The Best Winter Socks for Your Cold-Weather Workouts

Stay toasty in the Smartwool Cable II Crew Socks

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No winter gear collection is complete without a cozy pair of socks. Whether your plans include hiking through snow, brisk walks around your neighborhood, or spending as much time indoors as possible, you need a pair of socks that will keep you—and your feet—warm and comfortable.

Reviewed & Approved

The soft wool and anti-microbial properties of the Smartwool Cable II Crew Socks make them a top choice for warmth. The Smartwool Heathered Rib Socks are a durable blend of wool and nylon, making them another good choice.

“Since our feet are the furthest body part from our heart, they receive the least circulation and tend to chill quickly,” says Dr. Rob Conenello, DPM, founder and podiatrist at Orangetown Podiatry.

When shopping for winter socks, you should stay away from pure cotton fabrics, which may hold moisture and keep your feet wet. Also consider whether the socks are long enough to keep your legs warm. When choosing winter socks for this roundup, we prioritized socks made from winter-friendly materials like wool, water-repellent synthetics, or a blend of the two. We also considered the sock style like ankle, crew or knee-high, and available sizes, and colors.

Here are the best winter socks on the market.

Best Women's Overall : Smartwool Cable II Crew Sock

4.5
Smartwool Cable II Crew Sock

REI

Pros
  • Soft, stretchy, and warm

  • Antimicrobial and moisture-wicking

  • Durable, reinforced toe

Cons
  • May slide down your legs

  • May shrink if machine-dried

Soft, sleek, and cozy, Smartwool’s Cable II Socks tick all the boxes for our best overall selection. The cable-knit socks are crafted from a blend of soft merino wool and stretchy synthetic fibers (like nylon and elastane). That combination makes them a particularly comfortable pick. Thanks to the merino wool, you can expect plenty of cozy warmth. Meanwhile, the synthetic fibers will lend the socks some stretch, so you can flexibly move around.

You may be tempted to wear the socks every day and since they’re designed to hold up to wear and tear, you actually can. Each sock has a reinforced toe, which promises to cut down on tears and snags. And those stretchy synthetic fibers we mentioned earlier should help the socks hold their shape over time—wear after wear, and wash after wash. Bonus: The merino wool helps mask stink.

The classic crew socks are available in three different sizes and seven different colors. So if you wanted to, you could snag a different pair for every day of the week.

Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: Seven | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Elastane

Best Men's Overall : Smartwool Heathered Rib Socks

Smartwool Heathered Rib Socks

REI

Pros
  • Soft, stretchy, and warm

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking

  • Cushioned for comfort

Cons
  • May slide down your legs

  • May run small

Smartwool’s Heathered Rib Socks deserve a spot in your sock drawer. The super-soft socks are crafted from a blend of merino wool, nylon, and a touch of elastane. So you can expect them to feel incredibly warm and cozy—but durable and stretchy, too. This combination makes the socks a great pick for everyday wear: They’re warm, but not uncomfortably thick or tight.

Even better, the socks should also feel pretty breathable. And they promise to wick sweat every time you wear them. This means that in addition to keeping your feet warm, the socks should keep them feeling fresh, too. Unsurprisingly, that kind of balance can be tough to find in a pair of winter socks. (Many over-index on coziness—and under-index on breathability.) But if rave reviews are any indication, Smartwool has mastered the art of temperature management.

The socks are currently available in three standard sizes and five neutral colors, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from as you shop. Snag them in a sleek black, soft charcoal, or dark brown, and get ready to wear them any time it’s cold out.

Sizes: Medium, large, XL | Color Options: Five | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Elastane

Best Unisex: L.L. Bean Adults' Merino Wool Ragg Sock

LL Bean Ragg Socks

 Courtesy of LL Bean 

Pros
  • Thick, cozy, and warm

  • Soft and scratch-free

  • Washing machine- and dryer-friendly

Cons
  • May feel too tight to some

  • May develop holes with wear

Searching for a set of winter socks that are thick, cozy, and ridiculously warm? L.L.Bean has you covered. The brand’s Merino Wool Ragg Socks are the kind of thing you dream of slipping your feet into on a cold winter’s day. 

The heavy socks are crafted from three classic materials: merino wool, stretch nylon, and Lyrcra elastane. The thick merino wool should offer plenty of cozy warmth. And since it promises to be itch-free, you shouldn’t have to deal with that rough, scratchy feeling so many of us associate with heavy winter or wool socks. While the wool lends the socks their signature warmth, the nylon and elastane should make them feel a little stretchy. These flexible fibers should give your toes plenty of wiggle room. And they should make the socks more durable, too.

