just because winter came.

Your feet won’t feel the breeze if you wear these SealSkinz socks while you ride your bike.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Warm
 CONS:

  • Made of nylon
  • The price

Related: Sometimes a pair of black and gray socks can look a bit too plain or boring. The SealSkinz Men’s Sea Eagle Socks pair offered by SealSkinz has a nice argyle design on the side

Check the price on Amazon

Smartwool Heavy Crew Socks

Height: Crew
Smartwool Heavy Crew Socks

Specific features: 71% Merino wool

Best use: Backpacking, hiking, camping, winter

People who go camping are sometimes exposed to really low temperatures, and this is bad for their feet is they don’t have appropriate footwear.

These Smartwool Heavy Crew Socks will keep your toes dry, nice and warm, even if you’re more sensitive to cold weather than most people.

One of the best features these socks have is that they don’t need to be washed as often as other socks. This is because all you have to do is to hang them overnight to get some fresh air and put them on again the next morning. Wool, unlike cotton, doesn’t need to be cleaned as often and just by airing the item it will feel fresh and clean.

Backpacking and hiking means you’ll be using your feet a lot, even risk getting a few blisters along the way. These socks are cushioned and protect your feet from exhaustion by keeping them comfortable at all times.

PROS:

  • 73% Merino wool
  • Need less washing
 CONS:

  • Tight fitting

Related: If you want taller socks, then the SmartWool PhD Mountaineering Socks are a great option for you as they cover your calves

Check the price on Amazon

Smartwool Medium Crew Socks

Height: CrewSmartwool Men's PhD

Specific features: 67% Merino wool, machine wash, cushioned

Best use: Hiking, climbing, the outdoor, winter

Keeping your feet warm and comfortable at the same time in winter or while hiking can be difficult. These Smartwool socks are different and might as well be the answer to your prayers. These Smartwool Medium Crew Socks are cushioned in all the right places therefore your feet will feel comfortable no matter the type of activity you perform.

Too much cushioning can make you feel too hot, but these socks have some mesh areas for ventilation: your feet will barely sweat. What’s more, is that you can wear them for days on end with barely any bad odor at the end of the day. You’ll also notice these socks will protect you against blisters, no matter how much you walk.

Most of us hate it when the sock slide down, but the elastic in this pair will simply make the socks stay put. Cleaning them is easy: all it takes is a gentle cycle with lukewarm water and then hung to dry. To prevent them from shrinking, you might want to handwash them in cold water. If you’re still scared they’ll shrink, get a size up.

PROS:

  • 67% Merino wool
  • Very comfortable
 CONS:

  • The price
  • They run tight

Check the price on Amazon

To wrap it up

This ends our selection of really warm socks for any kind of weather and therefore it should set you in the right direction when you’ll need to buy a new pair again. These socks are more expensive than what you’d hope to pay, however remember they’re designed to keep you warm, cozy, blisters free, and to last a long time.

Everyone suffering from really cold feet in winter should give a chance to some wool socks made for outdoor adventures – they’re certainly better than the regular socks found in the stores. Did you buy any such socks? Are they from the brands presented here or other brands? Share your experience and opinions with other readers to help get rid of the “cold feet in winter” syndrome.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Chad Halco

    I do a lot of cold-weather hiking and I’ve found that the Icebreaker Hike Plus socks work well for me. They breathe well, dry quickly, stay warm and they also stay pretty fresh-smelling for a long time. I would definitely recommend these, especially if you’ll be out hiking in cold, though they are good in just about any weather.

  • Sean Nelson

    Great choice Chad and thanks for this useful post. If you’re going to a really cold camping trail, you can try the Wigwam The Ice Sock. This is a remarkable pair of socks – kept my feet warm and toasty when I went to Canada on a vacation. 🙂

  • Paul Magda

    I totally agree with the Icebreaker Hike Plus appearing on this list. They are absolutely the warmest socks I’ve ever worn. And they are also breathable, too, even when you’re in a warm place so you can pretty much wear them anywhere.

  • Sean Nelson

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the Icebreaker Hike Plus. They are indeed very comfortable and breathable, as well. Those with sweaty feet are in for good comfort and keeps them dry, too.

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