For the vast majority of wearers, cowboy boots are not a fad or a “style,” but a way of life. Still, that doesn’t mean they aren’t prepared to welcome new cowboy boot wearers into the fold. As more and more people adopt cowboy boots as their footwear of choice, more are discovering that there’s a lot to consider before saddling up in a new pair of cowboy kicks.
Since cowboy boots are predominantly made of leather or a synthetic substituted, they rarely feature insulation or cushioning. To put it succinctly: cowboy boots by themselves are not what most people would describe as comfortable. When it comes to wearing cowboy boots regularly, a great pair of boot socks can mean the difference between a happy foot and an aching foot.
In the following article, we’ll take a look at the best socks for cowboy boots as well as take a look at what makes boot socks to special (and necessary). For those of you in a hurry, we’ve listed our top picks in each category below:
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: RealTree Heavyweight Merino Wool Tall All-Season Boot Socks
- Best Premium Product: Wigwam Muck Ultimate Boot Socks
- Best Value: Wrangler Mens Ultra Dri Compression Tall Boot Socks
For those of you looking for a more in-depth report on the best socks for cowboy boots, read on.
Why Cowboy Boots Necessitate Special Socks
As we mentioned earlier, cowboy boots are usually made from stacked cow leather, though there are plenty of versions out there made from alligator, snake, and other exotic materials. There are also synthetic boots available. Still, overall, the construction of these boots remains essentially the same from pair to pair.
Because leather provides minimal insulation and padding, a lot of consideration has to go into the type of socks one chooses to wear with their cowboy boots. Below, we’ll discuss some of the features that are most common in boot socks, and why they are essential to the wearer’s comfort.
People don’t just wear cowboy boots in the deserts of Texas and New Mexico. Cowboy boots are in fact popular all over the country and around the world. So, you can imagine that the boot wearers of Colorado and Montana have much different insulation needs than the cowboys in the Southwest. Some socks are specifically designed to provide this added insulation, keeping feet from turning into leather-bound icicles.
You Want Breathability
Cold is one problem, yes, but what about heat? As cowboy boots are made to stand up to hard work and rough conditions, they aren’t known for allowing your feet to “breath” at all, which can result in sweating, odor, and even mold growth. This situation is where breathable socks come in. Depending on the material, different socks will be more or less breathable than others, and therefore more comfortable.
You’ll Need Moisture Control
As we just mentioned, moisture is a big problem when it comes to cowboy boots. If all that moisture ends up staying on your skin, you might end up with a slippery, soggy, and potentially smelly situation on your hand (or in this case, feet). Some socks feature designs that wick away moisture, allowing you to stay dry and stay fresh.
Added Cushioning and Support
Another issue with cowboy boots and their “rough and tumble” construction is that they don’t often take into account the cushioning and support that many wearers will need. To maximize their comfort, many boot wearers choose socks that have features like additional padding, arch support, or built-in insoles.
How to Choose the Right Boot Socks For You
Even taking the information above into account, there are still multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration before you choose the right boot socks for you. In an attempt to give you the best value for your money, we’ve listed many of them below:
As we mentioned above, the climate you live in will have a significant effect on what type of boot socks you’ll need. Is the area you live in hot and arid or snowy and cold? Perhaps it’s a combination of the two depending on what time of the year it is? If you look closely at the type of boot socks you’re buying, likely, the manufacturer will likely indicate to what sort conditions they are suited.
If you’re only wearing your boots for style, chances are pretty much any boot sock design will do. However, if you’re wearing them to work or planning on some vigorous rounds of line dancing, comfort will quickly become an essential factor in the socks you choose. In some cases, you might even prefer socks that provide special support or cushioning at the heel, toe, or arch.
You can’t just take your boots off every time your socks bunch up, so you’ll want to make sure that whatever socks you choose fit you snuggly, but not too snuggly. How your socks fit you, where they support you, and whether or not they tend to slide off your foot are all factors that you need to consider before making a purchase.
