The best ski socks 2023: for warm, comfy feet throughout the ski season

Collage of the best ski socks
(Image credit: Future)

The best ski socks aren’t just any old knee-high socks from gym class. When you’re heading out for a day of skiing or riding, you want to get as many runs in as you can and you certainly don't want to waste time rubbing your toes to warm up back at the lodge. Ski socks provide extra protection on the coldest days so if you get hung up on the chair lift for a few extra minutes, you’re not worried about skiing down with numb feet.

The best ski socks also need to wick away moisture without getting too smelly so that on spring days and during backcountry skiing when you’re working up a sweat, you don’t get cold, clammy feet and increase your risk of blisters. And speaking of blisters, you’ll be glad to hear that the best ski socks have extra padding in all the right places to prevent boot rub. 

Some ski socks go the extra mile with compression to improve your circulation on cold days, while others focus more on comfort.

We’ve tried and tested the best ski socks around and included those that fit snugly and stay in place and put performance first with sweat management and temperature regulation. Pair these with our suggestions for the best ski gloves and best ski goggles and you’ll be well protected all winter long. 

The best ski socks

Ski sock comparison table

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Best ski socks comparison table
Running headbandMaterialsSizesBest use
Falke SK2 Skiing Knee High SocksPolypropylene (45%), acrylic (25%), wool (20%), polyamide (10%)Women’s EU 35-42, Men’s EU 39-48Alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Icebreaker Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf SocksWool (53%), Nylon (44%), Elastane (3%)Men’s: S-XL, women’s: S-LAlpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Smartwool Ski Full Cushion OTC SocksMerino wool (57%), Nylon (41%), Elastane (2%)S-XLAlpine skiing, snowboarding
1000 Mile Snow Sports SockAcrylic (48%), Tactel (26%), Nylon (25%), Spandex (1%)Men’s: M, L, XL, women’s: S, MAlpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
BAM Bamboo Ski SocksBamboo viscose (52%), Recycled polyamide (35%), Merino wool (12%), Elastane (1%)4-7, 8-11Alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Darn Tough Yeti Over-the-Calf Lightweight Ski & Snowboard SockMerino wool (61%), Nylon (37%), Lycra Spandex (2%)S-LSki touring, alpine skiing, snowboarding snowshoeing

How to choose the best ski socks

When you’re choosing a pair of ski socks, there’s a surprising amount to consider, but it should come as no surprise that comfort is key. You’ll also need to consider what type of skiing you plan to do in them, and what type of conditions to expect. Because ski socks are a relatively affordable piece of kit, you may want to get several pairs. For example, you might want one pair for resort skiing and another for ski touring, or one pair cold days and another for spring skiing. If you’re on a budget, look for a good versatile pair of all rounders. Below are some other factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a good pair of ski socks. 

Comfort

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Comfort comes in various ways when it comes to ski socks, from proper fit and good breathability to using soft fabrics that don’t itch. It’s a bit of a subjective category, but know that you want your socks to feel great on so they don’t annoy or distract you when you’re trying to focus on making turns. 

Fit

Your ski socks need to have a snug fit that doesn’t bunch inside your boots while not being so tight as to restrict your circulation. Look for a pair that comes comfortably up to just below your knee (a little long is better than a little short) and contours around your arch and heel without extra fabric at the toe box. 

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Comfort comes in various ways when it comes to ski socks, from proper fit and good breathability to using soft fabrics that don’t itch (Image credit: Getty Images)

Breathability and thermoregulation 

Needless to say, your ski socks will need to keep your feet warm on cold days. This becomes especially important when you’re hanging out on long chairlift rides. A thicker sock will provide more warmth, but if your boots are already well insulated and you run hot anyway, don’t go overboard. 

Virtually all ski socks will be made with sweat management in mind. Wool, bamboo and synthetic materials all wick sweat away. Synthetic fabrics dry fast too, and maintain some thermal properties even when wet. Merino wool also offers warmth when wet, but it takes longer to dry, as does bamboo. Natural fabrics (wool and bamboo) have antimicrobial properties that manage odours, while synthetic material can accumulate smells. Often the best ski socks a made with a mixture of these materials to harness the best bits of each. The only material you really want to avoid is cotton, which once wet, stays wet and offers no warmth whatsoever – cotton can be lethal in the mountains. 

Best ski goggles

A good pair of ski socks will have some extra padding in the areas where you tend to feel a lot of pressure from your ski boots (Image credit: Getty Images)

Padding 

A good pair of ski socks will have some extra padding in the areas where you tend to feel a lot of pressure from your ski boots: the front of your shin and the backs of your heel. Warmer socks may have more padding on the soles while socks built for touring will have less padding and focus more on mobility. 

Thickness 

The thicker the sock, the warmer the foot. If you expect sub zero days and long lift rides where your feet tend to lose a bit of circulation, get a medium or thick sock, but know that these will restrict your foot sensitivity a little. If you’re planning on spring skiing or ski touring, go thinner. 

Durability

You shouldn’t expect your best ski socks to last forever but you should be able to count on them for a few seasons without your toes poking through. The less you have to wash them, the better, so consider socks with some natural fabric content. That said, synthetic materials are sturdier so perhaps the best choice is a natural/synthetic blend. 

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.