Because convenience counts for a lot, the socks are machine-washable and dryer-friendly, so you can toss them in the laundry after every wear. The socks are also available in four standard sizes and eight different colorways, and they’re exclusively sold in packs of two.

Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL | Color Options: Eight | Quantity Per Purchase: Two pairs | Materials: Merino wool, Stretch nylon, Lycra elastane

Best Budget: Free Yoka Fuzzy Cozy Socks

Free Yoka Fuzzy Cozy Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Soft and stretchy

  • Available in packs of five or six pairs

Cons
  • Best used as house socks

  • One-size-fits-all

Free Yoka makes it easy to stock up on cozy socks without breaking the bank. The brand’s Fuzzy Socks Set comes with five to six pairs of cozy socks, depending on how many you decide to buy. And since the entire set costs less than what you’d spend on a single pair of socks elsewhere, you can rest assured knowing you’re scoring a deal.

Crafted from a plush polyester blend, the socks should feel incredibly soft. And since 2 percent of that blend is made up of spandex, the socks should also be stretchy enough to comfortably move around in. This combination makes the socks a great pick for everyday use, though they’re better for wearing around the house than out of it.

To keep your spirits up, the socks are exclusively available in fun colors and patterns. So if you’re looking for versatile socks that you could pair with any outfit, you should probably keep an eye out for a different set. But if you’re after a set of socks that are equal parts cozy, fun, and budget-friendly, Free Yoka’s Fuzzy Socks Set is sure to deliver.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all (women’s 6–10) | Color Options: 12 | Quantity Per Purchase: Five to six pairs | Materials: Polyester and Spandex

Best for Running: Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew

4.6
Smartwool PhD® Run Cold Weather Mid Crew

Courtesy of Smartwool

Pros
  • Cozy but low-profile

  • Ventilated for breathability

  • Should resist slipping and bunching

Cons
  • May not be tight enough for some

  • Not as warm as some thicker options

Smartwool’s PhD Run Cold Weather Socks are designed to do a couple of things. For starters, they should keep you warm—even on some of winter’s coldest days. Crafted from a merino wool blend, the socks should feel incredibly soft and cozy. And since they also contain nylon and elastane, they should be durable and stretchy enough to comfortably wear during your toughest workouts.

What sets the socks apart, though, is that they’re not just designed to be cozy—they’re designed to be cozy without being uncomfortably thick. The mid-crew socks should slide right under your running tights, lending warmth without adding bulk. And since they’re designed to stay securely in place as you run, you shouldn’t have to deal with annoying slipping or bunching.

Plus, Smartwool’s PhD Run Cold Weather Socks are thoughtfully designed to avoid feet from overheating. These socks come equipped with several ventilation zones, which should keep just enough air flowing to make sure your feet stay comfortable.

Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: Two | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Elastane

Best for Sleep: AND1 Cushion No Show Socks

AND1 Cushion No Show Socks

Walmart

Pros
  • Soft, stretchy, and warm

  • Cushioned for comfort

  • Washing machine- and dryer-friendly

Cons
  • May get too warm for some

  • Only available in 12-packs (no smaller quantities)

The winter socks you wear to sleep don’t need to be quite as warm as the winter socks you wear outside. Why? Depending on where you live, it’s probably a lot colder outside than it is inside your home. So all you really need is a pair of cozy socks that’ll make falling asleep at night a little easier.

Crafted from a thick polyester blend, the socks feel incredibly warm and cozy. And since they contain a touch of spandex, they’re fairly stretchy, too. Though elasticity may not be the first thing you look for in a pair of socks, it’s actually one of the things that makes this set so great. For starters, it means the socks feel flexible and comfortable. (No cramped toes here!) It also means your socks will stay snugly on your feet no matter how much tossing and turning you’re prone to at night.

The budget-friendly socks exclusively come in 12-packs, so they’re incredibly easy to stock up on. Snag the socks in white, gray, black, navy—or a mix of the three. Since the multipacks come in five different color variations, it’s pretty easy to mix and match.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Color Options: Five | Quantity Per Purchase: 12 pairs | Materials: Polyester and Spandex

What Our Testers Say

"As someone who owns many pairs of AND1 Cushion No Show Socks, I can assure you that these socks are up to the task of keeping your feet warm at night." — Lindsey Lanquist, Commerce Writer, and product tester

Best for Cycling: Specialized Merino Midweight Tall Sock

Specialized Merino Midweight Tall Sock

Mike's Bikes

Pros
  • Lined with terry padding for comfort

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Designed with minimal seams

Cons
  • Not as warm as some thicker options

Specialized is a best-in-class brand in the cycling space. So it should come as no surprise that they’ve created some of the best winter cycling socks around. The brand’s Merino Deep Winter Tall Logo Socks promise plenty of warmth and a sleek, exercise-friendly fit. In other words, they’re exactly the kind of thing you want on your feet during a cold-weather cycling jaunt.