NOTE: Most manufacturers will have a sizing chart that tells you how specific socks will fit people of various shoe sizes. If you have unique size needs, you can almost always ask the manufacturer for their recommendations. Also, when shopping online, make sure your purchases are protected so you can send back items that don’t fit you correctly.
From natural fibers to the latest in synthetic blends to socks made out of recycled ocean waste, there are a staggering number of sock materials available to the average consumer. Though you should clearly avoid materials that you find irritating or are allergic to, you’ll also want to consider the properties of each material and how well it suits your wants and needs.
Like we said earlier, “breathability” is going to be a common buzz word during our discussion of the best socks for cowboy boots. In the end, your socks shouldn’t feel like a second pair of shoes. However, you might not want your socks to be made so breathable that they offer no support or insulation. Finding the right amount of breathability for you may take some time, but it’s well worth it when you do.
Ability to Stay Up
There are few things worse than feeling your socks retreating from your calves as you stand there in your best cowboy boots. Fail to get a pair of socks that are tight enough, however, and you’ll spend a lot of your time digging rolling them up from your ankles. Of course, you have to be careful here too, because socks that are too tight can cause circulation issues or worse.
Some socks feature insole designs and other features that support your foot. Models like this are perfect in the case of boot socks because many cowboy boots do very little for your heels, toes, and arches. If you’re the kind of person who wants to maintain the “spring in their step” for as long as possible, you might want to look into what boot socks offer the right amount of support.
Some socks serve many purposes, but the overwhelming majority of people simply want to know whether or not they’re comfy. Of course, what makes a sock comfortable is different from person to person. You could be looking for thick material, extra padding in certain places, or even separate spaces for your toes. Whatever way you define comfort, if it’s important, seek out socks that fit the bill.
As we said earlier, many boot socks will advertise “moisture wicking” or “moisture control” to let people know that their socks will help keep them dry. If this is a big selling point for you, you might want to ensure the pair you choose has these features. If you’re working or dancing in your boots, or live in a hot environment, this should be on your must-have list.
How thick your socks are will drastically affect the other factors on this list. Clearly, incredibly thick socks will provide some extra cushioning, but will they breathe? Every material is different, but you’re going to want to pay attention to how thick each pair is before you purchase to ensure you get what you want.
Types of Boot Socks
There are thousands of different kinds of boot socks that are either designed explicitly for cowboy boots or have had that function taken into account by the manufacturer. Before taking a look at some of the best socks for cowboy boots, we’ll first take a look at some of the basic types. These categories can be separate or overlap depending on the brand.
Cold Weather Boot Socks
As the name might imply, these are boot socks designed for winter conditions. Popular among cowboys, ranch hands, hunters, and outdoorsmen of all types, these designs usually feature a thermal function and are often thicker than other types of boot socks. The combination of cold weather features and “moisture wicking” is rare, however, so they don’t transfer well to hot climates.
Over-The-Calf Boot Socks
This design of boot socks helps maximize comfort and ensure that the socks stay put regardless of what type of activity is you’re doing. The design employs the fabric in such a way that it comes over the calf, providing a more substantial “grip” on the thickest part of the lower leg. As you might expect, these types of socks are easy to identify as they are usually quite long.
Calf-Length Boot Socks
The design of these socks is similar to that of over-the-calf models. Instead of wrapping “around” the calf, however, these are intended to end where the calf is the thickest. While this can be quite useful when it comes to ensuring that socks stay put, some users complain that the calf end of the sock can end up being over-stretched, and losing its elasticity.
Supportive Boot Socks
These types of boot socks include individual fibers or woven inserts that help provide crucial support at different parts of the foot. From preventing fallen arches to helping secure the ankle in place to improving circulation, there are hundreds of different types of supportive boot socks out there, all of which can help you with a myriad of common problems.
Cowboy Boot Socks Review
Now that we have intrinsic knowledge about boot socks, their features, and their various types, let’s take a look at some of the best socks for cowboy boots available today.
