The best ski socks will not only make great difference to your comfort level, but they will also help improve your overall performance out on the mountains. Here at The Adventure Junkies we’ve done our research and can suggest the highest performing ski socks this season to our readers. In addition, we will ensure that you understand the importance of this frequently overlooked, yet crucial part of winter gear.
We tailor the socks suggested in this piece according to optimum comfort, design and performance — all while offering something unique that makes them stand out in different capacities for any lover of the mountains and snow sports. We also provide a list below of each product’s features and why they are important before considering any ski sock purchase.
For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Long Underwear for Skiing.
Quick Answer - The Best Ski Socks
- Smartwool PhD Medium
- Wigwam Snow Sirocco
- Smartwool Performance Zero Cushion OTC
- Darn Tough ThermoLite OTC
- Dissent Ski GFX
- Icebreaker Plus Med
- Smartwool Ultralight
- Pure Athlete High Performance
- Darn Tough Vermont 5 OTC
- Zensah Infrared
Comparison Table - The Best Ski SocksFor the best experience turn your device horizontally
|Smartwool PhD Medium||Overall||Medium||No||$$||5.0||Read Review|
|Wigwam Snow Sirocco||Budget||Medium||No||$||4.0||Read Review|
|Smartwool Performance Zero Cushion OTC||Ultralight||Lightweight||No||$$||4.7||Read Review|
|Darn Tough ThermoLite OTC||High quality synthetic||Medium||No||$||4.5||Read Review|
|Dissent Ski GFX||Compression||Medium||No||$$$||4.4||Read Review|
|Icebreaker Plus Med||Overall||Medium||No||$$||4.8||Read Review|
|Smartwool Ultralight||Budget||Ultralight||No||$||4.3||Read Review|
|Pure Athlete High Performance||Overall||Lightweight||No||$$||4.4||Read Review|
|Darn Tough Vermont 5 OTC||Overall||Medium||No||$$||4.7||Read Review|
|Zensah Infrared||Comfort||Medium||Yes||$$||3.8||Read Review|
Reviews - The Best Ski Socks
Smartwool PhD Medium
BEST FOR RIDERS LOOKING FOR AN ALL ROUND HIGH PERFORMING SKI SOCK
KEY FEATURES: Uses two types of elastic to keep the sock in place
PROS: Mesh venting provides a unique breathable design, while maintaining anatomic fit
CONS: Light cushioned shin won’t provide the most protection
Wigwam Snow Sirocco
BEST FOR BLUEBIRD CONDITIONS WHEN THERE IS LESS POWDER ON PISTE
KEY FEATURES: Comfortable due to wool design
PROS: Budget Friendly at an affordable price
CONS: Slips and folds easily which can cause blisters
Smartwool Performance Zero Cushion OTC
BEST FOR ULTRALIGHT SKIERS
KEY FEATURES: Shred Shield™ technology helps reduce the wear caused by your toes, body-mapped mesh zones enhance breathability in areas where heat is prone to build up
CONS: Poorer durability compared to thicker and heavier weight alternatives
Darn Tough ThermoLite OTC
BEST SYNTHETIC CHOICE
KEY FEATURES: Guaranteed for Life, undetectable seam fusion
PROS: Ventilation system
CONS: Cushioning underfoot is a bit prone to moisture retention
Dissent Ski GFX
BEST COMPRESSION-STYLE SKI SOCK
KEY FEATURES: Memory and shape retention, seamless toe
PROS: Touring-specific compression design
Icebreaker Plus Med
BEST FOR ALL DAY MOUNTAIN USE, WITH NO STINK AT THE END OF THE DAY
KEY FEATURES: Designed with odor resistant materials
PROS: Cushioned shin and toes
CONS: Extra padding and thickness create a tighter, less flexible fit
BEST FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE SKI SOCK FOR AN AFFORDABLE PRICE
KEY FEATURES: Made with two elastic to keep the sock perfectly in place during heavy use
PROS: Top performers in the ultralight range of socks, designed for the maximum anatomical fit
CONS: Ultralight cushion does not offer the best protection against boot sores
Pure Athlete High Performance
BEST FOR WARMTH IN THE COLDEST CONDITIONS
KEY FEATURES: Fusion of two fabrics creates a constant enhanced warmth
PROS: Arch support to reduce fatigue in this area
CONS: Not as flexible due to focused protection areas
Darn Tough Vermont 5 OTC
BEST FOR THICK SOCKS TO PROTECT YOU IN HEAVY SNOW CONDITIONS
KEY FEATURES: Created in temperatures of -40 degrees in Vermont with a focus on warmth
PROS: Lifetime Guarantee, if sock fails within first 8 weeks they will replace
CONS: They will create too much heat on warmer days
BEST FOR A NATURAL HEATED SKI SOCK, NO APPS OR BATTERIES REQUIRED
KEY FEATURES: Designed with materials that produce natural infrared rays to create warmth
PROS: A far more affordable heated sock design
CONS: While more affordable than Lenz’s heated sock, they are still quite expensive
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKI SOCKS
Many ski socks are now designed with compression in mind, squeezing the important muscles to improve comfort and performance. The purpose of any high-performance ski sock is to improve your blood flow and feet circulation. This not only improves warmth but will also reduce muscle fatigue. Typically compression ski socks will be made using nylon to create a tight fit. The only downside to consider is that compression socks do not have the same soft texture as regular ski socks. This is due to their intensive design.
