I understand. In summer, I’m always hiking around the high mountains in the Alps and it’s all about anti-blister socks because of the heat.
But in winter (in my advancing age) it’s harder and harder to keep my feet from turning into ice blocks and I am sick of numb feet (even in temperate climates).
| TL;DR From Author and Physical Therapist
Feel at peace out in the cold. Experience the best value for money with the Darn Tough Winter Hiking Socks. They might just be the ticket to warm toes.
It’s not just about the socks though. Before we delve into our top picks, here are some quick tips for toasty toes on the trail:
- Keep Your Core Warm: A warm core means better blood flow to your feet.
- Right Boot Fit: Boots should be snug but not tight to avoid restricting circulation.
- Wool Socks: Always opt for wool socks for their insulation and moisture-wicking properties.
- Liner Socks: For extra cold days, liner socks can provide additional warmth.
- Change When Needed: Swap out wet or sweaty socks to stay dry and avoid the cold.
- Heated Options: Consider heated insoles or electric socks for those particularly frigid hikes.
- Gaiters: Wear gaiters over boots to keep out snow and water.
Keep reading as we reveal the best winter hiking socks that blend warmth, comfort, and functionality for your cold-weather expeditions.
Hiking socks really should include wool if you want to avoid sweat that can cause eventual frozen toes.
What You Will Learn
👉 Quick Verdict for Best Winter Hiking Socks
Check out this quick list of our top picks if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Best overall: Darn Tough Over the Calf Extra Cushion
- Best on a budget: Unisex Merino Performance Discover
- Best electric heated: Venustas Heated
- Best odor control: Silverlight Socks
- Heavyweight with Full Cushion
- True Seamless technology
- Over the Calf Height
- Composition - Knit with 79% Merino Wool 19% Nylon 2% Lycra Spandex.
- Guaranteed for Life - If these socks wear, tear, or develop holes, Darn Tough will replace them. No strings. No conditions.
What we liked: Made in the USA - Every pair of socks is knit in Vermont - the perfect testing ground for the finest premium all weather performance socks.
- Lifetime warranty
- Not in wide sizes
- Moisture-Resistant and Breathable
- Ultra-fine composite nano-metal heating wires
- Equipped with two 2000mAh 7.4V rechareable batteries
- Adjustable Heating Levels
- Durable and Easy to Maintain
What we liked: These socks are for extreme temperatures, or in situations where you have to stop moving during your hike. Examples like hunting, birdwatching or even riding a quad or motorcycle to get to or from your hike would be worthwhile for the price.
- 11 hours run time
- 3 levels of heat
- Very warm
- May cause sweating
- Good to use a liner
What we liked: Fox River sock liners help control your foot temperature and add comfort with soft smooth fibers And thanks to the barrier they create you can finally kiss those painful blisters goodbye as you enjoy an active lifestyle and keep your feet dry on your winter hikes.
- Thin layer
- You need 2 socks for this to work
- Last 2-3 seasons
Morgan’s Video to Prevent Blisters
9 best warm hiking socks
Remember, you can always double up on socks with hiking sock liners to help your feet stay warm.
1. Best Overall: Darn Tough Over the Calf Socks
If you’re seeking a durable, comfortable sock for cold-weather hikes, the Darn Tough Winter socks is a standout choice that balances warmth and support.
- Crafted from a blend including Merino wool for warmth and breathability
- Over-the-calf length provides extra protection and stays put during vigorous activity
- The lifetime warranty reflects high durability and quality
- May not be as warm as some specialized thermal socks
- Priced higher than average, reflecting its premium build
- Some users may find the fit different from other Darn Tough styles
👉 Darn Tough Winter Socks Review
On a recent icy trek, I was genuinely impressed with the Darn Tough Hojo socks. They hugged my calves without slipping, providing a secure fit that’s crucial when navigating uneven terrain. The cushioning is evident the moment you pull them on, offering a plush, supportive feeling underfoot that persists mile after mile.