Wigwam may not be a household name, but this Sheboygan, Wisconsin-based fabric company has been producing socks since 1905, and the business has made a lot of impressions on people who know cowboy boots. Though they tend to be a bit on the pricy side (roughly $20 per pair), most fans of the company consider them well worth it.
Wigwam’s Muck Ultimate Boot Socks are made of locally-sourced Merino wool, which is soft, odor resistance, and provides insulation that won’t shrink no matter how many times you wash them. This type of wool is also not as likely to irritate the skin as other wools. The socks are incredibly long as well, and should easily go over the calf for the majority of wearers.
Other features include the fully-cushioned sole and cuffs for extra comfort and a self-adjusting welt cuff to keep the socks from falling during hard work, hiking, or other activities. The socks also feature a “seamless” toe closure, which helps reducing chaffing. If you’re looking for a premium pair of socks and don’t mind paying for them, the Wigwam Muck Ultimate Boot Socks are worth a buy.
- American-made with wool from local producers.
- Soft, odor-resistance, and won’t shrink from multiple washes.
- Cushioned sole and cuffs
- Self-adjusting cuff to keep the socks from falling
- Very expensive for the average person.
- Only 10% of the socks are wool – the rest is acrylic, nylon, and polyester
Despite the spelling of its name, Under Armour is actually an American sports apparel company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the years, Under Armour has grown into one of the most trusted and reliable sources of sports, casual apparel, and footwear. When it comes to socks, the company has shown relentless innovation and a dedication to quality.
Under Armour’s All Season Wool Boot Socks are designed to sit just below the mid-calf, and feature a ribbed cuff for added support and a Y-Stitched Heel, which helps keep the socks from sliding down or bunching up around the back of the foot. There is also additional reinforcement at the heel and the toe, which provides comfort while increasing the overall durability of the sock.
If the All Season Wool Boot Socks weren’t comfortable enough, Under Armour has included terry loops (knitted double loops that serve as extra cushioning) at the forefront, toe, and heel of the sock. Though they are still considered “wool socks,” nearly 39% of the socks are acrylic, and they also contain nylon, polyester, and spandex. For comfort, warmth, and cushioning, these are a pricy but reliable product.
- The ribbed cuff helps keep the socks in place at mid-calf
- Y-Stitched Heel reduces chances of bunching or sliding
- Terry loops at forefront, heel, and toe for extra cushioning
- Extremely warm, comfortable, and great for all weather conditions
- Nearly $16 per pair from most retailers
- May sit a little too low, causing them to fall
- Only 34% wool
Ariat International is a footwear, apparel, and accessories company headquartered in Union City, California. Not only do they specialize in equestrian sports (Cowboys take note), they produce both boot socks and boots. This fact allows them to approach boot sock design from a unique angle and helps them create some of the most well-respected socks on the market.
These Full Cushion Over-the-Calf socks are 50% cotton with a polyester, nylon, and spandex blend and are designed to sit just below the knee, where you can effectively minimize slippage. As we mentioned, a big selling point of these boot socks is that the manufacturer has explicitly designed them for use with riding boots and cowboy boots.
Most users praise these boots for their ability to stay up in almost any conditions, even when worn on long rides or during a hard day’s work. The added cushioning in the foot section also helps keep feet from getting sore in non-padded leather boots. If you ride, or you simply want to wear your cowboy boots to your heart’s content, these are an excellent product to consider.
- 50% cotton for maximized comfort and cushioning
- Unlikely to slip down thanks to their tall, over-the-calf design
- Breathe well in warmer climates
- Designed specifically for use with riding boots
- Fully cushioned foot for added comfort
- Won’t be as warm as wool-blend socks
- Some users complain that the extra cushioning wears out quickly
- Cotton can shrink as well as shed
If you work outdoors, chances are you know the name Wrangler. An American-based company with roots going all the way back to the late 1890s, this company as been producing jeans, clothing, and – specifically – workwear since 1904. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Wrangler has access to some of the best materials on the market.
