What are the best brands for warm winter socks? Keeping your feet nice and warm is important in preventing hypothermia and frostbite from taking hold. Please also see our article entitled “How To Dress For Winter Survival“. The best way to protect your feet from the harsh, unforgiving winter weather is to wear the right socks, for your activity. Before we dive into the best brands for warm winter socks, there are a few guidelines you should always follow when shopping for new socks. Stay away from cotton like your life depends on it. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know how I feel about cotton.
(Quick side note: If you are looking for boot inserts and other winter clothing that will keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures even if you get wet, see my article “Fortress Clothing – My Review!“)
Cotton kills- plain and simple. Here’s why: cotton absorbs moisture and holds onto it like a wet sponge! If your feet sweat and you’re wearing cotton socks, that moisture is going to stay right where its at. Water has an incredible ability to take your body heat about 25 times faster than air. That means if your feet are wet, you’d be better off taking your shoes off and exposing them to the snow then to slosh around in wet socks and boots. To keep your feet warm, you need to find a pair of socks designed to keep your feet dry!
Okay, so we know you should stay away from cotton! What does that leave you with? Merino wool and synthetic blends work wonders to keep your feet dry and warm! Merino wool is not your grandma’s wool. Merino wool is soft, cozy and had incredible moisture management properties. Merino wool also does a really good job of keeping your feet warm! It has incredible insulation properties.
The more merino wool in a sock, typically the warmer it will be. You’ll find a lot of socks are made with a blend of wool and nylon, lyrca and other synthetic materials. A blended sock is also a great choice because the material is specifically designed to wick away moisture and provide insulation.
When choosing a sock, it’s always a good idea to consider the weather and what you’re going to be doing. A mountaineering sock is a lot different than a pair of hunting or ice fishing socks. While your socks need to wick away sweat in both activities, you may need a thicker sock if your sitting or standing in one spot all day.
A mountaineering sock may give you more shin and calf protection, and perhaps comfort in the arch, toes and heels to prevent blistering. Keep in mind, thicker socks don’t always equal warmer socks. If you’re socks are too tight or fit too snug with your boots, you could risk reducing circulation to your feet and then they might be cold! Always try on your socks with your boots before your outdoor adventure to make sure they fit well!
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for warm winter socks, let’s take a look at the best brands! See also our article entitled “The 11 Best Socks For Extreme Cold“.
Darn Tough is darn serious about making a durable, high quality and incredibly warm winter socks. For more than 40 years, Darn Tough has been making and knitting socks in Vermont. It’s all this family owned company does.
While most brands, expand into other areas of outdoor gear, Darn Tough sole focus is making the best warm winter socks for whatever you love to do outside. From mountain biking, day hikes, skiing to climbing the tallest peaks in North America, Darn Tough makes sure your feet are warm at all times.
So, what makes Darn Tough socks so special? Three things: high density knitting, merino wool and ribbing to keep socks where they are supposed to be. Also, Darn Tough makes it socks breathable, so the moisture wicks away and your feet don’t feel like they are stuck in a sauna.
Also, the Darn Tough lifetime guarantee is hard to beat. If you for any reason you are ever unsatisfied with your purchase, you can get your money back or a new pair of socks. Any brand that offers that kind of warranty is a brand that I can stand behind!
Darn Tough is a solid brand with a long history of making some the warmest socks on the planet! When in doubt, Darn Tough is the way to go! The company also makes socks specifically for hunters and law enforcement/military applications.
Smartwool reintroduced the world to wool. Of course, wool really never went anywhere- but for so long this tried and true warm winter material of choice was just scratchy an uncomfortable. Smartwool reinvented wool- it’s now referred to as merino wool- and it’s the heart of this brand.
Every sock Smartwool makes is created with merino wool. Merino wool is durable, breathable, wicks away sweat and other moisture and its naturally odor resistant.
How cool it that? Plus, Smartwool is the official sock of the U.S. Ski Team- that should tell you something right there. Smartwool has been crafting the warmest merino wool socks around for nearly 20 years.
Smartwool socks literally changed the industry and is consistently setting the bar when it comes to keeping toes warm. Who knew so much went into a simple pair of socks? Well, it turns out there is nothing simple about a Smartwool pair of socks.
The blend of wool and other synthetic material makes Smartwool socks comfortable, provides support where you need it and keeps your feet dry. A pair of Smartwool socks are a little pricey, but a pair will literally last you years.
Plus, if for any reason you are not happy with your socks, you can return them up to two years from purchase date for a full refund. That’s enough to break out my happy feet dance!
This California based company started selling and designing socks in 1999 and it’s since developed a following. Injinji first created toe socks for runners. In the past 20 years, the brand has expanded its line of socks to include all outdoor activities: hiking, mountain climbing, snowmobiling, industrial work. What makes this brand so special?
This brand is an expert at creating a sock to keep moisture away and to evenly distribute your weight while running, biking, hiking and so on. How do they do that? Toe socks. According the company, by each toe being in its own little compartment, your weight is more evenly distribute, blisters don’t stand a chance and there’s no moisture between toes.
The company claims toe socks keep your toes and feet drier and, therefore warmer than other traditional socks! Like Darn Tough, this brand also makes socks specifically for SWAT Teams and professional law enforcement departments. The brand uses both synthetic fibers and merino wool to create durable, warm and long-lasting socks.
This brand also offers three different weights of socks to match your activity level. A thinner sock for a more active lifestyle and a thicker, heavier sock for more cushion and support for other activities. Injinji also makes compression socks which can promote circulation for those who constantly suffer from cold toes!
Wigwam wins the award for the brand making socks for more than a century. Yep, you read that right. Wigwam first started making socks in 1905 in Wisconsin. Clearly, the founders of this company knew what they were doing because this brand continues to dominate the sock industry. Wigwam makes socks in a variety of styles and fibers.
While the company makes cotton socks for certain applications, it also has a wide variety of merino wool and synthetic blend sock that will be sure to keep your feet warm and dry on the coldest of days.
Wigwam also makes warm socks for the tiniest feet in your family! With a wide selection of kids socks, you won’t have to worry about their toes getting cold no matter what Mother Nature has in store. Wigwam makes it easy to find the right pair of socks for your activity- it has specifically designed warm winter socks for hunting, hiking, snow sports and those who work outside in the bitter cold. Wigwam is also budget friendly. For under $20 you can buy a nice quality pair of warm winter socks!
Fox River is brand with a focus on designing and making the best socks for outdoor activities. Like Wigwam, Fox River has been making high quality warm winter socks for a century. The company first started making socks in 1900. Wowza! That’s a long time. Fox River has a following too- not only because it makes some of the warmest socks around, but because of its support to our troops.
The company sends its socks overseas and around the world- wherever U.S. troops are stationed. If you purchase a pair of socks, it will pay for the shipping. Soldiers love Fox River socks because they’re durable, high quality, comfortable and keep moisture away.
Fox River uses wool, Tencel, nylon, polyester and silk to create its one of kind socks. This unique combination is what makes a pair of Fox River socks work wonders at keeping feet warm and dry. The company also makes compression socks to promote circulation and fight fatigue. While you always want a pair of socks that will keep moisture away, you always want to be comfortable.
With a pair of Fox River socks, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to be warm- you get it all! Fox River is also budget friendly- so you can order a couple pairs to keep in your pack just in case you encounter a river or out-of-no-where blizzard. Plus, if a hiking buddy is suffering from cold feet, you can offer him a pair of Fox River socks and you’ll save the day.
Heat Holder is a leading brand in the sock industry. This company developed proprietary fabric blend that keeps your feet warm in the coldest of conditions. Heat Holder socks claim to be three times warmer than your average thermal sock. Say what? Yep. According to the company, its socks are the warmest on the market because of a “three stage process” it uses to carefully create each and every pair.
This process includes using a special yard, designed to hold in heat unlike anything else on the market today. This yarn is also breathable, which keep your feet from getting too hot! An extra-long loop on the yarn also holds onto heat better- which means your feet stay warm even when its -15 degrees outside.
Heat Holder also using a special brushing technique that “maximizes the amount of heat” held inside each sock! The company also embraces its goofy side, by creating really warm socks with Star Wars, mickey mouse and other super hero prints. I imagine these socks would be a hit for kids of all ages. Heat Holder also makes slippers to keep your feet warm when you’re off the mountain! No matter what you are doing, Heat Holder has you covered-literally! Plus, this brand is budget friendly! You don’t have to skimp in quality to find a nice, warm pair of socks at a reasonable price!
People Socks packs a punch when it comes to creating a high quality, affordable and really, really, really, really warm pair of socks. Did I mention People Socks are really warm? Okay. Just making sure! What makes them so warm? People Socks doesn’t skimp on the merino wool. In fact, People Socks have about 70 % merino wool in just about every pair it sells. The more wool, the warmer your feet are going to feel. But, this brand has somehow figured out how to master the art of adding more wool, but not making them bulky.
This is a big plus- especially if you don’t have room in your boots for bulky socks. Plus, People Socks are really comfortable and they’re designed to keep moisture away! People Socks have also figured out how to keep costs low and pass it along to the consumer. Get this….four pairs of People Socks will cost you $36. Yep. That’s just $9/pair. You can’t beat that price. People Socks are one of my favorite brands!
When it comes to socks, there are a lot of trusted brands setting industry standards. If you choose any brand I mentioned above, you’ll be sure to have warm, dry feet. If not, take advantage of the warranty programs. These companies stand behind its products and don’t want you left out in the cold! Happy shopping! What are your favorite sock brands?