Sorry to break it to you, but regular cotton socks aren't warm enough to stand up against freezing winter temps. The warmest socks for extreme cold, on the other hand, use heavier fabrics that provide adequate protection against the cold and keep heat inside.
When choosing a pair of the warmest socks for winter, look for insulating materials like acrylic or Merino wool in the fabric makeup. Merino wool is known to be really warm, and since it's finer than other types of wool, it's also more breathable and won't feel itchy on your skin. You'll often find wool fabrics combined with other materials — like nylon, polyester, or spandex — to add some stretch or extra moisture-wicking capabilities in the best socks for skiing, too.
To help you find the best socks for winter, I've compiled a list of the warmest socks for extreme cold, below. Made from a variety of thermal fabrics, some of these options offer additional features, like battery-powered heating or targeted foot cushioning for added comfort. No matter which pair you choose, you can count on them to protect your feet from the elements. Couple your new socks with waterproof winter boots, and you'll be all set to face frigid weather.
1. The Overall Best Socks For Extreme Cold
These thermal socks by Heat Holders are my top choice for warm socks based on features, price, and reviews. The knitted fibers in these ankle socks are specifically made to insulate your feet. Although they're thick and heavy, they still do a good job of wicking away sweat and moisture, thanks to a blend of acrylic and polyester fabrics. They also contain elastane to give them some cozy stretch.
Heat Holders' socks come highly rated by Amazon reviewers, who say they're soft, comfortable, and extremely warm. One reviewer called them "the warmest socks I have ever experienced."
- Available sizes: One size (fits women's sizes 5 - 9)
2. Battery-Powered Socks That Deliver Mega Warmth
Savior's battery-heated socks use the power of technology to give your feet unmatched warmth. While the socks themselves are made of cotton, their built-in heating pads are what add extreme levels of warmth. They've got two heating pads — one under the toes and one on top of the instep — that heat up in just 30 seconds. High, medium, and low temperature settings are available, with the lowest setting lasting up to five hours after a full charge. Each sock has a small pouch to store its rechargeable battery pack, too.
The best part is, these knee-high socks offer some compression and are slightly cushioned for extra comfort. One reviewer raved, "My job will have me in cold weather and I am not a cold weather type of person. I can tell you that I have only had these for a few days but they are keeping my feet warm and toasty!"
- Available sizes: Small - Large
3. The Warmest Athletic Socks That Are Great For Winter Sports
If you're looking for dependable socks to keep you warm during outdoor activities like skiing or hiking, go with this pair of wool ski socks by Pure Athlete. They're made with a warm, moisture-wicking blend of Merino wool, nylon, and polypropylene. And like others on this list, their fabric blend contains some spandex for a stretchy fit that reaches the knee. Worried about them sliding down? Don't be — they've got an elastic band across the top to prevent sliding in addition to elastic support along the arch of the foot and the ankle. What's more, they feature targeted cushioning areas to minimize the risk of irritation in boots.
"These were the first ski socks I've purchased that kept my toes warm (I always have cold toes and usually use warmers) and stay tight (but not too tight) against my shin all day," reads a satisfied Amazon review. "I live in Colorado and ski about once or twice a week during the season, and these socks are absolutely perfect."
- Available sizes: Small - Large
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