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It’s a very good time to be on the hunt for the best winter socks, whether you’re searching for something utilitarian and warm to hold your ankles down during wintry commutes, or something furry and neon to make a statement in a sea of navy and brown. The early 2010s were big years for bare ankles—and the no-show socks required to pull the look off. Fast forward to 2022 and flashing two or three inches of sock is cool again, and so the market is flooded with colorful, textured styles that are made to be seen—and made to be flexed in. And, better still, those out-there styles we love are being made in thicker and more winter-friendly weights—great news for all of us, not just sock lovers, because it’s cold and, you know, warmth. Now the thing we have to do to save our toes is also the thing we want to do to express our unique personalities, and life is a perfect marriage of form and function. Well, below the knees at least. God help the bros running around in silk shirts right now. Below, the best winter socks we (and our cold feet) are especially feeling right now.
The Best Precious (But Not Too Precious) Winter Socks
Surviving winter’s coldest days is all about finding novel ways to trick your brain into believing that leaving home is a good idea. And pulling on a pair of cashmere socks—encircling your toes in all that impossibly cozy, soothingly soft luxury—is one of the most reliable methods we’ve found for keeping positive in the face of blistering cold weather. But pure cashmere comes with a serious cost—both in terms of your wallet (you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pair for less than $100) and your time (hand-washing tube socks is nobody’s idea of a good time). That’s why we love these Paul Stuart jams: they’ve got all that cashmere goodness you need to get your butt out the door, only blended with some viscose and nylon for extra structure and machine washability. The fact that they clock in at a relatively reasonable $55 and come in a dozen fly colors is just icing on the cake.
The Best Heavy-Duty Winter Socks
When things are extra horrible outside—like, polar-vortex-level bad—these Smartwool socks are the ones you want. Think of ’em as a full-on parka for your feet: thick enough you’ll be worried about them actually fitting in your boots (they will); performance-minded enough that your feet won’t completely overheat on the go. A certain GQ staffer once wore these exact socks while spending multiple nights in a quinzhee hut in the backwoods of northern Ontario, and he still has all his toes. So, yeah, they’re the real deal.
The Best Workweek Winter Socks
If your budget won’t quite allow for a drawerful of the Paul Stuart numbers above, these Falke socks are a great everyday alternative wool sock at half the price. They’ve got a healthy serving of cashmere in the mix, all served up in a package that’s slim enough to fit in your dress shoes and subtle enough to appease even the soberest of office dress codes.
The Best Stank-Free Winter Socks
Got the kind of feet where people start leaving the room before you’ve even finished untying your laces? American Trench’s signature socks will help. There’s anti-microbial silver knit directly into the heel and toe to ward off odors at the source, and the breathable, naturally moisture-wicking merino wool that comprises the rest will keep your toes toasty. Plus, a touch of acrylic spandex keeps them in place, whether you’re trekking up a mountain or to the kitchen.
The Best Throwback Winter Socks
Nothing beats classic American style, and nobody does classic and American better than L.L.Bean. Their wool blend ragg socks are one of the warmest out there and are every bit as soft, nubby, and altogether perfect as you remember. Plus, they’ll look incredible peeking out from the top of those duck boots you hopefully remembered to buy early this year.
The Best Earth-Conscious Winter Socks
One more ragg option for the green-minded among us: Maggie’s loose-knit take is made in North Carolina from fair trade organic cotton, and comes in way weirder colors—like deep eggplant and bright green—than its more traditional counterparts. And who doesn’t high-quality warm socks at a sweet price?
The Wallet-Friendly Sock
Uniqlo’s Heattech line is the GOAT when it comes to affordable, cold-busting winter gear, and these deceptively slim ribbed crew socks are no exception. Consider your feet’s moisture wicked, heat retained and bacteria kicked TF out. At just under 7 bucks a pop, you can afford to buy ’em in a handful of colors.