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The Best Men’s Wool Socks for Cold Temperatures

a man putting on a pair of gray wool socksIf you’re looking for new socks to protect your feet while camping or hiking, or to simply keep your feet as warm as possible in cold, damp weather, socks made of wool should be at the top of your list. While socks of all materials will keep your feet warm and protect them to some degree, wool socks are especially well suited for this purpose. Wool is an excellent insulator, far superior for maintaining warmth than a thinner material like cotton. Merino wool is a particularly great choice, as it is naturally temperature regulating, well suited for a wide range of temperatures. Wool dries out quicker than most other textiles and absorbs moisture well. In fact, it can absorb more moisture before your feet start to feel damp better than any other fabric. This is a handy feature if you get caught in a sudden rainstorm while camping or are hiking through wet, muddy woods. Wool has antibacterial properties as well, which makes wool socks naturally odor-resistant even after a long day of hiking or skiing. Wool is a soft and cushiony fabric, so your feet will be comfortable as well as warm and dry; they’re great for jobs or activities where you’re on your feet for hours, if not the entire day. Whether you enjoy cold-weather outdoor activities or simply want to bundle up well for chilly and icy temperatures, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of wool socks.

What to Consider in Wool Socks

Here’s what you may want to look into before buying:

  • Quantity: Do you want to buy multiple pairs of wool socks at once or just one individual pair? Many socks will come in sets, usually around three or four pairs, sometimes as many as six or more. This is a great way to save money as well as wear and tear on socks. However, you can find individual pairs of wool socks too, if that’s what you’re in the market for.
  • Moisture-Wicking: As mentioned, wool is a naturally absorbent and quick-drying material. This is great for wet weather as well as activities that might cause your feet to get sweaty. If you want socks that have further enhanced these natural properties of wool, look for pairs that are listed as moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking wool socks are more breathable and will draw moisture from your skin to the exterior of the sock, allowing it to evaporate quicker, thus drying your feet even quicker as well.
  • Padding: Wool socks are already soft and often thick. If you want some extra protection from them, however, look for wool socks that have additional padding around the heel and ball of your foot. This will provide you with extra cushioning and comfort as well as protection, which can be a lifesaver for preventing blisters and reducing foot aches if you’re on your feet most of the day.
  • Height: How tall or short do you want your wool socks to be? You can find standard length, crew, quarter, or ankle socks that are made from wool. Standard or ankle-length may be an optimal choice for everyday wear. Taller options like crew or quarter socks are great for activities like camping that require you to wear mid or high-cut boots, as they’ll protect your feet and ankles from abrasions and friction that shorter socks may not.

Top Choice: Yoicy Men’s Heavy Wool Socks

Wool is a material known first and foremost for its warming abilities, and these wool socks are perfect for just that. They’re extra thick, heavyweight, and warm in order to keep your toes and feet warm in even the chilliest temperatures. The extra thickness also means that these socks are extra comfortable and plush against your skin. The inside is lined for added fluff and softness. The stretchy, high elasticity contributes to the feeling of comfort as well and makes the socks easy to get on and off. They will fit any men’s shoe size between 6 and 12 and will match just about any outfit, be it professional, casual, a dinner party, or for a date. You can get them in packages of three, four, or five pairs, depending on your needs. Most pairs come in neutral, classic shades of white, gray, and blue, but there are paisley patterned and brightly colored options as well.

Top Choice

Best Thermal: Alvada Merino Wool Thermal Hiking Socks

Keeping your feet well insulated is especially important while hiking, camping, or doing other outdoor leisure or work activities. After all, if your feet get wet or cold during these pastimes, you may have to walk several miles and thus wait several hours before you can change into warm, dry socks and shoes. These calf-high wool socks are perfect for outdoor adventures in all types of extreme weather and temperatures that can help you avoid those sorts of unpleasant experiences. They’re made of merino wool, which is well known for its ability to keep your feet at the ideal temperature at all times. No matter how cold the weather, these socks will keep out the cold and dampness for warm, dry feet. And as a bonus, merino wool won’t make your skin feet itchy or scratchy, with a small blend of nylon and spandex for extra comfort. There’s also extra, special-shaped cushioning in the footbed to reduce fatigue and pain after a long day of walking. Even better, they’re easy to wash; unlike many wool socks, these can be machine washed on a cold cycle and allow to air dry. All socks come in an attractive shade of charcoal gray and are sold three pairs at a time. They’re available in two sizes, medium/large for men’s shoe sizes 9.5 to 12, or small/medium for shoe sizes 5 to 9.5.

Best Thermal

Alvada Merino Wool Hiking Socks Thermal Warm Crew Winter Boot Sock For Men Women 3 Pairs ML

Merino wool hiking socks with special cushioning that will keep your feet dry and warm and reduce fatigue and aching.

Best Design: Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock

Wool socks in classic neutral colors are always a timeless look that will match most outfits. That isn’t to say you can’t look for a pair with a little more flair and color if that’s your thing. These merino wool socks provide you with seven different colors to choose from in an outdoorsy style that is still functional. The socks are mid-calf height and mid-weight, neither too heavy nor too thin, with high density cushioning throughout the entire sock for a soft and comfortable feel. The seams are fused smoothly and are basically invisible thanks to the True Seamless technology. The socks are blended with a small amount of nylon and Lycra spandex for an even smoother feel. The elastic closure makes them easy to pull on and off, while the breathable merino wool better maintains your feet at a comfortable temperature, keeping them cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather. It also quickly wicks moisture off your skin and dries out quickly to avoid sweaty and smelly feet, even when hiking or running. Sizes run from small to XXL: small for shoe sizes 5.5 to 7.5, medium for size 8 to 9.5, large for sizes 10 to 12, XL for sizes 12.5 to 14.5, and XXL for sizes 15 to 17. Thanks to this great range of sizes, you should never have trouble finding socks that fit properly, whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one.

Best Design

Darn Tough 1405 Men's Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion, Olive, Large (10-12)

Colorful yet functional merino wool socks with an outdoorsy design that come in an excellent range of sizes.

Best for Hiking: DANISH ENDURANCE Hiking And Walking Socks

A good pair of socks is a crucial element when it comes to activities like hiking and camping. They’ll keep your feet dry and warm and provide them with another layer of protection. This pair of merino wool socks are well-suited for this task, as they were developed by the mountaineer Rasmus Kragh, who scaled Mount Everest. They’re high-quality, high-performance, and the material has plenty of endurance. They slide on easily and are sold in packs of three pairs. The merino wool blend is naturally thermal regulating, so your feet will always maintain a comfortable temperature no matter the weather and outdoor conditions. They’re cushioned and padded, not only for your comfort but to reduce the risk of developing blisters, hot spots, aches, pains, or accidental jarring. The ventilation mesh lanes enhance the merino wool’s natural moisture-wicking properties for breathability and a quicker dry to avoid feeling bogged down in sweaty socks. While these socks are ideal for hiking, backpacking, camping, and the like, don’t feel limited by this. They function well for everyday wear and work boots as well. You have the choice of three different sizes depending on what shoe size you wear.

Best for Hiking

DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Hiking Socks, Crew Length, Thermal & Moisture Wicking Hiking Socks, 3 Pair Pack for Men & Women

A cushioned, breathable pair of socks designed for activities like hiking, backpacking, and camping.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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