Love camping in cold weather, but hate chilly feet? Then you need a pair of quality winter socks to keep you warm and comfy, even when the temperatures drop. Fortunately, our team at Outdoor Command has got you, and your toes, covered! We’ve scoured high and low, bundling the top-rated options in this Best Thermal Socks Overview – helping you save time and money locating the best deals on the web!
The best thermal socks for your time in the great outdoors need to tick various boxes. Winter socks need to be insulating, breathable, durable, and – of course – comfortable; because nobody likes itchy or scratchy wool socks. That is why we’ve ensured every pair of socks in this overview scores top marks and is made of premium materials such as soft merino wool. Whether you’re looking for a pair of cushion socks with arch support for hiking, or a pair of innovative heated socks that come with thermal warming built-in: there’s a match for every pair of feet.
All designs in this Best Thermal Socks Overview score highly in Amazon reviews, with consumers giving them a big thumbs up on value-for-money. Durable yet affordable: these warm socks are an excellent choice for all kinds of cold weather scenarios, including winter sports, trekking, hiking, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities.
Our Best Thermal Socks for the great outdoors are:
- Smartwool PhD Medium Cushion Wool Crew Sock
- Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks
- Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks
- Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Boot Socks
- GLOBAL VASION Electric Heated Thermal Socks
So, what are you waiting for? Discover more about our top-rated thermal sock favorites below, and upgrade your gear with this must-have cold-weather essential:
Best Thermal Socks – Overview
Smartwool PhD Medium Cushion Wool Crew Sock
- Material: 63% merino wool, 35% nylon, 2% elastane
The Smartwool PhD series contains various models, including light running socks, low-cut hiking socks, and heavy-duty mountaineering style. Though our favorite from the line-up remains the medium cushioned Smartwool PhD Outdoor Crew Sock, as listed in this overview.
The design is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities, including trekking and hiking. The performance-orientated fit of the sock features an ankle flex zone, which enhances comfort and adds support where needed. The medium cushion socks feature moderate padding on the bottom, which helps impact absorption without feeling overly bulky in your hiking boots. The Smartwool PhD Medium Cushion Merino Wool Crew Sock also comes with a virtually seamless toe area, reducing friction and the chance of blisters.
The main component of the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks, merino wool, has excellent insulating properties. Additionally, Merino wool offers great breathability, plus keeps your feet comfy and dry thanks to its natural moisture-wicking properties. Though soft and comfy, the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks are also highly durable. The brand uses its patented ‘Indestructawool technology’ in the of the socks: making them more resistant to wear and tear.
Very durable, highly-rated, insulating yet breathable, and easy to pair with hiking boots: the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Crew Socks are great for all-year wear, and rates as one of the best thermal socks for your time in the great outdoors!
Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks
- ALL WEATHER COMFORT: Darn Tough uses the highest quality merino wool, which naturally provides all weather performance. This Mens hiking sock stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks are made of 61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 3% Lycra Spandex: warm, moisture-wicking, and a little stretchy. The silhouette is a ‘flexible performance fit’, snug but not compressed; which helps prevents the sock from bunching up or slipping. The high-quality wool socks feature light cushioning on the underfoot area, which helps absorb shocks and impact on challenging trails.
True seamless construction
Besides cushioning, the Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks also features elastic arch support. We also like the Darn Tough sock’s true seamless construction, which features an undetectable seam so you can enjoy an ultrasmooth comfort, each step of the way.
The 61% merino wool blend used in the Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks is packed with natural moisture-wicking properties, ideal for dealing with sweaty feet. Another perk is that merino wool has antimicrobial properties, which also helps fight odors.
The Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Socks are produced in the USA and adhere to high-quality standards. Available in a range of colors, there’s a match for every style preference. These warm wool socks are highly-rated on Amazon, gathering hundreds of 5-star reviews that rave about the comfort, durability, and value of the socks.
Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks
- (MEDIUM) US SHOE SIZE 4 - 10 ~ MADE IN THE USA ~ (GREY) - Men's and Women's Warm Premium Quality Merino Wool Socks
The Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks profit fully from the natural moisture-wicking, insulating, and odor-resistant properties of merino wool. These winter socks can absorb up to 30% of their body weight without losing the ability to keep your feet toasty: ideal for snowy conditions and winter sports.
The 100% merino wool used in the Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks is non-itchy and quick-drying. To give the sock extra durability, the manufacturer has enhanced the sock with a reinforced toe. The silhouette also features arch and heel support weaved in, supporting your feet where needed and preventing hot-spots and blisters. Merino also has natural anti-bacterial properties, which helps eliminate the chance of unwanted odors.
Focus on quality
These very comfortable socks are simple yet functional. They are only available in a limited number of colors/patterns. This is because the manufacturer Kakuetta Trail chooses to focus on the quality of the product, instead of on variety: which is a philosophy we can get behind.
Do note that the Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks are a lot thicker and bulkier than the previously listed crew socks. Though our hiking boots are adjustable, meaning we can loosen them up to fit thick socks, some hiking boots may not offer this luxury. So, we do recommend you consider this. That said, for the price listed, we reckon you can’t go wrong with the Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks. Even if you only end up wearing them to bed on cold winter nights, these are an awesome pair of socks to add to your sock drawer…
Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Boot Socks
- Cushioned, moisture-wicking crew sock featuring ribbed cuff and reinforced sole
The Carhartt Cold Weather Boot Sock is made of 70% Acrylic, 16% Wool, 8% Polyester, 5% Nylon, and 1% Spandex. The silhouette of the sock features a tough ribbed cuff and reinforced sole, improving its durability. To improve comfort, the sock is fully cushioned, helping absorb shock and impact when you’re on the go. The cushioning and reinforced sole also helps alleviate foot fatigue, keeping you going longer without discomfort.
