When winter arrives, do you find your feet are freezing, which makes you hesitant to spend time outdoors? In addition to proper footwear, you should also invest in socks that keep your toes toasty without leaving them feeling sweaty.
Winter socks are designed to be worn in low-temperature conditions to improve your feet’s health. They’re equipped with insulating materials, plus factoring in style and design so you can wear them with a range of footwear. Say goodbye to freezing feet!
Each of these socks makes a great purchase, depending on the length, price, and thickness you’re looking for and all will keep your toes toasty.
Best winter socks of 2020
- Warmest & made in Canada – JB Field’s Icelandic Arctic Trail Socks
- Best value unisex – Danish Endurance Merino Wool Light Hiking Socks
- Best for men – Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Crew Sock
- Best for women – Solax 72% Merino Wool Socks
- Best for running – Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
Hours of Research
Best winter socks comparison
|JB Field’s||Danish Endurance||Carhartt||Solax||Rockay|
|Size||Medium, large, and extra large||Women: 5-13, men: 3.5-12.5||6 to 12||Medium or large||Small-extra large|
|Material||Merino wool and nylon||Merino wool, acrlic, nylon and elastane||Acrylic, polyester, nylon, merino wool, and Spandex||72% merino wool, 16% polyester, 10% nylon, and 2% Spandex||100% Econyl|
|Colors||Beige, green, and black||Grey, green, black and orange||Green, black, and blue||Multicolored||Multicolored|
|Best aspect||High percentage of merino wool||Lightweight||Arch support||Padded heels||Recycled materials|
Warmest and made in Canada – -40 Below Arctic Trail Wool Thermal Socks
- Best aspect: High percentage of merino wool
- Sizes: M, L, and XL
- Material: 85% merino wool and 15% nylon
- Colours: Black, green, and beige
- Neutral colors, making them gender neutral
- Pre-shrunk merino wool
- Extra padding for comfort and support
- Require hand-washing to remain intact
- Sizing can be inaccurate
The Arctic Trail socks use two materials: pre-shrunk merino wool and nylon. With the main material being merino wool, you can trust that these will keep your body insulated from the moment you put them on. Pre-shrunk merino wool won’t shrink in the dryer like merino wool may.
With a high percent of merino wool, these socks won’t let you feel the cold, even when it’s freezing outside. This material is also designed to react to your body’s temperature, by releasing heat when your feet feel too hot. The breathable qualities allow the material to absorb a large amount of moisture, so you won’t feel sweaty.
These socks are available in three different sizes, ranging from 9 to 16. You can also purchase them in three neutral colors: green, beige, and black. Measuring 21.5cm, they’re mid-height, making them ideal for wearing with ankle boots or mid-range boots, with no issues of them slipping down.
The socks are cushioned for extra warmth, protection, and comfort. This padding makes them able to retain heat while also adding a protective base so your heels or arches won’t ache after standing on your feet all day.
Best value unisex – Danish Endurance Merino Wool Light Hiking Socks
- Best aspect: Lightweight
- Sizes: Women: 5-13, men: 3.5-12.5
- Material: 40% Merino wool, 30% acrylic, 28% nylon and 2% elastane
- Colours: Grey, green, black and orange
- Unisex sizes
- Padded sole
- Don’t slip down when wearing them
- Not designed for extremely cold temperatures
- The heels can’t develop holes quicker than others on this list
These socks contain the most materials on our list. including merino wool, acrylic, nylon, and elastane. The low-percent merino wool shouldn’t put you off purchasing these, as they’re still capable of keeping you warm in low temperatures.
Acrylic prevents a build-up of moisture inside your shoe, while keeping your feet dry and preventing blisters.
Elastane contributes to the overall comfort and flexibility. These socks won’t slip down after extended wear.
The reduced amount of merino wool allows these socks to be thinner, lending to easier use when inserting your feet into footwear. This is great if you’re searching for socks that are versatile and you can wear more often throughout the year. Plus, the lightweight material makes them suitable for exercising or long days on your feet.
The socks are padded along the sole to contribute to overall comfort and protection. This is a feature that not all socks on this list offer, making them a standout purchase as well as excellent value for money.
Best for men – Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Crew Sock
- Best aspect: Arch support
- Sizes: 6-12
- Material: 41% acrylic, 36% polyester, 14% nylon, 8% merino wool, and 1% spandex
- Colours: Green, black, and blue
- Instantly absorbs moisture
- Flexible design
- Socks stay in place all day
- Doesn’t contain high levels of merino wool
These socks use a variety of materials that perfectly blend together to create high-quality, durable socks that keep your feet warm, including acrylic, polyester, nylon, merino wool, and spandex.
The use of nylon and Spandex allows the materials to be flexible, so everyone can achieve comfort with these socks. Nylon and spandex also helps keep the socks in place, preventing any slippage throughout the day. These materials also create a fast-drying action that prevents a buildup of sweat remaining inside of your footwear.
We rated this item as the best for comfort because they combine the softness of merino wool with flexible and stretchy materials for comfort and warmth surrounding the entire sock. The added benefit of reinforced yarn around the heel and toe increases the sock’s durability. This feature also prevents holes from forming easily.
It’s critical that shoes provide you with arch support, but if socks can do that — even better! The engineered stitching and combination of materials around the arch adds stability, keeps the sock in place, and eliminates any pressure on your feet throughout the day.