Wrangler’s Men’s Riggs Workwear Over-the-Calf Boot Socks are some of the most affordable socks on this list, with most retailers offering four pairs for under $20. Made with an 80% cotton blend supported by nylon and spandex, these socks are built to last, designed for comfort, and will be much lighter than wool socks. Unfortunately, this also means they won’t be as warm as wool socks either.
Other features of the Riggs Workwear Boot Socks are added arch support to help reduce fatigue during the workday, and a half-cushion foot for extra added comfort. Both the toe and the Heel of the socks are reinforced to help the socks last longer.
- 80% cotton design for maximum comfort and breathability
- Extremely affordable compared to some premium boot socks
- Arch support helps reduce fatigue during long workdays
- Half-cushioned foot
- Reinforced toe and heel to help the socks last longer
- Won’t be as warm as some wool socks
- Some users find the socks tend to slide down occasionally
- Taller people will find that these socks are more “mid-calf” than “over-the-calf”
Fox River has been a leading supplier of performance socks since 1900. Specializing in all manner of outdoor and sports socks, the men and women at this company understand the needs of the boot-wearing public. All their products are still made in-house at the Fox River Mill, which is located in Osage, Iowa, and uses only premium fabrics.
The Fox River Military Stryker Wick Dry Mid-Calf Boot Socks are 75% acrylic, 22% nylon, and 2% spandex, which means they will be durable, mildew-resistant, and highly resilient when it comes to shrinkage and stretching. As the name implies, they also feature the company’s signature WickDry Technology, which draws moisture away from the skin to keep feet dry and comfortable.
Overall, these socks are excellent at keeping away moisture, which prevents the build-up of hot spots, which can cause friction and blisters. They also feature “Scentry Technology,” which helps permanent defend the materials from odor. While not precisely budget socks, at under $10 per pair, they are a reliable product for anyone who wears boots while working or hiking.
- WickDry Technology helps draw excess moisture away from the skin
- More affordable than other Premium Brands
- Uses Scentry Technology to defend against odor and prevent mold growth
- Reinforced heel and toe for added durability and comfort
- The acrylic blend will resist stretching and shrinkage
- Won’t be the most comfortable socks out there without wool or cotton
- Some find these socks tend to slip and bunch up a lot
- Provide virtually no insulation, making them a poor choice for cold weather
Another quality product from Wrangler is these standard Men’s Western Boot Socks. Made with a blend that is mostly polyester, these socks are extremely flexible, dry quickly, and, highly-resistant to shrinking and wrinkles. Designed specifically for use with boots, these socks feature moisture-wicking technology to pull sweat and water away from the skin.
The Wrangler Men’s Western Boot Socks also feature a half-cushion foot and added arch support, both of which are designed to reduce fatigue during long workdays. While some users disagree, the manufacturer also claims the socks mid-calf design helps them stay up and prevents bunching. If you’re looking for a durable work sock that will keep you dry, these are a reliable choice.
- The polyester blend is resistant to shrinking and wrinkles and dries quickly
- Cost-effective at roughly $5 per pair
- Half-cushioned foot and additional arch support built-in
- Mid-calf design helps reduce slippage and bunching
- Many users find them too thin
- Provide little to no insulation considering they’re designed for use with boots
Another premium product from the people at Under Armour, these Tactical Heatgear Socks use 95% polyester, which means they will dry quickly, be resistant to shrinking, and resist wrinkling and bunching. The footbed is partially cushioned to add comfort without making the socks too bulky, while embedded arch support helps reduce fatigue on long workdays.
By far, the most innovative feature of the Tactical Heatgear Socks is the patented “ArmourDry” design, which wicks moisture away from the skin and helps it evaporate more quickly. These socks also incorporate ArmourBlock in the design, which helps reduce the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
On the negative side, these socks sit very high on the legand can be a little tight on the calves of some users. They also have a vast price range, which seems to be based on the size of the user’s foot, as bigger socks require more material. Still, going from $9 to $23 per pair is a bit much. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a quality sock, these military-compliant products are well worth the price.
