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Best ski socks: keeping your feet warm and dry from first chair to last

Four skiers on a chairlift
The best ski socks keep your toes toasty so you can make tasty turns all day long without rubbing or bunching in your boots (Image credit: Tetra Images/Noah Clayton)

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. 

A woman in a red oneskie skiing in the Alps

The best 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 (Image credit: Andre Schoenherr)

Some ski socks go the extra mile with compression to improve your circulation on cold days, while others focus more on comfort. Ski socks also come in varying degrees of thickness, from thinner socks best for uphill skiing to sturdier pairs meant for cold days on the resort. Ski socks can also range in fabrics from mostly natural – like wool and bamboo – to all synthetic. 

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. 

 Best ski socks: for all-round performance 

Falke SK2 ski socks

With medium padding, these socks offer enough warmth for most resort days but aren’t too thick or too warm, so make a good companion during a day of ski touring (Image credit: Falke)
A luxurious all-rounder ski sock with specialized finishes

Specifications

RRP: £31 (UK) / $39.95 (US)
Sizes: Women’s EU 35-42, Men’s EU 39-48
Materials: Polypropylene (45%), acrylic (25%), wool (20%), polyamide (10%)
Colors: Off white, Black, Wave, Blue note, Thyme, Grape royal, Rose, Lime punch, Gray, Marine, Blue pond, Olympic, Lipstick, Flash orange
Compatibility: Alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing

Reasons to buy

+
Superior comfort with a soft, cosy feel
+
Warm and breathable
+
Extra padding in high stress zones of your foot and ankle
+
Articulated fit for performance and circulation

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for frigid days
-
A little pricey

With medium padding, these socks offer enough warmth for most resort days but aren’t too thick or too warm, so make a good companion during a day of ski touring. Made using a blend of synthetic fibers and merino wool, these ski socks provide the stretch and breathability you need when you’re working up a sweat lapping groomers and offer the durability you want from a pricier pair of ski socks.

These socks come all the way up to the knee with a nice, thick band at the top to keep them up without cutting in. The last thing you want is ski socks that bunch up and these are tailored for a snug performance fit with right/left cushioning and toe box and an articulated heel and arch which reduces the opportunity for blisters to form. They’re padded in the areas that come under the most stress in your ski boot, such as the front of your shin and ankle and your ankle bones. 

Icebreaker merino Ski+ light sock

The Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf socks are designed for both resort skiing and more vigorous ski touring (Image credit: Icebreaker)
These versatile ski socks are thick enough for cold days hanging out on the chairlift but not too bulky for the backcountry

Specifications

RRP: $28 (US) / £26 (UK)
Sizes: Men’s: S-XL, women’s: S-L
Materials: Wool (53%), Nylon (44%), Elastane (3%)
Colors: Black, Loden/black, Espresso/monsoon
Compatibility: Alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing

Reasons to buy

+
Stretchy, articulated fit
+
Non-bulky padding on shin and achilles
+
Anatomical toe box for better fit
+
Breathable, fast drying fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively expensive
-
Not as soft as similar ski socks

The Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf socks are designed for both resort skiing and more vigorous ski touring. The articulated fit is boosted by an anatomical toe box and the light-medium weight of these socks means they’re not too bulky inside your boot if you’re skiing uphill but they’re warm enough for sitting on a chilly chairlift.

Extra padding on the shin and Achilles, plus seamless toes and a sculpted fit eliminates any annoying chafing or bunching inside your boot, and a wide comfortable band at the calf ensures they stay in place. These ski socks come at more of a premium price but are versatile enough for cold and spring skiing and hold up against sweaty feet and they dry quickly.

 Best ski socks: for frigid days 

Smartwool Ski Full Cushion OTC Socks

These cosy, breathable performance socks boast full cushion for added protection, comfort and warmth (Image credit: Smartwool)
These cosy, breathable performance socks boast full cushion for added protection, comfort and warmth

Specifications

RRP: $27 / £26.99
Sizes: S-XL
Materials: Merino wool (57%), Nylon (41%), Elastane (2%)
Colors: Mountain snowflake, Trellis, Alpenglow
Compatibility: Alpine skiing, snowboarding

Reasons to buy

+
Warm and cosy
+
Moisture wicking and breathable 
+
Cushioning on the entire sock for added protection and warmth
+
Performance-oriented fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Full cushion may be too much padding with insulated boots
-
May be too warm for milder days
-
Relatively expensive

These cosy, breathable socks live up to Smartwool’s reputation for producing some of the best ski socks on the market. The 13” over-the-calf fit hugs snugly just below the knee and promises to stay there when you hit the slopes, while the performance-oriented fit contours to your arches and allows for flex at the ankle.

Made from merino wool, nylon and elastane, these socks wick sweat away from your feet on powder days and are ultra-breathable. With full cushioning on the entire sock, you can expect all-day comfort on the slopes, especially on colder days. Smartwool promises that they’ve improved the durability of these socks too, so they should last you a few seasons.

1000 Mile ski socks

These ultra-soft ski socks are the perfect thickness to provide protection against cold and rubbing without restricting your movement  (Image credit: 1000 Mile)
These ultra-soft ski socks provide protection against cold and rubbing without restricting your movement

Specifications

RRP: £19.99 (UK)
Sizes: Men’s: M, L, XL, women’s: S, M
Materials: Acrylic (48%), Tactel (26%), Nylon (25%), Spandex (1%)
Colors: Black/purple, Black/yellow
Compatibility: Alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing

Reasons to buy

+
Soft fabric and comfortable, contoured fit
+
Moisture wicking and quick drying
+
Padding for achilles, shin, toe and heel
+
Designed to stay in place inside your boot
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No larger sizes available for women
-
No natural materials used so they get smelly faster

In their Snow Sports Sock, 1000 Mile Sportswear seem to have thought of everything, from extra padding in the places where your boot likes to rub to a contoured fit so the socks stay in place and it’s all wrapped up in an exceedingly comfortable ski sock that manages to be just the right thickness for both alpine skiing and ski touring.

Made using a blend of synthetic materials, these socks are extremely soft and comfortable as well as breathable and quick drying, and lots of stretch combined with arch bracing gives a snug fit without compression. Extra padding in the shin, achilles, toe, ball and heel prevents boot rub, but these socks remain a good medium weight so they’re not too thick or warm for more vigorous skiing. 

 Best ski socks: for spring skiing 

BAM Bamboo Ski Socks

These breathable socks utilize compression – not bulk – to fight cold (Image credit: BAM Bamboo)
These breathable socks utilize compression – not bulk – to fight cold

Specifications

RRP: £20 (UK) / $31 (US)
Sizes: 4-7, 8-11
Materials: Bamboo viscose (52%), Recycled polyamide (35%), Merino wool (12%), Elastane (1%)
Colors: Black, Emerald green/black
Compatibility: Alpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing

Reasons to buy

+
Soft and comfortable with terry lining and invisible toe seam to avoid rubbing
+
Light compression aids circulation and warmth
+
Mesh panels for breathability
+
Don’t get smelly easily
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Don’t come up quite as high as other ski socks
-
Not padded
-
No larger sizes available

BAM Bamboo have capitalized on the most desirable qualities of bamboo here to create a ski sock that is breathable, comfortable and doesn’t get smelly easily. These socks are thin and unpadded, so best for ski touring and not-too-cold ski days, however they do have a little compression, which helps to improve circulation and keep you warmer when it’s cold. A cosy terry lining and invisible toe seam means they’re comfortable against your skiing with no annoying bunching or rubbing.

Bamboo is already known for its moisture-wicking properties and they’ve added mesh panels to improve breathability which keeps your feet dry on spring days and uphill adventures. These socks aren’t quite as long as other ski socks, so if you’re longer in the leg they might not quite come up above your calf, however they do stay up well. Though bamboo is not as durable as synthetic or merino wool, these are made with 12% merino and the heel and toe of these socks is reinforced with recycled polyamide. 

 Best ski socks: for ski touring 

Darn Tough Yeti sock

(Image credit: Darn Tough)
Unstoppable comfort from the chairlift to the backcountry

Specifications

RRP: $26 (US) / £29 (UK)
Sizes: S- Ln
Materials: Merino wool (61%), Nylon (37%), Lycra Spandex (2%)
Colors: Granite mountain design
Compatibility: Ski touring, alpine skiing, snowboarding snowshoeing

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable performance fit
+
Thermoregulating
+
Sweat wicking and fast drying
+
Odor resistant
+
Fun mountain design

Reasons to avoid

-
No cushioning

The Yeti OTC Ski socks are made by and for folks who love winter. These lightweight socks don’t have any cushioning and are instead fit for performance. There’s no annoying bunching and they’re slim enough you can wear them with any of your ski boots.

Don’t be fooled by how lightweight these socks are, however. Merino wool provides plenty of warmth on cold ski days, and its moisture wicking capacities means that you won’t get sweaty feet, or blisters, if you wear these for backcountry touring. You can wear these for many, many outings without them getting stinky too, which means less washing and more durability. These snug socks have just enough stretch that they’re easy to pull on, they stay up without cutting in, and once they’re on you forget they’re there. Just what you want from a ski sock.

Best ski socks comparison table
Running headbandPriceMaterialsSizesBest use
Falke SK2 Skiing Knee High Socks£31 (UK) / $39.95 (US)Polypropylene (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 Socks$28 (US) / £26 (UK)Wool (53%), Nylon (44%), Elastane (3%)Men’s: S-XL, women’s: S-LAlpine skiing, ski touring, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Smartwool Ski Full Cushion OTC Socks$27 / £26.99Merino wool (57%), Nylon (41%), Elastane (2%)S-XLAlpine skiing, snowboarding
1000 Mile Snow Sports Sock£19.99 (UK)Acrylic (48%), Tactel (26%), Nylon (25%), Spandex (1%)Men’s: M, L, XL, women’s: S, MAlpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
BAM Bamboo Ski Socks£20 (UK) / $31 (US)Bamboo 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 Sock$26 (US) / £29 (UK)Merino wool (61%), Nylon (37%), Lycra Spandex (2%)S-LSki touring, alpine skiing, snowboarding snowshoeing

What to look for in 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

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. 

Best women’s ski pants

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.