Crafted from a blend of polyester and merino wool, the socks should feel incredibly soft and cozy. And since they’re lined with terry padding along the soles and ankles, they promise to keep your feet extra warm. What’s nice about these socks, though, is that they’re not particularly bulky. Specialized took care to keep them sleek enough for your cycling shoes. (Their flexible toe boxes, for example, are designed to wick moisture without any bulky padding.) The brand also made sure to keep irritating details—like seams—to a minimum. So the socks should feel as comfortable mid-workout as they feel when you first slip them on.

Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL | Color Options: Two | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool and Polyester

Best Compression: Bombas Merino Wool Compression Sock 3-Pack

Bombas Merino Wool Compression Sock 3-Pack

Bombas

Pros
  • Offer 15 to 20 mmHg of compression

  • Washing machine- and dryer-friendly

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Colors aren’t customizable

  • Only available in 3-packs (no smaller quantities)

Compression socks can be a great way to apply light pressure to your legs throughout the day. The only problem? Your go-to compression socks may not be very warm. Most compression socks are designed from lightweight materials, like nylon and spandex. And while these materials make the socks durable and stretchy, they may not translate to much cozy warmth. Thankfully, Bombas has crafted a set of compression socks made from soft merino wool. So you can finally score that set of cozy compression socks you’ve been dreaming of.

Bombas’ Merino Wool Compression Socks are crafted from 51 percent merino wool, 20 percent nylon, 19 percent polyester, and 10 percent elastane. In other words, they’re half cozy winter socks and half classic compression socks. The merino wool promises to feel soft and itch-free, keeping your legs warm without roughing them up. And the synthetic fibers should give you that stretchy, sturdy feel you’ve come to expect from compression socks.

The socks are designed to deliver 15 to 20 mmHg of compression. So they should be fairly tight, but still lightweight enough for everyday wear. Unfortunately, the socks are exclusively sold in three-packs, so you won’t be able to try out just one pair. But, hey, if you wear compression socks regularly, you’ll probably need more than one pair anyway.

Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: Three | Quantity Per Purchase: Three pairs | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Polyester, and Elastane

Best for Hiking: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock

Darn Tough Men's Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock

Bass Pro Shops

Pros
  • Soft, stretchy, and warm

  • Cushioned for comfort

  • Designed with minimal seams

Cons
  • May feel too tight for some

  • May get too warm for some

If you’re looking for some great winter hiking socks, Darn Tough’s Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks are sure to deliver. The fan-favorite socks are crafted from a blend of cozy merino wool, durable nylon, and stretchy spandex. So they should do a good job balancing all your winter hiking needs. The merino wool should keep your feet warm and comfortable, while the spandex gives them flexibility. Meanwhile, the nylon should ensure your socks hold up on grueling hikes—and it should make your socks a little stretchier, too.

On its own, this combination makes the socks great for hiking. But Darn Tough took things a step further—adding features that make the socks an even better find. For starters, the socks are lined with high-density padding, which promises to cushion your feet every time you take a step. And to help you cut down on irritation, the socks are designed with minimal seams. On top of that, Darn Tough shrink-treats the merino wool in its socks—so you shouldn’t have to worry about them shrinking.

The widely beloved socks are currently available in three standard sizes. And you can score them in eight different colorways.

Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: Eight | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Spandex

Best Electric: Autocastle Battery-Powered Heat Socks

Autocastle Battery-Powered Heat Socks

Electric Socks

Pros
  • Soft and stretchy

  • Offer three levels of warmth

  • Battery-operated design (Last up to 6.5 hours)

Cons
  • Only available in two sizes

  • Not knee-high (may be hard to wear under boots)

If normal socks just aren’t doing it for you, consider warming your feet with a pair of electric socks. For the uninitiated, electric socks are basically heating pads you can wear on your feet like ordinary socks. And if you’re in the market for a pair, Autocastle’s Battery Powered Heat Socks are some of the most popular electric socks around.