These socks manage to keep feet at a pleasant temperature, a testament to the Merino wool construction which is adept at regulating heat. Even when the chill seeped into every layer, my feet remained surprisingly comfortable inside my boots.
The Darn Tough reputation for producing tough-as-nails socks holds true – after considerable use, they still look almost new.
They have a lifetime guarantee! It’s an investment in future hiking comfort. For those who prioritize foot care and quality, the socks are definitely worth considering.
2. Best on a Budget: ThermoWave Unisex Merino Performance Discover Socks
If you’re on the lookout for a pair of socks that deliver excellent performance without breaking the bank, the ThermoWave Unisex Merino Performance Discover Socks offer a fantastic “bang for your buck.”
- Made with a blend of merino wool and synthetic fibers, these socks provide a great balance of warmth, moisture management, and durability.
- Reinforced heel and toe areas enhance the longevity of the socks, making them a smart investment.
- The price point is competitive, offering the benefits of merino wool at a more affordable cost.
- The blend of synthetic materials may not provide the same level of natural comfort as 100% merino wool options.
- Limited color options might not cater to all personal preferences.
- They may not have the brand recognition of more expensive alternatives, which could be a factor for brand-conscious consumers.
The ThermoWave Unisex Merino Performance Discover Socks strike an impressive balance between quality and affordability.
The reinforced areas in the heel and toe are a thoughtful touch that promises to extend the life of these socks.
Although they may not offer the pure luxury of higher-end, 100% merino wool socks, and the style options are somewhat limited, the ThermoWave Unisex Merino Performance Discover Socks are an excellent value.
They provide many of the same benefits as pricier competitors, making them an ideal “bang for your buck” purchase for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone in need of reliable, comfortable socks.
3. Best Electric Heated: Venustas Electric Heated Socks
You should consider these Venustas socks for their warmth and innovative heating technology, perfect for those long winter expeditions.
- Even heating throughout the sole keeps your feet toasty.
- Customizable temperature levels cater to your comfort preference.
- Long battery life means fewer interruptions on your hikes.
- It might feel tight around the calf for some users.
- The higher price point compared to standard thermal socks.
- Potential bulkiness from the battery packs can take a bit of getting used to.
👉 Venustas Heated Socks Review
Stepping into the Venustas Heated Socks feels like a gentle hug for your feet. The warmth spreads evenly, banishing the nip of the harsh winter air as you traverse frosty trails. Their moisture-wicking abilities keep your feet dry, which is paramount when covering long distances in the cold.
Adjusting the heat settings on the go is a breeze, allowing you to adapt to changing conditions without skipping a beat.
The resilience of these socks truly shines when freshened up after a rigorous trek. They maintain their integrity and heating capabilities even after multiple washes, ensuring that your investment lasts through many adventures.
The batteries tuck away discreetly, and though at first, you may notice their presence, soon you barely remember they are there, such is the comfort and freedom of movement offered.
4. Best for Hunters: Darn Tough Hunting Socks
Equip your feet with the Darn Tough Hunting Socks for unparalleled comfort and durability on your outdoor ventures.
- Superior cushioning in shins and soles
- Maintains warmth and dryness effectively
- Impressively durable even after multiple washes
- Higher price point can be prohibitive
- Some may find them a bit tight around the foot
- Consistency in comfort may vary for extremely cold conditions
When you’re trudging through rugged terrain, you’ll appreciate the plush cushioning that Darn Tough provides around the shin and underfoot. Inside your boots, every step feels supported, making those long hikes considerably more bearable.
The socks’ composition of Merino wool, nylon, and Lycra spandex ensures your feet stay toasty and dry, which is essential for maintaining focus on your trail or hunt. Unlike some other socks that might leave you with a damp feeling after hours of wear, these keep moisture at bay commendably.
