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Socks are a deeply personal decision, especially in winter when wearing them feels unavoidable. There’s no avoiding them in the cold months; getting your hands on the warmest socks is a necessity. But let’s call a spade a spade here: Functionally speaking, all grades of socks do more or less the same thing. Sure, you should get activity-specific socks if you plan on going skiing or running, but otherwise, there are budget-friendly options that are just as toasty as cashmere styles ten times the price. For that reason, the selection of the best socks for winter really comes down to comfort and personal preference.
Personally, there are some days when I want a merino wool workhorse that will keep my feet warm for long days on the ski slopes, and then transition seamlessly into an après-ski situation. There are other scenarios when I want to indulge in a cashmere sock for one simple reason: I’m worth it. At a time of year when the choice of socks is often hidden by a pant leg, feel free to do what makes you feel comfortable and what works for your routine.
Here, we’ve parsed through the very saturated sock market to find the warments pairs out there—whether it’s a Brunello Cucinelli cashmere stunner or a Corgi no-show for that sockless look. The weather may be oh so frightful, but your feet will feel delightful with any of the socks below.
Best Overall Socks
Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks
If you’re interested in the soft, cozy world of winter socks—but not ready to invest in a full-blown pair of Brunellos—these activewear-inflected socks from Bombas are a great place to start. They’re made mostly from merino wool, but have a touch of spandex woven in, so your feet won’t feel constricted.
Best No-Show Socks
Corgi Rib Mercerised Cotton Invisible Socks
If they’re good enough for the Prince of Wales, they’re good enough for us. These no-show ribbed socks have the same lightweight, high quality feel of Corgi’s taller models, but are designed to slip easily and discreetly into all your favorite loafers and slippers this winter season.
Best Cult-Classic Socks
Anonymous Ism Wool Herringbone Crew Socks
Cult-classic label Anonymous Ism from Tokyo is known for its meticulous attention to detail. These socks, for example, not only are the jacquard pattern the perfect mixture of classic and contemporary, but they’re made from a proprietary blend of wool, acrylic and spandex—which hits the mark when it comes to comfort, warmth, and durability.
Best Cushioned Socks
Smartwool Performance Hike Full Cushion Crew Socks
Every detail of this sock has been carefully engineered to live up to the challenges of an active winter routine, whether that’s snowy hikes or simply walking to work. The crew height adds just the right amount of coverage without feeling too bulky on the leg, strategically placed cushions increase warmth and comfort all over the sock, and they are designed with Smartwool’s “Virtually Seamless” toes so there’s absolutely no chafing or bunching.
Best Budget-Friendly Socks
Uniqlo Heattech Pile Plating Ribbed Socks
It’s the budget sock that doesn’t feel like a budget sock. Made with Uniqlo’s positively toasty Heattec technology, they’re a foolproof go-to for the winter months. At under ten bucks a pop, you really can’t afford to not give them a go.
Best Knee-High Socks
Rick Owens Knee-High Socks
Leave it to master of proportions Rick Owens to produce a perfect knee-high sock for men. They’re made from a fine ribbed cotton, and hit right at the knee. On those chillier days, layer them under your jeans or chinos to add a little degree of warmth.
Best Heavy-Duty Socks
Darn Tough Edge Over-the-Calf Midweight Ski & Snowboard Socks
This Vermont sock manufacturer is one of the last true sock factories remaining in the U.S., and their commitment to quality is knitted into every stitch. These midweight socks provide enough insulation for most winter climates, but have multi-zone mesh panels to maximize breathability and minimize sweat and chafing.
Best Cable-Knit Socks
Burberry Cashmere Cable Knit Socks
There’s something so cozy, so nostalgic about cable knit, and we love the generous size and old-world appeal of these Burberry socks. They’re made in the United Kingdom, and blended with just a hint of polyamide for durability, so they’ll last for many fireside nights to come.
Best Double-Layer Socks
Canada Goose Arctic Socks
When serious conditions call for serious warmth, turn to the experts at Canada Goose. The Arctic Sock is no joke—it’s made from a unique double-layer construction of warm yet breathable merit wool and cashmere for max comfort, max cozy, max warmth.
Best Cashmere Socks
The Elder Statesman Yosemite Sock
Nobody knows cashmere better than Greg Chait, founder of The Elder Statesman, and his addictive Yosemite Socks are a great entry point into the universe of his brand. Made from a heavyweight knit by hand in Los Angeles, this style features a ribbed ankle and a somewhat slouchy fit that doesn’t try too hard. It’s the cashmere sock that doesn’t have the pretentiousness of a cashmere sock.
Best Fair Isle Socks
Loro Piana Fair Isle Cashmere Socks
During the winter season, opt for socks that are both insulating and festive, like this pair from Loro Piana. They’re knitted from plush cashmere in a multicolored Fair Isle pattern.
Most Elegant Socks
Thom Browne Stripe-Detailed Cashmere Socks
Thom Browne’s exacting attention to detail is legendary, and these socks are no exception—100 percent cashmere, made in Italy, and perfectly low-profile to slip under a suit, yet warm enough to get you through those winter commutes. And who can resist the signature red, white and blue tab detail?
Best Luxury Socks
Brunello Cucinelli Ribbed Cashmere Sock
The finest Mongolian cashmere meets the finest Italian construction. Sure, they’ll cost you—but you won’t find a higher quality sock in the world.
Best Retro-Inspired Sock
Filson 1970s Logger Thermal Socks
Who doesn’t love a good retro tube sock? This thermal, ’70s-inspired style from Filson features the OG branding, as well as cushioning for all day comfort. Plus, they’re spun from high-quality wool that also manages moisture. Wear them with sneakers, wear them on their own—just wear them.
Best Performance Socks
Stance Performance Wool Snow OTC Socks
One of the names to know in the sock game Stance. The brand strives to provide designs that can withstand friction, allowing you to have hole-free socks for years and years. It is so sure of the durability of its products, especially when they are made of its Infiknit fibers, that it offers a lifetime guarantee.