The calf-high socks are crafted from stretchy-soft cotton. At first glance, they look a lot like ordinary socks. But trigger the motor that sits inside each sock’s built-in pocket, and they’ll begin warming up. This control can be set to low, medium, or high—giving you the level of warmth you’re looking for. And when fully charged, it can heat for up to 6.5 hours. 

Since this motor is battery-powered, you won’t have to worry about plugging your socks in every time you want to use them. Instead, you can simply recharge them between uses. This means you should be able to comfortably and flexibly move around any time you wear the socks—even when they’re actively warming up your feet.

Sizes: Medium, large | Color Options: Four | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Cotton and Spandex

Best Thermal: Bymore Thermal Socks Set

Bymore Thermal Socks Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Stretchy and warm

  • Fluffy inner-lining

  • Moisture-wicking and breathable

Cons
  • May slide down your legs

  • Smaller size may run big

Thermal socks are a lot like classic winter socks, except they’re designed to be even thicker and even cozier. And Bymore’s Thermal Socks definitely fit this bill. The socks are crafted from ribbed acrylic on the outside, so they should feel soft and stretchy. And on the inside, they’re lined with fluffy synthetic fibers. This dual-layered design should make the socks particularly thick and warm. And thanks to their fuzzy inner lining, they should be pretty comfortable, too.

Though the socks were designed with warmth in mind, they shouldn’t overheat. They promise to balance insulation with breathability, letting just enough air in to keep you comfortable. The socks also promise to keep your feet fresh and dry—wicking moisture any time you work up a sweat.

The socks are currently available in two different size ranges and six different colors.

Sizes: 4–10, 9–13 | Color Options: Six | Quantity Per Purchase: Two pairs | Materials: Not specified

Best for Skiing: Smartwool Ski Full Cushion Over the Calf Socks

Smartwool PhD Ski Medium Socks

Courtesy of Back Country

Pros
  • Knee-high for extra warmth

  • Cushioned for comfort

  • Washing machine- and dryer-friendly

Cons
  • May develop holes with wear

  • May feel tight to some

When skiing, you don’t just need to keep your feet warm—you need to keep your legs warm, too. And Smartwool’s Ski Full Cushion Over The Calf Socks promise to get the job done. 

The socks are crafted from a cozy blend of 64 percent merino wool, 34 percent nylon, and 2 percent elastane. So they should feel warm enough to wear during the winter, and flexible enough to wear while being active—which is, of course, a great combination for skiing. Thanks to the nylon, the socks should also be pretty durable. Wear them during your most grueling runs—and don’t be afraid to toss them in the laundry when you’re done. 

To keep you comfortable, the socks are lined with padding and designed with minimal seams. The padding should lend your feet some extra warmth and comfort. And the minimal seams should help you cut down on irritation. (The less your ski boots have to rub up against, the better.) And since ski socks can get seriously sweaty, the socks are ventilated with a few mesh panels.

Ready to snag a pair of the socks? They’re currently available in four standard sizes and three versatile colorways—any of which would look great under your ski suit.

Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL | Color Options: Three | Quantity Per Purchase: One pair | Materials: Merino wool, Nylon, Elastane

Best Grip Socks: Daventry Ultra-Thick Grip Socks

Daventry Ultra-Thick Grip Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Plush and warm

  • Lined with grippy treads

  • Come in budget-friendly 3-packs

Cons
  • One-size-fits-all

  • Not quite like classic grip socks

Daventry’s Ultra-Thick Grip Socks are not your average grip socks. (And all it takes is one look to figure that out.) Traditional grip socks—which are typically used in barre workouts, Pilates workouts, and other studio classes—tend to be pretty low-profile. They’re strappy, open-toed, and lined with cutouts. And while they’re great for providing traction, they don’t tend to offer much warmth.

Daventry’s Ultra-Thick Grip Socks, on the other hand, look like a set of house socks. Crafted from a fluffy polyester-spandex blend, the socks are incredibly plush. But since their soles are lined with grippy rubber treads, it’s genuinely fair to call them grip socks.

Now, we’d be remiss to suggest that these replace your go-to grip socks. But they could serve as a substitute for them on a particularly chilly day. Daventry’s Ultra-Thick Grip Socks could also be a higher-traction alternative to house socks, giving you a little more grip than the other cozy options in your sock drawer.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Color Options: Four | Quantity Per Purchase: Three pairs | Materials: Polyester and Spandex

Final Verdict

Stretchy, durable, and cozy, Smartwool’s Cable II Socks (view at Dick's Sporting Goods) are perfect for regular winter wear. The socks are crafted from a blend of cozy merino wool, sturdy nylon, and soft polyester. And since they’re available in three different sizes and seven different colors, it shouldn’t be tough to find a pair worth adding to your sock drawer.

