Nobody likes cold, clammy, or tingly feet. Seemingly simple, ski socks are a surprisingly technical layer that’s critical for keeping feet warm and comfortable. Finding the right pair for your foot shape, circulation, sweat output, activity, and boots in addition to the ambient conditions like temperature, lets you enjoy the ski slopes even longer.
Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding, this around-the-toes layer performs a key role in the health of your feet and overall. While these socks are designed for lift laps at the hill, ski socks are also suitable for a range of other snowy adventures or outdoor work from sledding and snowmobiling to shoveling or snowshoeing.
No single sock design is going to serve every skier and snowboarder, but the ones on our list are our top choices across a range of styles and applications.
To learn more about how ski and snowboard socks differ from one to the next, read the buyer’s guide and FAQ. Also, check out our handy comparison chart to see how our choices stack up against one another. Otherwise, meander through the full gear guide below to find the best ski socks catered to your snow season for 2023-2024.
Editor’s Note: We updated our ski socks buyer’s guide on October 31, 2023, with reviews of six rigorously tested new, award-winning, and long-standing ski socks plus 16 totally new educational sections to support you, reader and snow lover.
The Best Ski Socks of 2023-2024
- Best Overall Ski Socks: Smartwool Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Sock — Men’s & Women’s
- Best Budget Ski Socks: Wigwam Sirocco
- Runner-Up Best Ski Socks: Le Bent Cody Townsend & Elyse Saugstad Pro Series Zero Cushion
- Best Ski Socks for Backcountry & Uphill Workouts: CEP Ski Touring Compression Socks — Men’s & Women’s
- Best Precise-Fitting Synthetic Ski Socks: Dissent GFX Compression Hybrid
- Softest Ski Socks: Le Bent Core Light Snow Sock
- Best Full Cushion Ski Socks: Smartwool Ski Full Cushion — Men’s & Women’s
- Fabric 57% Merino Wool, 10% Nylon, 30% Recycled Nylon, 3% Elastane
- Thickness Medium
- Length Over the calf
- Warm and breathable
- Targeted cushion makes for an ideal fit
- Some pilling after use
- Fabric 60% wool, 30% stretch nylon, 9% stretch polyester, 1% spandex
- Thickness Medium
- Length Mid-calf
- A few less bucks compared to sister socks
- Cushioned shin panel feels great in ski boots
- A fully cushioned midweighter might be heavy if you want a thin, athletic fit
- Fabric 49% Nylon, 28% Bamboo Rayon, 20% Merino Wool, 3% Elastane
- Thickness Light-medium
- Length Knee-height
- Silicone strips help sock stay up and prevent heel movement
- Extremely soft
- Articulated, athletic fit
- Upper price tier
- Longer length might not be everyone’s top choice
- No cushion might be a no-go for some
- Just-right compression
- Quick to dry
- Not the best choice for the coldest days
- Form-fitting anatomical design
- Fabric 46% rayon from bamboo, 32% nylon, 20% Merino wool, 2% elastane
- Thickness Light
- Length Over the calf
- Smooth seamless texture
- Rubber heel and calf lock
- Fabric wears down faster
- Fabric 63% merino wool, 10% nylon, 25% recycled nylon, 2% elastane
- Thickness Light/medium
- Length Over the calf
- Seamless fit
- Holds up to many washes
- Cushioning allows for a comfortable fit with reduced movement
- Recycled material percentages vary depending on pattern choice
- Texture of fabric is a bit rigid
Best of the Rest
- Fabric 66% Merino Wool, 26% Nylon, 6% Polyester, Lycra-Spandex 2%
- Thickness Medium
- Length Over the Calf
- Full contact fit
- Heel lock feature prevents blisters
- Lightweight and breathable
- Unisex design may not work for everyone
- Fabric 64% merino wool, 32% nylon, 4% Lycra spandex (men's); 68% merino wool, 28% nylon, 4% Lycra spandex (women's)
- Thickness Medium
- Length Over the calf
- Good for cold conditions
- Tighter than average fit
- Fabric 49% Super-fine Merino Wool, 37% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 4% Lycra
- Thickness Ultralight
- Length Over the calf
- Ultralight materials allow for max heel to boot contact
- Breathable fabrics
- Lack of cushioning
- Requires a tight fitting boot liner making these not ideal for rental ski boots
- Fabric 56% polyamide, 34% Merino wool, 10% elastane
- Thickness Ultralight
- Length Over the calf/knee
- Helpful recovery aid
- Compressive yet comfortable
- Light and breathable materials
- Comfortable amount of compression on the calves
- Welt is secure
- Gender-specific options
- Fabric is not the softest
- Fit is a bit loose on the feet
- Good quality materials
Ski Socks Comparison Chart
Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Fabric, Thickness, Length.
