Light and midweight over-the-calf ski socks are the best socks for people who plan to ski in moderately cold temperatures. Midweight socks are best for those days when you can clearly see your breath and the air feels crisp against your face, or when the wind is whipping and you're skiing in a snowstorm.
Lightweight socks are the most versatile option for average-to-warm days on the mountain. Choosing the best sock for you depends on many factors, including foot shape, boot fit, exertion level, and weather. Here are some things you should consider:
Sock height: Most ski-specific socks are designed to extend over the calf and below the knee joint. As a rule, your ski sock should extend past the cuff of your ski boot so as to reduce any cuff chafing. The sock should stop below the knee joint so as not to interfere with the leg’s mobility.
Sock thickness: Wear just one pair of socks, preferably of mid- or lightweight thickness. Avoid heavy socks, which take up extra room in boots and tend to bunch.
The extra fabric of a midweight sock might help your boots fit a little better if you have extra space in them. Lightweight socks, on the other hand, are the best option for breathability, and we found that they fit best in a performance-fitted boot, something that a more expert skier might seek out. The heavier the sock, the more cushioning you get—but the less feel you have against the front of the boot. Most people don’t need ultralight socks, which tend to wear out much faster than thicker models.
Sock fit: Your feet will not lie to you. Feet are sensitive, and you’ll notice if a sock feels constricting or if the seams are bulky and uncomfortable. Luckily, the vast majority of ski socks do an excellent job of reducing unneeded bulk and not fitting too tight. That said, you should try on socks with your ski boots before you head out to the slopes.
Boot fit: Socks are only part of the equation when it comes to happy feet while skiing. As any experienced skier will tell you, your boots are where it really counts. That being said, you’d have no reason to invest so much time and effort into getting perfectly fitting boots without pairing them with equally suitable ski socks. Your ski socks can affect the fit and feel of your boots. If you’re renting ski boots, they’ll have liners that have been packed out by excessive wear day in and day out. That might call for a slightly thicker sock. But a performance-fitting boot is usually meant to conform to your foot, ankle, and calf, calling for a thinner sock. The ski boot liner, not the sock, will be doing most of the work to keep your feet warm, which is why our top sock picks for most people land in the lightweight category.