With winter in full swing, you’re probably pulling out your ski jacket, throwing on the snow tires, and watching the weather forecast for the next bluebird powder day. By now you’ve probably already got your ski or snowboard set up dialed in. If not check out our guides on the best ski and snowboard jackets, bags, and read up on some essential tips for first-time skiers.
But let’s assume you’re already ready to hit the slopes. You drive to the mountain, get your lift ticket, throw on your ski gear, and…your feet are cold. And there’s a whole day ahead of you. It’s a bad situation to find yourself in. One of the biggest problems people face during winter activities is actually their feet. Uncomfortable and poorly fitted boots aside, feet being too hot or too cold can totally take the fun out of your day. Avoid that by investing in a quality pair of ski or snowboard socks and you’ll enjoy riding for longer.
What To Look For in Ski Socks
The winter sock market is a little crowded. Brands include Smartwool, Darn Tough, Wigwam, Stance, REI, Le bent, FITS, Burton, DC, Barts, Roxy, MONS, Vans, Icebreaker. We could go on. How does one choose then? Well, here are a few factors to consider:
- Cushioning: Depending on how your boots fit, your style of riding, and, well, your feet, you might prefer a lot of cushion in your sock, or very little. Generally, the word “performance” is synonymous with less cushion. If your boots fit snugly, or you want that “boot feel” a thinner sock might be for you. That said, a thinner sock isn’t as warm. If you’re feet run cold, your boots are slightly on the roomy side, or you just like cushioning in a sock, there are plenty of options out there.
- Material: Because skiing and snowboarding are active pursuits, you’re going to sweat. This includes your feet. Wet feet = cold feet. Don’t have wet feet! Cotton socks are a no-no. But super warm socks, like a full-wool padded sock, will be too warm. When looking for socks for any active pursuit you’ll want a blend of synthetic fibers mixed into a wool sock. Why wool? Well, because wool continues to insulate even when damp. A wool sock blended with nylon and poly will wick moisture away from the foot while still keeping your foot warm when the inevitable dampness accumulates inside your boot.
- Sick Prints: We all know the #1 rule of any outdoor activity is looking good (that’s not actually true). Thankfully, there are many ski and snowboard socks that look as good as they feel.
- Warranty: This may not be the first thing you think of, but socks have a tough job. Whether you’re hiking, running, or in this case skiing and snowboarding, your socks have to work hard. Which means they eventually wear out. Many companies have excellent warranties. Considering that all of the brands listed above carry socks with different levels of cushioning, materials, and prints, a great warranty can actually be a differentiator.
Smartwool makes great socks. Their ski and snowboard-specific socks won’t let you down. There are many different options out there. The Smartwool PhD socks are a great option. Smartwool offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee for the first two years of owning your socks. If for any reason, you aren’t happy with your Smartwool socks, they’ll get you a new pair.
Darn Tough makes some seriously good socks. Best of all, Darn Tough offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you ever have an issue with your Darn Tough socks mail them back to Darn Tough and they’ll send you a fresh pair. Pretty sweet, eh? For skiing and snowboarding, the RFL OTC ski socks are a great option.
The Wigwam Sirocco socks are a great option. Made from a blend of wool, stretch nylon, stretch polyester, and spandex, these socks will stay snug. Will a full cushion, your feet will feel comfy all day, as well. Wigwam’s warranty is not as great as some of the other brands listed here. They’ll help you out if there are issues in the manufacturing of the sock, but if you simply don’t like how they fit or feel, you’re out of luck.
The Stance Steal Your Face snow socks have a medium cushioning, come up to just below the knee, and win big points in the design category. If you have any issues or aren’t completely satisfied with your Stance socks, they will refund you for your first pair. Anything after that and you’re on your own.
Last, but certainly not least, is Icebreaker. Made with merino wool for great comfort, and blended with nylon and spandex, the Ski+ Medium OTC Socks are a great option. Icebreaker guarantees their socks to be the most comfortable in the world. If you don’t think so, return them within 60 days for a full refund or exchange. How sweet is that?
So there you have it, our list of five great snow sock brands to keep your feet warm and comfortable in the snow this winter. Skiing and snowboarding are great cold-weather pursuits, full of adventure, excitement, and enjoyment. Get yourself a pair of these socks, buy a pair for friends and family, and go enjoy yourself!
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