We Found the Best Merino Wool Socks After 3 Months of Testing

By the time you’re wearing good denim and getting good haircuts (read: not from Supercuts), you should be well past the tube sock stage. Merino wool is the natural pick for quality, durability, warmth, softness, and style.

But that only narrows it down slightly.

That’s where we come in. We field-tested the best Merino wool socks available in the most variable conditions you can imagine: the challenging terrain and unpredictable weather of a northern Michigan spring. After enduring the rigors of muddy trails, slushy streets, alternating extremes of heat and cold, sun and rain, and even some late-season snow, these socks have earned their place on The Manual’s “best of” list.

Injinji Boot Original Weight OTC
best merino wool socks

These are the James Woods of socks. Their optics are controversial, but they will last way longer than they have any right to. Unlike James Woods, however, they are warm and constructed with integrity. If you’re hesitant about wearing gloves on your feet, consider that these socks wrap each toe in cushioned, sweat-wicking material — can your regular socks say that? Some of our testers reported that their toes were a little colder for the same reason gloves are colder than mittens. For those delicate types, the Injinji Hiker Crew model features a five-toe baselayer underneath a traditional Merino sock, guaranteeing your feet will stay warm all the way to the Crossfit gym.

Best for: Backpacking

Darn Tough Micro Crew Light Cushion
darn tough best merino wool socks

The design/color/pattern of these socks make me feel like a patriot. Not one who’s all “USA! USA!,” but more like a patriot who believes in the importance of four seasons. When I put these on, my first thought was, “These are the best socks I’ve ever worn.” Sit with that for a minute. They’re thin, but fit as snug as a fist in a jar. I don’t believe they will ever slide down my leg. They wouldn’t do that to me.

Best for: Hiking, outdoor sports, everyday wear

Lorpen T3 Heavy Trekker Overcalf
best merino wool socks for men t3hto 8427 1000x1000

Long, thick, and marshmallowy soft, Lorpens are our go-tos socks when snow begins to fall. The deep cushioning and tall profile make your snow boots feel like a pair of broken-in Clarks, and the hydrophobic combination of Merino and eco-poly fibers ensures that even if you post-hole up to your knees, your toes will stay dry and toasty.

Best for: Winter sports

Bombas Men’s Merino Wool Sock
best merino wool socks for men bombas

We’ll be honest: At first blush, these sweetheart-of-the-Internet socks seemed too cute to be contenders on our best sock list, but Bombas’ Merino wool delivers like a dream. Of all the socks we tested, these were by far the softest and most flexible — they fit like a glove without any washing or breaking-in period. Despite being fairly thin, they were surprisingly moisture absorbent, standing up to multiple days of wear without getting clammy. (Don’t judge — we did it for research.) They get extra points for rich neutral colors and a marled texture, as well as the fact that each Bombas purchase sends a pair of socks to someone in need.

Best for: Everyday wear

Farm to Feet Medium Weight Crew
best merino wool socks for men boulder winter moss 31c07b7b bd06 4a93 a1dc ffc0b96e687f 2048x2048

Farm to Feet socks just make me feel good. They’re tough, they’re warm, and they make me feel like I’m supporting a good cause, e.g., a farm. (Which is extra good on weekends when we oversleep and miss the farmers’ market.) The outer plaiting texture protects the integrity of the soft inner yarns, providing great feels and reliable insulation. My first pair has lasted well over a year — my thrifty ancestors would approve.

Best for: General outdoor wear

Glen Clyde CHUP Socks
best merino wool socks for men vappu teal

These handmade socks are constructed of high-quality, intricately dyed Merino wool, which makes them warm, dry, and durable AF. But here’s the problem: They’re kind of too beautiful for normal sock use. While they would certainly serve your feet well on inclement weather or terrain, it would be a crying shame to find them wearing thin around the heels or busting through at the hand-linked toe. For that reason, we highly recommend reserving these as your around-the-house socks. Made in Tokyo and sold only by a select number of global stockists, these are hard to come by, but trust us when we say they’re worth the search.

Best for: Toasting your feet in front of the wood stove


Backcountry Zzz’s: The Five Best Sleeping Bags of 2016

We've tested this year's sleeping bags everywhere from spring road trips to off-trail excursions, and found the very best sleeping bags for any wilderness adventure.

Stay In Control With These Oil Free Moisturizers

Hydrate, nourish and protect your skin while getting rid of the shine with these oil control moisturizers.
Uncategorized Archives

Upgrade your Game and Eliminate these Bad Pick-Up Lines from your Flirting Repertoire

Revamp your repertoire and rid yourself of these real-life bad pick-up lines, as told to The Manual by the Digital Trends staff.

The Wild Side of the Dominican Republic    

Looking for a mid-winter getaway but can’t fathom the notion of another all-inclusive resort, instead, consider a trip to Jarabacoa and take a walk on the wild side of the Dominican Republic.

How to Detox from Head-to-Toe

Repent for your summer sins.
Uncategorized Archives

The Definitive Guidebook to Watches is Here

This is not an average book about watches. “Comprehensive” is an understatement.

Up Your Armpit Game With Fancy Deodorant

Because no one wants to be the smelly guy.

The Best Places to Eat, Play, & Stay in Carmel, California

Carmel is often a hub or stopping point rather than a destination in and of itself. This should no longer be the case.