Skiing like any sports activity requires proper equipment. Besides investing in a great pair of skis, boots and thermal clothing, you shouldn’t forget about another very important part of the ski wear – ski socks.
Many skiing beginners tend to overlook this important accessory and wear their regular socks only to find out they’ve made a huge mistake once they’re up on the slopes. Standard socks don’t offer enough cushioning from hard boots and don’t do a good job in keeping the feet warm and dry.
That being said, you need to invest in specialised thermal socks for skiing which will make the whole skiing experience warm and pleasant and you’d be able to endure longer stays up on the slopes. These socks are designed to offer a pleasantly soft and comfortable feeling in the sturdy and heavy boots. Let’s see what you need to know in order to purchase a quality pair of skiing socks.
There are two main types of thermal ski socks:
Tube – These socks are the most basic design for skiing. They have a long, elasticated tube of fabric with a sewn-on toe cap at the bottom and an elasticated band at the top to keep them into place while in action. Tube socks have no left or right foot and aren’t gender-specific. Children’s tube socks are different than adults’ mainly in size.
Ergonomic – These socks are the more technically advanced option, designed with an anatomical fit to provide maximum performance and comfort. They’re specific for left and right foot use and have angled toe boxes that accommodate the various lengths of your toes, the shaping around the arch, ankle and instep. You can pick from a various range of sizes (in between whole-numbered foot sizes). These socks provide a snug fit so there won’t be any slipping, bouncing and comfort.
Nylon – This is a popular synthetic fabric that is highly durable and resists abrasion well. Nylon has anti-bacterial properties is an excellent thing for odour control.
Polyester – This material offers a perfect mix of softness, moisture management and thermal properties. Most socks for skiing are made of polyester. It wicks sweat away from the foot easily and also offers great insulation.
Elastane and Lycra – Both provide adequate elasticity to fit your foot. Socks made of these materials won’t slip down while you move during skiing. When you buy ski socks always pick pairs that have a certain degree of elasticity.
Wool – Known for its softness, warmth and comfort, wool is one of the most popular materials for such socks. This is a highly insulating material that will keep your feet warm and will absorb moisture if your feet sweat. Wool socks for skiing are durable and won’t build up odour as it happens with other synthetic materials.
Acrylic – Getting socks for skiing made of acrylic is a good choice since this is a superb, high-functioning synthetic wool substitute. It’s excellent if you’re allergic to natural wool. Some form of this material is very soft and lightweight, highly elastic and fit well.
Thin or Thick Socks?
The thickest pair of socks is not necessarily the best for skiing. Your socks should provide you with insulation and the thickness (or thinness) of the material is not the main factor you should consider when buying such socks. Ski socks are categorised as lightweight, mid-weight and heavyweight.
- Lightweight – excellent for warmer days, they offer greater flexibility and high performance. Your feet will have more mobility in them.
- Mid-weight – these are the most popular and maybe the best option for thermal socks. They offer a good mix of comfort, performance and warmth. But if you’re going skiing in extremely cold weather, mid-weight socks won’t have what it takes to keep you warm.
- Heavyweight – These are the thickest socks, that provide the highest level of insulation, cushioning, and support. If you’re a beginner, these are ideal for increasing your stability and balance. Heavyweight thickness is recommended for extremely cold weather.
If you’re seeking a pair of socks that will provide you with excellent comfort and protection, then seek socks with proper cushioning. Cushioned socks for skiing help protect the areas of the feet that are exposed to high pressure. These are usually the parts with most bones such as ankle and instep. Your shins are a critical area that needs to be cushioned. This area is exposed to a frequent impact against the front of the boot, which is why socks with proper cushioning will help to decrease the damage you may suffer from extended impact. Cushions increase the amount of fabric and space between the point of impact and your feet and will disperse the force of the blow.
This is a very important feature when it comes to ski socks. Having your feet trapped in ski boots for a long time can be challenging if your socks don’t have proper ventilation. Your feet should breathe and will feel warm and dry. Perspiration can expand outside your feet, making perfect conditions for pressure points and blisters. Seek socks with great ventilation (wool is an excellent choice) so the moisture can be wicked away from the feet.
And finally, when buying ski socks, make sure they will fit. Your socks shouldn’t be loose, but they shouldn’t be too tight, either. They should fit your feet well enough to keep the cold air out while at the same time keeping your toes comfortable without stopping blood circulation.
How to Wear These Socks?
Many people think that wearing regular socks under your skiing socks is a good idea. However, this is entirely wrong since your foot will be trapped in rigid skiing boots and your blood flow might be stopped. Additionally, two pairs of socks can cause friction and lead to blisters and sores on your feet. That being said, only wear one pair of ski socks and your feet will be warm and comfortable, without any discomfort.