Anyone who’s spent time outdoors knows that cold feet can ruin a hunting trip. Boots aren’t enough to keep your feet warm, so you must wear the right socks. If you want to stay toasty while walking through the woods, or perched up in a deer stand, you don’t want to be wearing a pair of everyday cotton socks. Keep reading to see what you need in a good pair of hunting socks and which ones we recommend as the best.
Our Top Picks
- Editor’s Pick for Best Hunting Sock: Darn Tough Hunter
- Luxury Pick: Smartwool PhD Hunt Extra Heavy Socks
- Budget Pick: Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Boot Sock
Best Socks for Hunting
When you’re planning a hunt, what socks to wear probably isn’t as important to you as the rest of your hunting equipment. But actually, you should be as picky about the socks you put on your feet as you are the shells you place in your gun.
Cold feet is more than just an expression of nervousness. When your feet get cold, your day can turn miserable pretty quick. I’ve seen plenty of hunts end early because someone was so unhappy from wet, cold feet that it became painful. They walked out of the woods an hour early – and missed a trophy buck. A fact our friends never let him live down.
When you’re hunting, there are four critical areas you want to pay attention to if you’re going to stay warm. These are your head, core, hands, and of course, feet. It’s hard to track your coon dogs through the woods when your feet are a block of ice. When your feet get too cold, it can actually start hurting. No one wants that.
Keeping Your Feet Warm
When you’re getting dressed for the woods, it’s less about how you look and more about how you get dressed. Layers are your friend when you’re trying to keep toasty while hunting. Whether you wear more than one pair of socks while hunting is a personal preference.
At one time, I used to double, or even triple-layer, my socks. But by the middle of my hunt, my feet would be wet and sweating. And you guessed it, freezing. Hard to stay warm when you have wet feet, right? I wasn’t just layering wrong. I was picking the wrong kind of hunting socks too.
The material of your socks is essential when you’re getting dressed for a day out in the cold. Cotton is not a proper choice for outdoor socks. Therefore, you don’t want to grab a pair of socks out of your drawer and head out the door.
Say No to Cotton Socks
Cotton socks are super comfy, but they’re not the warmest option on the block. First off, cotton socks are usually thin, so there’s not enough material to provide a useful buffer between the wind chill and your skin. The wind can slice right through the cloth.
Cotton absorbs water and your feet sweat. For those of you who don’t make the connection, sweaty feet equals wet feet. If your feet get wet at the beginning of your hunt, cotton will retain the dampness, keeping your feet cold and wet.
If you’re a serious hunter, a pair of insulated, waterproof boots are a must. But even the best boots aren’t going to protect your feet from getting wet from sweating. You might not usually have sweaty feet, but if you must take a long trek to get to your stand and you’re wearing thick socks, trust me, pal, your feet are going to be damp.
A lot of hunters like to wear a lightweight pair of socks while they’re walking. Then once they get to their stands, they swap into a dry pair of thick, insulated hunting socks like the ten that we recommend in this article.
Some hunters like to double layer with two pairs of socks or a pair of socks and a liner. The socks we suggest are warm enough that there is no need for extra socks or liners for most hunters. Although if you prefer to double up, go for it. It’s all about your personal preference.
Qualities of a Good Hunting Sock
When it comes to picking your hunting socks, there are some essential aspects you’ll want covered. You don’t want to pick any pair you find just because they look thick. Take the time to read the label. Remember what we said about avoiding cotton socks.
Made of the Right Material
Merino wool and synthetic fibers are the best materials to look for in your foot protection. You want a fabric that has wicking abilities – if the socks get wet, the moisture absorbs into the material rather than soaking through. Wool can actually hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture before you notice signs of dampness.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, look for socks that have extra padding in the heels, toes, and arch. These are the three areas that can feel the strain from long hikes. You might also want to look for options that have mesh so that your feet have the proper air circulation in the right areas to keep from sweating.
Hunting socks can be expensive. If you’re going to invest money into something, you want to make sure it’s going to last long enough to be worth the cost. If the socks you buy only last a week or even just one season, you didn’t get your money’s worth. Check what other customers say about how much use they got out of their purchase.
The thickness of your socks will be a personal preference. However, you should remember that thick doesn’t mean bulky. If your socks are so thick that they feel tight around your toes and are restricting movement, you’re going to be uncomfortable – and at risk of losing circulation to your feet and toes. If you can’t move your toes, you need a new pair.
