Sock materials are essential to the warmth of the best winter socks for men.
Choose socks based on height, your needs, and other features.
Check different brands and materials for the right fit.
You might be the best at choosing just the proper boots, but what about socks? If you do not pair the right, well, pair, then your feet might be in discomfort no matter which boots you wear. Your feet are only as comfortable as the socks you choose, and there are so many sock types out there that it's hard to know where to start.
If you want to find the best winter socks for men, think about why you need them and search for the right pair from that point. Here are some of the best options on the market.
Choosing the Best Options
Before getting into the best winter socks for men, how do you choose which works for your needs? There are several things to consider.
Consider the Fabric Materials
The material of the socks should provide comfort, moisture control, breathability, and many other aspects. Some socks feature one material, but most are a combination of materials. You have been wearing socks for long enough that you likely know what cotton feels like, what wool can do, and so on.
Check the materials and know what they do to get socks that meet your specific needs and comfort.
Judge the Height
If you are wearing your socks inside of boots while outside, you likely don't want no-show socks or even ankle socks. There are also crew socks, over-the-calf socks, knee socks, and more. Most people like higher socks in the winter to cover more of their legs for extra warmth. The socks also stay up better and help you to expose less skin.
Remember Your Purposes
If you run errands in the cold, you want warm socks but do not need a high-end, expensive, durable brand. On the other hand, if you're hiking a lot, running in the winter, or taking on other activities, consider the different functions in the socks you choose. Match your activity to the socks to get the best results.
Examine Sock Features
Socks often have various features; look at each to get the right product. Fit is important as some socks fit tighter than others. You want something snug for cold weather but not something so tight you lose feeling in your feet. Many brands have padding and cushioning in certain areas, giving you extra support and comfort. You may also want arch reinforcement, especially if you have high arches or flat feet.
When you are ready to get some of the best winter socks for men, set a budget, take a look at features, and remember the functions you need. You might simply have to use trial and error on a few pairs before you find just what you need to keep your feet warm during the cold winter months.
Best Winter Socks for Men
Even if you know exactly what features you need in warm winter socks, where can you find them? These are some of the best winter sock options. See which feature you need to meet your goals.
Note: Prices are accurate at the time of writing in April 2023, but are subject to change.
Darn Tough Hiker Boot Full Cushion Socks
Get the Darn Tough heavy cushion socks for around $28; the men's version is 66 percent Merino wool. With great knitting techniques in the material, they are perfect for performance without slipping or bunching. You get a full cushion, which helps fight blisters, and the seamless options are smooth and comfortable. Vanessa Powell, editor, stylist, and shopping expert from Men's Health says, "You can wear and wash them 20,000 times before they break down."
These socks help to keep your feet happy on any hiking trail. They are durable, comfortable, and work for simple reasons or backpacking trips. The company has a good reputation for functional socks, and this style is warm and great for winter outdoor adventures. On the downside, the socks cost more than average, but you get high quality. They often shrink and run small, so it's best to order a larger size than is normal. They are not super thick and do not fill up your boot.
Darn Tough Mountaineering Over-the-Calf Heavyweight Socks
Darn Tough also makes 73 percent Merino wool socks that tout all-weather performance with a custom fit that does not slip or bunch. These socks have an extra cushion, fast-wicking, and fast-drying features with durability and comfort included. If you need top-quality winter weather socks and something tall that you can pull up high on your leg, these could be a good fit.
The Mountaineering socks are high in quality and withstand various outdoor activities in colder climates. The padding and cushioning are essential gear for specific options outside. Expect your feet to be warm but not hot, even in harsh weather conditions and extended periods outside.
They even come with a lifetime warranty from Darn Tough. Since the price is high, some people may shy away from this option, but the quality, comfort, and durability are hard to match. The socks are also tight, which can take some getting used to for those who prefer them looser. They also only come in one color since their focus is functionality, not style.
Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Extra Cushion Crew Socks
If you want a more comfortable experience, whether hiking or spending the day outside in the cold for other reasons, the heavy cushioning in the Smartwool Hike Classic socks can help. The elasticized arch brace holds the material in place without slipping. The knit toe seam is flat to help you avoid blisters. You get a sturdy construction for challenging conditions.
You do not have to worry about your feet getting cold, even if they get wet, as the wool count is high and the socks breathe well. Some customers feel the socks are bulky but work well in the proper boots. Give the wool materials extra time to dry after washing before you give them another wear.
Polar Extreme Thermal Socks
Get two pairs of the Polar Extreme Thermal socks for a budget-friendly price. These less expensive options are heavyweight and touted to be some of the best non-wool winter socks. Heat retention is high in the soft acrylic blend that can help the socks maintain their shape. The brushed interior is soft to the touch. Buyers get excellent quality for a low price as the socks are warm and comfortable for the generally cold weather.
They are not, however, something you would wear all year long as they do not feature wool materials. They wear out rather quickly, especially around the heel. If you want to avoid cold feet, even if it is not cold outside, these socks are a good answer, as they are thick and fit snugly. They also look excellent due to their smooth appearance.
Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Heavyweight Tactical Socks
The Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Heavyweight Tactical socks fit over the calf for a tight fit that stays put. Created in the USA, the U.S. Air Force has certified this military-grade merino wool fabric as safe. They are ideal for law enforcement, soldiers, hikers, and others who spend time outside in the cold. The extra padding gives the feet against pressure and impact. They also reduce the risk of foot injuries and blisters.
You get high-quality materials from these socks that can withstand much activity, even outside in the cold. They retain heat and keep the feet warm in harsh conditions. You must ensure they fit well around the calf because they could slide down or rub if they are too loose. They are pricey, but their quality and warmth are often worth it.
REI Co-Op Merino Wool Midweight Hiking Crew Socks
With a mixture of Merino wool, nylon, and a small amount of lycra, the REI Co-op Merino Wool medium-weight socks are soft and warm. They feature cushioning in the heels, toes, footbeds, and also the Achilles. You won't chafe around the toes as the seams are non-existent. This brand has excellent moisture-wicking and long-lasting comfort without that itchy feeling.
You may want to air-dry these socks to keep them functional for longer. They retain their stretch and have lower deformation over time. Since the wool content is high, the socks have natural odor control. These are not the most durable socks for cold weather, but they do have good quality for the price.
Smartwool Ski Full Cushion OTC Socks
The Smartwool Ski Full Cushion OTC socks are a great midweight option that covers the calf and contains recycled nylon, wool, and elastane. Complete cushion protection and mesh ventilation give moisture management and breathability. The performance-oriented socks have a flex zone around the ankle joint, designed for durability and comfort.
These socks are high-performance items that are for cold days outside. The well-made socks allow wearers to focus on their activities without worrying about their feet. The fabric breathes well and remains comfortable, delivering the performance necessary. Ski, snowshoe, or participate in other sports without the socks slipping, bunching, or becoming uncomfortable. Some wearers do not like how tightly the socks fit around the calf muscles, but that tight fit helps prevent cold air from getting into your boots. The materials can also snag on rough surfaces, so take caution.
Alvada Merino Wool Hiking Socks
Crew socks are typically very comfortable. Alvada Merino Wool Hiking socks are a midweight option, made of 80 percent Merino wool. They have cushions through the sole with mesh ventilation channels. The brushed inside features a smooth, soft feel. It is nice to have an affordable sock with excellent value to them. They work well for outdoor activities in colder weather. The soft material is warm and comfortable without any itching.
These socks are easy to wash and dry; since care is easy, they are convenient. They are not as durable as some of the more expensive options, but for the price, you can buy several pairs and switch them out over time. It is a good idea to check the sizing information as the socks within this brand tend to run small.
