Warmest socks you've found.

4:09 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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I'm about to invest in a few new pairs of heavy winter socks.  I'm a big Smartwool fan but am not sure what I can get from them on pro-deals right now so I wanted to get some other recommendations from people who have used other brands.  I'm usually wearing the SW Mountaineering socks but I don't want to pay $28 CDN per pair when I can get something else for dirt cheap on pro-deal.  They need to be warm, durable, and odor-resistant; enough to hold up well guiding snowshoe trips several times per week or mountaineering in the Cascades.  I love pure Merino but I'm willing to give a wool-blend or even a synthetic a try if they perform well.  I've always had great luck with Smartwool so that's pretty much all I've ever used.  Your recommendations would be much appreciated.

8:26 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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Smartwool or bridgedale mountaineering socks are the best I have found (i wear them with scarpa invernos, occasionally with athin merino wool liner sock). Not cheap but easily worth it.

9:54 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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Check out FITS socks. They are a US company that used to make the SmartWool socks before SmartWool shipped the manufacturing to Asia. They have the same styles (with the same names as when they were sold by SmartWool) plus some variations. You can order direct, which I have done since finding out about them 3 or 4 years ago. My only gripe with them is the last pairs I ordered have "FITS" in big letters on the leg part. But it is hidden in the boot, so no big deal.

10:35 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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The warmest sock I've used is a creme-colored "arctic" model issued to me by the US Army. They must have been a 1/4" of felted wool. Half-way inbetween a sock and a pac-boot liner...I'm sure you can find them online, and I'd bet the Canadian ones are better...

11:32 p.m. on February 3, 2013 (EST)
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8:57 a.m. on February 4, 2013 (EST)
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I use the smartwool mountaineering, and some similar model by cabot and sons/darn tough. Basicly the factory seconds socks on clearance at TJ Max.

9:47 a.m. on February 4, 2013 (EST)
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During the winter months I normally wear Wigwam's Ice Sock in an over-the-calf style. They are made from 85% wool blended with 15% nylon in a terry knit style. Cost around 20 CDN at Mark's Work Warehouse. Whenever I am down south I pick up a bunch.

11:40 a.m. on February 4, 2013 (EST)
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I just wear regular Rag wool socks when its cold out. The ankle height ones. I also have a pair of cycling calve sleeves that fit over from below the knee to just above the ankle. They insulate the calves. I find them more comfortable than wearing long underwear bottoms. Mine are made from hand stitched wool.


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11:30 p.m. on February 5, 2013 (EST)
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Wonderful suggestions...several brands I wasn't even familiar with.  Thanks for all the input!

11:32 p.m. on February 5, 2013 (EST)
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North1 said:

During the winter months I normally wear Wigwam's Ice Sock in an over-the-calf style. They are made from 85% wool blended with 15% nylon in a terry knit style. Cost around 20 CDN at Mark's Work Warehouse. Whenever I am down south I pick up a bunch.

And thank you for this too, North1.  There is a Mark's in my town...I never really thought to check there since I tend to gravitate towards the outdoor oriented brands.  Lots of good workwear products that perform well and are totally bomber.  I will check them out!

10:12 p.m. on February 6, 2013 (EST)
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I'm a big fan of smart wool (will now buy the fit brand). Light ski socks are best fit/compression. I just love merino wool blends. In warm weather or cold - the most important item on the body. Glad to hear about tjmax - they are expensive.

10:16 a.m. on February 9, 2013 (EST)
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I like Smartwool, Wigwam, & Thorlo.

For me Smartwool seems to last the longest, the Wigwam blended wool/nylon/spandex socks have the best comfort & fit, I got the Thorlos at a good price and they seem to be well made & warm.

Bill S - thanks for the FITS link.

The OP didn't ask but my experience has been that moisture management (my feet sweat a lot) plays a bigger role in staying warm than the brand of sock I am wearing. I wear a synthetic liner sock (I like Cool Max fabric) and I periodically check for moisture buildup & change my socks as needed to keep my feet and boots dry.

I find that wool liners start to feel clamy as moisture builds up indicating that a change of both socks is needed albeit only after some performance has been lost, the synthetic socks feel more comfortable for a longer time but I still have to check for moisture inside the boot in order to keep up sock performance.

I used to lace my boots a little too snug and now find that unless I need to have the laces snug (steep terrain & such) my feet stay dryer and I probably have better blood circulation in my feet by loosening the laces just a little at times, leading to more overall warmth & comfort.

I have also found that ribbed dress socks make pretty good sock liners for me, many of them have seamless toe seams.

Mike G.