Longevity is a highlight as well. Even after subjecting them to a season’s worth of washing cycles, they retain their shape and cushion. It’s evident these socks are made to last, allowing you to invest with confidence in a product that won’t wear out after just a few outdoor adventures.
5. Best Odor Control: Silverlight Hiking Socks
If you’re venturing into the cold outdoors and need a sock that will keep your feet warm, dry, and odor-free, the Silverlight Socks are an exceptional choice, especially for winter hiking.
- The socks are woven with silver yarn, a natural antimicrobial agent, providing superior odor control by eliminating the bacteria that cause bad smells.
- Silver’s thermal conductivity helps to regulate temperature, keeping feet warm in cold conditions and cool in the heat, making them ideal for winter hikes.
- The moisture-wicking technology is crucial in winter conditions, as it keeps feet dry from sweat, a key factor in maintaining warmth.
- The thickness and cushioning designed for winter hikes might be too much for mild conditions or indoor use.
- Limited color and style options may not cater to all personal tastes.
- They may be over-engineered for those who do not require the high-level performance features for casual or everyday wear.
👉 Silverlight Hiking Socks Review
The Silverlight Socks stand out as a top-tier option for winter hiking, thanks to the inclusion of silver yarn within their fabric. This innovative feature offers unmatched odor control by neutralizing bacteria, which is especially beneficial on multi-day treks where washing facilities are scarce.
The well-placed cushioning provides both comfort and extra insulation, which is vital for long hours spent in chilly environments. The moisture-wicking ability of the socks ensures that any internal dampness from sweat is quickly drawn away from the skin, reducing the risk of cold feet.
6. Best Liners: FoxRiver Wick Dry Socks
Your winter treks just got more comfortable with FoxRiver Wick Dry Socks, ensuring your feet stay dry and blister-free on icy trails.
- Superior moisture-wicking ability
- Lightweight, allowing for easy pairing with thicker socks
- Durable and ideal for extensive outdoor use
- May be thinner than expected for some users
- Limited cushioning in sole area
- Reported cases of wear after a few days for intense hikes
Trekking through the frosty backcountry, you’ll appreciate the way these socks draw sweat away from your feet, courtesy of the Coolmax Polyester blend. This fabric works tirelessly to keep your feet dry, warding off the cold that wetness can bring and banishing the damp squelch you dread during an ascent.
Pairing these liners with your favorite wool socks on a chilly winter morning, you’ll notice the added benefit of a second skin, one that makes slipping into hiking boots smoother. The snug fit and seamless design of these socks translate to comfort, minimizing the risk of hotspots as you pound the snowy paths.
When it comes to durability, these liners are steadfast companions on your expeditions. They hold up admirably against the rigors of the trail, but like all gear subjected to harsh conditions, they may show signs of wear. It’s best to pack an extra pair when heading out on longer treks to ensure you’re prepared for any situation.
7. Best Merino Quality: Arc’teryx Merino Wool Grotto Ski Sock
If you’re gearing up for a day on the slopes and in need of a sock that provides warmth, comfort, and support, the Arc’teryx Merino Wool Grotto Ski Sock is a top-tier choice for skiers and snowboarders alike.
- Constructed with a high-quality blend of merino wool and elastane, these socks offer the natural warmth and moisture-wicking capabilities of wool with added stretch for a snug fit.
- Merino wool’s natural odor resistance ensures your feet stay fresh, even after intense activity.
- The over-the-calf height design offers full coverage and warmth for the lower leg, which is ideal for alpine conditions.
- As with most merino wool products, these ski socks may come with a higher price tag compared to synthetic alternatives.
- The specialized design and cushioning may not be as versatile for other activities outside of skiing or snowboarding.
- Limited color options may not satisfy those looking for a wide variety of styles.
The Arc’teryx Merino Wool Grotto Ski Sock is specifically engineered for winter sports enthusiasts and hikers. The merino wool blend not only provides excellent insulation and moisture management but also maintains a comfortable microclimate around the foot. The added elastane ensures the socks stay in place, preventing bunching and slipping inside your boots.