- 95% Polyester will resist shrinking and dry quickly
- Half-cushioned footbed for added comfort
- Embedded arch support helps reduce fatigue
- Feature ArmourDry technology to wick moisture away from the skin
- ArmourBlock technology helps reduce the growth of bacteria
- Large price range depending on the size of your foot ($9 – $23 per pair)
- Some users find these high-sitting socks to be too tight on their calf
- Some users have found these “heatgear” socks not to be that warm
Wrangler has been in the business of making socks for a long time, and as a result, they have many innovative products that have earned a spot on this list. These Dry Wick Western Boot Socks sit just under the calf and are priced around $25 for a pack of three pairs, making them competitively-priced at roughly $8.30 per pair.
The Wrangler Dry Wicks utilize ultra-spun polyester, which helps them dry quickly, resist microbial growth, and avoid bunching and shrinking. As the name implies, however, these socks also feature a moisture-wicking material that is blended into the fabric to help keep skin dry all day long. Amazingly enough, these socks also feature a one-year warranty.
One of the few concerns regarding these socks is that they won’t stay up well because of their position just below the calf. Also, as boot socks, they are not particularly thick. All things considered, however, these are great socks at a value price from a reliable manufacturer.
- Competitively priced at roughly $8 per pair
- The polyester blend is quick-drying and resistant to wrinkles and shrinking
- Moisture-wicking material blended into the fabric
- The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty on the product
- Some users find the socks fall down often because they sit below the calf
- Some buyers think they are a bit too thin for boot socks
RealTree is a Columbus, Georgia-based company that specializes in gear and clothing for hunting, fishing, and military use. Specializing in camouflage, they have established themselves as a dominant force in the market despite having only been on the scene since the 1980s. All of their socks are made in the USA, and feature innovations specifically tailored to the needs of outdoorsmen.
RealTree’s Heavyweight Merino Wool All Season Socks utilize a wool, nylon, and spandex blend. This construction makes them thick, warm, and comfortable, while also making them stretchy enough to stay up on even the hardest workdays. Wool is also naturally water absorbent and will help keep feet dry by wicking away sweat. Unfortunately, this can also lead to microbial growth in the sock itself.
RealTree also designed their Merino Wool Socks to fit over the calf, incorporating spandex and nylon to ensure they stay put. The socks also feature a reinforced heel and toe for added durability and are fully cushioned both around the leg and foot. If comfort, warmth, and durability are the goal, these are a great choice.
- 80% wool construction makes them warm and comfortable
- Reinforced heel and toe will ensure the socks last a long time
- Reasonably-priced at around $14 a pair
- Designed to stay up on the leg.
- Fully cushioned around the leg and in the foot
- Wool will shrink and can cause allergic reactions in some cases
- Some users find these socks are a little too tight around the leg
- Some users would like to see these socks provide even more warmth
Another quality, low-priced product from Wrangler, these Ultra-Dri Compression Tall Boot Socks ring up at about $20 for a pack of six, making them a steal at just $6.50 per pair. Designed to fit over the calf, these innovative boot socks utilize UltraSpun polyester, nylon, and spandex, making them fast-drying, naturally-anti-microbial, and will resist shrinking.
These socks also feature gradual compression, which prevents swelling, reduces fatigue, and can even improve circulation. The polyester fibers offer quality moisture-wicking, further increasing comfort during long workdays, while the half-cushion foot and arch support keep feet from getting tired on the job.
- Competitively priced at roughly $6.50 per pair
- The polyester blend is fast-drying and resistant to shrinking
- Moisture-wicking material helps keep feet dry
- Gradual compression prevents swelling and reduces fatigue
- Built-in cushion and arch support
- Some users will find them too tight due to the compression design
- Some buyers think they are a bit too thin for boot socks
If you work or play outdoors, you’ve more than likely come across the Carhartt name. Founded in 1889 and located in Dearborn, Michigan, Carhartt has been producing quality outdoor apparel for generations. From coats and hats to pants and socks, some men and women rely on Carhartt products every day, dressing in them from head to toe.
