best winter hiking socks
Socks

The 10 Best Winter Hiking Socks

It is a cold winter’s day and you are hiking in the woods or the mountains when suddenly you get a tingling sensation in your feet.

Oh no!

Slowly you feel the numbness in your legs grow. It appears as though your whole feet will start swelling and just at that moment it hits you, you would not have had to undergo such a horrid situation if only you had invested in a good quality hiking sock fit to be worn during winter.

Hiking during winter is easier said than done. Your worst enemy during this time is the cold.

If you feel cool wind sweeping inside your clothes at any given moment while on a trek, it is one of the most unpleasant situations.

Therefore, in order to make sure that cool wind does not bother us we tend to layer heaps of clothes on our body.

However, most of the time, we undervalue the importance of wearing a good quality hiking sock to keep our feet warm.

That is why we have been guilty of our legs going numb because we were too lazy or just plan ignorant about purchasing a good quality hiking sock.

There are varieties of socks available in the market for different usage such as socks for everyday use, socks for sports activities, waterproof socks and so on.

So you want to purchase a sock as per your need.

In my previous article “The 10 Best Waterproof Socks”, I reviewed the best waterproof socks available in the market. So if you are searching for a waterproof sock, go check the article out.

If you are in search for a hiking sock which will be able to withstand the winter’s coldness, stick around as in this article, I will be discussing about the best winter hiking socks.

Best Winter Hiking Socks in 2017 (Top 10)

Why do we Need Winter Hiking Socks?

We all have heard that little things have a huge impact on any event. The miniature piece of clothing that goes on your feet will have a big role to play in any expedition you go on.

The socks you wear actually can be the reason for your trip to be either good or bad.

If you are wearing a normal cotton sock during a winter hike, chances are that your feet will go cold and numb because of the draftiness. As a result, you will not be able to function properly as your whole concentration will be on your feet. And also, there is the high probability of feeling paining sensations in the legs because of the cold.

On the other hand, a good quality winter hiking sock will keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable as well as prevent blisters. This will enhance your efficiency and you will be able to hike without any complicatedness.

Even though winter hiking socks are a little heavy on the pockets, trust me when I say that they are worth the purchase.

You see, you do not want to buy a sock because it is cheap or stylish but rather because it is functional, useful and effective.

Winter hiking socks are durable. They can be worn while at home as well.
My feet are one of the areas of my body in which I feel the coldest. So I wear these winter hiking socks even while relaxing at home and let me tell you, these are just so great.

So even if winter hiking socks are costly, invest in them because these little babies will save your entire trip compared to the cheap socks which not only cause you pain but also will cost you your whole trek.

How to Choose a Winter Hiking Sock?

Choosing a winter hiking sock is fairly easy when you know what to look for. Pay attention to the following factors and you are good to go.

1. Material

While purchasing a winter hiking sock, say no to cotton and silk socks as they will not be able to protect your feet against the harsh cold. Your best options here are the synthetic socks and Merino Wool socks.

Merino Wool socks are by far the best choice for winter hiking. They are lightweight, thick and warm, antibacterial, moisture wicking, odor resistant, comfortable and durable. They also do not cause blisters.

Synthetic socks are not much antimicrobial or odor resistant compared to Merino Wool socks but these dry super fast.

If you want the goodness of both these materials, you can opt for the socks made by combing these two fabrics.

2. Warmth

One of the first features you want look for in winter hiking sock is if it provides you with the required amount of warmth. Warmth provided by the sock largely depends on the material it is made up from. Merino Wool socks will provide more warmth compared to synthetic socks. The thickness of the sock will also define its warmth. Even though thicker socks will be warmer, make sure to check that these socks feet inside your boot with ease, before making a purchase. Also, a tight-fitting and high length sock will be warmer than a loose-fitting and short length sock. So choose the sock which will provide you with the required quantity of heat.

3. Comfort

Your hiking sock must be breathable, lightweight and moisture wicking; extra points if it provides temperature regulation. You may also search for socks with added padding for additional comfort.

