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.
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.
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. It's a top choice when the cooler months make their way 'round 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 its wet.
If you're convinced, as you should be, check out our list below — we've dug our feet into the research and picked the top wool socks on the market. From the best everyday wool 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, these are the best wool socks you can get.
Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks
Best Overall Wool Socks
Bombas offers some of the most details for the price. It features a unique honeycomb arch support, cushioned foot bed, 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 High-End Wool Socks
Crafted in Germany, these socks are on the thinner, dressier end of the woolen hosiery spectrum. They feature a 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 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
Smartwool's Virtualy Seamless toe, extended ribbing and added cushion make it one of the most comfortable options out there.
Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock
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 Trench Boot Socks
Knitted in North Carolina, American Trench's Boot Socks look like your favorite donegal sweater and feel even better. It starts with Italian-spun wool reinforced with nylon and finished with a few dashes of silk for added smoothness and texture.
L.L. Bean Wool Ragg Sock
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.
Price: $35 (two-pack)
Mr P Colour Block Ribbed Wool-Blend Socks
Just because Mr P is an in-house label doesn't mean it skimps on quality. These made-in-Japan socks are cozy and luxurious thanks to the the wool and cashmere blend. The cable-knit is also a nice seasonal touch.
Johnstons of Elgin Ribbed Cashmere Socks
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.
The Elder Statesman Yosemite Tie-Dye Cashmere Socks
If you want to do something really nice/irresponsible, get these cashmere socks. From cashmere's number one fan, The Elder Statesman produces these frivolous socks with cashmere and nothing else. They're then tie-dyed by hand for a unique finish. They're made for luxuriating at home, but we can't blame you if you want to go out in a pair of sandals and show these off.