If you want to stay warm while you’re out hunting, look for footwear that has thermoregulating properties. These kinds of socks use your body temperature to regulate how they function – when it’s cold, they warm you up, and they stay cool in the heat. Your pick should also be made for extreme weather conditions and insulated.
Best Socks for Hunting Review
If you’re planning to be out in the cold for a long time, our Editor’s Pick, the Darn Tough Hunter socks, can be your new best friend. Made with Merino wool, these over the calf socks are guaranteed to be fuzzy, soft, and keep your feet toasty and dry throughout the day.
If your feet sweat a lot, these are the socks for you. Not only do they have wicking abilities, which means they absorb moisture so your feet will stay dry, but they also have Scent-Lok technology. Perfect for anyone whose feet smell when they sweat. The deer will never know you’re there.
Did I mention that these fine-gauge knit wool socks are also antimicrobial? That means you won’t have to worry about athlete’s foot and other funguses that occur when you have damp feet. And you can wear them multiple times without washing them.
When you do wash them, use warm water on a gentle cycle. Flip your socks inside out. Dry them on tumble low or air dry them flat. However, do not dry clean or bleach.
What Is It Made Of?
Although these socks are made primarily of Merino wool, 79% in fact, it also has 19% nylon and 2% lycra spandex for extra cushioning in the heel area and on the ball of your foot. This gives you maximum comfort and flexibility while hiking.
Darn Tough Hunter understands the struggles of hunters, so they made this product with an anti-slip collar – designed to be snugger around your calves, so they don’t bunch and slide down. I can’t tell you how irritating it is to be walking through the woods, and having to stop every few hundred feet so you can pull your socks back into place.
These socks are manufactured in the USA, with wool from America or imported from Europe and Oceania. At a ¼ inch thick, they’re durable, warm, and come with a lifetime guarantee. However, quality often comes with a cost, and these do run on the steeper side of price when it comes to hunting socks. And for men who need bigger socks, you can get these up to 2XL.
If you’re wanting a pair of socks that are going to keep you warm and undetected on your extended hunt, our Editor’s pick Darn Tough Hunter is what you need.
- Made of Merino wool
- Comes in large sizes
- Lifetime guarantee
- Antimicrobial, fast-wicking, fast-drying,
- Scent-Lock technology
- More expensive
- Uses imported materials
- Limited cushioning
When a product is great, we don’t mind paying a bit more for it. Such as our Luxury Pick, Smartwool PhD Hunting Heavy Over-The-Calf socks. Made of 69% imported Merino wool, 30% nylon, and 1% elastane, these socks are the ultimate combination of comfort and usability.
Merino wool will keep your feet feeling dry while the nylon and elastane help provide extra cushion and support for maximum comfort. And they’ll hold up under continual use thanks to the Indestructawool technology. If you’re wanting socks that are going to last a long time, these are the ones for you.
These socks are 14″ tall, with a tight collar so they’ll hug your calves, without sliding or bunching down at your ankles – although the elastic collar loses tightness over time. Not only will your feet and lower legs stay warm, but you won’t have to worry about blisters from your boots.
What Are They Good For?
Whether you’re hunting or skiing, these socks are insulated enough to withstand any cold temp activity. These socks have thermoregulating material that keeps your feet warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot, making these the perfect socks for all seasons and activities.
They have a flat-knit seamless toe, and a 4-Degree elite fit system with arch and ankle support and extra cushioning so your feet stay comfortable, no matter how active you are. Plus, body-mapped mesh zones make these socks breathable, so you have less sweating.
The final thing that knocked our socks off (ha, ha), is that these socks have extra cushioning on the bottom for extra warmth and impact absorption. The manufacturer states that they designed these socks with long trips and hard adventures in mind.
If you’re looking for socks that will keep your feet warm and supported while you’re hunting, our Luxury pick, the Smartwool PhD Hunting Heavy Over-The-Calf socks might be the right choice for you.
- Made of Merino wool
- Over-the-calf socks keep feet and lower legs warm
- Seamless toe
- Thermoregulating material
- Arch and ankle support
- Made with imported wool
- Collar loses tightness with extended use
If you’re a man on a budget, no worries. We understand. That’s why we’ve picked out our budget pick, Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Boot Socks. Although you’re saving a bunch of money, you’re not missing out on any key features.
Carhartt is known for making products for the working man. Their products are designed to withstand harsh conditions, and these cold-weather socks are no exception. They are specifically made for rugged cold climates.
This company understands how sore your feet can feel after a long day of activity, so they’ve bulked up their socks with full sole cushioning, so your entire foot is protected. Not only will the extra padding keep your feet comfortable and warm, but it also extends the life of the product. You’ll be able to use these socks for any activities you want, from working to hunting for years.
What Are the Features of these Socks?
Ankle vents reduce bulkiness, and the upper portion of the sock is ribbed so that it stays up rather than sliding down into your boots. Most customers say these socks fit as expected. And with scent control, you don’t have to worry about any deer – or your hunting buddies – smelling your sweaty feet as they get close.
These socks consist of 70% acrylic, 15% wool, 14%nylon, and 1% Lycra spandex. As you can see, the first ingredient is a synthetic fiber rather than animal wool, which explains why this product is our Budget Pick. Acrylic is an excellent wicking material, so your feet will stay dry with their FastDry Technology although it might be itchy for people who have sensitivities to synthetic materials.
You don’t always have to shell out a lot of cash to get something good, and Carhartt understands this. They make products with the working man in mind, as proven by their durability and cost. If you’re wanting a pair of socks that can keep you comfortable and warm without breaking the bank, our budget pick, Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Boot Socks, can be your best option.
- Well known, and trusted, brand
- Odor control
- FastDry Technology
- Wool is not the primary fabric
- These socks can be itchy for sensitive skin
- Doesn’t fit perfectly for every person
If you’re a friend of the environment, we’ve got an excellent option for you. Soxnet Eco-Friendly Heavyweight Recycled Socks, made by the brand TeeHee, might be something that catches your interest. These socks are recycled cotton, which, according to the manufacturer, reduces wastes by 57%. These socks are 66% polyester, 32% recycled cotton, and 2% spandex.
You should remember that we did advise that using cotton socks can keep your feet feeling wet, which will make them cold and you, essentially, miserable. However, this specific blend was formulated to feel soft and warm.
You also get plenty of cushion around your legs and feet, which will help reduce foot pain and absorb the impact of walking. And the tight collar will keep the cuffs up on your calves without bunching or sliding.
What Are These Socks Like?
It is recommended to wear a thin pair of socks underneath if you’re going to be out in extreme temperatures, as these are not fully insulated thermal socks. Or you might want to wear a pair over the top of these for extra warmth and to provide scent control. Some of these socks do have a foul smell of oil and plastic.
You’ll feel plenty of comfort walking around in these ‘green” socks. You can find them in shoe sizes from 9 to 11. If you wear a larger shoe than an 11, you might not be able to wear these socks.
You can wash these with your regular clothes, which is a benefit compared to most hunting socks, which require special washing instructions. The color of your socks, which you have ten options to choose from, will determine how you’ll wash these.
Soxnet is a global company that has manufacturing plants in the United States, Asia, and Europe. But they are Wrap Certified and pass inspections for sale in the U.S., at major retailers around the country.
If you’re a hunter that likes the idea of being eco-friendly, you can purchase these recycled cotton socks to wear while you’re hunting. See if Soxnet Eco-Friendly Heavy Weight Recycled Socks is right for you.
- Green Friendly
- Reduces waste by 57%
- Cushioned support
- Easy to take care of
- Multiple design options
- Some socks have a foul smell of plastic and oil
- No scent control
- Made with cotton
We wouldn’t be proper reviewers if we didn’t do a review for the best women’s socks. After all, women have smaller feet, so they need socks that are shaped differently to get the best protection and comfort. That’s why we’re featuring Smartwool again, this time for women, with Smartwool PhD Hunt Medium Crew Women’s Socks.
These socks are considered a crew style, which means they come higher up your leg but not as high as over-the-calf socks, making them ideal for most boot styles. They have a ribbed cuff to keep them locked in place, so you don’t have to deal with bunching, slipping, or rubbing blisters.
This product is made in the U.S.A but also imported. They have a seamless toe for ultimate comfort and a 2-Degree Smartwool fit system, which provides ankle and arch support.
An Achilles strap provides extra protection and foot warmth.
Why These Are a Good Choice
You’ll get medium cushioning, which is suitable for light hiking. If you’re going to be traveling over rough terrain, you might want a heavy cushion instead. These socks aren’t ideal for extreme conditions, so if you’re going to be in frigid temperatures, these might not be the right choice.
They are made with 66% wool, 32% nylon, and 2% elastane, making them excellent at wicking moisture. And they’re easy to clean. Just toss them in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes and tumble dry. They can even sustain high heat drying. Indestructawool technology means these socks will last you for numerous hunting seasons.
If you’re a lady hunter who needs a quality pair of hunting socks to keep your feet comfortable, warm, and dry, Smartwool PhD Hunt Medium Crew Women’s Socks might be your dream socks.
- Designed specifically for women feet
- Seamless toe and cushioning for extra comfort
- Made with wool
- Easy to clean
- Ribbed crew cut
- Sometimes imported
- Medium cushioning makes them unsuitable for rough terrain
- Not for extreme weather conditions
The material for your socks doesn’t always have to come from wool, as the company Warrior is proving with their socks made out of Alpaca fur. Available in eight colors, these super fuzzy socks are 48% superfine Alpaca fur, 40% acrylic, 10% nylon, and 2% spandex.
Alpaca fur is a wicking material, so your feet will stay comfortable and dry. These socks are a medium weight, so you should be good in most weather conditions. Although if you’re going to be dealing with extreme conditions, you might want to get a thicker pair.
If you have sensitive skin, these socks are hypoallergenic and a great substitution for traditional sheep’s wool. You won’t have to worry about scratching or getting blisters, corns, and calluses – all ailments that frequently occur when hiking.
Why These Socks Work
The ribbed collar will keep these socks in place, so they don’t slip down into your boots. And there’s a smooth toe seam for maximum comfort all day long. The Alpaca wool provides cushiony, soft support for your overworked feet.
Alpaca fur is more durable than sheep wool, so that these socks will last you for multiple hunting seasons. And because they’re only medium weight, you can wear them with all shoe types and for all kinds of activities.
These socks do require special attention for cleaning – machine wash cold. Air dry flat or tumble dry on cold/air settings. The manufacturer says that these socks will last longer if you don’t put them in the dryer, but it will not ruin them if you do, as long as you do no use heat.
If you’re going on a weekend hunting trip, Warrior Alpaca Socks might be the only pair of socks you need. Thanks to odor-blocking technologies, you can wear the same pair of socks for your entire trip without ever starting to smell foul.
If you have sensitive skin that doesn’t do well with wool or synthetics, try using an Alpaca fur sock, like Warrior Alpaca Socks.
- Hypoallergenic, wool-free
- Multiple colors
- Silky soft feel
- High wicking material
- Special cleaning required
- Medium weight is not suitable for extreme weather conditions
- Not available for men with larger feet
The fashionable boot brand Lucchese has decided they want to provide all your necessary foot care. So they have these wool socks available to keep your feet warm throughout your hunt. Available in four colors, these socks are 40% Merino wool, 40% ultra-spun polyester, 17% nylon, and 3% spandex.
Although this product gets imported from outside the United States, it passes strict manufacturing guidelines. These socks are the perfect blend of durability, support, and wicking to keep your feet dry and warm.
These socks can be tossed into the washing machine with the rest of your clothes and dried on tumble low. It’s great to have socks that you don’t have to make special arrangements for cleaning. And you don’t have to be worried about your socks shrinking in the dryer.
Important Features of this Sock
These foot covers sit high up on your calves and have a non-slip collar, so you don’t have to worry about them slipping out of place while you’re hiking through the woods. They’ll keep your feet warm in winter and cool in the summer due to thermoregulating properties.
Merino wool means your feet will be warm and cushioned for comfortable support. And the wicking ability will keep your feet nice and dry. But there is no extra cushioning for arch or heel support as compared with other options.
These socks will not work for extreme cold or harsh weather conditions. You should look for thicker socks or wear a second pair if you’re going to have extended exposure to nasty weather conditions.
A Substitute Option
If you’re allergic to wool, they also have multi-blend socks. You’ll get all the same benefits as the wool socks, without the common allergens. Those socks are 80% ultra spun polyester, 17% nylon, and 3% spandex.
If you want a thinner sock to wear for your hunting trip, Lucchese Wool Socks might be an option for your consideration.
- Made of wool
- Multiple colors
- Wicking capabilities keep your feet dry
- Soft material keeps feet warm
- Imported materials
- Not meant for extreme weather
- No extra heel or arch support
Some of you might still have cold feet no matter how thick your socks get. I sympathize because I’ve been one of those people. For my fellow friends, allow me to introduce an ingenious design that might make you rethink your entire hunting career. I present to you the Genovega Thermal Insulated Socks.
These socks are made with heat brushed acrylic yarn and extra-long terry fabric and knitted together to create a thermal barrier to protect your feet from the harsh elements. These socks are ideal for up to -15 Celsius. Your feet will be five times warmer in these foot covers than in any traditional hose. They have a 3.6 TOG rating.
