Good socks are one of those things that will change your life more than you'd think. It may not make sense when you first see a two-figure price tag attached to just one pair of socks. But the upgrade is something your feet will be glad for. You're feeling them with every step, after all. Once you make your way out of the plastic of the multi-pack cheap-o socks, you'll enter a world of better-fitting, longer-lasting, more comfortable socks and you'll not want to step back.

The History of Wool Socks

Fresh on the scene, a few thousand years before our timelines switched to AD, socks were likely made not of fur, but of animal hides. They would transition, somewhere along the way, to be made of matted fur, a step closer to the knitted variety you're wearing right now. Eventually, matted fur stockings gave way to hand-knitted socks and remained that way for centuries before the invention of knitting machines dipped its toes into hosiery around the 1500s. Though this expedited the sock-making process significantly, hand-knitters and their looming obsolescence worked in harmony.

What to Know

Today, we have more socks than ever. Though we've advanced in hosiery tech and imbued socks with all kinds of materials like acrylic, nylon and polyester, the time-tested wool sock is still a great option — maybe even the best option.

Why Wool?

Today wool is a top choice when the cooler months creep in, thanks to its superior insulating properties. But it's also a great option for year-round wear. Wool also helps absorb moisture better than cotton, which is ideal seeing as your feet produce about half a pint of sweat every day. Wool also dries faster than cotton, is naturally odor-resistant and even maintains its insulating properties when it's wet.

Types of Wool Socks

Wool

Wool is the natural fleece fiber shorn from animals such as sheep, lamb and goat.

Merino Wool

Merino wool is known for its fine fibers which offer a supremely soft hand and make it a great material for garments like base layers that have direct contact with the wearer’s skin. It's also naturally antimicrobial, which means it won't stink.

Cashmere

A wool produced by special goats, cashmere is an extremely fine fiber with about the same thickness as ultra-fine merino but at a considerably higher price.

Wool-Blend

Many brands mix wool with nylon or cotton, which lends softness but improves the overall durability of the garment.

When to Wear Wool Socks

If you're convinced, as you should be, check out our list below — we've dug our feet into the research (pun intended) and picked the top wool socks on the market. We break down the best everyday socks to wool socks ideal for long hikes to cashmere socks that look best kicked up on the couch in front of the TV doing nothing at all, but double as the ideal dress sock, too.

More Socks for Men

    Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks

    Best Overall Wool Socks

    Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks

    bombas.com
    $20.00

    Bombas offers some of the most detailed socks for the price. These feature a unique honeycomb arch support, cushioned footbed, seamless toe and y-stitched heel, all wrapped in a merino wool fabric that's great for year-round wear.

    Falke Airport City Virgin Wool-Blend Socks

    Best Upgrade Wool Socks

    Falke Airport City Virgin Wool-Blend Socks

    falke.com
    $29.00

    Crafted in Germany, these socks are on the thinner, dressier end of the woolen hosiery spectrum. They feature softer-than-average virgin wool blended with cotton, polyamide and elastane for a pair of socks that's warm yet breathable, lightweight yet sturdy. The flat whip stitch toe is an extra step to make sure that there aren't any annoying seams pressing against your little piggies.

    Wigwam Lightweight Wool Athletic Socks

    Best Affordable Wool Socks

    Wigwam 625 Wool Socks

    amazon.com
    $20.00

    Wigwam has been in the sock game since 1905 and still crafts its hosiery in Wisconsin. The 625 has been in the brand's catalog since the '60s, so it has a reputation. Merino wool, durable nylon and nothing else, these socks don't offer any extra stretch but the natural elasticity of the wool itself.

    Smartwool New Classic Rib Socks

    Courtesy
    Best Everyday Wool Socks

    Smartwool Everyday Classic Rib Socks

    $15.00

    Smartwool's Virtually Seamless toe, extended ribbing and added cushion make it one of the most comfortable options out there.

    Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock

    Courtesy
    Best Wool Socks for Outdoor Activities

    Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock

    $27.00

    It's mighty difficult to get a sock much better than this for the price. Darn Tough's Hiker Boot Sock is our pick for the best long-distance hiking boot sock, but it's also a great all-around sock. It's got a super flat, super comfortable toe and an ironclad guarantee.

    American Supermerino Socks

    Best Compression Wool Socks

    American Trench Supermerino Socks

    americantrench.com
    $28.00

    Knitted in North Carolina, American Trench's Supermerino Socks are tight and compressive while being soft and flexible. It starts with Italian-spun merino wool reinforced with nylon and is finished with a few dashes of spandex for better elasticity.

    L.L. Bean Wool Ragg Sock

    Courtesy
    Best Wool Socks for Boots

    L.L. Bean Merino Wool Ragg Socks (2-Pack)

    $35.00

    Made in the US from Australian merino wool, the Bean's two-pack features a generous amount of stretch with 21 percent stretch nylon and 2 percent lycra. It's got a woodsy camp sock feel befitting of a hardened lumberjack but is softer than you'd expect. We also like they come in four different sizes so you can get an even better fit.

    Johnstons of Elgin Ribbed Cashmere Socks

    Courtesy
    Best Wool Socks for the Office

    Johnstons of Elgin Ribbed Cashmere Socks

    johnstonsofelgin.com
    $95.00

    Made of pure cashmere that's milled using Scottish waters, these socks are decadent. They needn't be loud because the materials and construction truly speak for themselves.

    Quince Cashmere Trouser Sock

    Best Affordable Cashmere Socks

    Quince Cashmere Trouser Sock

    onequince.com
    $29.90

    Quince's popular Cashmere Trouser Socks are back in stock after a brief hiatus. They're super-popular, soft and incredibly luxe — hence why one would wear them with trousers. They're the ultimate upgrade over your usual dress socks.

    Anonymous Ism Herringbone Sock

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    Most Stylish Wool Socks

    Anonymous Ism Herringbone Crew Sock

    endclothing.com
    $39.00

    Ditch solids for a splashier herringbone pattern. Famed Japanese sock brand Anonymous Ism, known for its bold tie dye, mixes wool and nylon for this traditional design, which has both texture and visual interest.