Size & Buying Guides

Choosing the Right Ski Socks

Carol Ching

Ski socks are an essential part of your setup. Not only do they make your ski boots more comfortable, but they also keep your toes warm and dry. Wearing merino wool ski socks can also protect you from frostbite. Here’s everything you need to know about these foot savers.
Choosing the Right Ski Socks

What are ski socks and How do you choose them?

What's the big deal with ski socks? 

Ski socks are designed to be worn with ski boots. They are longer than everyday socks and also thicker at the shin and toes to help protect you at boot pressure points. While everyday socks are usually made of thin cotton, ski socks are composed of wool. Merino wool wicks away moisture and helps regulate your body temperature. Bonus: wool has antimicrobial properties that can keep your feet from getting stinky. Some merino wool ski socks also contain synthetic fabric to give them extra stretch and durability.

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How are ski socks different from regular socks

Extra padding at the shin - Ski socks provide extra padding at boot pressure points like the shin to minimize discomfort as you ski.

No seam toes - The last thing you want coming between your toes and the front of your ski boot is a seam. Ski socks come sans toe seams to prevent pressure from building up in this zone.

Cuffs - Elastic ankle cuffs keep your socks hiked up to prevent uncomfortable bunching.

Sock length - Ski socks are longer than regular socks for a simple reason: they are designed to come up above your ski boots.

Yarn thickness - Because of the increased pressure in a ski boot versus a shoe, ski socks have a thin twill.

Anatomical design - Ski socks are designed to fit snugly around your foot and calf zones for maximum protection and comfort.

Fit - Your socks should fit snugly without cutting off your circulation – which can lead to cold feet!

What kind of ski socks are there?

Compression socks - Compression socks fit snugly against the skin without any slippage. They will stay in place even after a full day on the slopes.

Heated socks - Reach for heated socks if you're planning on skiing in the bitter cold or just can't stand the idea of having chilly toes.

How to choose ski socks by thickness

Medium socks - Medium thickness ski socks are the most common variety. If you’re unsure, go with medium. Not feeling the cold and your boots aren’t too tight? Go medium.

Thin socks - Thin ski socks are for pro skiers who wear tighter boots and want more performance for their buck. Less material between your foot and the ski boot equals greater performance.

Liners - Liners are the thinnest possible ski sock made of a single piece of material. These are generally used by pro athletes.

Blended socks - Blended socks feature a durable mix of synthetic and merino wool fabrics. This variety has more stretch than pure wool socks and will last longer.

How to care for wool socks

You should wash your socks at the end of every ski day. This will prevent salt buildup from forming in your boots. Wash with cold water and regular detergent and then let them hang dry another night.


When planning for a multi-day ski trip, you should pack one to two pairs of merino wool ski socks per day. Rinse out your socks and hang dry them overnight if you don’t have dozens of pairs.