Ski socks may be low on on the gear glamour scale, but a fresh pair of good quality ski socks feels mighty nice sliding into a pair of boots. And high-quality socks can actually mean the difference between a good day and a bad day of ski touring. From comfort to durability, high-quality socks outperform cheap socks. The tight weaves and durable wool blends of a quality ski sock reduce friction and increase comfort. Course weaves and worn out socks lead to blisters and boot fit issues.
Over the years, I have had an opportunity to use a wide variety of socks. My experience has been that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive socks wear out quickly. I am lucky to get a single season on a pair of house brand or non-brand name socks before I wear holes in the heels or toes. But I can get multiple seasons of use from a pair of high quality merino wool ski socks.
There are several brands of ski socks that have stood out over the past few years. Two of the very best are Bridgedale socks and Darn Tough socks. Both brands have stood the test of time, outperforming every other sock brand that I have used. They offer the right blend of high quality materials, a tight weave, and . You can spend less on a sock, but I have found the lifespan of the sock is directly related to the sock’s price.
I have several pairs of Bridgedale socks that are going on three seasons, and they are still fully functional. Likewise, Darn Tough socks are built for the long haul. Made in Vermont, Darn Tough ski socks are just that, darn tough.
What to Look for in a Ski Sock
Ski socks come in a variety of weights and styles, all with various points of cushioning and ‘performance’ features. Performance features in a sock is pushing the marketing BS, but given everyone’s feet, ankles and lower leg shapes are unique, the various sock designs let you fine tune volume and warmth to meet your needs. You can actually improve boot comfort and fit with the right sock. I recommend a light to moderate weight/thickness sock with subtle shin cushioning or a uniform weave/weight throughout. But depending on your boot fit, you may find a thicker sock suits you.
For longevity, merino blends deliver the best results. Several things can go wrong with a sock including quick wearing and loss of dynamic stretch. Quick wearing is obvious. Weak materials become threadbare and develop holes. Dynamic stretch is more subtle. Some socks hold their shape and stretch longer than others. A sock that falls down while out skiing will not make the cut in my collection.
Sock Care Tips
Sock life is dependent on how you treat them. Regular and proper washing, low-heat drying and even how you store them play a role in a sock’s lifespan. Of course, the manufacturer’s care instructions are the final word on how to wash and dry your socks. Generally speaking, routine washing and low heat drying is the way to go. It may be tempting to wear the same pair of socks for multiple days, but the best case scenario is to follow every full day of wear with proper washing and drying. It may be tempting to fold socks into themselves to store as a pair, but doing so tends to shorten the lifespan of the dynamic stretch in the cuff.
Do yourself a favor, use quality socks.