The over-the-calf height gives full coverage, which is essential for retaining warmth in snowy conditions. The attention to detail with flat seam toes also contributes to an irritation-free experience, which can be crucial during active wear.
8. Best Toe Socks: Injinji Trail Crew Socks
If you long for comfortable hikes and dry feet, these Injinji socks could be your next trail companions.
- Enhanced toe separation to reduce blisters
- Moisture-wicking Coolmax® fabric keeps feet dry
- Midweight cushioning provides additional comfort
- Higher price point than some traditional socks
- May take time to adjust to individual toe slots
- Limited style and color options available
👉 Injinji Socks Review
Slipping into the Injinji Trail Crew Socks, you might notice immediately how each toe is cradled individually. This innovative design aims to prevent blisters that can occur from toes rubbing together on those long, challenging treks.
The moisture-wicking capability of these socks, thanks to their Coolmax® construction, is a boon for hikers who are accustomed to damp feet after hours on the trail.
The midweight cushioning of the Injinji socks offers a balance between warmth and padding without the bulk, which I find just right for varied hiking conditions. Plus, having Lycra® integrated into the fabric ensures the socks stretch and move with your feet, providing a snug, comfortable fit.
9. Warmest Hiking Socks: Smartwool Classic Hike Socks
Your feet will thank you for the warmth and cushion these Smartwool hiking socks provide during your winter adventures.
- Exceptional warmth in cold conditions
- Lasting comfort on lengthy treks
- Durability that endures through numerous washes
- Premium pricing may not fit all budgets
- May not suit non-footwear indoor use
- Limited breathability in milder temperatures
👉 Smartwool Hiking Socks Review
These Smartwool Classic Hike socks offer full cushioning that cradles your feet in comfort as you navigate frosty trails. The Merino blend expertly balances insulation and moisture-wicking, ensuring your feet remain dry and toasty. The snug fit and ample support mean you’re less likely to have those distracting sock adjustments interrupting your hike.
After a vigorous ascent, you’ll notice the incredible difference that quality socks make. No annoying slippage or bunching, just consistent protection and coziness mile after mile. They’ve recently been my go-to during a snowy trek, and the difference was palpable.
Post-hike, tossing them in the wash doesn’t result in any frays or shrinkage, a testament to their durability. Although they are an investment, your feet experience the benefits with every step you take outdoors in the cold. However, warmth comes with a trade-off; on warmer winter days, your feet might feel overly insulated.
Your winter hikes can transform from endurance tests to serene outings with gear that works as hard as you do, starting with what you wear on your feet. Smartwool has crafted a sock that meets the call of the wild—and the call for warm feet.
Winter Hiking Socks Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing the best winter hiking socks, there are a few key features you should look for. Here are some factors to consider when making your purchase:
Are winter hiking socks worth it?
Yes, for most people that get cold feet in winter but aren’t tackling extreme wet and cold environments. When I say extreme….sub zero. Your shoes will make a difference too and how long you depend to stop for some palinka (or other delicious drinks) on the hike.
Features to watch out for:
- wicking potential
- fit and support
Keep reading to learn about the coolest off-the-beaten path hikes in Europe that combine good food, Nature and serious elevation.
The material of your socks is an important consideration as you don’t want to get frostbite. Look for socks made from materials that are warm, moisture-wicking, and breathable.
Merino wool is a popular choice for winter hiking socks as it is warm, soft, and naturally moisture-wicking.
Other materials to consider include synthetic blends, such as nylon or polyester, which are also designed to wick moisture away from your skin.
The thickness of your socks will depend on the weather conditions you will be hiking in. If you are hiking in extremely cold temperatures, you may want to opt for thicker socks to provide additional insulation.
However, if you are hiking in milder conditions, thinner socks may be more appropriate.
