14 Best Warm Socks for Winter 2023, Tested by Experts

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As winter creeps up and temperatures drop, staying warm is essential. While winter coats, sweaters, warm boots and base layers are important, a pair of warm socks can go a long way. While they may feel like an afterthought, the right pair of socks can make all the difference, especially since our extremities — including our toes — often get cold before the rest of our bodies. Plus, socks can also help prevent blisters, cushion your feet during winter adventures or add extra warmth and fuzzy comfort to late-night movie marathons during the holiday season. Heat Holder Socks

14 Best Warm Socks for Winter 2023, Tested by Experts

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab has regularly evaluated the best winter footwear and apparel, including winter coats, fleece-lined leggings and more, to help build the perfect winter wardrobe. On top of that, in the past year, we've tested over 90 pairs of socks, from hiking socks and compression socks to no-show socks for every type of shoe, both in our Lab and with hundreds of consumer testers across the nation. To find the best warm socks for every activity like hiking, skiing, building a snowman or lounging indoors, our experts analyzed over 18,000 data points.

Read on for more information about how we test socks in the Lab plus additional shopping tips. Looking for other ways to stay warm in cold weather? Check out our guides to the best winter hats for women and the best winter gloves.

For those with perpetually cold feet, warm socks are a necessity, and this pair from Heat Holders is a must-have option. It’s lined with a soft, brushed sherpa-like interior that traps heat to keep your feet toasty warm all winter long. It was a favorite among our testers for its soft interior that outperformed wool options. One tester compared it to “walking on a soft pillow." Note that this pair needs to be line-dried.

These extra-plush socks come in packs of three and five for added convenience at an affordable price. Made of a blend of polyester, wool, spandex and cotton with a fluffy inner lining, they'll trap heat and keep your toes warm. We haven’t had a chance to test them out in the Lab quite yet, but online users love them — the style has more than 13,000 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars!

Perfect for pairing with winter boots, this style from Darn Tough uses mostly merino wool for soft insulation, keeping your feet warm while hiking, shoveling snow or just walking to work. Overall, testers gave these socks high scores for their comfortable, snug fit and cushioning. While the cost is high, Darn Tough offers a “lifetime guarantee,” meaning the brand will send you a new pair if you are able to wear them out.

If you prefer thinner socks, this pair helps you stay warm without the added bulk. It uses the brand's signature HEATTECH technology, which Uniqlo says "wicks the body’s moisture into fibers and converts the kinetic energy into heat." This style is also a favorite among GH analysts, including one who found it warmer than her go-to thick, wool socks in cold weather.

Made of luxe merino wool, this sock is designed to keep you warm and cozy during any type of weather. It has a pile-lined interior, which means it's got an extra layer of loops of yarn to keep your feet warm. Several testers highlighted the soft feel and substantial cushioning, especially on the sole. One even commented that they were the perfect thickness without being bulky. During in-Lab tests, they weren’t the most durable, but they barely shrank after multiple washes.

Under Armour is a consistent top-performing brand in our tests, Its ColdGear line is designed to keep you warm in cold weather and includes some of the best fleece-lined leggings and down jackets we've tried. While we haven't tested this pair of socks just yet, it's gotten rave reviews from thousands of Amazon users. One reviewer exclaimed, "I’m always cold, especially my toes, but these did the trick!" Note that some found the socks felt tight on their calves.

If you struggle to fall asleep in winter temperatures or wake up with cold feet, these socks might be the solution. They're made using merino wool for a luxuriously soft feel with naturally thermoregulating properties. While some may feel uneasy about the idea of wearing socks to sleep, this pair is thin and won't feel bulky in bed. In fact, testers called them “super comfortable” and loved wearing them with pajamas to lounge. Remember that these socks are meant for indoor wear only.

Bombas carries some of the best socks we've ever tested. While the brand’s socks aren't always the most durable, they beat out other pairs in consumer tests, thanks to their cushioned sole. This specific style features a merino wool blend for temperature regulation and a calf-length fit for extra coverage. One tester called them "perfect for when it's frigid and you want to keep your feet warm."

READ MORE: Why Bombas Socks Are Some of The Best We've Ever Tested

These socks feature rechargeable lithium batteries that can heat your feet for 3 to 6 hours when fully charged. While we haven't been able to test these socks in our Lab yet, we were impressed to see that this pair has heating elements that cover the entire foot, from the top to the sole to the toes, where you typically get cold first. Just remember to remove the battery pack before washing!

When skiing or snowboarding, you need a pair of socks that not only will keep you warm all day on the slopes but will also provide cushioning on the shin, ankle and footbed to prevent discomfort. This knee-high pair is designed for winter sports, with thoughtful details like a seamless toe, breathable mesh zones and a snug fit. Just note that in our tests, we've found that Smartwool's cushioned socks don't have the best abrasion resistance.