As all seasoned mountain adventurers can tell you, ventilation is vital to feeling comfortable. Many ski salopettes and jackets are made with zippers to increase the cool air flow to your body when exercising. Well made ski socks will also consider this factor. Feet can get wet and form blisters and sores from snow getting into your ski and snowboarding boots, they also get wet from your feet sweating in socks that are too thick. Aim to find socks that feel breathable.
Shin padding is the extra form of defence against the common red marks and bruises that form on your shins after a day out on the mountains. No matter the skis or snowboards you select, and regardless of the quality of the bindings, all riders experience these red marks without proper protection and padding. Finding socks that offer a layer of thin padding incorporated in their design will provide this prevention to discomfort, that can ultimately affect your ability to stay out of the slopes as long as you want to.
While most people would assume a thick sock would result in the warmest feet, different types of wool and textiles can effect this norm. Compression plays a big factor, with some brands of compression socks proving warmer results than their thick designed competitors. Another new type of ski sock is the heated ski sock, designed to heat the feet via a controllable app that works effectively on command, like a foot or handwarmer. When it comes to factors to look for when buying gear, keeping your feet warm in icy conditions will always be essential.
An ideal ski sock is both above your ski boot, but below your knee. If your sock is too long, it will make folds around your knee joints. A short sock will allow your boots to wear on your skin. Both factors will cause some rather uncomfortable riding.
While the majority of ski socks are sold as unisex, you can find women’s ski socks with unique features to support the female anatomy. For example, the sock is typically shorter due to the difference in leg length between genders. When it comes to looking for a comfortable fit all around, considering the socks specific gender can prove beneficial.
Ski socks will mainly be labelled in one of three common categories. These are: ultralight, lightweight and midweight.
Ultralight socks are becoming increasingly popular on the mountains. Socks have been getting thinner and thinner over the decades, with the aim to create breathable attire with a perfect anatomical fit that will additionally fit perfectly into your boots. Ultralight brands offer a tight compression with the aim to increase your ankle stability, enabling you to tackle the trickiest of on or off piste endeavours. Be it in thick powder or icy moguls.
Purchasing a lightweight ski sock is ideal for the rider who wants to upgrade his gear, without breaking the bank. All the technology and design that goes into ultralight socks results in an expensive product with the majority of brands. Lightweight socks offer the same design considerations but with a slightly thicker approach and not as much focus on the anatomical benefits. This typically will result in a more affordable ski sock.
Mid-weight socks are the thickest of the three, with extra cushioning provided for riders who are keen to log in hours on the mountain but want the most protection to their lower leg and feet. Rather than just the shin, mid-weight socks often offer a cushioned padding to the forefeet and heels as well. These are also great for freestyle riders for suffer many knocks and bruises while learning and mastering new manoeuvres.
As outlined in all of the features above, the overall comfort and fit of your ski socks are crucial. Additional factors can include the thickness of the sock and its mobility. Finding a compression sock can be great for feeling warm and improving blood flow but if it is so tight you can’t move your ankle freely it may be time to consider another type of ski sock.
TYPE OF SOCK
The most basic and budget-friendly ski and snowboard sock available is the tube sock. These socks are elasticated to prevent them falling down your legs, offering a more simple comfort. The main downside of these socks is that they won’t feature a specific design for each individual left or right foot. They rarely offer a gender specific design trait such as a shorter leg length. However, they are arguably the best choice for someone looking to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, who isn’t looking to practice regularly.
Ergonomic socks are the socks that regularly include many of the features listed above. Not only are they shaped anatomically, but they will feature a specific design for each foot for ultimate comfort and performance. They have specific shaping took into consideration around the arch, instep, toes and ankle. These are the socks to choose if you are seeking the potential for a big difference in your ability on the slopes.