4. Durability

Your winter hiking sock must be durable. So choose a sock made out of high quality fiber. Go for a properly stitched sock. You may also look for a sock with flat lock seams for greater durability.

5. Other features

Apart from the aforementioned major features, you can go for a sock which has features of being antibacterial, anti-odor, stylish, fast drying, moisture wicking and so on.

The 10 Best Winter Hiking Socks

There are many brands such as Smartwool, Icebreaker, SealSkinz, etcetera which provide good quality winter hiking socks. My special favorites among all these socks are listed below.

So, without any further ado now, let us move right into the list of the best winter hiking socks which I have personally tested and reviewed for you guys. Enjoy!

1. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew is one of the best winter hiking socks available in the market. It is made from 67% Merino Wool, 31% nylon and 2% elastane.

It is made with a 4 degree Elite Fit system in order to guarantee good elasticity and recovery. This is why the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew will stay in place all the time and, look and feel brand new even after multiple washes.

The temperature regulation in the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew makes it favorable to wear all year around. It will keep your feet perfectly warm during winter and cool during summer. To me, this is the best feature of this sock.

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew sock has great breathability. It wicks moisture well and controls odor satisfactorily.

I feel that this sock had just the perfect amount of thickness. It has a cozy and snug fit. It is a crew length sock.

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew is comfortable as well. I wear this sock a lot and have never had to face itching issues till date.

Even though the price of this sock is high, it will last for a considerable period of time if taken good care of.

Features I like:

  • Comfortable
  • Warm
  • Durable
  • Temperature regulation
  • Good breathability
  • Anti odor
  • Moisture wicking
  • Good stretch and recovery performance
  • Non-itchy
  • Has the perfect amount of thickness

 

2. SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock

The SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock has also been featured in my previous “Best Waterproof Socks” article. It is a top quality sock which is fit to be worn in wet and cold climates.

The SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock is waterproof sock. Its outer layer is made up of 91% nylon and 9% elastane. Its inner layer has 35% Merino Wool, 34% Acrylic, 28% Polyester, 2% Elastodiene and 1% Elastane whereas the interlining membrane has a thin hydrophilic membrane with 10.000mm hydrostatic head.

The SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock is odor resistant. It will keep the moisture at bay and provide you with the required comfort. It is a waterproof as well as windproof sock.

The SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock has elasticized ankles and insteps which have made it flexible and also comfortable.

The fit of this sock is great. This sock is durable as well.

Features I like:

  • Odor control
  • Moisture absorbing
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof and windproof
  • Great fit
  • Elasticized ankles and insteps
  • Durable
  • Flexible

 

3. SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock

The SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock is another midlength winter hiking sock from the SealSkinz family.

The SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock is made from 100% nylon. It has silicon free elastication in order to prevent water from entering inside the sock.

This sock is waterproof and windproof which makes it suitable to wear while hiking in cold or wet climates.
Because the SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock is made from synthetic materials, it dries super fast compared to some of the other socks which have more Merino Wool concentration, such as the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew sock.

However, the SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock does have Merino Wool lining which has made this sock a moisture wicking sock.

The SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock is lightweight and comfortable. The sock is breathable as there is good air circulation.

This sock also has a good stretch to ensure that the sock remains in place while exercising or trekking.

Features I like:

  • Moisture wicking
  • Good breathability
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof and windproof
  • Great elastication and stretch

 

4. Falke TK2 Sock

The Falke TK2 Sock is a calf high length winter hiking sock made with 40% polypropylene, 18% polyacrylic, 22% wool, 9% polyamide and 1% elastane.
The Falke TK2 Sock is rightly warm to be worn in winter. However, I have worn this sock during other seasons too and have not had any complaints. Hence I would like to call The Falke TK2 Sock an all year around sock.

This sock is made from synthetic materials. So it dries very quickly. This sock has elastic ankles for better fit and performance.

Compared to some other socks such as the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew, this sock is thinner but then again it does a good job at keeping your feet warm.

