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How To Choose The Best Ski & Snowboard Socks

Easily overlooked - ski and snowboard socks are one of the most important pieces of clothing you wear on the mountain. Wearing the wrong kind of socks can not only make your feet cold or numb, they can also cause your boots to be uncomfortable, or fit poorly. So, how do you pick the right ski socks or snowboard socks? We’ll break down the different factors that go into the best winter socks so you can get the warmest and best ski and snowboard socks that match the way you ride and the mountains you visit. 

Why Get Ski or Snowboard Specific Socks?

While your ski or snowboard boots might not know what socks you’re wearing, your feet definitely will. Socks designed for skiing and snowboarding have several unique features that make them stand out from regular socks. 1) Ski and snowboard socks are designed ergonomically to more closely resemble the shape of your foot. This means they are snug in the right places, so that they won’t bunch up inside your boots. 2) The materials are moisture wicking, meaning they will pull sweat away from your feet, keeping them from getting cold or numb. 3) These socks feature padding in the right places for skiing and snowboarding, like at the shin, and seamless construction in areas that take more wear and tear like the heel and toe.This will not only extend the life of your socks, but be more comfortable on the slopes. The best ski and snowboard socks will combine all of these features into one great package.

Ski and snowboard socks also feature differing designs for men, women, and kids. The shapes of the cuff and calf sections differ to accommodate different proportions. For example, women’s ski socks often add more space in the cuff and are slightly shorter than men’s ski socks.
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Sock Thickness/Weight
Do You Want Thick or Thin Socks for Skiing & Snowboarding?

This is the most important, and often most misunderstood fact about choosing ski and snowboard socks. Contrary to popular belief, thicker socks do not equal warmer socks - especially for skiing and snowboarding. Most times the warmest ski or snowboard sock are actually the thinnest sock. Why are lightweight ski and snowboard socks often better? Thin ski and snowboard socks go hand in hand with a more precise boot fit, meaning more response and less slipping of your foot inside the boot. Less material between your foot and the boot liner means more blood flow in your foot, and in turn, more warmth. A thicker ski or snowboard sock (or even worse, using two pairs of socks) can restrict the blood flow in your foot, making them colder rather than warmer, and also cause blisters from rubbing This means that you should prioritize a snug bootfit, and in turn thinner socks. If your bootfit is on the looser side, using a thicker sock is still ok, so long as you aren’t restricting blood flow to your feet.

While most ski and snowboard socks will be thinner than traditional thick winter socks, there are still different weights available - typically ultralight (often with compression), lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight. The heavier the weight, the thicker and more padded the sock. Lighter weight socks offer a more precise fit in your ski or snowboard boots while heavier weight socks give you more cushion.

How Are Ski & Snowboard Socks Supposed to Fit?

Ski and snowboard socks feature traditional sizing, so it is easy to consult a size chart and match up your shoe size, but how are they supposed to feel on your feet? Socks for skiing and snowboarding should fit snug, but shouldn’t cut off your circulation. A snug fit ensures that your socks won’t bunch up and be uncomfortable in your boots. Loose socks that bunch up can result in blisters and restrict circulation, Too tight of a fit can also cut off the circulation to your feet, making them cold or numb. The warmest ski and snowboard socks will be the ones that promote proper blood flow in combination with the correct bootfit.

Learn about evoFit's custom boot fitting program and comfort guarantee here.
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Compression Ski & Snowboard Socks

Compression socks have gained popularity lately in all types of sports, and they definitely have benefits for skiers and snowboarders, too. Compression socks can help to increase blood flow to your feet, and as we’ve discussed, proper blood flow and circulation are essential to warm feet while riding. Several companies make compression ski and snowboard socks, these are a great option for folks with poor circulation or who are prone to cold feet.

What is the Best Material for Ski & Snowboard Socks?

As mentioned earlier, ski and snowboard socks are made out of specific materials designed to wick moisture away from your feet and keep them warm. These materials include various synthetics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic as well as natural fibers like merino wool. There are also various blends of these materials, too.

Merino wool ski and snowboard socks are a perennial favorite due to wool’s great warmth and naturally moisture wicking and odor resistant properties that your friends and family will thank you for. Most high-end ski and snowboard socks like Darn Tough and Smartwool socks feature merino wool.

This doesn’t mean that synthetic non-wool ski and snowboard socks are bad, however. They offer similar thermal and wicking properties. Synthetic ski socks are often easier on your wallet, too. At the end of the day, both synthetic and merino wool both far outperform cotton, which soaks up water and leaves your feet wet and cold.
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Should You Ever Wear Two Pairs of Ski or Snowboard Socks?

For those extra cold days you might be tempted to pull out that old pair of thick wool socks and slip them over your ski and snowboard socks. This is a choice that’s almost sure to backfire.Why? Because circulation is key to warmth, and extra thick socks tend to take up so much space in your boots that blood flow is restricted -- as such, your feet will ultimately be colder. Also, the two pairs of socks will rub together and irritate your skin, causing blisters.

Tired of Ski Boot Pain?

The evoFit program was designed to provide skiers with a high-quality custom boot fitting that balances comfort and performance for a wide variety of skier types. Learn more here, or visit any of our stores in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, or Whistler for more details.  

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This is evo. We are a ski, snowboard, wake, skate, bike, surf, camp, and clothing online retailer with physical stores in SeattlePortlandDenver, Salt Lake City, Whistler, Snoqualmie Pass, and Hood River. Our goal is to provide you with great information to make both your purchase and upkeep easy.

evo also likes to travel to remote places across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, or legendary mountain biking locations through evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips. Or, if you prefer to travel on your own, check out our ski & snowboard resort travel guides and mountain bike trail guides.


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