Winter is coming and everyone thinks about what clothes they’ll be wearing and if they’re warm enough.  But often times, finding the best thermal socks is something that is overlooked.   It’s unfortunate too because they are an essential part of keeping your feet warm and protecting them during the cold winter season.

Yes, thermal socks can help protect you from hypothermia in extreme cold temperatures just like other thermal clothing.  However, that’s not the only time they’re useful.  Everyone can benefit from a good pair “winter socks” to keep their feet warm.  Whether at a football game, playing in the snow, or just at your child’s soccer games, each one of us has felt the blistering cold on our numb feet at times and wished we would have prepared better.

Times have changed over recent years.  The best thermal socks of the past were your standard large, thick, grey wool socks that you could barely fit in your boots.  Today the best thermal socks come in a variety of materials, colors, patterns, and thicknesses!   The sky really is the limit here. 

Some of the best materials for thermal socks are merino wool or other blended synthetic materials.  They are warm, soft, and moisture-wicking so your feet keep dry and comfortable.  As you’ll see in our top 6 list below, there are great options with both a synthetic blend as well as merino wool socks.  Between them, they are the best socks to keep feet warm.

You may be wondering if these socks are for men or women.  For the most part, our selections of the best thermal socks below are unisex and can be worn by men or women. 

Best thermal socks


What can I say?  WETSOX are freakin’ awesome!  They’re ultra-warm and comfortable with their inner liner being made of 61% merino wool, but they’re also completely waterproof!  The merino wool is naturally wicking and antimicrobial, keeping odor to a minimum.  The middle layer allows for air to freely flow both in and out, but keeps 100% of the water out.  The exterior is made of a performance blend consisting of 82% nylon and 18% spandex. These socks aren’t cheap, but they are the best socks to keep feet warm while hiking, camping, or backpacking in cold weather.  Due to the waterproof features, I think they are also the best thermal socks for hunting.

best socks to keep feet warm - wetsox

Key Features why WETSOX are our Best Thermal Socks: 

  • Warm & comfortable merino wool interior
  • 100% waterproof
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Designed in the USA
Darn Tough Socks


Darn tough socks are the go-to sock for hikers that care about performance and comfort.  They have the perfect amount of support and cushioning built in for long days of tough, treacherous hiking.  They are made to fit without slipping, bunching, or giving you blisters.  This sock is highly engineered for keeping you warm when you’re on your feet all day.  Their high density knit and seamless toes make them ultra-durable, even under some of the toughest conditions.  They are some of the best merino wool socks and are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial.  Darn Tough also offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee on these socks! 

Best merino wool socks - Darn Tough

Key features of Darn Tough socks reviews:

  • 15Made in Vermont, USA
  • Guaranteed for life
  • Made with merino wool, so warm & comfortable
  • Built to last
  • Best thermal socks for hiking
Merino wool socks - Alvada


These Alvada thermal socks are made of 80% merino wool so they’re warm and soft. They’re also blended with some nylon to make them “itch free”. Reviews everywhere by actual paying customers show that these are a great pair of thermal socks! They have superior cushioning in the footbed to make them more comfortable on long days of walking or hiking in them. Lastly, they are machine washable for simple cleaning. Unless you have unique conditions or really need waterproof socks, these might be a more reasonable selection than the WETSOX listed above.

Key features that make these Alvada merino wool socks #3 on our Best Thermal Socks list:

• Warm & comfortable merino wool blend
• Itch free
• Great cushioning in footbed
• Machine washable

best thermal socks - DG Hill


These 80% merino wool socks are warmer and softer than your regular cotton socks.  They’re very cozy and great for wearing around the house.  A cushioned heal and built-in arch support provide extra comfort and a reinforced heel ensures they are rugged and built to last.  DG Hill offers their best thermal socks in both adult and children sizes, so there’s a fit for the entire family!

Key features in DG Hill’s best wool socks:

  • Warm & comfortable merino wool blend
  • Built-in arch support
  • Reinforced heal for long life
  • Offered in children’s sizes
best thermal sock - Carhartt cold weather boot sock


Most readers will recognize Carhartt as a top-notch brand for cold weather thermal attire such as jackets, jeans, shirts, and boots.  Yes, they offer socks also, and they’re warm like everything else the sell!  This particular pair is a blend of 70% Acrylic, 15% wool, 14% nylon, and 1% lycra spandex.  They are made in the USA and are machine washable with FastDry technology.  They are re-enforced throughout the sole so they are rugged and well-built.  This is the one sock on our list that doesn’t claim to be unisex.  They are called “men’s” socks, but I’m not sure why they wouldn’t work for women also.  It’s probably a tough guy marketing thing.