The Falke TK2 Sock is lightweight. The cushioned foot beds and toe cushioning in this sock have made it very comfortable to wear. This socks wicks moisture well. But it is not odor resistant, which is a drawback of this sock.

The Falke TK2 Sock is a durable sock and will not fail you in the long run. This sock holds its shape after multiple washes and will show the same effectiveness and efficiency as the first time wear. It is a durable sock with great value.

Features I like:

  • Moisture wicking
  • Comfortable
  • Dries quickly
  • Can be worn all year around
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Good elasticity and fit
  • Hold the shape well after multiple washes
  • Durable

 

5. JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR

If you are in search for a winter hiking sock which will get the work done but do not want to spend a lot of money buying expensive socks, I would recommend you to buy The JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR because it is good sock, priced very reasonably.

The JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR is made with 70% Merino Wool, 25% nylon and 5% spandex. It is a mid length sock.

The JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR sock has double cuffs, full cushion and Impact Support zone for comfort and protection.

The JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR has great elasticity which has given this sock a perfect and set fit. As a result, this sock does not move or slip while carrying out any sporty, outdoor and strenuous task. This enables you to be productive and effective.

The JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR sock is very soft to touch. It is thick and warm.

Features I like:

  • Comfortable
  • Good fit
  • Does not move or slip
  • Very soft
  • Thick and warm
  • Not as much costly

 

6. Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide

I have friend who used to wear this sock every single day to office. One day I just casually asked him about the sock and he started telling me about all sorts of wonders that this sock is. He kept on fixating on the fact that while wearing the sock he felt as though his feet were being hugged.

It was at that moment that I knew that I had to try this sock on and when I did, I had the same reaction as my friend; I too felt as though my feet were being hugged.

The Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide sock is so comfortable that you do not want to take it off. The reason behind this sock being very cozy and comfy is the cushion which has been added to this sock. Also, this sock is very soft.

The Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide sock is made up of 70% Merino Wool, 26% nylon and 4% lycra. This is a lightweight sock with high density knitting on it.

The Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide has firm elasticity which is a good feature required for hiking and trekking. This sock does not make you itch. The fit of the sock is very snugly and warm.

I will definitely recommend this sock for winter usage as it is a good choice to invest in this product.

Features I like:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Light and soft
  • Firm elasticity
  • Does not make you itch

 

7. Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew

The Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew is made up of 66% Merino Wool, 32% nylon and 2% lycra. This sock is equipped with many great features.

The Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew has an automatic fit. The ankle area of this sock attributes stretch panels for a set fit and comfort. This makes the Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew appropriate for long and strenuous hikes.

The Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew is a comfortable sock. The air ventilation is good. In addition, this sock also has odor resistance and moisture wicking traits. Not to forget to mention, the temperature regulation in this sock is excellent as well.

The shortcoming of this sock is that it is very heavy on the pockets. There are other socks with similar characteristics available for lesser amount.

Features I like:

  • Breathable
  • Moisture wicking
  • Odor management
  • Temperature regulation
  • Has stretch panels for automatic fit
  • Very comfortable
  • Apposite for long and laborious hikes

 

8. Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock

The Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock is made from 74% Merino Wool, 25% nylon and 1% elastane. This 1% elastane keeps the sock in place while you move around.

The Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock is my go to sock when the temperature reaches the freezing point as this sock is extremely warm.

It is a comfortable sock. It does not cause any irritation or blisters. This sock features flat knit toe seam for resilience.

The Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock does not wick moisture as well and is not as breathable as its sibling the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew sock but it does the work alright.

The Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock must be washed in cold water. It is better to let it air dry. A drawback of this sock is that it takes a long period of time to dry, which can be quite an annoying thing during long hikes and treks.

Even though The Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock is expensive, it will last you a long time with proper care.

Features I like:

  • Extremely warm
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Does not cause irritation or blisters

 

9. DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew

In number nine we have a competitor for Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide. The DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew sock is another super soft and comfortable sock which will make you feel as if you are walking on clouds.

The DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew is a great performance winter hiking sock. It has 80% Merino Wool content which is responsible for providing warmth and protection even in the harshest of the climatic conditions.

The DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew is all about comfort and support. It has reinforced heel for extra strength and durability as well as a built in arch for support.

The DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew is reasonably priced. It has a great fit. This sock does not itch.

Features I like:

  • Warm
  • Cushioned heel and built in arch for comfort, support and durability
  • Perfectly fitting
  • Does not itch
  • Extremely soft and comfortable

 

10. Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks

Since I started this list with a sock from Smartwool, I wanted to end this list with another Smartwool beauty.

Last but definitely not the least winter hiking sock on this list is the Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock. This is actually one of the best winter trekking socks among all the socks on this list.

The Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock has 79% Merino Wool, 29% nylon and 1% elastane. This combination of synthetic-wool is just perfect as the positives of both Merino Wool and nylon is found on this sock.

The Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock has heavy cushioning for added warmth, comfort and protection. It also is equipped with flat toe seams and has elasticized arch braces which make this beauty a best fit for long treks and hikes.

The Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock is anti odor. It will last without leaking any pungent smell for around three days. This sock dries overnight when air dried.
The Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock will not cause you any chaffing or blisters. It is a flexible, soft, breathable and comfortable sock with a very cozy fit.
Features I like:

  • Extremely soft and comfortable
  • Warm
  • Heavy cushioning
  • Elasticized arch brace
  • Dries overnight
  • Anti odor
  • No chaffing or irritations
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
  • Cozy fit

 

Comparison Table

Feature/Product Material Best Trait Height
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew

 

67% Merino Wool, 31% nylon and 2% elastane Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer Crew
SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock

 

91% nylon and 9% elastane, hydrophilic membrane, 35% Merino Wool, 34% Acrylic, 28% Polyester, 2% Elastodiene and 1% Elastane Waterproof and windproof Midlength
SealSkinz Hydrostop Midweight Midlength Sock

 

100% nylon Waterproof and windproof Midlength
Falke TK2 Sock

 

40% polypropylene, 18% polyacrylic, 22% wool, 9% polyamide and 1% elastane Durable and effective in the long run Calf high
JB Icelandic -30 Below XCR 70% Merino Wool, 25% nylon and 5% spandex Good comfort and fit Mid length
Darn Tough Vermont X-Wide

 

70% Merino Wool, 26% nylon and 4% lycra.

 

Extremely comfortable and super soft Mid length
Icebreaker Men’s Hike Plus Mid Crew 66% Merino Wool, 32% nylon and 2% lycra Great sock for strenuous hikes Crew
Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Sock 74% Merino Wool, 25% nylon and 1% elastane Extremely warm Crew
DG Hill Thermal Hiking Crew 80% Merino Wool Extremely soft and comfortable Crew
Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks 79% Merino Wool, 29%

nylon and 1% elastane

Great for long treks Crew

 

The Verdict

All the socks in this list are amazingly great performers and have become my go to socks during some period of time in my life.

My current favorite from the above list is the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew.

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew sock is a great value sock which has been able to leave a very good impression of it by delivering a great performance.

This sock has just the perfect amount of all the features required to become a great winter hiking sock.

I had always thought of this sock as being favorable only for winter because it was just so perfectly warm. But when I wore this during summer and instead of making my feet all balmy and hot, it actually made my whole feet feel cool and fresh. That was when I was just blown away by this sock and I was sold.

The Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew sock has so many great features. I have recommended this sock to many of my family members and relatives and they all love it as much as I do.

You guys too go ahead and give the above listed socks a go and tell me your experience. I would love to hear your feedback on these.

Till then, see you guys!

About Author

Neil Ferriss

Hey! I am Neil. Since I quit my job in 2015, I’ve traveled to several countries and have completed some thrilling items from my adventure bucket list. This blog is about sharing entertaining travel stories, useful travel tips and thrilling adventures with you from my non-stop adventure around the world.

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