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Even the most high-performance running shoes or all-terrain hiking boots can benefit from being paired with the right socks. If your favorite warm socks are on their last legs, or you’re ready to upgrade your existing ones with high-performance options that are better suited for your adventures, then a new pair is one of the easiest ways to ensure your feet stay comfy, dry and toasty.
How to Find the Best Socks
Thicker doesn’t necessarily mean warmer when it comes to finding the best socks. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Cotton vs. Merino Wool Socks: When it comes to finding the best socks to keep you warm, merino wool is the better option. Unlike cotton (which retains moisture), merino wool is lightweight and keeps your feet dry while insulating heat. The material is also naturally odor-resistant.
Thick vs Warm Socks: Thick socks might keep your toes toasty, but if they’re too bulky, they might actually leave you with blisters.
What are the Warmest Socks for Every Situation?
Looking for the best warm socks? Whether you’re tackling hiking trails, running everyday errands, or just lounging around at home, we’ve rounded up the warmest socks for every type of setting. Here are our top picks.
1. Smartwool Men’s Pressure-Free Nomad Crew Socks
BEST FOR TRAVEL
For warmth and all-day foot support while traveling, you’ll want to slip on a pair of Smartwool’s Nomad crew socks. Made of a blend of merino wool, nylon, and elastane, these medium-weight socks feature the brand’s pressure-free fit that helps keep your legs and calves from feeling tight when you’re on the go, and the seamless toe and supportive arch brace round out the comfort factor. If you’re still unsure of the best socks for your needs, Smartwool also has a handy sock finder for determining which pair is the right fit based on your preferences and activity level.
2. Darn Tough Merino Wool Full Cushion Boot Sock
BEST FOR HIKING
We’re fans of Darn Tough’s seamless socks for outdoor adventures, including these moisture-wicking merino wool boot socks. They’re designed to fit hiking footwear, so they won’t slip or bunch up inside your shoe. (That also means no blisters.) The fabric dries quickly and stays breathable in all weather conditions.
3. Bombas Original Men’s Ankle Socks, 3-Pair Pack
BEST FOR EVERYDAY WEAR
Made of extra-long staple cotton, Bombas’ socks feature a honeycomb-like arch support design and cushioned footbed that create all-day comfort, and they’re also a great choice for everyday walking. Our editors love Bombas’ socks because of their cozy and secure feel for running and to wear during workouts, as well.
4. L.L. Bean Adults’ Merino Wool Ragg Socks
BEST FOR STAYING WARM IN STYLE
These Australian merino wool socks by L.L. Bean are great for lounging around the house or throwing on for quick errands in chilly weather. These super-soft socks are also made with stretch nylon and Lycra elastane that keeps them stretchy and durable, and we like that they can be machine washed and dried. Other colors are also available.
5. Drymax Cold Weather Running Over-the-Calf Socks
BEST FOR RUNNING
Specifically designed for freezing weather, Drymax’s over-the-calf running socks ensure that your feet stay dry so that you can avoid injuries caused by wet or cold skin. These polyester socks are equipped with three layers to keep your legs warm during wind chill, while the breathable mesh vents help wick away any moisture when they’re on your feet. Other added features for comfort and support include the Y heel design, anti-slip wedge and flat toe seam.
6. Heat Holders Men’s Original Thermal Socks
BEST FOR INSULATION
For those who prefer thicker socks, these ones by Heat Holders offer great insulation and all-day foot support. These thermal socks are made of a blend of acrylic, nylon, polyester, and elastane, so they feel bulky and super soft. The material is brushed on the inside to hold more warm air, which is the key to keeping toes feeling toasty for longer periods.
7. SealSkinz Waterproof Cold Weather Mid Length Sock
BEST FOR STAYING DRY
If you plan on taking on trails in cold and wet environments, these waterproof socks from SealSkinz are excellent at keeping out moisture. They feature the brand’s breathable StretchDry membrane, and the merino wool helps prevent odor buildup while regulating heat. Hikers will love the shock-absorbing padded heel, toe, and footbed, which also help to cut down on blisters.