Smartwool’s Heathered Rib Socks (view at REI) are another great option. Made primarily from soft merino wool, the socks should be incredibly warm and cozy. But because that wool is blended with nylon and elastane, you can expect the socks to feel durable and stretchy, too. Available in three standard sizes and five neutral colors, the socks should make a versatile addition to your cold-weather wardrobe.

What to Look for in Winter Socks

Material

Winter socks can be made from a range of different materials. But you’ll typically find socks made from wool, synthetic fibers (like nylon, spandex, and polyester), or a blend of the two. You can expect the wool to make a pair of socks feel thicker and warmer, while the synthetic fibers make them stretchier and more comfortable to move around in. 

Typically, you’ll want to stay away from materials like pure cotton or even pure wool, which can collect and hold moisture. “When it comes to warm exercise socks, the most important rule that you should follow is no cotton,” Lauren Sheu, RRCA-certified running coach and founder of Running for Wellness, says. “Cotton absorbs sweat and will hold moisture.” Unsurprisingly, this can leave your feet feeling cold and uncomfortable. Extra moisture that doesn't evaporate can also be a leading cause of rubbing, which creates hotspots or blisters.

Fit

In order to get the most out of your winter socks, you need the socks to fit you right. And there are two factors worth considering as you assess fit. First, what size are the socks? Some socks come in shoe sizes, others come in more general sizes (like small, medium, and large), and others are one-size-fits-all. “The biggest mistake I have seen is people wearing ill-fitting socks,” Sheu says. “Your socks should have a snug fit, but not be too tight.” (She notes that loose or baggy socks may even cause blisters.)

After that, you’ll want to consider how thick the socks are, too. A pair of socks may fit your feet comfortably, but they may be too thick for your shoes. In order to strike the right balance between warmth and thickness, Colleen Quigley, Team USA track and field runner and 2016 Olympian, says she likes to wear medium-thickness socks during the winter. “I like a medium cushion sock for winter, because it helps with warmth, but isn’t so thick that your shoes are uncomfortable,” she says.

Silhouette

Socks come in many different silhouettes. Ankle socks stop just above or below your ankles, crew socks cover part of your calves, and knee-high socks run all the way to your knees. When shopping, consider which style of sock you find most comfortable. 

And think about what you’ll be wearing with the socks. For example, will you be pairing your winter socks with a pair of cropped leggings? Make sure your socks are long enough to cover any skin your leggings don’t. “That little gap between where your running tights or leggings end and the socks begin? We can’t be having that,” Quigley says. “When buying socks for colder months, look for a longer sock so that gap is covered!”

Quantity

Some socks come in pairs, while others come in multipacks. So if you’re trying to get the best bang for your buck, be sure to consider how many socks you’re getting for a given price.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you wear shoes without socks in winter?

    If you’re being active, Dr. Conenello recommends wearing socks with your shoes—no matter what season it is. “Socks should always be worn with activities where friction is an issue,” he says. Why? Socks can help you cut down on blisters, he says. And they can act as a “barrier” between your feet and other grime. (Think: bacteria, fungi, and more.)

  • Does wearing two pairs of socks keep your feet warmer?

    “The quick answer is no,” Dr. Conenello says. “One pair of proper socks will be more beneficial.” Doubling up can also cause your socks to bunch up at the toes, which can be uncomfortable and potentially cause injury, he adds. So instead of layering multiple pairs of socks, focus on finding a single pair that’ll keep your feet comfortable and warm.

  • Is it OK to wear socks 24/7?

    “I am not a proponent of wearing socks at all times,” Dr. Conenello says. “I like my patients to experience being barefoot, as it does help to develop better intrinsic foot strength.” So even if you’re tempted to wear socks 24/7, consider spending some time barefoot. (And if your feet are so cold that you can’t stand the thought of going barefoot, remember that you can always talk to your doctor about why your feet are so cold and what you can do to warm them up.)

  • Is wearing socks to bed bad for your health?

    Wearing socks to bed may not be bad for you, but Dr. Conenello doesn’t necessarily recommend doing it. “Unless there is a circulatory issue, such as Raynaud's syndrome, there is no need to wear socks to bed,” he says.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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  1. Sleep.org. Should you wear socks to bed?