Carhartt’s Force Performance Work Crew Socks are designed to be soft and comfortable enough for everyday activities, but thick and durable enough to be of use in the field. They are mainly made of polyester, which makes them naturally useful for keeping feet dry and resisting shrinking. They also feature a “stay put” top that is reinforced with spandex, gripping the area just below the calf.
Other features that make Carhartt’s Performance Work Crew Socks a great investment are the built-in arch support and the reinforced heel and toe. Not only will these keep feet from getting tired, but they will help the socks last a long time. There is also targeted compression in the ankle and calf area, which improves circulation and further reduces fatigue.
Though these socks have a rather price range ($10-$25 for three pairs), they are still a great value product from a reliable manufacturer.
- Stay put top grips the calf and holds the sock in place
- The polyester blend is fast-drying, naturally-resistant to shrining
- Moisture-wicking material helps keep feet dry
- Targeted compression prevents swelling and reduces fatigue
- Built-in arch support and reinforced heel and toe
- Some users will find them too tight on the calf
- An extensive price range depending on the size of your feet
- Awkward pattern design highlight all the features
In most cases, a sock designed for men can easily be turned into a sock for women, providing the shopper knows how to accommodate for the size difference. In the case of these Long Live Cowgirls Boot Socks, the product is specifically designed to contour to the shape of a woman’s leg. While men can certainly wear them, there might be some unexpected bunching or tightness around the calf.
The Long Live Cowgirls Boot Socks utilize a blend of acrylic, wool, and nylon with spandex to ensure a tight fit around the calf. The unique blend is designed to wick away moisture and keep feet dry, while also ensuring that the wearer is kept warm. For roughly $16, shoppers can get their hands on two pairs of these socks, making them an affordable, high-quality option.
The Long Live Cowgirls Boot Socks are made in the USA and feature a smooth toe seam for added comfort and a full cushion leg and foot to add some padding to those cowgirl boots. While some users have complained that they tend to wear out quickly, they remain an excellent option for women who want style, comfort, and protection.
- The high cut goes over the calf while spandex helps them stay up
- Fabric blend offers plenty of warmth while wicking away moisture
- Cost roughly $8 per pair
- Fully padded leg and foot for extra comfort
- Designed specifically for women
- Some users feel they wear out a bit too quickly
As comprehensive as this list is, we aren’t even scratching the surface of the number of boot sock designs on the market. We do feel, however, that we’ve effectively highlighted some of the best options, giving you the chance to see what separates a quality boot sock from a not-so-good boot sock. With all of this in mind, we’ve selected the best socks for cowboy boots in three different categories: Best Overall, Best Premium Product, and Best Value.
Our vote for Best Overall Boot Sock goes to RealTree’s Heavyweight Merino Wool Tall All-Season Boot Socks. At $14 per pair, they are reasonably-priced enough considering their durability, and they have a unique mix of features that nearly all cowboy boot wearers will love.
Some of the things that helped these socks stand out is their warm, high-quality wool construction, the reinforced Heel and toe, and the added cushioning around the leg and foot. According to many reviews, these are the perfect choice when the goal is to stay dry and stay comfortable. Combine this with the fact that they always stay put, and you have a great sock on your hands.
Best Premium Product
If you’ve got the budget for the, the Wigwam Muck Ultimate Boot Socks are a great option. Though they cost about $20 per pair, these made-in-America wool-blend socks are incredibly soft, feature cushioned soles and cuffs, and are self-adjusting to ensure that they stay up at all times. There are a lot of boot socks out there, but these are some of the best-reviewed and most highly-rated on the market.
At only $6.50 per pair, the Wrangler Mens Ultra Dri Compression Tall Boot Socks are our choice for Best Value. With features like a built-in arch and wick-dry technology, these polyester-blend socks are an excellent choice for anyone who wants the comfort of a high-value boot sock without the extra cost. Even with the multitude of Wrangler products out there, these are a real stand out design.