 

11:15 a.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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The OP said the warmest socks. 

For that I'll takes ones made from muskox wool or alpaca. They don't shrink and they keep their loft after washing, and they provide a lot of insulation even if your feet sweat. 

11:22 a.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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Muskox fur is the best in the world. In alaska it is highly prized, it rubs.off as they walk and people collect it for a living. I have a pair of filson socks that are very warm, warmer than my heaviest smartwool. I got them at a thrift store still in the wrapper, but have never seen them anywhere else.

1:52 p.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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my feet always smell, and they're always hot. I guess because of that I've never had much faith in odor resistant socks or particular makes, because they sweat in cotton during work days as they do in smartwool during a hike...

4:07 p.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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I'm suprised so many people have said Smartwool. I find them to be just about average, nothing special. They are the most available though so I guess that helps them.

I have tried many brands of wool socks and in my opinion the two best are.....

http://www.woolpower.se/en/asp/produkter_3_8418.asp

and...

http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Lifetime-Guarantee-AllPurpose-Socks-for-Men/product/34713/

at $10 these socks are 1/3 of the price of many otheres and just as good. Look at the reviews, 533, and still has a 4.9 out of 5.

 

I have also tried the FITS brand but only have low cut ones, they are however better than comparable smartwool, etc... I imagine their winter weight are just as good.

5:28 p.m. on February 10, 2013 (EST)
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Qiviut is way too expensive, at over 200 dollars for a simple scarf it can stay in the boutiques in Banff. We harvest muskox wool here and send it down south for processing. The articles you might find in the stores labeled qiviut is really a blend; I have never seen a 100 % muskox wool item yet.

For my money sheep's wool will fit the bill every time for warmth and durability.

2:31 p.m. on February 11, 2013 (EST)
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Gee. I paid $30 for a pair of muskox socks. But then I never go to the boutiques in Banff. 

There's no question they're warm, but a nice extra is that you can just toss muskox or alpaca socks in the washing machine without wrecking them. 

10:09 p.m. on February 11, 2013 (EST)
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I usually buy wool blend socks at department stores for $3-$5 a pair. My feet are still good.

10:43 p.m. on February 11, 2013 (EST)
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North1 said:

Qiviut is way too expensive, at over 200 dollars for a simple scarf it can stay in the boutiques in Banff. We harvest muskox wool here and send it down south for processing. The articles you might find in the stores labeled qiviut is really a blend; I have never seen a 100 % muskox wool item yet.

For my money sheep's wool will fit the bill every time for warmth and durability.

 I agree about sheep's wool, specifically merino.  I've had alpaca socks and I found them to be no warmer or softer than merino and the fiber didn't hold up to laundering nearly as well.  Perhaps there is an exotic ox or goat or dromedary out there who's wool is slightly warmer, finer, and wicks better but I'm not willing to pay 50-100% more to eke out an extra 5% of performance. (Such is the case with so much gear out there)  Merino is an absolutely phenomenal fiber, especially the high grade wool under 20 microns.  I have tried every synthetic under the sun and I have to say that I have never found a sock that performs as well COMPREHENSIVELY as the merino ones.  Everything about Merino is pretty darn great and it still amazes me how the lab rats can't seem to create a fiber that resists odor as well, including the silver impregnated fibers.  I work out a lot, and sweat a lot.  If I forget to wash my synthetic clothes right away and let them sit it the hamper for a couple of days then I can expect to encounter a stink that can only be removed with lots of vinegar in the wash or specialty sports detergents like Penguin.  My wool workout clothes seem to defy gravity when it comes to resisting odor.

Not to say that synthetic fibers don't have their merits and their place.  They excel and outperform wool by many measures.  It's just when all the pros and cons are added up I find myself continually returning to the sheep.

Not to say that I won't buy a pair of quality synthetic socks if I can get them at a good price.  I just picked up some synthetic Salomon ski socks on clearance for $9 CDN.  Just pent the entire day today outside on a mountaintop demoing snowshoes in non-insulated Gore-tex boots and they did a pretty fine job of keeping my piggies toasty. 

11:02 a.m. on February 12, 2013 (EST)
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Perhaps there is an exotic ox or goat or dromedary out there who's wool is slightly warmer, finer, and wicks better but I'm not willing to pay 50-100% more to eke out an extra 5% of performance. (Such is the case with so much gear out there)

 

Halcyon, that's a healthy attitude to take in this consumerist world of our's.

3:25 p.m. on February 18, 2013 (EST)
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thorlo's or smartwools. the thorlos are very warm, maybe even warmer than the smartwools. their a very well made sock.

July 28, 2014
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