By Don Jurries
After finishing a season of testing ski equipment and ski apparel, it struck me just how sophisticated ski socks have become. In the old days, we used to simply throw on a pair of thick wool socks and head off into the snow. With changes in ski boot design and an increase in types of fabrics available, ski socks have evolved dramatically.
Generally, the better quality ski socks utilize some combination of moisture management and anti-microbial properties. Socks are designed anatomically correct, so offer a better fit and won't slide down inside your ski boots. The majority are reinforced in the toe and heel, with cushioning around the shins, calves, ankles, and bottom of the foot. Some ski socks are even braced around the Achilles tendon and arch for further support.
Which ski sock is going to work best for you comes down to a combination of the fit of your ski boots (thinner vs thicker socks), how aggressive you ski, the terrain you’re skiing on (reinforcement, cushioning, friction absorption), and the weather conditions (warmth). Of the brands and models I tested, some suit me better than others, but all are well designed and well made. With the end of the ski season near, you can find some pretty good deals on ski socks right now.
The new version of the Falke SK2 ski socks turned out to be my personal favorite. It’s an all-rounder that fits most ski boots and has a wide-range of cushioning. Made of 45% polypropylene, 24% acrylic, 20% wool, and 11% polyamide, the socks provide exceptional warmth. As Falke is a German brand, the SK2 socks are easier to find in Europe and retail for €25. For North American purchases, online retailers are a good option, as Falke does not have extensive US distribution.
Point6 Ski Light/In Sync socks were amongst the warmest. The Point6 ski socks are made from 62% merino wool for next to skin comfort, moisture-wicking, and anti-microbial properties, with an additional 26% nylon and 6% Spandex for reinforcement and support. Point6 uses a compact spinning process which makes the socks extremely durable. Point6 was created by the same team that originally founded SmartWool, so they know wool. The Point6 Ski Light socks retail for $22.
Lorpen’s Tri Layer Ski Socks use three different types of fabric to improve wicking action and moisture management, keeping your feet warmer, drier, and more comfortable. The next to skin layer is made from PrimaLoft Eco Polyester, which wicks moisture away from your foot. The middle layer is merino wool, whose natural fibers spread moisture quickly for effective evaporation. The outer layer uses a nylon knit cast onto high friction areas for extra durability. The Lorpen Tri Layer Midweight ski socks retail for $24.
Fox River designs two versions of performance ski socks that I really like. The first is a lightweight combination of merino wool and silk. The other has a slightly warmer construction using merino wool and PrimaLoft. Both socks feature a memory-knit construction to hold form and are anatomically designed for a better fit on each foot (L/R). Spandex compression zones add support and the socks are cushioned for extra shock absorption. The merino/silk version, called the VVS MV Ski, retails for $23 and the PrimaLoft Rocky retails for $21.