The 10 Best Wool Socks of 2023

Our top pick is the Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks because they’re made with durable, comfortable materials and offer a slight cushion and arch support.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

wool socks

Real Simple / Kristin Kempa

Wool socks stand out from their cotton counterparts for many reasons: They self-regulate to keep warm feet cool and cold feet warm, and they’re moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and very soft (depending on the type of wool). Whether you want wool socks for hiking, running, or everyday use, there are plenty of options to peruse.   

To determine the best wool socks, we researched dozens of options while considering factors like material, price point, fit, and style. We also spoke to Kristen Pandolph, vice president of product engineering and innovation of socks for Bombas, for her tips on what to look for in a good pair of wool socks. 

“Wool is a thermoregulating fiber, so it is great for year-round wear,” says Pandolph. “Not only does it trap heat against the body when it’s cold outside to help keep you warm—the natural crimp of the fiber creates air pockets—but when it’s warm out, it provides a cooling effect by pulling moisture away from your body and letting it evaporate quickly.” 

The Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks are our top pick for their durability, versatility, and high-quality 77 percent merino wool construction.

Keep reading for more of the best wool socks on the market. 

Best Overall Wool Socks

Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks

merino wool calf socks

Bombas

Who it’s for: People who want a comfy wool sock that isn’t too thick.

Who it isn’t for: People who prefer no-show socks.

These socks from Bombas are 77 percent merino wool, which makes them soft, warm, and moisture-wicking, a winning combo for versatile socks. The remaining 23 percent of the material is a mix of spandex and polyester for a cozy and slightly compressing feel that creates the ultimate comfort. Bombas socks also feature an arch support system, which the brand describes as “a firm but comfortable hug around your midfoot.” These merino wool socks also have a cushioned footbed for all-day comfort. 

Plus, the brand donates one pair of socks to those in need for every pair purchased—which means you can give back while shopping for your next pair of wool socks. These come in six colors that are versatile enough for everyday use, and the calf-length style keeps your feet and ankles warm (but not overheated). 

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Material: 77 percent merino wool, 21 percent polyester, and 2 percent spandex
  • Size Range: S–L (Women’s 4-13)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Budget Wool Socks

Ebmore Wool Socks

 Ebmore Wool Socks

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for a budget-friendly set of wool socks. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want 100 percent wool socks.

Wool socks can be pricier than your run-of-the-mill cotton option, but this multi-pack from Ebmore allows you to upgrade your collection without breaking the bank. These socks come in several colors and patterns, so there's something for everyone, from solid colors with a ribbed or cable knit to playful pairs with animal motifs.  

These socks are thick, so they may not be ideal for running, but they pair well with winter shoes, like clogs or boots. These socks are about calf height, so they won't slip down or expose your ankles to frigid winter winds. 

Price at time of publish: $17 for 5

Product Details:

  • Material: 55 percent wool, 25 percent cotton, 15 percent polyester, 5 percent spandex
  • Size Range: One size (Women’s 5–10)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Thick Wool Socks

Icebreakers Merino Hike+ Heavy Crew Socks

Icebreakers Merino Hike+ Heavy Crew Socks

Icebreaker

Who it’s for: People looking for thick wool socks for hiking. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a lightweight sock for everyday use.

These thick wool socks ensure the wearer is as comfortable as possible, especially when hiking. The Icebreaker Merino Hike+ Heavy Crew Socks feature ankle and instep support for enhanced fit and stability, plus heavy cushioning without the bulk. These socks have a seamless toe closure to prevent blisters and a “breathe zone” in the middle of the socks to ventilate your feet.  

Icebreaker socks come with a lifetime guarantee, so the company will replace them if they ever get worn out—no questions asked. These socks are an investment, but a worthwhile one, especially if you’re an avid outdoor explorer. They come in three versatile colors: light gray, dark gray, and mustard with red accents. While high quality and ideal for hiking, these socks aren’t the optimal choice for everyday use. 

Price at time of publish: From $26

Product Details:

  • Material: 65 percent merino wool, 33 percent nylon, 2 percent Lycra
  • Size Range: S–XL (Women’s 5.5–11)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Lightweight Wool Socks

Darn Tough Shetland Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Socks

Darn Tough Shetland Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Socks

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want patterned, everyday wool socks.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for extra thick or cushioned wool socks. 

These lightweight yet durable socks will stand up to everyday wear thanks to their performance knit, which means that, unlike many other socks, they won’t bunch up or slip around when you wear them. The Darn Tough Crew Socks are also great for daily use because they have a light layer of cushioning along the sides and bottom and don’t show with sneakers or boots. Plus, the merino wool construction is breathable but will still keep your feet warm in cold weather. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Product Details:

  • Material: 50 percent merino wool, 47 percent nylon, 3 percent Lycra
  • Size Range: S-L (Women’s 4.5–11.5)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Tall Wool Socks

L.L. Bean Boot Socks

L.L. Bean Boot Socks

L.L. Bean

Who it’s for: People who often wear boots. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a lightweight option. 