|Smartwool Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Sock||$28||57% Merino Wool, 10% Nylon, 30% Recycled Nylon, 3% Elastane||Medium||Over the calf|
|Wigwam Sirocco||$17||60% wool, 30% stretch nylon, 9% stretch polyester, 1% spandex||Medium||Mid-calf|
|Le Bent Cody Townsend & Elyse Saugstad Pro Series Zero Cushion||$40||49% Nylon, 28% Bamboo Rayon, 20% Merino Wool, 3% Elastane||Light-medium||Knee-height|
|CEP Ski Touring Compression Socks||$55||76% polyamide, 13% merino wool, 11% spandex||Light||Calf|
|Dissent GFX Compression Hybrid||$58||8% Nanoglide, 28% Lycra, 64% polyamide||Light||Calf|
|Le Bent Core Light Snow Sock||$29||46% rayon from bamboo, 32% nylon, 20% Merino wool, 2% elastane||Light||Over the calf|
|Smartwool Ski Full Cushion|
Men’s & Women’s
|$29||63% merino wool, 25% recycled nylon, 10% nylon, 2% elastane||Light/medium||Over the calf|
|FITS Light Ski Sierra||$26||66% Merino Wool, 26% Nylon, 6% Polyester, Lycra-Spandex 2%||Medium||Over the Calf|
|Darn Tough OTC Women’s Yeti|
& Men’s Captain Cushioned Socks
|$29||64-68% merino wool, 32% nylon, 4% Lycra spandex||Medium||Over the calf|
|FITS Ski FILM||$25||49% Super-fine Merino Wool, 37% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 4% Lycra||Ultralight||Over the calf|
|STOX Energy Recovery |
|$50||53% polyamide, 33% Dryarn, 14% elastane||Ultralight||Over the calf/knee|
|Icebreaker Merino Ski Light Over the Calf Socks||$29||53% Merino Wool, 44% Nylon, 3% Lycra||Light||Over the Calf|
|Norrøna Lofoten Mid |
Weight Merino Sock Long
|$45||Merino wool, nylon, and elastane blend||Medium||Calf|
How We Tested Ski Socks
It’s safe to say, our team of GearJunkie testers always pull on socks before each ski and ride outing, so we’ve chipped away through testing a variety of the best snow socks over the seasons for many decades.
Our crew wore ski socks to work in negative to balmy winter temps, while uphill skinning, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding, walking around on cold floors, and more.
Leading the team, GearJunkie Senior Editor specializing in SnowSports Morgan Tilton has been skiing and snowboarding for more than 30 years. Tilton also backcountry tours and uphills, drives a backcountry snowmobile, hits the nordic trails, and and competes in skimo races. She’s faced a foot cold injury (superficial frostbite) and searched for all types of socks for a range of purposes from her snowboard to ski boots to snow boots.
She has written about the technicality of outdoor socks for her entire decade-plus career as a journalist, as it was her debut beat for the Outdoor Retailer trade show’s Outdoor Retailer Daily. To date, Tilton has tested ski and snowboard socks for recreational use for more than 177 hours in 2023, while also sorting ski and snowboard socks for a team of testers.
