It’s that time of year again. Winter is on the way and you’re preparing for long weekends spent out on the slopes. And now is the perfect time to go through your gear and see what you need for the season. Let’s go back to basics for a minute and take a look at the best ski socks to wear with ski boots, and what the best materials for ski socks are.
The right ski sock will cover all the bases: soft materials for next to skin comfort, a close but not too restricting fit and the right amount of cushioning to keep you comfortable in your boots.
First let’s check out which materials to consider when purchasing a pair of ski socks.
Ski Sock Materials – What’s best for you?
Merino Wool: Merino wool is probably the most popular material used for ski socks due to its soft hand, anti-odor/anti-microbial properties, and moisture-wicking technology that keeps you dry and regulated out on the mountain. Most Merino socks are rarely constructed out of 100% Merino wool, as most manufactures use a blend of fabrics that include nylon for durability and elastane or spandex that allow for unrestricted mobility; this helps your socks keep their shape, and offers a supportive fit.
Synthetic: Let’s be honest, not everybody is 100% on the whole wool thing, so we’ll talk a little bit about alternative materials. Synthetic ski socks are typically constructed out of materials like polyester, nylon, acrylic and elastane or spandex. Like wool ski socks, synthetic ski socks also offer a performance fit and moisture-wicking, quick drying properties, but lack in the odor prevention department. However, some brands are starting to incorporate anti-odor treatments to reduce stink after long days on the hill.
The next thing to consider is fit. Having the proper fitting sock is essential to your comfort out on the slopes.
Ski Sock Fit – Comfort is everything!
Regular: The ideal fitting ski sock will fit snugly around your toes, ankles and shins without being too restrictive. Excess fabric can cause issues like hot spots, chafing or blisters; this discomfort can, and will end your ski day early. To ensure you’ve got the right fitting ski sock take a look at the fit range and size guides provided by the vendors, this will help you determine the correct fit for you. And keep in mind that ski socks do come in men’s and women’s specific fits for maximum comfort.
Compression: If you’ve never heard of compression socks before, you’re about to. Popular in other performance sports such as running, compression socks are designed to improve blood flow. The goal of compression ski socks is to boost warmth while you’re out on the slopes, as well as reduce muscle fatigue. Compression ski socks are made to fit super tight, and can take a little bit of work to get on and off. Most skiers do not need compression ski socks, unless they are seeking a supportive fit for performance skiing or a quicker recovery time and additional warmth.
Last but not least, skis socks range in weight from ultra-light to midweight. Here is how to find a ski sock with the correct weight, cushioning and warmth for your comfort level.
Ski Sock Weight and Warmth – How do you run?
Ultra-Light: Ultra-light is the way to go you’re looking for a ski sock that puts the minimum between your foot and ski boot. These super-thin socks are suitable as long as you’re not skiing in frigid conditions, and are most popular with those looking for a super dialed-in performance fit. If extra cushioning and additional warmth is what you’re seeking, the lightweight category may be the one for you.
Lightweight: Lightweight socks are the most popular among skiers. Typically lightweight ski socks feature cushioning on the heel and toe, with light cushioning on the shin for maximum comfort on the mountain. Lightweight ski socks still offer a performance fit, but are thick enough to provide warmth when temperatures start to drop.
Midweight: With advancements in ski boot technology, ski socks no longer are the main source of insulation for your feet. Midweight ski socks are often only used on the coldest of days and provide more than enough warmth to keep your feet cozy in almost all conditions. Midweight ski socks also have a little more cushioning on the heel, toe and shin than lightweight socks do. Remember a sock that is too thick can restrict blood flow, ultimately making your feet colder than they would be in a lighter sock.
Now that we’ve gone over the three most important factors in purchasing ski socks, check out a few of our favorites below. And don’t forget to check out SKIS.com for our full selection of ski and snowboarding socks for this season!