When heading outside with your little one, make sure their toes are properly bundled up. These wool socks by Eocom are available for kids ages 0-5 years old and come in a pack of six, so if a sock goes missing, you have a backup. Plus, wool is naturally moisture-wicking and breathable, so these socks are also great to wear year-round.

For compression sock users or for anyone who experiences swelling or cramping from long periods of standing or post-workout, this pair from Vim&Vigr is hard to beat for the winter. While it isn’t as temperature-regulating as the brand's merino wool offerings, this heathered cotton sock offers great durability and moisture-wicking properties. Long-term fans at GH love pairing them with all sorts of shoes from boots to sneakers.

Fuzzy socks are a staple for cozying up indoors on colder nights, and this pair is one of the best. They've got a slouchy look yet actually stay in place during wear and have an oh-so-soft feel. When we had users try this pair at home, our testers were immediately hooked. The only caveat is that the top seam caused discomfort for one tester with a higher forefoot.

Cashmere is known for its luxurious, soft texture, but beyond that, the knit fabric has excellent insulating properties, often keeping you warmer than merino wool. And while the material often comes at a premium, Quince offers a pair of cashmere socks that still feel decadent at a slightly more affordable cost. The caveat is that the socks aren't engineered to retain warmth, lacking the pile our other picks have, and they need to be hand-washed.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Labs tests all types of socks, from no-show socks to compression socks. This year alone, we've evaluated over 90 different styles, both in the Lab and with hundreds of consumer testers across the country to determine the best socks for any type of occasion. To find the best warm socks, we collected and analyzed more than 18,000 data points.

For this test, we worked with a diverse group of consumer testers to evaluate attributes like fit, comfort and cushioning. Testers also shared how the socks performed over time, including if they kept their feet warm or stayed in place in different types of footwear.

In the Lab, we measured the thickness of each sock and noted any additional features, including targeted cushioning on the sole or a contoured foot-specific fit. We also tested the abrasion resistance, bursting strength, moisture management capability and dimensional stability of each style using specialized textile testing equipment according to industry standards for quality.

Here are some tips to find the type of socks that will keep your feet the warmest:

✔️ Material: While cotton may feel great for your bedding, when it comes to warm socks, 100% cotton is best to avoid. Cotton holds onto moisture and can make your feet feel wet inside of winter boots. Instead, look for socks made from wool, which has natural thermoregulation to keep your feet warm and dry. If you're allergic to wool, opt for acrylic in its place, as the material is often used as a substitute to insulate heat.

Don't look for 100% wool socks either, as they won't stay snug on your feet. Most socks are made of a blend of fibers, including synthetic ones like nylon or polyester, which are often used to give the necessary structure to the body or overall shape of the sock. Spandex or elastane also add stretch for the sock to fit snugly on your foot.

✔️ Thickness: Super thick socks may look like the coziest option, but if they are too thick, they can cause blisters or cut off proper circulation in big boots. While wearing socks with boots or other winter footwear, you should still be able to feel your feet and the interior of the shoe you're wearing. Thicker socks aren't necessarily a better option — most warm socks use pile (loops of yarn) on the interior to trap warm air to trap warmth.

If you're looking for socks that will provide the most insulation, make sure to keep three things in mind: material, construction and the shoes you plan to wear. Certain materials, such as merino wool or cashmere are known for their temperature-regulating properties while acrylic is known for its heat insulation. Additionally, socks designed for warmth often use pile (loops of yarn) on the interior to trap warm air in order to retain heat for better insulation. But ultimately, the types of shoes you plan to wear are essential. The warmest socks for ski or snowboard boots may not be the warmest socks for everyday winter boots or sneakers. This is because the right fit is crucial — a pair of socks that are too thick can cause blisters or even cut off circulation in some shoes.

Grace Wu is a Textiles Product Review Analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute who oversaw recent in-Lab and consumer tests for all socks, including compression socks, wool socks and running socks. Prior to joining GH, Grace earned a Master of Engineering in Materials Science & Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Fiber Science from Cornell University.

Grace Wu (she/her) is a product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she evaluates fabric-based products using specialized equipment and consumer tester data. Prior to starting at Good Housekeeping in 2022, she earned a master of engineering in materials science and engineering and a bachelor of science in fiber science from Cornell University. While earning her degrees, Grace worked in research laboratories for smart textiles and nanotechnology and held internships at Open Style Lab and Rent the Runway.

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14 Best Warm Socks for Winter 2023, Tested by Experts

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