GearJunkie contributor Meghan LaHatte also evaluates ski socks for this guide. LaHatte has been skiing consistently for nearly a decade and enjoys powder days at the resort, long tours on the skintrack, and sunshine-filled slush days. Having suffered a chronic injury from the aftermath of vicious frostnip on her toes, she puts foot health first, especially in the winter: You can trust that she has honest opinions about ski socks.
We focused on narrowing down ski socks with a range of breathability, cushion, stretch, elasticity, warmth, durability, and softness. We also considered the most popular, novel, and legacy designs. Throughout testing, our team ranked each sock based on overall quality and performance in the field.
We’re confident this list is composed of the best ski socks of the season.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Ski Socks
Wondering if you should invest in wool or synthetic? When it comes to ski socks, a blend of both is best. But there are still dozens of types of fabrics out there. Our favorite socks in testing all had a blend of merino wool, nylon (or polyamide nylon), and elastane or Lycra spandex for stretch.
To learn more about how wool and synthetic materials differ, read below.
When shopping for ski and snowboard socks, you will often see “merino wool” on the packaging. Merino wool is derived from Merino sheep, mostly found in Australia and New Zealand. Because of its softness and natural ability to wick moisture and retain heat, it is used in most ski and snowboard socks, as well as winter base layers.
How does merino wool differ from normal wool? For starters, it is much thinner than normal wool, allowing it to be more moisture wicking and odor resistant than the latter. This thinness makes it useful for those garments closest to your skin — like ski and snowboard socks.
If you are weary of purchasing wool socks due to ethical or sustainability issues, be sure to check out the ski socks’ brand’s resourcing initiatives. For example, Smartwool has partnered with ZQ Merino, an organization that focuses on certifying manufactures and creating standards that end abuse in the merino supply chain.
Most ski socks are engineered with a mixture of natural and synthetic materials. While wool socks tend to be the choice material for skiing and snowboarding socks, synthetic fabrics can perform just as well on the slopes in insulating, moisture wicking and comfort abilities.
Synthetic materials are often a combination of polyester, nylon and spandex fabrics. They perform well in breathability and moisture prevention, but it is important to note that they tend to take longer to dry than wool after becoming wet.
Our testers believe that Synthetic and Wool materials function at their best when combined, which is why you will see that a majority of the products listed in this guide use both materials in complementary pairs. With 66% of its fabrics being Merino Wool and 34% being synthetic, the FITS Light Ski Sierra is a prime example of how successful the relationship of these materials can be.
Regardless of what fabric you choose for your ski and snowboard socks, always turn away from cotton. It lacks the heat-retention and moisture-wicking abilities that wool and synthetic materials provide.
The other important element to look for in ski socks is not just the fabric itself, but how it’s woven. Are there flatlock seams, seamless toes, heel lock features, reinforced zones, or extra padding or cushioning in the shins? All of these elements can heavily impact how well you enjoy your day on the mountain. We think the best ski socks are those you don’t notice too much in your boots, i.e, they keep your feet at a comfortable temperature without any feeling of itchiness, lumps and hot spots.
Many ski and snowboard socks are anatomically constructed, meaning they are designed to fit the contours and shapes of the user’s lower legs. Anatomically designed ski socks tend to be labeled “Left” and “Right” to allow the most accurate fit. An example of this purposeful design element and application can be found in the Icebreaker Merino Ski+ Light Over the Calf Socks.
With ski socks it’s really all in the details. Ski socks like the Le Bent Core Light Snow Sock with heel and calf lock features stood out to us due to their purposeful engineering and useful applications.
When deciding on a ski or snowboard sock it is important to consider all of these design elements and your own personal preference. Do you prefer a more bare feel to your socks, or do you want your feet to feel like they are fully cushioned? To learn more about these construction elements, keep reading below.
When thinking about your skiing and snowboarding socks, an important construction aspect to consider is length. Most ski socks are designed in longer styles that reach above the calf right below the knee. The longer the sock, the more insulated your feet and legs can stay inside your boots.
Your ski and snowboard socks are ultimately your second skin when you are shredding, so it is important to note that the longer the sock, the more protected you are. If you get a ski sock that is an incorrect length for you, you may fall victim to shin bang — a painful injury caused by your ski boots and socks creating pressure points on your shins while skiing.
On the longer end of the scale, our testers preferred the Smartwool Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Sock. Those that prefer a more exact fit at or below the calf should consider the Dissent GFX Compression Hybrid sock.
Ultimately, sock fit in terms of length is dependent on your leg height, so it is recommended you try on socks with your boots before you buy.
Thickness and Warmth
If you are mainly touring, you’ll probably want a lighter ski or snowboard sock that won’t rub or slide around, and that wicks sweat super well. If you ski in very cold climates, you may want a midweight for warmth. In general, performance-oriented skiers often reach for a leaner sock that allows a more precise feel.
You’ll also want to consider how a sock fits within your boot — and make sure that the sock-boot combo is not too tight — this can play a role in circulation and heat management, too. If you run cold, you’ll also want to consider a midweight (or even heavily cushioned) sock. A boot-sock combination that is too loose can lead to foot cramping, hot spots and blistering, making for a less than ideal day on the mountain.
In our reviews above, we listed each sock’s type of thickness or weight: this refers to ultralight, lightweight, midweight, or heavyweight fabrics. We’ve also called out whether the socks have added cushioning.
In terms of weight, our editors (a mix of intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders) all leaned toward preferring lighter to medium weight socks, such as the Smartwool Ski Full Cushion socks.
As mentioned above, we carefully considered the cushioning of all the ski and snowboard socks we have listed in this guide. Cushioning refers to the parts of the sock that have been given added thickness to increase padding and comfort. Most often, you will find cushioning in the toes, heels, shins and sometimes soles of the socks.
Cushioning is a key element to consider in your ski or snowboard socks if you are seeking to protect your toes from blistering, the cold, or hot spots. There are three levels of cushioning, light, medium and heavy. You’ll want lighter cushioning if you crave a more responsive feel in your ski boots, or you may want medium to heavy style if you like the extra padding. If your ski boots are rentals or packed out from extended use, heavier cushioning in your ski socks might just be your best friends on the mountain.
Out of the socks we have listed in this guide our choice for lighter cushioning is the Icebreaker Merino Ski Light Over the Calf Socks. If you are looking for a ski or snowboard sock with no additional cushioning whatsoever, we recommend the paper thin FITS Ski FILM.
Perhaps the most important element of a ski sock is how it fits. Like we mentioned earlier, when you are skiing or snowboarding at the resort or in the deep backcountry, your socks should feel like a second skin. A well-fitting ski sock should adhere itself to your foot and leg without any unnecessary bunching, sliding or circulation prevention.
Most ski and snowboard socks are anatomically designed, meaning they are customized to fit the contours of the leg, while also providing a certain level of arch support to prevent any sort of foot fatigue while you’re crushing the slopes. Furthermore, many ski socks have a heel lock feature, such as the FITS Light Ski Sierra, to hinder any blisters and improve stability within the ski boot.
When thinking about fit in a ski or snowboard sock, it is imperative to consider the type of ski boot you will be pairing with it. Do you have a tight racing style boot that requires a high performance fit in a ski sock? Or do you have a pair of spacious snowboard boots that could use the extra arch support from a heel lock feature?
Depending on their materials and design, many ski and snowboard socks have a certain level of stretch, or lack thereof. In conjunction with fit, elasticity can affect how well your ski socks support your leg inside of a ski boot.
Elasticity is achieved through the use of specialized materials such as spandex or Lycra, a synthetic material that has exceptional stretch to it. When thinking about elasticity in ski socks, you’ll want the “Goldilocks,” i.e., not too stretchy and not too taught.
It is also important to consider the ability of your socks to “recover” after they have been used for extended periods of time. Do they return back to their normal shape, or do they remain stretched out? A sock designed with a proper amount of elasticity should recover without affecting long term use, but should also not be too loose that extra fabric bunches up in your boots.
Despite skiing or snowboarding in subzero temperatures, your feet can still get too hot and thus uncomfortably sweaty. Picking out ski socks designed with breathable fabrics is crucial to keeping your feet warm and dry, and preventing any blisters or smelly odor build up from sweat.
When you are spending several hours skiing, your body is generating an exuberant amount of energy, thus creating heat. Because your legs are doing a bulk of the work, your boots tend to be on the receiving end of this reaction. This heat will inevitably lead to sweat creation if you’re not wearing a technical pair of socks designed to prevent this from happening.
As mentioned above, merino wool and synthetic materials like nylon or polyester are experts at wicking away unwanted moisture and insulating heat. Breathable fabrics help regulate the temperature of your foot inside the boot, while also hindering any cold air or moisture from penetrating your feet.
When it comes to breathability, the Smartwool Ski Full Cushion and Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Sock performed the best. Remember, avoid cotton at all costs. Once cotton is wet from sweat, you’re in for a bad time.
When you purchase a pair of ski or snowboard socks, remember that you are investing in your health, comfort and overall enjoyability on the mountain. This is why it is important to remember that the best socks will last the longest without a loss in quality or performance.
In thinking about durability, consider the setting and application your ski and snowboard socks will be used the most. Are you vacationing for a week to Colorado and need something that will work with rental boots? Or are you a daily skier, never missing a day on the resort?
If you are an aggressive skier or riding 80-100 days per season, it’d be counterintuitive to pick an ultralight sock due to its shorter lifespan. If you are looking to tour a few days here and there with a mix of resort skiing, consider a midweight sock that would apply itself well to either situation.
Ensure that if you plan on putting your socks through the wringer, you opt for ones with stronger (synthetic fibers), reinforced seams, or ones that hold up to lots of washes.
For durability, the Darn Tough over-the-calf socks won the most votes in a staff poll.
You’ll notice that a few of our picks on this list are labeled as “compression” socks. Commonly used by those in the medical and athletics industries, compression socks help improve circulation and reduce fatigue in the legs. They work by applying pressure to the feet and legs, thus preventing blood from pooling in the veins and improving overall blood flow. For these reasons and more, compression socks can be a great option for those looking for a similar effect in their ski and snowboard socks.
Compression can vary in ski and snowboard socks, from lighter to firmer pressure. They also tend to have a smaller pressure rating than medical grade compression socks. Users with circulation or muscle issues may benefit from a firmer compression sock, especially if they are skiing all day or hitting the skin track for a long tour. However, firm compression socks can be a bit of a challenge to get on, so definitely try before you buy.
Our top picks for ski and snowboard compression socks? The CEP Ski Touring Compression Socks — Men’s & Women’s, Dissent GFX Compression Hybrid and STOX Energy Merino Skiing Socks took the cake.
Ski socks can be expensive, we know — 20, 30, sometimes up to 60 bucks for one pair. But if you buy based on the tips and picks we’ve laid out here, know that you will get a great sock when it comes to keeping your feet comfortable, warm, and secure in your boots. You’ll also get one tailored to what you need.
Our most budget-friendly and inexpensive pick for ski and snowboard socks was the Wigwam Sirocco ($17). Also reasonably priced for the quality are the FITS Ski FILM ($25) and FITS Light Ski Sierra ($26). Generally, paying anywhere from $15 to $25 is a great price-point to be for investing in your foot’s wellbeing.
Our second price-tier features socks that are more built out. You’ll see a greater presence of material byway of overall thickness or targeted cushions or sweeping cushions, as well as more complex construction. Overall, the thicker and more strategically woven a sock is, the longer it will last.
However, this price category can also include lighter-weight socks that are made with high-quality, softer textiles, which don’t necessarily last the longest. Generally, the more synthetic fibers that are present in a sock, the more durable, elastic, and rebounding the apparel is.
This zone includes the Smartwool Targeted Cushion Over The Calf Sock ($28), Le Bent Core Light Snow Sock ($29), Smartwool Ski Full Cushion ($29), Icebreaker Merino Ski Light Over the Calf Socks ($29), and Darn Tough’s OTC Yeti ($29). All for under 30 bucks, these ski and snowboard socks are reasonably priced without skimping on any of the details. Including expert design elements and great warranty policies, you can’t go wrong with our middle-tier collection.
In our upper-price stadium for ski socks are options that range from 45 bucks up to almost $60. While these socks are pricier, rest assured they are well-made and worth the investment, especially if you will be riding on them all winter long. This level includes the Norrøna Lofoten Mid Weight Merino Sock Long ($45), STOX Energy Merino Skiing Socks ($50), CEP Ski Touring Compression Socks ($55), and Dissent GFX Compression Hybrid ($58). Premium sport hosiery like these options are highly specialized and mostly compression-focused with a tight fit or medical-grade compression for active recovery during and right after a ski or ride day.
Overall, we recommend investing in at least two pairs of high-quality ski and snowboard socks in this aforementioned price range, so that you can wear clean pairs back-to-back on weekends and powder days and not need to do laundry. Your feet, and your boots, will thank you.
There are hundreds of ski socks on the market, curated into dozens of types and styles. We’ve found the best ones for beginners have a balance of support and cushion, a warm yet breathable blend, and come at a lower price.
Some of our expert skiers’ favorites include the Smartwool Women’s Ski Full Cushion Over The Calf Socks and Le Bent Core Light Snow Sock — socks with lighter or ultralight cushioning, merino wool fibers, and tailored zones that help balance breathability and warmth.
The warmest ski socks will depend largely on the blend of fabrics and thickness of the sock. Some of the warmest ski socks we tested and best for temps below zero were the Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Socks.
Sock thickness is usually very dependent on what type of skier you are, as well as personal preference. And depending on how your ski or snowboard boot fits, as well as the shape of your feet, you may want a thinner or thicker sock for comfort.
We’ve found most of our expert skiers on staff prefer a lighter-weight sock, while snowboarders on staff are split between light and midweight varieties.
Merino wool is a natural fiber with a lot of great properties: breathability, odor-wicking, warmth, and moisture-wicking, to name a few. And each of those factors really come into play when your foot is stuffed inside an insulated, rigid boot all day. But, Merino alone is not the most durable over time, which is why it’s often blended with other synthetic fibers.
So, if you prefer a merino blend over pure synthetic options, we’d recommend looking for a sock that has at least 50-60% merino wool — like the Smartwool Full Cushion Sock.
Typically, no. If you have invested into a pair of ski or snowboard socks that support your feet, while also keeping them toasty warm, there is no need to double up. Two pairs of socks worn simultaneously can lead to extra friction and bunching in your boot, causing blisters and uncomfortable crowding.
If your feet feel cold while skiing, make sure you are wearing a sock with enough elasticity and padding to stay put and keep your toes warm, as well a fabric blend that includes a healthy portion of Merino wool. The thicker the sock, the more warmth, so try a midweight or even a heavyweight sock.
Also, how old are you ski boots, liners, or footbeds? The other component to keeping your feet warm is a well-constructed and lively boot liner, footbed, and shell, some of which are constructed with various technology to help keep your feet warm.
If you’ve exhausted the basic investment of new socks followed by boots, you can add electronic heat byway of battery-operated insoles or liners, too. But start with a solid sock choice before upping the bill with all those extra tools.
Cold and uncomfortable feet while on the mountain is never fun!
To ensure the longevity of your ski socks, it is important to take care of them through a frequent wash with a gentle detergent and cool water. (Hot water shrinks.) Avoid using any fabric softeners or bleach, as this can damage the fibers of the sock, thus leading to fraying and loss of insulation abilities. To ensure the wool stays in its best shape, hang or lay your socks flat to dry after you’ve washed them.
After a day of skiing or snowboarding, we recommend taking your socks off as soon as you get back to the car or lodge. While most socks have superb moisture-wicking abilities, to keep your socks in the best shape possible we suggest not overusing them. This will ensure your ski socks last you several seasons, rather than just one.