What you wear between your foot and boot is more important than you might think. Ever had blisters, cold feet, wet feet, pressure points, or general metatarsal misery? You socks could be the culprit. Try our top choices, below, and have happy feet on the slopes and après.
Smartwool PhD Ski Racer: Whether you’re running gates or carving up the corduroy, this 58 percent merino, 39 percent nylon sock (pictured above) has just the right amount of cushioning in the shin and heel to keep you comfy for one run or the entire day. Smartwool wised up and eliminated their toe seams this season. Now, they use two different elastics for best-in-class stretch and recovery throughout the sock, as well as mesh ventilation zones for temperature and moisture management. The Ski Racer has just a tad of ankle cushion to prevent pressure points and rubbing. And, Smartwool guarantees you’ll love ‘em, or you can return ‘em for a full refund. $23, smartwool.com
Teko SIN3RGI Freeride World Tour Ski Pro Ultralight: Have sweaty feet? Teko’s Freeride World Tour Ski Pro Ultralight is as thin and sensitive as the finest merino socks with a lower percentage of merino (about 40 percent) and a higher percentage of poly (around 39 percent)–it won’t interfere with your snug boot fit. Teko blends the two into the same yarn for maximum moisture transport and temperature regulation. Soft, light, and durable, this sock won’t get sweaty or clammy, even in spring conditions. Teko’s merino is chlorine-free and its poly is 100 percent certified-recycled from plastic bottles and other post-consumer waste. All Teko socks have a seamless toe, an extra reinforced, deep pocketed/articulated heel, and a stay-put ankle band. Plus, the Freeride World Tour logo will get you respect. Best for less burly calves. $26, tekosocks.com
Icebreaker Ski + Mid Over the Calf: Icebreaker puts more merino next to your skin (80 percent) than any other brand, which means all the benefits of merino--moisture management, odor control and durability–are enhanced. When the inside of your sock is loopy, it's merino next to your skin. When it's not, you're wearing merino wrapped nylon (16 percent). Merino is the secret sauce–it keeps your feet dry and comfortable at the right temp–not too hot and not too cold. Icebreaker socks have flat toe closures: no bulk, no chaffe, no blisters. And, each pair has a Baa Code, a unique string of letters and numbers that lets you see which New Zealand farm the merino in your socks came from when you type the code in on Icebreaker's website. The Ski+ Mid OTC has strategically placed terry, a touch of cushion where you need it in the heel, shin and toe, and a tapered, anatomical toe box that contours to the shape of your foot for maximum comfort and reduced bulk. $26, icebreaker.com
Fits Socks Pro Ski - Fits worked with ski boot fitters across the US to develop the perfect fitting performance sock. What they came up with: the Pro Ski. An ultra-thin merino blend sock, it’s barely there from the toe cup through the arch, but it has high impact cushioning around the heel for shock absorption. An anti-friction full-length shin pad means no uncomfortable bruising or rubbing. The toe is constructed with less fabric to eliminate bunching, and the low profile seam is on the outside of the sock, behind the toes where it won’t rub. A Y-seam in the heel locks in your heel and supports your foot. And, the wide calf band is adaptable to even the most muscular skier legs. $24, fitssocks.com
Darn Tough Fang: Darn Tough uses more knit stitches per inch than any other brand to create socks with insane durability. Manufactured in Northfield, Vermont, the Fang is an ultra-light Merino wool ski sock with an undetectable toe seam, which menas no hot spots or blisters in even the tightest fitting ski boots. The high-density Merino knitting keeps your feet warm and comfortable without extra bulk filling your boot or compromising your edge-to-edge response. If you thought you needed thickness for warmth–these socks will prove you wrong. Extra elastic in the arch and cuff keep the sock in place even after your knees, quads and other body parts give out. The Fang comes with a lifetime guarantee–get a hole with normal usage and Darn Tough will replace them. $23, darntough.com
Dahlgren Sno Sock: Dahlgren believes that merino is good, but that a merino-alpaca blend is better. Merino (70 percent) is absorptive. Combined with ultra-warm, extremely durable, thermo-regulating and cashmere-soft alpaca (30 percent), this socks has a lower friction coefficient—that means it's less likely to rub and cause blisters. Dahlgren says the blend also gives the Sno Sock better moisture transfer than pure merino. Lght underfoot cushion and shin padding are ideal when you want a bit more warmth without losing sensitivity or overcrowding your boots. $23, Dahlgrenfootwear.com
Point6 Ski Medium Freefall: Point6 owners helped introduce merino to the outdoor industry nearly 20 years ago. Once they figured out how to make merino softer and more durable, they created Point6. The Medium Freefall, Point6’s warmest and thickest ski sock, uses 33 percent nylon as a protective shield to strengthen and reinforce merino around the wear areas. It’s luxurious and loopy throughout with 64 percent merino. A deep, foot-hugging heel pocket, an ultra-smooth and undetectable toe closure, and a comfortably cushioned shin put your dogs in a happy place. $23, point6.com