If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Anyone who’s experienced the outdoors or lived somewhere cold will tell you that the key to proper layering is having insulating inner layers, and the right socks go a long way in keeping you warm. After all, it doesn’t matter how warm your upper half is if your feet are cold and wet. And while your winter boots are responsible for keeping your feet dry, it’s your socks that actually keep your feet warm. That’s why it’s always worth having a good pair of boot socks.
What To Consider When Buying the Best Boot Socks
Boot socks don’t necessarily refer to one specific kind of sock — you can have boot socks in different cuts, materials and weights. But in general, boot socks will be tall enough to bridge the gap between the top of your boot and the break of your pants. Boot socks obviously need to be warm, but there is a caveat. If they’re not breathable, sweat will build up in your socks as you walk, making your feet damp and cold.
That’s why many boot socks are made from moisture-wicking materials, including synthetics like polyester and natural fibers like wool. These fabrics can keep you warm while also keeping sweat from saturating the fabric and making you miserable. Merino wool is an especially popular option because it offers the natural benefits of wool (warmth, moisture-wicking, odor-resistance) without the itchiness that’s typically associated with the fabric.
There are other details to consider when looking for boot socks. Style is worth considering, although in many cases, the socks will be hidden by the shaft of your boots. And while all boot socks are designed to keep you warm, there’s considerable variance in weight. Some boot socks are on the thinner side, while others will be almost as heavy as your favorite winter sweater.
We’ve rounded up some of the best boot socks to buy right now. Even if you’re not planning on hiking the Appalachian this winter, the best boot socks are still a great investment; you can wear them as you shuffle along on cold bathroom tile and hardwood floors.
1. Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion Socks
These boot socks from Darn Tough are made from a blend of merino wool, nylon and spandex. Merino wool is a popular performance fabric because of its moisture-wicking abilities and the fact that, as a natural fiber, it’s more durable and environmentally friendly than polyester. These socks have a moderate level of cushioning for comfort and are designed to not slip in your shoes. Best of all, these boot socks are made in the US.Buy: Darn Tough Boot Socks $26.00
2. Bombas Men’s Merino Wool Calf Socks
SPY’s workout-obsessed editor was skeptical of expensive socks, but since trying them, she enthusiastically recommends Bombas’ socks for performance and everyday use. If you’re specifically looking for a thick, warm option that works well with boots, then consider these merino wool calf socks from Bombas. Merino wool is basically nature’s performance fabric; it’s naturally soft, moisture-wicking and temperature regulating. And most importantly, it effectively resists odor. These socks have Bombas’ unique honeycomb cushioning system that supports the foot. Plus, these socks come in a range of stylish, heathered colors that work great for any style.Buy: Bombas Boot Socks $19.00
3. Carhartt Multipack Performance Work Socks
Carharrt is well-known for its warm beanies, but they also make great socks. That means that Carharrt can be trusted to keep you warm from your head to your toes. These socks are made from a polyester-spandex blend that wicks moisture away from your feet to reduce odors and keep your feet dry. The socks also have panels in the soles and ankles to provide support and compression.Buy: Carharrt Boot Socks $14.93
4. American Trench Boot Socks
For something truly luxurious, consider these cashmere/merino boot socks from American Trench. They’re made in the US and come in simple colors like dark brown marl and solid green. The socks are made from a blend of different fabrics, but unlike most fabric blends, there’s no polyester or nylon in these socks. Rather, they’re made from a unique blend of wool and silk. But before you fret about dry cleaning your socks, don’t worry — they recommend machine washing and hang drying or tumble drying on low.Buy: American Trench Boot Socks $32.00
5. LL Bean Merino Wool Ragg Socks
LL Bean is best known for its legendary duck boots, and the Maine-based brand also makes great socks to along with them. The socks come in a few classic colors, and they’re made in the US from a blend of merino wool, nylon and spandex. The merino wool keeps you warm without being itchy or overheating. Each order includes two socks, and they come in sizes that suit both men and women.Buy: LL Bean Ragg Socks $34.95
6. RealTree Boot Socks
MERINO WOOL BLEND
These socks are made in the US by RealTree, a brand that specializes in outdoor camouflage equipment. And much like the way camouflage is designed to disappear from sight, these socks are comfortable enough that you can forget you’re wearing them. They’re made from a blend of merino wool, which provides warmth and moisture-wicking, nylon, which adds durability and spandex, which makes the socks stretchy.Buy: Realtree Boot Socks $13.99
7. REI Co-op Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks
MADE IN THE USA
REI knows the outdoors, so it’s no surprise their house brand is a great place for hiking and boot socks. In fact, REI makes everything from travel bags to outerwear and even bicycles. These crew socks would work well with a pair of the best hiking boots. They’re made from a blend of merino wool and nylon. Since they’re merino wool, these socks are naturally odor-resistant and moisture-wicking. Plus, the socks are made in the USA and meet the Responsible Wool Standard, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your feet. They’re lightly cushioned for all-day comfort.Buy: REI Co-Op Hiking Socks $16.95
8. Timberland Men’s Comfort Crew Socks
Timberland makes some great boots, and we don’t just mean their 6″ classic boot in wheat (or as most people call them, “Timbs”). The brand also has a solid selection of other boots, and they also make great accessories, like these economical crew socks that are great for boots or casual wear. They have half cushioning and arch support, so they’ll keep your feet comfortable, whether you’re going on a long hike or breaking in a new pair of boots. Each order includes four pairs of socks, making these socks one of the best values on this list.Buy: Timberland Comfort Crew Socks $23.90
9. Uniqlo Color Socks
These aren’t actually boot socks, but they’re still one of the most versatile pairs of socks that can take you from a quick hike to a business meeting. They have a ribbed design and are cut from a fabric that’s slightly thicker than the average dress sock, but thinner than heavy tube socks. That means you can comfortably wear them with narrower sneakers or heavier work boots. I’ve personally worn these with everything from GH Bass loafers to Thorogood work boots. And while they’re not as odor-resistant as merino wool, these socks stay pretty fresh throughout the day. Plus, Uniqlo’s color socks are aptly named; they’re available in tons of different colors.Buy: Uniqlo Color Socks $3.90
10. Wrangler Men’s Western Boot Socks
We’re not sure why they call these socks Western — there’s no fringe or pearl snap buttons — but at least these boot socks are up to the kind of tasks a cowboy would put them through. These American-made socks are made with a blend of polyester, nylon and spandex, making them moisture-wicking and stretchy enough to easily pull on and off. Ribbed panels provide support to the arch of your foot as well. They come in a pack of three and are available in white, black or gray.Buy: Wrangler Boot Socks $15.99
11. Dickies Men’s Work Crew Socks
These boot socks from Dickies are made primarily from cotton, making these a good option if you find wool and polyester uncomfortable. It features compression panels on the insteps for all-day comfort, no matter how long you’re on your feet. The socks are also cushioned to provide warmth and protection from stiff boots.Buy: Dickies Boot Socks $10.00