When it comes time to suit up for the slopes, even the slightest compromise in something like socks could cost you.
Here’s the deal:
We're not saying you need to go out and drop $100 on a pair of ski socks. What we are saying, however, is that you should put as much consideration into your choice of sock purchases as you do your snowboards, skis, and other gadgets.
Because your standard sock, and even super-thick thermal winter sock, just won’t cut it. Like any other sport, you’ve got to dress for it. Even if it means spending a little more money.
Sound silly? It’s not.
If you’ve spent significant time snowboarding or skiing, you know how quickly a fun day can turn sour with cold and wet feet. You also know how hard those boots can be on your feet after only a few hours.
Trust me. The investment in ski and or snowboarding socks is worth it.
We've spent hours pouring over lists, reviews, and expert tests to try to find the winners in ski and snowboard socks. We even consulted our skier and snowboarder friends to see which brands they prefer.
Related: Best Men's Socks
If you’re a novice skier or snowboarder, or you just want to spend a day hanging out in the lounge watching everyone else, a super comfy winter sock is really all you’ll need. If you want something with the warming and drying capabilities of a ski or snowboard sock without all that extra padding or compression that can get uncomfortable, this is a great pick.
These really aren’t ideal if you plan to spend a long day outdoors skiing or snowboarding. These are strictly for anyone who wants to sit on the sidelines—or who simply wants a good pair of socks to shovel the driveway in.
Thickness: Unlike ski and snowboard socks, these winter socks are not bulky at all and will fit inside your regular shoes and boots just fine.
Warming: No problems with keeping your feet toasty in these!
Drying: These socks are actually known for their ventilation properties. So not only do they keep your feet dry from the elements, but they help your feet breathe and stay sweat-free too!
Comfort: Warm, soft, breathable, and cushioned? These are the epitome of comfort.
Padding: Since these weren’t built with the winter sports enthusiast in mind, the only cushioning really built in here is in the arch area.
Price: These are a little more expensive than your typical everyday sock, but they’re still pretty cheap compared with ski and snowboard socks.
We know we said you can’t cut corners when it comes to skiing and snowboarding purchases… but we guess we have to take that back since we’ve got these thermal ski socks that defy that rule. Chock-full of padding and support, and made from non-wool fibers, and you’ve got a high quality sock that feels good and performs well.
These are not made with Merino wool (typically the key fabric in ski/snowboard clothing), so they may not keep you warm or dry in single-digit or sub-zero temperatures. Reviewers also complain about the long length of these, but since that’s a well-advertised fact of these socks, it’s not really a true drawback.
Thickness: These socks are in the mid-weight range of thickness due to all the padding that’s built in.
Warming: While users haven’t reported issues with these thermal socks keeping them warm, I’d be wary about using these in frigid temperatures due to their lack of Merino wool.
Drying: Again, because these weren’t made with moisture-wicking fabric, we can't say how dry your feet will stay—especially with the thermal fabric.
Comfort: As long as you use these in the right weather and temperatures (i.e. not super cold or wet), these socks should keep you warm and comfortable all day long.
Padding: The built-in cushioning for the shins, feet, and ankles seems to be the quality reviewers love most about these socks.
Price: I take that back. The super cheap price tag is what previous customers love the most about these thermal socks.
Get the Men’s socks here
Get the Women’s socks here
If your main goal is to stay warm, keep your feet dry, and, yet, feel like you’re wearing next-to-nothing on your feet, these SmartWool socks are a great way to go. And despite the lightweight construction, you still get all the support, breathability, and performance you’d expect from their other PhD socks.
Switchback Travel named the SmartWool PhD Ski Light as one of the best ski socks you can get in 2016. However, they moved SmartWool lower in their rankings this year due to a drop in long-term quality and durability.
Thickness: These socks win “best thin socks” for a reason.
Warming: Some reviewers have actually complained about how warm these socks make them.
Drying: Keeping your feet dry when you’re skiing or snowboarding is just as important as keeping them warm. These socks have just the right amount of ventilation to provide a breathable and dry experience for your feet.
Comfort: SmartWool is known as a leader in ski clothing for a reason—these socks are no different. Warmth, dryness, breathability, thin fabric, and a perfect fit all contribute to this sock’s comfort.
Padding: Because these socks are so thin, the padding is focused around supporting your feet.
Price: Due to the drop in reliability in these socks, you’ll want to consider how much extra care you’re willing to take in maintaining the longevity of these before you make this somewhat steep purchase.
For skiers (and snowboarders) who want a lightweight sock that offers solid compression, Icebreaker is the way to go.
Unless you wear compression socks regularly, these may prove to be a little too much after a long day.
Thickness: The Merino wool fabric of these socks is super lightweight.
Warming: Despite the lightness of the fabric, these socks still provide for a soft, warm, and comfortable experience for your feet.
Drying: The lightweight fabric also contributes to the quick-drying nature of these socks.
Comfort: Because these are compression socks, first and foremost, the purpose of wearing these is to provide your muscles support and to help reduce fatigue. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be comfortable wearing these, but it does mean that you’re going to have super comfy socks on all day.
