The best winter running socks for 2023
Our choices for keeping you warm and dry this winter
Winter running conditions can be challenging. As a runner training during the winter, you not only have to contend with colder temperatures but also rain, snow and slush. Thriving in such variable weather depends on having the right clothing system, and that includes proper winter running socks. Using the appropriate socks can help you stay warmer and dryer, ensuring you continue to run during the sometimes daunting winter conditions.
Here are our choices for the best winter running socks of 2023.
Smartwool Athlete Edition Run Print Crew Women’s Socks – $24
(Best for runners seeking a women’s-specific fit)
Constructed with a women’s-specific fit (slimmer with a lower-volume heel), the Athlete Edition Run Print Crew delivers the warmth and cushioning required for winter running. These socks employ Smartwool’s Indestructawool technology, which allows the brand to strategically place the wool and nylon for maximum durability and comfort. The crew height (7″) provides additional ankle coverage and warmth and stays put under tights.
Fabric content: 54% merino wool, 32% nylon, 10% recycled nylon, 3% elastane, 2% polyester
Icebreaker Men’s Hike+ Light Crew Sock – $28
(Best for runners seeking a highly foot-conforming fit)
With their highly sculpted anatomical fit, high wool content and crew-length cut, these socks offer exceptional comfort and warmth for cold-weather running. The wool’s natural odour-resistant properties reduce the smell that sometimes plagues synthetic socks, while the multiple strategically woven panels provide extra foot support on longer runs.
Fabric content: 61% merino wool, 37% nylon, 2% Lycra
On Performance Mid Socks – $28
(Best for running seeking additional weather protection in mild weather)
Runners logging miles in milder winter conditions will appreciate the On Performance Mid Socks. Constructed with 100 per cent recycled polyester, these socks do a great job of providing warmth while managing perspiration. The just-above-the-ankle height offers increased protection from cold gusts without the bulk and height of crew-length socks.
Fabric content: 100% recycled polyester
Stance Run Crew ST Socks – $23
(Best for runners seeking a balanced blend of cushioning and warmth)
With their crew-length cut and blend of warm and wicking synthetic fibres, the Stance ST Socks are a good choice for daily winter running. The socks feature anatomical cushioning for comfort, and the seamless toe construction prevents hotspots and blisters. For additional comfort, Stance builds left and right-foot-specific arch support.
Fabric content: 75% nylon, 22% polyester, 5% elastane
Smartwool Run Cold Weather Targeted Cushion Crew Socks – $28
(Best for runners seeking sophisticated construction and warmth)
Featuring Smartwool’s most sophisticated construction, these socks provide a superior fit as well as the additional warmth and comfort required during cold winter runs. Smartwool uses its Indestructawool technology for enhanced durability, while the crew-length height offers extra warmth around the ankle and lower leg.
Fabric content: 56% merino wool, 28% recycled nylon, 13% nylon, 3% elastane
Smartwool Run Zero Cushion Mid Crew Socks – $26
(Best for runners seeking a minimalist winter sock)
Runners wanting minimal bulk and cushioning without sacrificing the additional warmth of a crew-length sock will appreciate these. Smartwool once again employs its proprietary Indestructawool technology as well as its Shred Shield construction in the toe area for greater durability.
Fabric content: 52% merino wool, 23% nylon, 21% recycled nylon, 4% elastane
Here are some common FAQs (and answers) about winter running socks:
Do I need special winter running socks, or can I wear heavier hiking socks?
The problem with heavier hiking socks is that they may be too thick. This additional cushioning and bulk can create a tighter fit within your shoes, restricting blood flow and resulting in colder feet. Running-specific winter socks are lighter, less bulky and therefore less likely to compromise the fit of your shoes.
What are the benefits of higher-cut (crew length) socks?
Taller (higher cut) socks not only offer additional warmth around the ankle and lower leg (which encourages warm blood to flow to your toes), but they also layer wonderfully under tights, minimizing drafts. In cold conditions, there is no downside to using taller socks.