While your shoes are important, foot comfort actually starts with the sock; it’s the layer that actually touches the skin, after all. Fit, fit, cushioning and thickness all matter, but the material of the sock will have the biggest effect on its overall performance. And for that, there is a clear winner: wool is the most versatile and popular sock fabric for its insulating, sweat-wicking and antimicrobial properties. It’s basically a super ingredient that is often mixed with synthetic fibers like nylon, spandex, and polyester. Wool socks will keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather, and they’re great for wicking moisture away from your foot. This means you can go days without stinking woolen socks, even if you sweat profusely.
Whether you’re hiking silty trails, leveling up at the gym, or just looking to upgrade your work wardrobe, treat your toes to these 11 pairs of sleek and technical woolen socks.
The best woolen socks for men 2021
1. Best invisible sock: Smartwool invisible socks
Socks can be a fashion statement, but sometimes you don’t want them to come out of your shoes. Just a few years ago, Smartwool added invisible socks for men to their extensive line so that men have a high quality option to pair with low top sneakers. A sticky heel grip ensures they won’t slip off as you move, while the virtually seamless toe keeps excess fabric from rubbing. The socks are mostly merino wool, but there is also a touch of nylon and spandex for stretching.
2. The most durable: the United By Blue Bison Trail sock
United By Blue collects bison fibers and incorporates them into clothing. And although the massive pasture animal is sturdy and scruffy, these socks are extremely soft. Ribbed compression on the cuffs and ankle adds support to this crew-height pair, and the reinforced sole, heel, and toe mean they won’t poke holes after just a few wear and tear. They are just as comfortable in hiking boots as they are at home.
3. Ideal for hiking: from the farm to the bottom of the cascading locks
You can’t go wrong with the socks from Farm to Feet, but the Cascade Locks ¾ Crew is our favorite for its versatility. Suitable for hiking all year round, these socks will keep your feet in place with ribs on the top of the foot and lightweight targeted cushioning in the heel and toe. They’re made from 54% nylon and 42% merino wool (only sourced from sheep farmers in America), so they’ll keep you warm in cold weather and they’ll breathe when you warm up. Plus, they earn style points for their eye-catching designs.
4. Ideal for snow sports: Lightweight Wigwam Snow Junkie on the calf
Skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, snowshoeing or simply shoveling ice on your driveway? You don’t need the thickest sock on the market to keep you warm. All this movement will warm your feet up quickly, so this lightweight sock gives you just enough insulation and protection while still allowing your feet to breathe. The fabric on the heel is contoured in a Yes shape, which both prevents your feet from slipping and allows for expansion when you walk.
5. Ideal for the home: the Bombas Gripper slipper
Sometimes all you need is a comfortable sock to wear around the house. This means that it will have to function more like a slipper than a sock that you would tuck into a shoe. The Bombas Gripper slipper is what you need. The brushed wool lining is as plush and warm as a blanket, and the non-slip cleats on the sole keep you stable while you run after the dog or run to the phone. For every purchase, Bombas donates a pair to homeless shelters.
6. Best Lifestyle Sock: Darn Tough Mesa Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Sock
Just because you’re heading to work or a weekend barbecue doesn’t mean your sock needs less tech. This pair from Darn Tough has all the antimicrobial and absorbent benefits of a woolen sock plus the booty of a dress sock (one tester even wore them to her wedding). The fine gauge knit gives them a luxurious look and silky feel, and the lack of cushion means they easily fit into boots, sneakers, slides or wing tips. Darn Tough also offers an unconditional lifetime warranty, so you can expect them to last for years.
7. Best compression sock: Sockwell Speedway
Looking for a compression sock (which can stimulate blood circulation and reduce swelling) that doesn’t look like it was prescribed by a doctor? The affordable version of Sockwell looks like a regular knee-high sock, but it squeezes in all the right places. Increased pressure on the foot, ankle, and calf can help relieve pain that develops after activity. Elastane throughout the sock makes it easy to pull on and stay in place, while wool keeps it from getting soggy or smelly.
8. Ideal for running: the Balega Blister Resist Quarter running socks
These Balega socks are made from mohair, an ultra-fine wool obtained from Angora goats. The fibers have a flat structure which, when woven together, reduces friction against your foot and thus prevents blisters. Mohair is also incredibly durable, so it won’t wear out as quickly. Runners will also appreciate the ankle-length fit and slim fit of this sock, which keeps dirt and gravel from seeping in as you pound the sidewalk or trail.
9. Ideal for multiple sports: Icebreaker Merino Multisport Light Mini Socks
If you want a sock for every type of activity, the Multisport Light Mini is for you. This lightweight layer reaches just above the ankle to provide Achilles support as you walk, run, sprint, cycle or lift, and there is additional compression on the outer sides for neck support – of foot. Plus, a breathable zone at the top of the foot creates ventilation to help with moisture management. They’re also built to last: Icebreaker offers a lifetime warranty on their socks.
10. Ideal for cold weather: Minus33 Merino Wool Mountaineer Over the Calf Socks
These merino terrycloth socks will keep your feet and legs warm during winter adventures. They sit just below the knee to keep your calves warm (as well as your feet), the padding on the insole provides durability and loft, and the seamless toe prevents blistering. For a full length sock, this is one of the more affordable options.
11. Ideal in hot weather: FITS ULM Quarter
When sandals aren’t appropriate but it’s still hot as flames, you want a sock that won’t burn your feet. FITS dubbed this pair “the official sock of summer” because it’s made from super-fine merino wool that wicks heat and repels moisture. Additional padding in the toe, arch and heel relieves pressure during all types of activity, and the full contact fit means they won’t pile up, slip, or sag. will not irritate during wet workouts or hikes.
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