Key features that make these Carhartt thermal socks great:

  • Made in the USA
  • Machine washable
  • Low cost option
  • Comes in multiple color options
Pure Athlete Ski Snowboard Socks


By the picture it should be obvious.  Not only are these socks warm, but they’re also cool! (pun intended)  Stay warm in style with these ski and snowboard socks by Pure Athlete.  All the rest of the socks on this list are boring compared to these.  They have a mid-weight thickness so they are warm enough, but not so thick that the affect how your ski boots fit.  Each sock contains 22% merino wool to gather the warm, soft, moisture-wicking properties, but combines that with nylon, polypropylene, and spandex for the perfect cushioning and comfort.  They include a special no-slip cuff at the top to prevent them from sliding down into your boots – what a great idea.  Pure Athlete also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can feel comfortable buying them.  Buy yours today!

Best Ski Socks

Key features that make these ski socks some of the best thermal socks on the market:

  • Many colorful options
  • Merino wool warmth and comfort
  • No-slip cuff prevents them from sliding down
  • Best thermal socks for skiing
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
Best Winter Socks:  Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Best Thermal Socks 2018:  Buyer’s Guide

You came here looking for the best thermal socks.  We provided a list above that offers 6 of the best winter socks available, but perhaps none of them fit your style.  We’ve assembled this buyer’s guide to help you find what you’re looking for. 


The biggest factor to consider when looking for the best thermal socks is the material that they are made out of.  Not all materials are created equal.  Here’s a list of some of the materials you’ll find and what makes them good, or bad, materials for thermal socks.

Merino Wool

Merino wool is a very high quality material that makes some of the warmest thermal socks.  Merino wool socks naturally wick moisture and are antimicrobial so they don’t stink after wearing them all day like cotton socks do.  Unfortunately, merino wool is expensive and can also be itchy on feet if used alone.  For these reasons, you’ll often see merino wool socks blended with other materials like nylon and spandex.

Synthetic Materials

Often times, synthetic materials like nylon and spandex are blended with merino wool to add support and elasticity.  It can also be added to provide cushion.  The downside to these materials is that they are not as warm as wool and also don’t have the moisture-wicking properties, so they don’t breathe as well, making them stink.  This is why they are blended with the wool to make the best winter socks.  The combination of these materials makes for great extreme cold weather socks.


We don’t recommend cotton thermal socks.  Cotton is a great summer material.  It’s breathable and holds moisture.  This is a disastrous combination in the winter.  The last thing you want in the best winter socks is cold air and wetness! 

Thickness and Weight

Another important factor to consider is both the thickness of the thermal sock.  A heavy weight, thick sock might be very warm, but is also too bulky to wear during any physical activity.   You might also find it hard to fit them inside your shoes or boots.  Definitely consider what footwear you’ll be wearing when using your thermal socks.  This might factor into what size or thickness you purchase. 

The Holy Grail here is to find a thinner, mid-weight sock that is comprised of mostly merino wool so that it’s ultra-warm, but not bulky.  There are a few pairs that fit this bill on the list above.

Activity Type

This kind of ties into the last couple of topics, materials and thickness.  Keep in mind that if you’re going to be out snowboarding all day, your feet will be sweating and you want a material that can wick the moisture away from your skin to keep it dry.  You’ll also want something that is flexible and perhaps has a spandex-type material in it for freedom of motion.

best thermal socks for snowboarding

Conversely, if you’ll be sitting at a football game or in a tree stand hunting, thicker, warmer socks that have less flexibility are just fine and will likely keep your feet warmer longer.  You’ll have less reason to be concerned about sweating and moisture inside your shoes or boots also. 

Cushioning and Durability

Most thermal socks are thicker and have some cushion, but pay special attention to those that have added cushion on the footbed or heel for ultimate comfort.  This is especially nice when you’re wearing your thermal socks around the house and you have hard flooring, like hardwood or ceramic tile. 

In addition to cushioning, some brands reinforce the heels and/or toes so that your investment is protected as they say.  This just ensures that they don’t wear out in the areas that get the most pressure on them.  It’s a nice added feature, especially if you’re buying a more expensive pair of thermal socks.  In fact, socks like those made by Darn Tough (#2 above) are so durable that they have a lifetime guarantee!  Now that’s standing behind your product.   

Thanks for reading our post about the Best Thermal Socks.  Click below to see the other two parts of our best thermal clothing articles.

Best Thermals for Men

Best Thermals for Women