While your shoes are important, foot comfort actually starts with the sock; it’s the layer that actually touches the skin, after all. Fit, cut, cushioning, and thickness all matter, but the sock’s material will have the biggest effect on its overall performance. And for that, there’s a clear winner: Wool is the most versatile and popular sock fabric for its insulating, sweat-wicking, and antimicrobial properties. It’s basically a super ingredient that’s often blended with synthetic fibers like nylon, elastane, and polyester. Wool socks will keep you warm in cold conditions and cool in hot weather, and they’re ideal for moving moisture from your foot. That means you can go for days without stinking up wool socks, even if you sweat profusely.
Whether you’re trekking through loamy trails, leveling up at the gym, or just looking to enhance your work wardrobe, treat your toes to these 11 stylish and technical pairs of wool socks.
The Best Wool Socks for Men 2021
1. Best No-Show Sock: Smartwool No Show Socks
Socks can be a fashion statement, but sometimes you don’t want them to peek out from your shoes. Just a few years ago, Smartwool added men’s no-show socks to its extensive lineup so guys would have a high-quality option to pair with low-cut sneakers. A sticky grip at the heel ensures they won’t slide down while you’re moving, while the virtually seamless toe prevents excess fabric from rubbing. The socks are mostly made of merino wool, but there’s also a touch of nylon and elastane for stretch.
2. Most Sustainable: United By Blue Bison Trail Sock
United By Blue salvages bison fibers and incorporates them into garments. And even though the massive grazing animal is rugged and scruffy, these socks are supremely soft. Ribbed compression on the cuffs and ankle add support to this crew-height pair, and the reinforced sole, heel, and toe means they won’t grow holes after only a few wears. They’re just as comfy stuffed into hiking boots as they are padding around at home, too.
3. Best for Hiking: Farm to Feet Cascade Locks
You can’t go wrong with any of Farm to Feet’s socks, but the Cascade Locks ¾ Crew is our favorite for its versatility. Suitable for hikes year-round, these socks will keep your feet supported thanks to the ribs on the top of the foot and the light targeted cushioning at the heel and toes. They’re 54 percent nylon and 42 percent merino wool (sourced solely from sheep farmers in America) so they’ll keep you warm in cold weather and they’ll breathe when you heat up. Plus, they earn style points for their eye-catching designs.
4. Best for Snowsports: Wigwam Snow Junkie Lightweight Over-The-Calf
Skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or just shoveling ice off your driveway? You don’t need the thickest sock on the market to keep you warm. All that movement will quickly heat up your feet, so this lightweight sock gives you just enough insulation and protection while also allowing your feet to breathe. Fabric on the heel is contoured in a y shape, which both keeps your feet from slipping and allows for expansion as you step.
5. Best for Home: Bombas Gripper Slipper
Sometimes all you need is a cozy sock to wear around the house. That means it’ll have to perform more like a slipper than a sock you’d stick into a shoe. The Bombas Gripper Slipper is what you need. The brushed wool lining is as plush and warm as a blanket, and the non-slip grippers on the sole keep you stable while you’re chasing after the dog or running to the phone. For every purchase, Bombas donates a pair to homeless shelters.
6. Best Lifestyle Sock: Darn Tough Mesa Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Sock
Just because you’re heading to work or a weekend barbecue, doesn’t mean your sock needs any less tech. This pair from Darn Tough has all the wicking and antimicrobial benefits of a wool sock as well as the swag of a dress sock (one tester even wore these to his wedding). The fine-gauge knit gives them a luxurious look and a silky feel, and the lack of cushion means they fit easily into boots, sneakers, slides, or wingtips. Darn Tough also offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee, so you can expect these to last for years to come.
7. Best Compression Sock: Sockwell Speedway
Searching for a compression sock (which can boost blood circulation and reduce swelling) that doesn’t look like it was prescribed by a doctor? Sockwell’s affordable version looks like a regular knee-high sock, but it squeezes in all the right places. Increased pressure on the foot, ankle, and calf can help relieve aches and pains that develop after activity. Spandex throughout the sock makes it easy to slide on and stay up, while wool keeps it from staying soggy or getting smelly.
8. Best for Running: Balega Blister Resist Quarter Running Socks
These Balega socks are made from mohair, a super-fine wool from Angora goats. The fibers have a flat structure that, when woven together, reduces friction against your foot and therefore prevents blisters. Mohair is also incredibly strong, so it won’t wear out as fast. Runners will also appreciate this sock’s ankle cut and tight fit, which keep dirt and gravel from sneaking in as you pound the pavement or trail.
9. Best for Multiple Sports: Icebreaker Merino Multisport Light Mini Socks
If you want one sock for every type of activity, the Multisport Light Mini is it. This lightweight layer reaches just above the ankle to provide Achilles support while you’re walking, jogging, sprinting, cycling, or lifting, and there’s added compression on the outer sides for instep support. Plus, a breathable zone at the top of the foot creates ventilation to help with moisture management. They’re also built to last: Icebreaker offers a lifetime guarantee on its socks.
10. Best for Cold Weather: Minus33 Merino Wool Mountaineer Over the Calf Socks
These full terry merino socks will keep your feet and legs toasty during winter adventures. They rise to just below the knee to keep your calves warm (along with your feet), cushioning on the footbed provides durability and loft, and the seamless toe deters blisters from forming. For a full-length sock, these are one of the more affordable options.
11. Best for Hot Weather: FITS Microlight Quarter
When sandals aren’t appropriate but it’s still hot as blazes, you want a sock that’s not going to roast your feet. FITS dubs this pair “the official sock of summer” because it’s spun out of a super-fine merino wool that dumps heat and repels dampness. Extra padding in the toe, arch, and heel relieve pressure during all types of activities, and the full-contact fit means they won’t gather, creep, or chafe during workouts or humid hikes.