A good fit is essential for any hiking sock. Look for socks that are designed to fit snugly without being too tight. Socks that are too loose can bunch up and cause blisters, while socks that are too tight can restrict circulation.
Cushioning is another important factor to consider when choosing winter hiking socks. Look for socks with extra padding in the heel and toe areas, which can help absorb shock and provide additional comfort on long hikes.
Finally, consider the durability of your socks. Look for socks that are designed to withstand the wear and tear of hiking, with reinforced stitching and durable materials that can stand up to the elements.
Let’s face it, you pay for what you get. You’ve got many options, but if you’re really interested in performance I highly recommend you consider this one.
- Heavyweight with Full Cushion - High density cushioning throughout the entire sock for full on comfort and performance.
- The most comfortable and warm option Darn Tough offers. True Seamless technology allows for an undetectable seam fusion for an ultra-smooth, invisible feel.
- Over the Calf Height - The name says it all. The ultimate height for keeping the outside—out.
- Knit with 79% Merino Wool 19% Nylon 2% Lycra Spandex.
- The fast action wicking pulls moisture away from skin, so no more sweaty, stinky socks.
- Guaranteed for Life - If these socks wear, tear, or develop holes, Darn Tough will replace them. No strings. No conditions.
- Made in the USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the warmest materials for winter hiking socks?
Some of the warmest materials for winter hiking socks include wool, synthetic materials, and blends of the two. Wool is a natural insulator and can keep your feet warm even when wet. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are also good at retaining heat and wicking away moisture.
Are there any specific brands of hiking socks that are best for winter weather?
There are several brands of hiking socks that are known for their quality and warmth, including Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Silverlight. However, the best brand for you will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
What features should I look for in winter hiking socks?
When choosing winter hiking socks, look for socks that are made from warm and moisture-wicking materials, have a snug fit, and provide ample cushioning and support. Socks with reinforced heels and toes can also help prevent blisters and prolong the life of the socks.
Can wool socks help prevent blisters while winter hiking?
Wool socks can help prevent blisters while winter hiking by wicking away moisture and keeping your feet dry. Dry feet are less prone to blisters than wet feet. Additionally, wool socks provide cushioning and support, which can reduce friction and pressure on your feet.
What is the difference between merino wool and regular wool hiking socks?
Merino wool is a specific type of wool that comes from Merino sheep. It is known for being soft, lightweight, and moisture-wicking. Regular wool can come from a variety of sheep breeds and may not have the same properties as Merino wool. Merino wool hiking socks are often more expensive than regular wool hiking socks, but they offer superior performance.
Do hiking socks for women differ from those for men in terms of warmth?
In general, hiking socks for women and men do not differ in terms of warmth. However, women’s socks may be designed with a different fit and cushioning to accommodate the shape and size of women’s feet. It’s important to choose socks that fit well and provide ample cushioning and support, regardless of gender.
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Discover gear that elevates your outdoor adventures. As a physical therapist, I’ve curated product comparisons to enhance safety and enjoyment, perfect for beginners or those with weary knees.
Physical Therapist Curated Gear Guides for Hikers & Skiers
- 🧎 Light your way on the ascent (and don’t trip) with my : List of the Best Headlamps for Backpacking and Hiking
- 🌳 Make the downhills stop hurting and hike with more confidence My Detailed Guide on How to Prevent Blisters
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- ❄️ Get around in cold weather with a warm, yet lightweight down embrace with : The Best Down Jackets for Mountaineering and Hiking
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We know finding trustworthy advice can be tough. As a physical therapist, avid hut-to-hut hiker, skier, and mother, I’m always on the lookout for gear that enhances comfort and enjoyment in the great outdoors, all while grounded in scientific principles. That’s the inspiration behind Crave the Planet.
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Warm toes, warm heart! I hope this list of the best winter hiking socks helps you prepare for your next adventure.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.