Though heavy-duty in durability, the Carhartt Cold Weather Boot Sock is not bulky – partly thanks to special ankle vents to reduce bulk. This means they can easily slip into your regular pair of hiking boots, trail runners, or other outdoor footwear. The design also features proprietary, odor-resistant technology, keeping your feet smelling fresh, longer.
The Carhartt Cold Weather Boot Sock has more than a thousand glowing Amazon reviews that rate it the maximum score of 5-stars, serving as assurance that this sock lives up to expectation. Consumers confirm that the Carhartt socks can keep your feet comfy, toasty, and dry – even in wintery conditions, and have excellent durability. Durable and tough, yet comfy and soft: it’s a winning combination.
GLOBAL VASION Heated Thermal Socks
- Electric rechargeable heated socks for chronically cold feet ( Heated Area: Front instep)
The GLOBAL VASION Heated Thermal Socks feature a recessed heating element that focuses the heat in the toe area, keeping the bottom of your foot toasty warm. These heated thermal socks are powered by a 3.7-volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery is placed in a top pocket and easily connects to the heating pad – which is internally wired in a non-evasive, hard-to-notice way.
3 Electric Heat Settings
The GLOBAL VASION Heated Thermal Socks includes one pair of unisex socks, 2 x 3.7V lithium-ion batteries, and the required charger. The socks themselves are made of soft cotton and stretchy spandex and feature a reinforced toe and reinforced heel. Though these cotton socks are breathable, they do tend to get a bit sweaty when the heat is turned on – as cotton is not very moisture-wicking. However, for the extra warmth and toasty heat – slightly sweaty feet could be worth the compromise…
The rechargeable GLOBAL VASION Heated Thermal Socks feature 3 heating modes (low, medium and high), allowing you to customize the warmth to your specific preference. On a single charge, you’ll get approximately 6 hours of continuous heating on the low setting – which is ideal for an afternoon of hitting the slopes when skiing or snowboarding.
That said, for multi-day hikes and long-distance trekking, these socks are not ideal – as once the battery is dead, you will need access to a power source to recharge; a real challenge in the great outdoors. However, for day hikes and short outdoor activities, these rechargeable electric heated socks could be the innovative solution to your cold feet needs!
Choosing a winner from this Best Thermal Socks Overview is quite the challenge, mostly because each style has its specific appeal.
For example, if you’re looking for a 100% natural wool sock, nothing beats the thermal insulation of the Kakuetta Trail Merino Wool Hiking Socks. However, these 100% Merino wool socks may be super warm, but they’re also quite bulky and thick. This is why some hikers and outdoor enthusiasts may find a better match in the thinner Smartwool PhD Medium Cushion Wool Crew Socks or Darn Tough Hiker Merino Wool Micro Crew Socks. Though still very insulating, these socks are more streamlined and easier to slip into your regular hiking boots, without having to size-up in shoe size. By blending natural merino wool with synthetics, the socks offer outstanding durability, just the right amount of stretch, and are very breatheable and moisture-wicking.
Insulation versus heating
That said, perhaps you’re looking for a whole different type of thermal sock altogether: an electrically heated sock. This thermal sock alternative contains an integrated heating element powered by a small battery, keeping your feet toasty warm with hours of radiant heat. If so, then you’ll love the GLOBAL VASION Heated Thermal Socks. These affordable socks come with a rechargeable battery and offer 3 heat settings with up to 6 hours of continuous warming: ideal as ski socks, for ice fishing, or other extreme cold conditions.
Upgrading your sock drawer
You see, there’s no magic ‘one-sock-fits-all’ option. That said, we can assure you that every product on this list is a great option. Each pair of socks is highly-rated on Amazon, with excellent reviews on value-for-money, warmth, and comfort (which are 3 of our main priorities when shopping for thermal socks).
All you need to do is determine which pair of socks fit your needs best. An all-natural 100% merino options, a high-quality blend of wool and synthetics, or perhaps an electrically heated option: the choice is yours! Rest assured, each pair of winter socks on this list is a best-value, worthwhile addition to your sock drawer!
Each pair of socks in this overview is already a winner, having made the cut from hundreds of other styles on the market. Picking ‘the best’ pair of thermal socks for your time in the great outdoors is more a matter of preference.
We like the appeal of the Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks. These socks are made of 100% Merino Wool, making them an all-natural choice to keep your feet warm and dry in cold weather conditions. Merino wool has natural moisture-wicking and odor-resistant properties, keeping your feet not just warm, but also dry and smelling fresh. Well, we can’t guarantee the fresh part, but Merino wool is less prone to ‘soaking up’ odors like other fabrics such as cotton. Yes, we know these socks are very thick and bulky, but we don’t mind as our hiking boots can handle it.
Do note that this is only a personal preference – and we by no means think the Kakuetta Trail Merino Cold Weather Hiking Socks reign supreme over the other options in this overview. We’d be just as happy wearing the SmartWool, Carhartt, or Darn Tough socks – but we chose to highlight the Kakuetta Trail socks as they’re the only 100% Merino wool option on this list.