As the weather gets colder, you could throw in the towel and sit with your feet propped up in front of the fire. Or you could slip on a pair of winter socks designed to keep your feet warm in the worst conditions and get outside. Here are six pairs that will help you stay active as the temperature drops.
Smartwool PhD Ski Light ($26)
Smartwool threw all of its tech at this ski-specific sock, loading it with mesh zones for breathability, elastic zones for a secure fit, and a relatively high merino-wool content (59 percent) to keep your feet warm and dry during all-day powder fests. The brand offers the PhD in a variety of thicknesses, but I like the Ski Light, which has thin padding under the heel and toes and a layer of cushioning on the shin.
Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Wool ($42)
Dreaming of fat biking through a winter wonderland? The Crosspoint is the sock for you. It’s constructed with three layers: a waterproof membrane knitted between a comfy merino-wool liner, which is wrapped with a nylon-polyester-spandex exterior. It’s not as breathable as your standard single-layer wool option, but you can pedal through sleet, rain, or powder and come out the other end with dry toes.
Darn Tough Mountaineering Over-the-Calf Extra Cushion ($30)
Most merino-wool socks hover around the 50/50 merino-to-polyester ratio, but Darn Tough’s Mountaineering has a whopping 73 percent merino build, making it incredibly soft and warm in the worst conditions. I grab the over-the-calf height on bitter days, and while the high-density cushioning underfoot might be too much for fast and light hikers, I prefer that plush feel.
Burton Performance + Lightweight ($30)
Built for snowboarders, this sock has the standard winter goodies, like a merino-wool blend, an articulated fit with compression zones, and a blister-free toe box. But Burton takes this model to 11 by giving it padded ridges at the Achilles and shin to keep the sock locked into your boot, decreasing slippage and bunching.
Farm to Feet Little Cottonwood Backcountry Ski Mesh ($24)
Backcountry touring demands a different kind of sock than what you’d wear running laps on lift-served terrain. Farm to Feet answers the call by removing the padded shin plate found in most downhill ski socks, incorporating mesh into the calf for more breathability, and adding an extra layer of merino wool in the toe box for added warmth where you need it most.
Drymax Cold Weather Running Over the Calf ($20)
Not only does the Cold Weather extend above your calf, it features three layers of insulation on the front panel to help protect your shins from windchill. Elastic bands at the ankle and midfoot keep the sock in place, while Drymax’s hydrophobic dual-layer fabric removes sweat to keep your dogs dry.