Padding: According to the Gear Guy at Outside Online, these socks are best when you’re looking for extra compression support. So if you’re looking for strategic padding to prevent boot chafing, you’ll want to look at another sock.
Price: Like with any other type of compression clothing, this one’s going to be pricey. But if you want something lightweight that will get the job done, these socks are well worth the investment.
Get the Men’s socks here
Get the Women’s socks here
Whatever winter weather activity your kids like to do—skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or just running around in the snow—you’ve got to make sure their feet stay warm and dry and don’t get in their way. Of all the kids socks I’ve seen, these are the best ones to do that.
Some reviewers have complained about the thickness on these socks, so it’s important to buy these at the same time as you buy your kids’ boots.
Thickness: These may be a little too thick—bordering on uncomfortable—if your kids’ feet are snug within their boots to begin with. While you don’t want boots that are too loose or big, you’ll want some extra space not only for these socks but for your kids to grow into them.
Warming: Made from Merino wool, your kids’ feet are sure to stay warm inside these socks.
Drying: The wool pulls double duty here and also wicks away moisture to help your kids’ feet stay dry as they play in the snow.
Comfort: As long as you’ve got the right sock and boot combo, there shouldn’t be any issue with comfort while wearing these socks. They’re warm, soft, and meant to keep your kids feet from getting blisters.
Padding: The manufacturer’s description of the sock includes a note about the full cushion that helps absorb shocks. Reviewers have yet to dispute this claim.
Price: These are definitely on the pricier side of kid’s socks. I’d suggest investing in these if your kid is done growing or if you’ve got others you can hand these down to.
Serious skiers and snowboarders, take heed: if you’re looking for a high performance Merino wool sock, we’ve got one for you right here. These PureAthlete socks cover all the key points you’re looking for: warmth, dryness, fatigue reduction, comfort, styling, and more.
Two caveats worth noting here: Reviewers have said these socks may not fit well if you have larger calves. While others have noted these might not work well in sub-zero temperatures.
Thickness: The last thing you want to worry about in a ski or snowboard sock is bulkiness—and you won’t have to deal with that here.
Warming: The Merino wool in this sock will help to keep your feet warm. However, as stated in the Cons section, some customers have had issues with these socks in frigid temperatures.
Drying: The Polypropelene’s moisture-wicking properties will keep your feet dry.
Comfort: Whether you’re a serious athlete or just an avid skier or snowboarder, comfort is a key part in your overall performance. These socks fit well and stay up, making comfort the last thing you’ll need to worry about.
Padding: Reviewers agree with the manufacturer’s promise of shin, ankle, and arch padding and support—all of which are important for keeping your mind on the activity instead of the pain in your feet or legs.
Price: The price on these is pretty much on par with other high-performing ski and snowboard socks. If you want something that will do what it promises and continue to do so for years to come, it’ll be worth it to shell out the extra money for these.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Jake Burton Carpenter, one of the founders of snowboarding, is responsible for the company that makes the best snowboarding apparel. These well-padded, supremely warm, and comfortable socks take care of the serious snowboarder’s every need (including fashion).
If you’re looking for a sock that will work just as well on and off the slopes, you’ll want to check out a more generic winter sock for that. These are going to be a little too tall and thick to fit comfortably in your everyday shoes.
Thickness: These mid-weight socks are just the right amount of heavy and thick for snowboard boots.
Warming: If your goal is to keep your feet warm all day, this thick material will do the trick!
Drying: Even if your feet should get wet wearing these socks (which isn’t likely to happen), just hang them up for a super-quick drying time.
Comfort: Wool socks can get itchy, but that’s not the case here. Reviewers have called these socks comfortable, soft, warm, and cozy. The cuff elastic also helps the sock stay put all day (without chafing).
Padding: In addition to being a thick sock, there is also strategic cushioning featured throughout for arch and ankle support, as well as toe and heel protection.
Price: You get two pairs of socks with this purchase, which makes these snowboard socks an awesome deal!
Get the Men’s socks here.
Get the Women’s socks here.
Get the Children’s socks here.
If you associate Burton’s with snowboarding, then you’ve got to associate Darn Tough with skiing. These socks are so well-constructed that the manufacturer actually promises an unconditional lifetime guarantee on the quality of their product (and reviewers tend to agree)!
Like with other socks specifically made for skiing or snowboarding, the padding on these may be too tight to wear with regular winter boots and other everyday shoes.
Thickness: These socks aren’t just about being thickly padded for warmth and protection, but they’re built tough so that they last.
Warming: Made from 62% Merino Wool, these socks are guaranteed to keep your feet warm on the slopes no matter how cold it is outside.
Drying: Because the rest of the sock is made with Nylon and Lycra Spandex, you’re also going to benefit from moisture-wicking properties that aim to keep your feet dry no matter what.
Comfort: Many reviewers tout not only the comfort of these socks, but they also rave about the perfect grip and stretch that allows these socks to bounce back into shape no matter what you put them through.
Padding: While the padding used in these socks does work to keep your legs safe from chafing, it may be a little too constricting over long periods of time.
Price: The unconditional lifetime guarantee makes these pricey socks worth a purchase.
Get the Men’s socks here
Get the Women’s socks here