It’s a very good time to be on the hunt for the best winter socks, whether you’re searching for something utilitarian and warm to hold your ankles down during wintry commutes, or something furry and neon to make a statement in a sea of navy and brown. The early 2010s were big years for bare ankles—and the no-show socks required to pull the look off. Fast forward to 2022 and flashing two or three inches of sock is cool again, and so the market is flooded with colorful, textured styles that are made to be seen—and made to be flexed in. And, better still, those out-there styles we love are being made in thicker and more winter-friendly weights—great news for all of us, not just sock lovers, because it’s cold and, you know, warmth. Now the thing we have to do to save our toes is also the thing we want to do to express our unique personalities, and life is a perfect marriage of form and function. Well, below the knees at least. Below, the best winter socks we (and our cold feet) are especially feeling right now.
The Best Winter Socks, At a Glance
The Best Precious (But Not Too Precious) Winter Socks
Surviving winter’s coldest days is all about finding novel ways to trick your brain into believing that leaving home is a good idea. And pulling on a pair of cashmere socks—encircling your toes in all that impossibly cozy, soothingly soft luxury—is one of the most reliable methods we’ve found for keeping positive in the face of blistering cold weather. But that silky smooth feel can come at a cost—both in terms of your wallet and your time (no tossing these socks into the regular wash, it’s either making a trip to the cleaners or doing a light scrub down with your hands). That’s why we love these Wolford jams: they’ve got all the feel of that cashmere goodness that helps get your butt out the door, but are constructed from a cotton-velvet blend meaning you can add these to the gentle cycle and go about your day. The fact that they clock in at a relatively reasonable $40 is just icing on the cake.
The Best Heavy-Duty Winter Socks
When things are extra horrible outside—like, polar-vortex-level bad—these Smartwool socks are the ones you want. Think of ’em as a full-on parka for your feet: thick enough you’ll be worried about them actually fitting in your boots (they will); performance-minded enough that your feet won’t completely overheat on the go. A certain GQ staffer once wore these exact socks while spending multiple nights in a quinzhee hut in the backwoods of northern Ontario, and he still has all his toes. So, yeah, they’re the real deal.
The Best Workweek Winter Socks
If your budget won’t quite allow for a drawerful of the Wolford numbers above, these Falke socks are a great everyday alternative wool sock at half the price. They’ve got a healthy serving of cashmere in the mix, all served up in a package that’s slim enough to fit in your dress shoes and subtle enough to appease even the soberest of office dress codes.
The Best Stank-Free Winter Socks
Got the kind of feet where people start leaving the room before you’ve even finished untying your laces? Silver Spun Goods boot socks will help. There’s anti-microbial silver knit directly into the heel and toe to ward off odors at the source, and the breathable, naturally moisture-wicking cotton-wool blend that comprises the rest will keep your toes toasty. Plus, a touch of spandex keeps them in place, whether you’re trekking up a mountain or to the kitchen.
The Best Throwback Winter Socks
Nothing beats classic American style, and nobody does classic and American better than L.L.Bean. Their wool blend ragg socks are one of the warmest out there and are every bit as soft, nubby, and altogether perfect as you remember. Plus, they’ll look incredible peeking out from the top of those duck boots you hopefully remembered to buy early this year.
The Best Earth-Conscious Winter Socks
One more ragg option for the green-minded among us: Maggie’s loose-knit take is made in North Carolina from fair trade organic cotton, and comes in way weirder colors—like deep eggplant and bright green—than its more traditional counterparts. And who doesn’t like high-quality, warm socks at a sweet price?
The Best Wallet-Friendly Winter Socks
Uniqlo’s Heattech line is the GOAT when it comes to affordable, cold-busting winter gear, and these deceptively slim ribbed crew socks are no exception. Consider your feet’s moisture wicked, heat retained and bacteria kicked TF out. At just under 8 bucks a pop, you can afford to buy ’em in a handful of colors.