REI Co-Op COOLMAX EcoMade Liner Crew Socks
The REI Co-Op COOLMAX EcoMade crew sock does not have cushions, but the low price makes them highly affordable. Anyone can buy multiple pairs to switch out. The polyester materials dry fast, allowing for better moisture control. The socks contain recycled materials with flat-toe seams that don't irritate the feet.
These socks are liners and work well with thicker hiking socks. They can absorb moisture and keep feet dry, cool, and comfortable without forming blisters. The socks fit snugly without cutting off any blood flow. Their light materials help to prevent discomfort or that bulky feeling. Don't wear these socks alone for a highly active day. For style purposes, they have a limited color range from which to choose.
Carhartt Arctic Heavyweight Merino Boot Socks
The Carhartt boot-height socks are heavyweight and have a fast-dry technology that fights odors and wicks sweat away. They include a reinforced heel and toe that increases their durability and longevity. Moreover, the ribbed cuff allows your legs to ventilate through long wear.
Heavyweight socks of this nature are for frigid temperatures, so you do not want to wear them for a short hike in the mild weather. They have padding in certain areas that help absorb shock and reduce the fatigue you might feel after a long day, which takes you further down the road if you are hiking or working. Wear them inside or outside and get extra support. It is always nice to know when a brand uses USA materials, as these socks do.
Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Knee Socks
The heavyweight knee-high socks from Sealskinz have an inner, middle, and outer layer for extra insulation. Their waterproof membrane is breathable and durable with four-way stretch technology. If you're working your way through any water or snow, the 100 percent hydrophilic membrane is completely waterproof. It blocks out any liquid and keeps your feet dry at the same time.
This brand is heavy-duty and thick. They are for cold temperatures and wet conditions and work well for hiking, hunting, fishing, kayaking, and everything in between. Tested to ensure they don't leak, these handmade socks have flat seams along the toes to prevent blisters while ensuring a smooth fit. The thick socks take longer to dry after washing and require special care due to their waterproofing elements. They are also some of the most expensive socks on the market, so not every budget appreciates them.
Darn Tough Boot Heavyweight Hunting Socks
While you could use these socks for hunting, the heavyweight item works for other outdoor occasions. They are boot-height and made from extra Merino wool for warmth and comfort. The reinforced footbeds on this brand are durable to keep feet happy for a long time. The moisture-wicking insulation keeps feet warm and dry in the wettest conditions. Hunters — and others — get the support they need with a fit that stays in place.
These are some of the best hunting socks on the market, but they are for work, skiing, hiking, and other outdoor, cold-weather activities. They are primarily made from wool and often take longer to dry after washing them.
Warrior Alpaca Socks Toasty Toes Comfort
Fully lined with terry loops from start to finish, the Warrior Alpaca Toasty Toes socks fit the bill if you want soft. The ribbing and comfort band on the item gives a comfortable fit, and the reinforcement throughout the sock offers extra support. Made with Alpaca wool, the socks are naturally silky and warmer than socks made from sheep wool.
If your feet are sensitive to the temperature and never feel warm, that is no longer a problem with these socks. They are well-made and great for outdoor and casual occasions. The socks are functional but also elegant and stylish. Due to the high-end Alpaca wool, they cost more than other options.
Helly Hansen Warm Crew Hiking Socks
The Helly Hansen warm crew hiking socks are expensive, but the entire terry sole gives any hiker extra protection and warmth. The brand has a rib panel around the foot that gives extra support and a mesh panel on the top for more ventilation. If you usually have cold feet, you get the insulation you need for hiking or everyday cold weather wear. The socks breathe well, so feet do not get wet, even when the cold air is harsh.
Customers notice the difference in the cushioning in the right places. However, you must wear the socks on the correct feet to improve their wear. They run small and are pricier than other options.
Start the Search for Those Socks
If you have ever worn the wrong socks, you know what a difference good socks can make to your outside adventures. Research the options and try a few styles to find something suitable for your feet and the winter weather around them.
For more up-to-date info on the latest boot trends, styles, and purchasing options, check out BootAuthority.