If you’re constantly wearing boots for outdoor activities or to withstand the winter chill, you know the pain of having socks bunch up or slip down, sometimes causing blisters or discomfort. Plus, with tall boots, it's difficult to pull your socks back up without fully unzipping your shoes. Luckily, these tall wool socks from L.L. Bean actually stay up. The socks are made with merino wool and Coolmax fabric, which is a breathable and moisture-wicking polyester—a win-win, especially when mixed with wool.  

These socks also have a flat toe seam, so your toes won’t get chaffed on long walks or hikes, and they come in two neutral colors: dark gray-green and camel. Even if you're not a hiker, these socks are great for lounging around the house. But if you want a thinner, lightweight sock, you may want to opt for another selection.

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details:

  • Material: 78 percent merino wool, 15 percent nylon, 6 percent polyester, 1 percent Lycra
  • Size Range: S–L (Women’s 4–12/Men’s 5–15)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Ankle Wool Socks

Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Anklet Sock

Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Anklet Sock

Patagonia

Who it’s for: People who want a short wool sock for hiking or everyday wear.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a thick and tall wool sock. 

These performance socks are ideal for hiking, backpacking, and everyday wear—the short length means they can pair well with your go-to sneakers and hiking boots alike. The built-in ventilation prevents your feet from becoming sweaty, but if they do, wool is naturally moisture-wicking. It’s also a temperature-regulating material, so these wool socks can be worn in the summer while traversing a trail without your feet overheating. 

Patagonia ensures that all of the wool it uses is certified by Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), which ensures humane treatment of the animals. With four sizes and three colors (gray, blue, and mustard), there are plenty of options for everyone. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Product Details:

  • Material: 58 percent RWS-certified merino wool, 41 percent nylon, 1 percent spandex
  • Size Range: Women’s 4–12
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Wool Socks for Running

Cloudline Running Socks

 Cloudline Running Socks

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want moisture-wicking socks for running. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want thick, cozy socks for lounging. 

While some people associate wool with being thick and warm, there are lightweight merino socks that regulate temperature and wick away sweat. Sweat and moisture can cause blisters when running, so wool socks can protect your feet from painful sores. Like a few others on this list, these socks have a seamless construction to prevent friction. Merino is also naturally odor-resistant, so your running shoes won’t get smelly after a few miles. 

The toe and heel of this sock have nylon overlays for reinforcement, so you won’t have to worry about the fabric wearing down or unsightly holes appearing during your jog. If you’re looking for a thicker sock to wear around the house or to keep your ankles warm, these may not be the right pick for you.  

Price at time of publish: $17

Product Details:

  • Material: 61 percent merino wool, 32 percent nylon, 7 percent spandex
  • Size Range: M–XL (Women’s 7–15)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Wool Socks for Hiking

Smartwool Classic Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

Smartwool Classic Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks

REI

Who it’s for: Avid hikers or people looking for sustainable wool socks. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a low, lightweight sock. 

If you’re in the market for wool socks that are sustainable while also being excellent quality, these are for you. SmartWool uses recycled nylon and is ZQ-certified—meaning that the animals raised for its wool are treated humanely. These socks are a staple for hikers and loungers alike thanks to their coziness and durability. 

Similar to other socks on this list, these have an elasticized arch support which ensures a snug fit and no sliding around, and a flat knit toe seam to prevent blisters. With seven colors to choose from, there’s a style for everyone. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Material: 56 percent merino wool, 11 percent nylon, 31 percent recycled nylon, 2 percent elastane
  • Size Range: S–L (Women’s 4–12.5)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Best Compression Wool Socks

Comrad TimberWool Compression Socks

Comrad Compression Socks

Comrad Socks

Who it’s for: People who want stylish compression socks.

Who it isn’t for: People who want socks for hiking or running. 

Compression socks are great for people with circulation issues, as they can increase blood flow to your calves and feet. They are also great to wear on a plane as they prevent pesky swelling. The Comrad Compression Socks are among the most stylish compression socks on the market—we especially love the blue and white striped pair. A dual cuff at the top of the socks makes them more secure so they stay in place all day. 

These wool socks are made with merino wool and tree fibers, a blend that the brand calls TimberWool. They have similar benefits to the other wool socks on this list—moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, and antimicrobial to keep your feet odor-free. They’re not as thick as some of the chunkier wool socks, so they can easily fit under boots or pants. We also appreciate that these socks come in wide calf options.

Price at time of publish: $32

Product Details:

  • Material: 42 percent nylon, 37 percent lyocell, 16 percent merino wool, 5 percent elastane
  • Size Range: S–L (Women’s 4–10+), wide calf options available
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Most Stylish Wool Socks

Tabio Merino Wool Pile Socks

Tabio Merino Wool Pile Socks

Tabio 

Who it’s for: People who want wool socks to dress up or down.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for hard-working performance socks.

