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Icebreaker Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf socks review: beat back the cold with these warm, breathable ski socks

These versatile ski socks are thick enough for cold days hanging out on the chairlift but not too bulky for the backcountry

Icebreaker merino Ski+ light sock
(Image: © Icebreaker)

Our Verdict

These technical ski socks perform under cold and sweaty conditions and don’t take up too much room in your ski boot

For

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

Against

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not as soft as similar ski socks

Icebreaker Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf Socks: first impressions

Icebreaker is one of the top names in ski socks, relying on the moisture-wicking properties of merino wool to make technical gear that keeps you warm in cold weather and cool when things heat up. 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, plus 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.

Specifications

• RRP: $28 (US) / £26 (UK)
• Unisex: Men’s and women’s sizing available
Sizes available: Men’s: S-XL, women’s: S-L
• Materials: Wool (53%), Nylon (44%), Elastane (3%)
• Colors: Black, Loden/black, Espresso/monsoon
• Best use: Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing 

Icebreaker Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf Socks: on the slopes

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)

I’ve owned a couple of pairs of Icebreaker ski socks over the years and got plenty of good use out of them on chairlifts and in the backcountry so I was excited to get a new pair. As expected, these ones fit snugly – not quite at the compression level but enough to feel secure and stay in place. Though their wool blend isn’t as soft as other ski socks, it’s perfectly comfortable on my skin with no itching. 

These socks are the perfect weight for me. They’re just thick enough that I trust them for hanging out on a chairlift when the temperature dip down below freezing, but not so thick and warm that I can’t wear them for ski touring. They have a little extra padding on the shin and Achilles but not so much that they don’t slide easily inside my boot. I do like that they have a right/left foot articulated fit and that they are nice and long with chance of slipping down.

I’ve been able to work up a good sweat in these socks too without my feet getting too hot or clammy, and can wear them again and again without having to wash them in between. The price of these ski socks might make you look elsewhere, but they’ll definitely hold up for a few seasons and really make a good all-rounder ski sock.

Here’s how they performed:

Sizing

True to size.

Fit

These are snug without being too tight and articulated around the arch and instep with an anatomical toe box. They come all the way up over the calf and stay there.

Comfort 

The sculpted fit plus absence of seams in the toes and extra padding in the shin makes these stay in place, which is half the battle and while the fabric isn’t as soft as some, they’re perfectly comfortable.

Temperature regulation 

Warm enough for quite cold days and not too warm for spring skiing.

Breathability 

These wick moisture nicely on the uphill and dry quickly so you’re not freezing while you’re taking the skins off your skis.

Durability 

Merino wool isn’t as durable as synthetic fibers, but these have a decent amount of nylon in them, and while they might show some signs of wear and tear after a few months, they’ll keep their stretch and fit.

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.