The Beginning Skier’s Guide to Ski Socks

Even if you rent the rest of your ski or snowboarding gear, buy a pair of real ski socks as a treat for your feet. Do not think for a moment that your old gym socks will be good enough for a day of skiing or shredding. The wrong socks will sag, wrinkle, cause blisters and make the best ski boots feel like badly-fitted cement overshoes. If your feet hurt, even a foot of fresh powder on a sunny day with half-price lift tickets can be misery.

Skis socks have a price range of $10 – $100. The high-priced ones are extra-thin, and meant for skiers who are pushing their limits. Most skiiers do not need “extreme socks”. Any brand that fits your budget and your feet will do, as long as they are designed for skiing.

Ski socks are surprisingly thin to anyone who has heard the rumor that they should “wear really thick socks” to ski in. Don’t worry; the boots have all the padding and insulation you will need. All the ski socks are supposed to do is keep your feet dry. Usually ski socks have a thick, soft panel over the shins for padding, and stretchy panels on the instep and heel to minimize bulk. The most comfortable ones are contoured for your right and left feet. They cost a little more, but a lump of excess sock material in the toe of a snug ski boot is all-day misery.

Ski socks are not “one size fits all”, and they are not unisex. Read the size charts and ask to try them on. Too loose means blisters, too tight means decreased circulation and cold feet. The toe fit is critical: there should not be any loose material, but you should not feel the socks pushing on your toes. The socks will cover more of your leg than your ski boot does, because a sock that ends inside the boot will ride down and be uncomfortable.

The most popular ski socks are blends of merino wool or silk for comfort, with a synthetic fiber for moisture control and a stretch fiber to get a snug fit. A few brands are 100% sunthetic, and some ski socks are even part Teflon�®.

Wearing ski socks and boots:

Skiing or snowboarding puts a lot of pressure on the lower leg, inside the boot. Unless you want to re-enact the Princess and the Pea on the slopes, make sure the only things in your ski or snowboard boots are your feet and your ski socks.

  • Don’t stuff your pant cuffs into your boots, even if you have nice shiny new boots and want to show them off. If you have a lump of clothing in the boot, it will give you bruises and blisters.
  • Don’t stuff your long underwear into the boot either – if it’s too tight to wear over the boot, cut the cuffs off above boot level, or cut a slit up the side seam.
  • If you fall, make sure you clear the snow and ice out of your boot top. Even powder snow will make lumps.

Sock care:
Ski socks are probably more expensive than your usual athletic socks, so protect your investment:

  • Turn the socks inside out to wash them – that’s where the skin cells and dirt is.
  • Don’t dry ski socks in commercial dryers. The dryers are too hot.
  • Remove them from your home dryer before they are completely dry. Finish drying them at room temperature.
  • Don’t loan them to friends with larger feet. If the elastic material is overstretched, the socks are ruined.

Popular Brands of Ski Socks

Some of the widely available brands are:
Fox River
Bridgedale
SmartWool
DeFeet
Rhino Socks
Wigwam

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