With the evolution of the ski boot and the insulating properties in factory or custom foamed liners, warmth is no longer the main responsibility of ski socks.
Much has been done to make ski boots air and water tight, keeping the wind chill and melted snow off your feet. This has given sock manufacturers much leniency to experiment with sock material and design to meet the goals of the modern ski sock - keep feet comfortable, keep feet dry, and give your feet the ability to feel the balance of your ski boots and bindings. Here's a look at some of the best ski socks available today.
CEP Skiing Compression Sport Socks are designed to provide a gradient compression to increase blood flow and decrease leg fatigue while skiing or riding making for a longer and more enjoyable day on the slopes. The CEP Skiing Compression Sport Socks are made with 91% Polyamid, 9% Elasthan and rated with 12-16 mmHg compression.
Vermont Darn Tough socks may have a name that may remind you of union suits and thick wool socks with red tops but rest assured these aren't your granddaddy's foot warmers. Darn Tough ski socks are ultra-light yet extremely dense socks knitted on the latest generation of Italian knitting machines to produce a Merino wool sock that provides cushioning to eliminate pressure from forward lean, buckles, and power straps.
Darn Tough makes ski socks for men, women and kids in ultra light or cushioned and the fine gauge Merino wool insulates, doesn't itch and moves moisture off the skin keeping feet dry and warm. Bottom line: if your boots fit better and your feet are warm, at the end of the day, you're still on the hill.
The DeFeet Fre model is made of a blend of Merino wools and is designed for all skiers. Unique to the Fré is a dense padding in the shin and foot area that is designed to fill any gaps in the boot liner. I skied the Fré with a recreational boot and factory liner and it was very comfortable, but the padding was too much fill for my custom foamed liners. The Fré also comes in a women specific design. The engineering involved has resulted in non-traditional knitting designs that puts DeFeet products on the cutting edge.
Talon is the thinnest sock in DeFeets ski line and is made from CoolMax®. For a race type boot the Talon will transmit every nuance directly from foot to ski boot. I found this sock was also the best suited for those boots with a custom foam liner and worked great for me. They also come in a women specific design. The Defeet skiing line of socks was developed with the input of World Cup champions. All models are designed with No-slip cuffs at the top, the patented Aireator mesh around the calf area for wicking out moisture, and all are virtually seamless in the toe pocket.
Lorpen ski socks feature a Tri Layer Technology - three layers of yarn knit together. The first layer, PrimaLoft Eco-Polyester, is for performance and comfort. The middle layer, Merino Wool, to wick moisture away while providing softness. The third layer, Nylon has nylon fibers concentrated in the toe, heal and shin where the sock gets the most abrasion. Not to worry, the Tri Layer Technology does not equate to a thick sock at all. The Ski Superlight works great for custom liners.
Point6 - as in 98.6 - the optimal body temperature the warm socks help to maintain, ski socks come in ultra light, light and medium cushion and all OTC. I found these to be really OTC - over the calf - no cheating, good and long to stay up all day. These are non-itch merino wool with extra cushioning along the shin - relative to the ultra-light, light or medium models. Made with finer-grade merino wool that is compact spun and the high needle count makes for more stitching per inch giveing a more dense, durable sock and extra warm. I actually liked them better after a washing, maybe because I ball them up to travel.
The Smartwool PhD ski sock takes socks to a new degree. The PhD has a 4-Degree Fit System for performance fit, warmth, and durability. The merino wool promotes temperature control, wicks moisture, and controls odor. The sock over-the-calf, 78% wool, 21% nylon, 1% elastic, with medium cushioning.
The SmartWool Skiing Ultra LT is a sheer, non-cushion sock with a flat toe seam and allows full feel in the ski boot. I liked the thin, no padding feel in custom foam liners but be forewarned - there is no padding. With factory liners dont expect something to fill any small voids. If you like close-fitting boots, this is the SmartWool sock for you. SmartWool prides itself, and rightly so, for basically reinventing wool when wool was considered too itchy and water retentive for use as sock material for modern ski boots.
Teko's technologically designed socks give you all the skiing comfort - and performance - you need, and then some. Combining fine yarns from eco-friendly fibers with high-performance features results in a sock that hugs your foot "like a glove." The socks are soft and moisture-wicking, and the ultralight socks are especially good for anyone with custom ski boot liners.