These wool socks are simple but chic with a high pile made of super soft merino yarn. Unlike some other socks on this list, the Tabio wool socks are more fashionable than functional. They are delicate, so they aren't ideal for hiking or other strenuous outdoor activities. Still, these socks last for a long time if you take proper care of them. The brand recommends turning them inside out when you wash them, using a gentle detergent, and placing them in a garment bag so they don’t get tangled. (Turning them inside out reduces friction on the outside of the sock, which helps them last longer.)

While these socks are fluffy and cushioned, they are a fine enough knit to be worn under heeled boots—plus, with three neutral colors and a timeless striped cuff, these socks can be worn with nearly anything. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Product Details:

  • Material: 47 percent wool, 30 percent acrylic, 22 percent nylon, 1 percent polyurethane
  • Size Range: One size (Women’s 5–8)
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Final Verdict

Our top pick overall is the Bombas Merino Wool Calf Socks for their cushioned footbed, arch support system, seamless toe, and quality merino wool construction. The included polyester and spandex provide added stretch and support, while the wool creates a breathable, year-round sock. 

How to Shop for Wool Socks Like a Pro

Material 

“There are a number of different types of wool that come from different animals or different geographic locations,” says Pandolph. “Merino, shetland, or lambswool, for example, are different types of sheep’s wool, while Cashmere is goat wool, and there is also Alpaca and Yak fiber,” she explains. She also points out that different wools have unique textures because each animal's coats grow differently. 

But most wool socks aren’t 100 percent wool. “The mixing or blending of other fibers can change the softness or harshness, performance (which has to do with the pilling rate and moisture-wicking function), and durability of the socks—all of which can have both pros and cons,” Pandolph says. “For instance, adding cotton to the wool will reduce the natural stretch of the yarn. Adding nylon to the wool might increase the durability and reduce pilling, but it also may result in a more scratchy or stiff fabric that is less breathable." However, she explains that adding polyester can increase softness but might also increase pilling. 

Intended Use

Pandolph says that there are a few reasons people seek out wool socks. “This can be to keep your feet warm and cozy whether you are on the ski slopes or lounging at home, or for the fibers' performance qualities such as durability or moisture-wicking,” she says. “And sometimes it just comes down to personal preference. Everybody is different, so the preferred socks materials also often differ.” You wear socks year-round, so invest in a few quality pairs, whether they're for hiking, running, or everyday use—as wool socks are extremely versatile. 

Length

The length of socks you choose depends on your level of activity and your footwear of choice. If you often wear tall boots, you’re not going to want an ankle sock—look for a long sock that almost reaches your knee. Tall socks also keep your calves warm if you’re wearing thinner pants. But if you want to wear wool socks for running, consider ankle-length socks, as they’ll be more comfortable and lightweight. 

Questions You Might Ask 

What are the benefits of wool socks?

Wool socks are thermoregulating, meaning that they can be comfortable no matter the season. This material doesn’t trap heat and pulls moisture away from your body, so your socks don’t become drenched in sweat. “Wool socks are also naturally more odor resistant, so you can wear them multiple times before washing, which means less water wasted and detergent being used,” says Pandolph.

“The bottom of the foot contains many sweat glands, so even with the best-wicking fibers, you might experience a damp sock,” she says. “Even when it is damp, wool can still keep you warm, and the fiber dries more quickly than many other alternatives. Wool is also a naturally elastic and resilient fiber, so socks better retain their shape after wearing and washing over time.”

What percentage of wool is best for socks?

“The ideal percentage of wool you should look for really depends on your intended use,” Pandolph says. “For example, a luxury wool sock may be made primarily from merino wool yarn, or a casual boot sock may be knit from mostly lambswool, which has a larger diameter fiber and can be used for chunkier gauge knits.”

While high-end socks generally feature 100 percent wool yarn, there will typically be small percentages of other materials, like nylon, polyester, or spandex. These materials may not be blended with the wool, but instead knit alongside to create stretch or a pattern.

“You may see that a sock used for performance or athletic wear may utilize a blended yarn made of wool and a higher percentage of nylon for additional durability or that wool is blended with a significant amount of a performance polyester fiber to reduce the cost of the sock while retaining moisture management,” she says. 

Are wool socks itchy?

As long as you choose good quality wool socks, they shouldn’t be itchy. Merino wool is especially soft. To prevent your wool socks from getting rough, keep them away from high heat, which can damage and wear down all fabrics and fibers. If your wool socks still feel itchy, you may have an allergy to lanolin, a substance found in wool. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Hannah Baker, a freelance writer and editor with a decade of experience researching and writing about home products. She’s written about products for Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Apartment Therapy, Brides, MyDomaine, SHOP Today, and Drew and Jonathan Reveal, to name a few. To make this list, she considered each wool sock’s quality of materials, price point, fit, and style. She also spoke with a sock expert: Kristen Pandolph, vice president of product engineering and innovation of socks for Bombas.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles