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The Best Wool Socks of 2024

We walked, ran, hiked, and skied countless miles to bring you the best wool socks of the year.
GJBG Wool Socks Ortovox Alpine Light(photo/Heather Balogh Rochfort)
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It doesn’t matter whether you’re trail running, skiing, or backpacking through the high alpine: your socks are the unsung hero of any adventure. They’re the last line of defense between your tender tootsies and the blistering and harsh realities of nature. 

But not all socks are created equal. Wool socks are especially known for their technical prowess since they wick sweat away from your feet, regulate temperature, and resist odor — an especially important job in the dark, dank abyss that is your moist shoe.

And, spoiler alert: wool doesn’t mean those socks are only meant for cold weather. Thanks to a variety of weaves and weights, you can wear wool socks trekking through the desert beneath a high noon sun (although we may question your life choices). 

Still, there are literally thousands of wool socks out there so it’s tough to decide which is the best for you. We spend countless hours hiking, skiing, running and biking outside every year, so we brought a bunch of socks along for the ride. From slushy trails to desert sandstone and powdery steeps, we put these socks to the test. We bring you our favorites.

Scroll through our picks for the best wool socks of the season, and be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guidecomparison table, and FAQ section.

The Best Wool Socks of 2024

Best Overall Wool Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight


  • Material 59% merino wool/39% nylon/2% Lycra Spandex
  • Height Micro Crew
  • Cushion Medium
  • Available sizes S-L
Product Badge The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty is tough to beat
  • Secure fit doesn’t bunch or wrinkle


  • Wool always costs more than synthetic socks
Best Bargain Wool Socks

Minus33 Boot Liner


  • Material 61% merino wool/20% stretch nylon/18% nylon/1% spandex
  • Height Mid-Calf
  • Cushion No cushion
  • Available sizes S-XL
The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Solid two-year warranty with registration
  • Versatile fit on its own or as a liner beneath warmer socks
  • Most affordable sock in this test


  • Taller height may awkwardly hit at the calves
Best Eco-Friendly Wool Sock

Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Second Cut Crew Socks


  • Material 33% merino wool/33% mixed fibers/25% recycled nylon/8% nylon/1% elastane
  • Height Crew
  • Cushion Full Cushion
  • Available sizes S – XL
The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Flat toe seam doesn’t chafe
  • Warm during chilly treks
  • Constructed with circular yarn derived from old socks


  • Looser fit may not work for everyone
Best Alpaca Wool Socks

Paka Performance ¾ Crew Sock


  • Material 33% Baby Alpaca fiber/7% Tencel/57% recycled nylon/3% Spandex
  • Height ¾ length
  • Cushion Extended heel cushion
  • Available sizes Medium, large
The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Versatile performance fit works for a variety of activities
  • All Paka products are fully traceable
  • Alpaca wool wicks sweat better than Merino


  • Just as costly as Merino wool
Best of the Rest

Injinji Outdoor Midweight Mini-Crew Sock


  • Material 71% merino/26% nylon/3% lycra
  • Height Mini-crew
  • Cushion Midweight Cushion
  • Available sizes S-XL
The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Higher percentage of wool compared to other socks
  • Eliminates blisters between the toes


  • Toe sleeves aren't for everyone

Ortovox Alpine Light Comp Mid Socks


  • Material 46% polyamide/39% virgin wool/11% recycled polyamide/4% elastane
  • Height Mid-Calf
  • Cushion Heel and toe
  • Available sizes w’s 4-12; m’s 6-14
The Best Wool Socks of 2024


  • Light compression feels good for performance
  • Super breathable in warm weather


  • Expensive

Wool Socks Comparison Chart

Wool SocksMaterialHeightCushionAvailable Sizes
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight59% merino wool/39% nylon/2% Lycra Spandex
Micro CrewMediumS-L
Minus33 Boot Liner61% merino wool/20% stretch nylon/18% nylon/1% spandex
Mid-CalfNo cushionS-XL
Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Second Cut33% merino wool/33% mixed fibers/25% recycled nylon/8% nylon/1% elastaneCrewFull CushionS – XL
Paka Performance ¾ Crew Sock33% Baby Alpaca fiber/7% Tencel/57% recycled nylon/3% Spandex¾ lengthExtended heel cushionMedium-Large
 Injinji Outdoor Midweight Mini-Crew Sock71% merino/26% nylon/3% lycraMini-crewMidweight CushionS-XL
Ortovox Alpine Light Comp Mid46% polyamide/39% virgin wool/11% recycled polyamide/4% elastaneMid-Calf
Heel and toeW’s 4-12; M’s 6-14
GJBG Best Wool Socks featured image
We put some of the best wool socks on the market to a head-to-head test; (photo/Heather Balogh Rochfort)

How We Tested the Wool Socks

In addition to extensive research and knowledge, we wore these socks on everything we did over the course of a few months. We wore the wool socks while hiking, mountain biking, trail running, camping, alpine touring, and even while lifting weights.

We even turned them into our daily drivers while working and managing school drop offs, if only so we could evaluate their durability and stench resistance over time. Truly, there isn’t a weather condition these socks haven’t seen after concluding our testing process.

For this guide, we first looked at an essential component in these socks: wool. While most of the socks use merino wool, we also considered Alpaca wool as well. From there, we looked at a number of factors, including overall quality, value, design, comfort, quantity of wool, wicking capabilities, and durability.

Since most of these socks were only tested for a few months, we consider longevity with an asterisk since all socks should last longer than that. In those circumstances, we considered brand warranty programs, as well.

Lastly, we considered style. Socks aren’t something that typically top the fashion lists, but it’s nice when they look good and especially nice when they can be worn for a variety of activities. We also considered factors like the sock’s cut since that plays into style preferences.

Why You Should Trust Us

Based in Carbondale, Colo., Heather Balogh Rochfort is a lifelong outdoor recreationalist with nearly 15 years of gear-reviewing experience as a journalist and author of five books. She considers herself a jack-of-all-trades as she isn’t particularly good at any one sport but enjoys them all, including trail running, hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, bikepacking, paddling, and more. 

She logs more than 50 days skiing each season and at least another 30-40 days spent sleeping under the stars. Balogh Rochfort once tried counting how many human-powered miles she earned yearly, but she quickly gave up — it was a lot. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Wool Socks

Fortunately, choosing the best wool socks for you is a simple task. However, there are a few factors to take into consideration.

Type of Wool

Most of the socks in this guide (like the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight or the Minus33 Boot Liner) use Merino wool. This is a type of wool derived from sheep and is arguably the most common wool used — for good reason.

Merino wool fibers are semi-hollow, which means warm air gets trapped inside and helps retain heat. On the flipside, this semi-hollow structure can hold moisture — like your sweat — which draws it away from your skin. This leaves the sock itself dry, your foot dry, and everyone generally happy.

GJBG Wool Socks Darn Tough Micro Crew hiking
Darn Tough socks are among the most durable we’ve tested; (photo/Heather Balogh Rochfort)

However, merino wool isn’t the only type of wool out there. We also have the Paka Performance ¾ Crew Sock that is constructed with Alpaca wool. Many argue that Alpaca wool is a superior choice to merino since the fibers are generally smoother so it’s less itchy.

Alpaca wool also has a higher tensile strength than merino and Alpacas are considered to be efficient grazers. They only eat the part of the plant they need and leave the rest compared to sheep that mow on the whole thing, leading to overgrazing and soil degradation.

For the sake of socks, both types of wool will be great — it’s a matter of preference.

Looking for socks for specific activities? Check out some of our sock roundups, including Best Hiking Socks and Best Running Socks.

Quantity of Wool

You’ll quickly notice that while wool is the majority ingredient in all of these socks, it is not the only fiber. That is because wool socks need synthetic fibers (often nylon) to add stretchiness and durability. However, the quantity of wool dramatically varies. For example, the Injinji Outdoor Midweight Mini-Crew socks have 71% merino wool, while the Ortovox Alpine Light Comp Mid only has 39% virgin wool. 

Pro tip: Keep an eye out for a wool sock that has less than 30% wool. While that isn’t generally a bad thing, those socks won’t likely have the classic “wool benefits” like odor resistance and may perform more like a traditional synthetic sock.


Once you get beyond the technicalities, comfort is the top consideration. If the sock isn’t comfortable, you won’t wear it. For many outdoor enthusiasts, comfort is a matter of preference. For some, heavily cushioned socks like the Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Second Cut Crew socks feel better underfoot thanks to all the padding. But for others, thinner liner-type socks like the Minus33 Boot Liners are more comfortable since they are less apt to bunch or wrinkle.

The cut of the sock is also a factor to consider for performance. Mini-crew cuts typically end just at your ankle bone, so they keep grit out but sit lower than a full crew or calf-length sock. However, some people prefer taller socks like the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Midweight sock that sits about 5 inches above the boot. And further still, some folks like socks that reach to the middle of their calf muscles. There is no one right answer; you just have to decide what you like best.


We’ve got some good news and bad news. The bad news: all socks will kick the bucket eventually. However, the good news is that wool socks last admirably long — and many brands offer solid warranties to keep you coming back.

Darn Tough has a lifetime warranty on all of their socks, so you can always send them back to get a new pair. We’ve used it before, and it works. While not as generous, Minus33 has a two year warranty if you register your socks with them at the beginning, so you still have plenty of time to use ‘em, abuse ‘em, and replace ‘em.

Price Point

The sticker shock on high-quality wool socks is very real. Aside from the Minus33 Boot Liners, there isn’t a single pair on this list that cost less than $20. On average, be prepared to spend anywhere from $20 to $25 on a good pair of wool socks. On the higher end, you’ll find socks like the Ortovox Alpine Light Comp Mid that cost $35.

GJBG Minus 33 Boot Liner
The Minus 33 Boot Liner’s thin profile reduces wrinkles and hotspots; (photo/Heather Balogh Rochfort)

While these prices are all more expensive than your standard cotton socks from the grocery store, they are performance items. They wick sweat away from your skin, retain their shape, resist odor and thwart blisters. For us, it’s worth spending the extra money to get all of that protection.


What percentage of wool is best for socks?

This will vary from person to person. In general, you won’t want socks that are 100% wool because they’ll be itchy, scratchy, and likely miserable to wear. On the lower end, any socks with less than 30% wool will perform more like synthetic socks. Knowing that, we’d recommend socks with roughly 35-70% wool content.

How often should I wash wool socks?

Just because wool socks resist odors doesn’t mean you can skip the wash cycle (all the time anyway). However, excessive washing will wear them down faster and cut their life cycle short. We recommend washing your socks after two or three days of day-long use.

Of course, this will look different for everyone. If you go on a week-long backpacking trip, chuck them in the wash to get all of the grit out. If you’re day hiking for an hour at lunchtime, you can probably go a bit longer.

How should I wash wool socks?

When it’s time to throw those suckers in the wash, flip them inside out. Use warm or cold water and keep your machine on a gentle cycle with a mild soap. Once they’re done, lay flat to dry so they retain their shape. Some wool socks can be tossed in the dryer, but wool socks are prone to shrinking (especially merino), so we prefer air drying.


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