It’s the right time to be hunting for best winter socks, whether you want utilitarian and warm, furry and funky, or thick and chunky. Even setting aside the gusty weather, we’ve left behind the bare ankles era of menswear (though shout if you need some new no-show socks), and we once again thrill to the site of some great hosiery. That’s good news for winter sock stocks: the market is flooded with colorful, textured styles that are made to be seen—and showing up in winter-friendly weights that equal warmth.
The Best Winter Socks, At a Glance
Much as socks seem simple, there’s a lot to consider in the world of winter socks. Wool’s warm and naturally funk resistant, making it classic, especially when it comes to thicker hiking-style socks. Cashmere is like wool, but twice as soft (and four times as expensive). Cotton’s always solid, though our favorite pairs weave in some sweat-wicking material to keep them from absorbing a day’s worth of heat inside our warmest footwear. We’ve found our favorites of all types, though it’s up to you to decide what to pull on.
Below, the best winter socks we (and our cold feet) are especially feeling right now.The Best Precious (But Not Too Precious) Winter Socks
Surviving winter’s coldest days is all about finding novel ways to trick your brain into believing that leaving home is a good idea. And pulling on a pair of cashmere socks—encircling your toes in all that impossibly cozy, soothingly soft luxury—is one of the most reliable methods we’ve found for keeping positive in the face of blistering cold weather. But that silky smooth feel can come at a cost—both in terms of your wallet and your time (no tossing these socks into the regular wash, it’s either making a trip to the cleaners or doing a light scrub down with your hands).
That’s why we love these Wolford jams: they’ve got all the feel of that cashmere goodness that helps get your butt out the door, but are constructed from a cotton-velvet blend meaning you can add these to the gentle cycle and go about your day. The fact that they clock in at a relatively reasonable $40 is just icing on the cake.
The Best Heavy-Duty Winter Socks
When things are extra horrible outside—like, polar-vortex-level bad—these Smartwool socks are the ones you want. Think of ’em as a full-on parka for your feet: thick enough you’ll be worried about them actually fitting in your boots (they will); performance-minded enough that your feet won’t completely overheat on the go. A certain GQ staffer once wore these exact socks while spending multiple nights in a quinzhee hut in the backwoods of northern Ontario, and he still has all his toes. So, yeah, they’re the real deal.
The Best Workweek Winter Socks
If your budget won’t quite allow for a drawerful of the Wolford numbers above, these Falke socks are a great everyday alternative wool sock at half the price. They’ve got a healthy serving of cashmere in the mix, all served up in a package that’s slim enough to fit in your dress shoes and subtle enough to appease even the soberest of office dress codes.
The Best Stank-Free Winter Socks
Winter socks are great until they start stinking up the place—the irony being that in crazy cold weather, our warmest footwear sometimes has our dogs drenched by the end of the day. To save yourself the embarrassment of mid-winter foot funk and the blisters that sweat can bring, you want your cotton socks to have some sweat-wicking synthetics in the mix.