Best for women – Solax 72% Merino Wool Socks
- Best aspect: Padded heels
- Sizes: Medium or large
- Material: 72% merino wool, 16% polyester, 10% nylon, and 2% Spandex
- Colours: Multicolored
- Anti-slip design
- Good compression for support
- Tall design – great with boots
- Sizes are subjective
- No neutral colors available
These winter socks contain high amounts of merino wool, helping to keep your feet warm and dry in the cold and rain. This material offers natural heating properties, so you won’t feel the impact when temperatures drop.
Thanks to the addition of polyester and Spandex, these socks offer a flexible fit with plenty of stretch. The socks also offer odor-resistant properties, making them highly suitable for women on the go. The breathable thin layer at the top allows heat to escape, which prevents you from overheating on long treks or climbs.
These socks are designed to remain in place when you wear them. The leg compression offers all-day support and the elastic material prevents the socks from sliding down. As such, you can wear these with boots without having to adjust them for your comfort.
The reinforced toe and heel is padded for extra protection and comfort. As a result, they help to absorb some impact when you’re walking all day. This also protects your foot from developing blisters, and makes them less likely to develop holes.
Best for running – Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
- Best aspect: Recycled materials
- Sizes: Small-extra large
- Material: 100% Econyl
- Colours: Multicolored
- Shock absorption
- Flexible materials
- Breathable ventilation panels
- Midsoles can be narrow
These are the only socks on this list to feature 100% recycled materials. Featuring Econyl — a high-quality recycled Nylon yarn — these socks are made from recycled Ocean waste and landfill fabrics. Not only does this benefit the planet, but it acts as great winter socks for runners.
This material stretches well, which allows them to fit your feet perfectly and offers flexibility as you run. It also hugs your feet’s arches, which provides protection and support against injuries.
These winter running socks are padded in the toes and heel areas to prevent any blisters. This also reduces irritation when wearing thin shoes, and provides support as you stride across the pavement.
Rockay also designed them with plenty of ventilation zones to wick away sweat. This breathability enables you to continue running without blisters forming on your feet and odors within the socks.
What to consider when looking for winter socks
You’ll discover a range of materials in winter socks, though there are some key ones to remember throughout your research.
One go-to material is merino wool, which is soft thanks to the fine fibers that offer flexibility and comfort when pressed against your skin. It’s also renowned to prevent itchiness, adding to overall comfort. This high-quality material retains its shape well, thanks to the elasticity in the fibers. This feature prevents any sagging and provides plenty of flexibility so you can find a great fit for your feet.
Most importantly, it has insulating properties to keep your feet toasty, even in cold conditions. The material traps in dead air and buffers out cold air to keep your body at a warm temperature.
Another common material is nylon. This isn’t expensive to make or purchase, adding to the overall value of the socks. It’s a sturdy material that’s fire-retardant and can stand pulls and tugs much better than cotton. Nylon is also a stretchy material that provides elasticated properties that offer more movement.
Spandex or elastane
Although keeping your temperature regulated is the top priority of these accessories, you still want your socks to remain in place while offering ample flexibility. Only a small percent of Spandex or elastane is needed to add an element of stretch to socks. This helps to keep them upright so you don’t have to adjust them every few minutes.
Finally, contemplate the thickness you’re looking for. The thicker the socks are, the higher the wool content and the toastier your feet will be. This may sound great for the cold weather, but if you wish to exercise in these socks, too, opt for a midweight for physical activity. Alternatively, heavyweight socks are a great choice for leisurely strolls or afternoon coffee to prevent your feet from feeling the cold air.
Consider what footwear you’ll accompany the socks with. Ankle socks are the shortest option and are ideal for exercising or wearing low-top sneakers. These are practically invisible so you don’t have to worry about the socks matching your wardrobe. If you’ll often wear tall boots, consider crew socks, which will cover the entire height of the boot, so you don’t endure them falling down constantly.
Are winter socks right for you?
Keeps feet dry: Winter is prone to the cold, wet, rain, and snow. Although the air might be bitter, your feet can retain moisture from movement. Socks that are designed for winter, offer properties that absorb moisture from your feet. Socks designed for winter will keep your feet dry so you don’t feel uncomfortable or develop fungal infections.
Fights against the cold: The main reason you’ll choose winter socks is so you can enjoy your time outdoors without cutting it short because your feet are freezing. If you work in a sub-zero environment, you need accessories that prevent your toes from developing frostbite.
What material should I avoid for winter socks?
Cotton holds and absorbs moisture, which can result in your socks becoming soggy. This material can also make your feet sweat as the fabric absorbs any moisture. Plus, any condensation that enters the socks remains inside, which can add a layer of moisture. As a result, your feet will feel cold and wet – features you’re looking to avoid.
How to make my socks last longer?
Wash your socks on a gentle setting using cold water with a detergent specifically designed for washing wool. Add your load to the washing machine inside out to protect any delicate fabrics and prevent colors from fading. Unless they are labeled as dryer safe, let the socks dry naturally so they do not shrink.
Why are my feet always cold?
Socks designed for freezing temperatures can help you feel more comfortable and warmer. However, if your feet are always cold, even when it’s not winter, there might be an underlying condition to address. Smoking and alcohol abuse can lead to cold feet. Anemia is a health condition when your blood fails to pump enough oxygen around the body, causing cold hands and feet. Consult your doctor if you’re concerned.
Over to you
We’re interested to know – do you plan to use your winter socks for any specific activities? Or just to wear them around the house? Let us know in the comments below!