Enjoy the ultimate comfort of a sock with anatomical heel design, an arch band to improve fit, feel and circulation around your feet, and a seamless toe. High quality silica gel grips keep the socks secure around your legs. They’re very stretchable and retain their hold, even after prolonged use.
How Do You Like This?
Need a sock you can wear a few days in a row without smelling funky? Genovega socks use AAA grade silver ion bacteria-inhibiting technology. What this means for you is your sweaty feet won’t affect your hunt. And you won’t have to worry about foot funguses like you would with cotton fabrics.
Your sweaty feet will stay feeling dry, thanks to the wicking properties of these thermal socks. Once you’re ready to clean them, toss them into a cold cycle and tumble dry on low option. Taller and thicker than other brands, Genovega is more concerned for functionality than appearance. You only have two color options.
Because they are a bit bulkier than traditional socks, it might make your boots feel a bit tighter. If your shoes are already tight, you don’t want to use these socks. The tighter your socks and boots, the less circulation your feet will have.
If you’re looking for a sock that provides ultimate warmth and comfort, consider Genovega Thermal Insulated Socks.
- Five times warmer socks
- Silver ion bacteria-inhibiting technology for scent and bacteria control
- Wicking capabilities keep your feet dry
- Thicker and taller than most socks
- Can withstand temperatures up to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit)
- No animal-based fabric
- Limited color options
- Can make your boots fit differently
Alvada wants your feet to be comfortable while you’re busy hiking and hunting. That’s why they use 80% Merino wool in these thermal socks. There’s also 15% polyester, 4% nylon, and 1% spandex. Great for men or women, these Alvada Merino wool socks might be the best pick for you.
These socks have shaped cushioning along the footbed to provide exquisite comfort for your tootsies – perfect for long-distance hikers. Merino wool keeps your feet dry of sweat and dampness and reduces odor – but there is no odor control. To clean, toss into a cold wash cycle and tumble dry low or air dry if you want your socks to last longer.
The cuff reaches calf height, and the tight band keeps the collar in place, so you don’t have to struggle with socks that are slipping and budging.
Here’s What These Socks Can Do for You
Classified as midweight, you’ll get the best results in moderate cold. If you’re going into extreme conditions, you might want a thicker sock or put on two pairs.
Hypoallergenic Merino wool provides excellent support and softness, and the nylon keeps you from getting itchy as you would from straight wool like the old days. And let’s not forget that wool is a wicking material, so your feet are going to stay dry too.
You only have one color option, so if you’re looking for a sock that is black or brown, you’ll need to look elsewhere. As mentioned, these socks are unisex, meaning they’ll work for men or women. And as a bargain deal, you get three pairs of comfy socks.
If you’re looking for socks that are great for hunting and hiking, and that men and women can wear, Alvada 80% Merino Wool socks might be a contender for your top pick.
- Made of 80% Merino wool
- Three pairs of socks
- Shaped cushioning on the bottom of feet
- One color
- Not good for extreme conditions
- No odor control
Zealwood Merino Wool Socks are a fantastic unisex thermal hiking sock. Made of 60% Merino wool, 20% acrylic, 14% polyester, and 2% spandex, these socks are thickly padded with a wool and terry blend. These socks are so cozy out in the woods, and you won’t want to take them off sitting in your living room.
You might have problems with how your boots fit with these socks as they are thick and a bit bulky. While this is great for warmth, it can make you more uncomfortable in the long run. If your boots are tight, you might not want to go with this option.
Here’s What You Need to Know
These socks are midweight, so you might want to have a second pair of socks as a backup in case the temperatures get too cold. Thermal yarn provides insulating properties, and the Merino wool wicks moisture so you can hide all day without feeling damp. The thermoregulating properties of the wool keep your feet warm in winter and cool in the summer.
The length comes up to about mid-calf. And there’s a ribbed cuff to keep the socks in place, whether you’re hiking or running. These socks aren’t just for hunting but can also be used for hiking, skiing, and other winter sports.
With a reinforced cushion heel and arch support, your feet will be warm, dry, and comfortable all day long. However, there is a seamed toe, which can be uncomfortable for some. These socks have been designed with targeted ventilation mesh zones for constant airflow. And there’s heel to toe padding to absorb the shock of your steps.
Zealwood is so confident that you’ll like their products that they offer a 100% satisfaction or your money-back guarantee. You have nothing to lose from trying a pair of Zealwood Merino Wool Socks for your hunting and hiking needs.
- Good for men or women
- Made of thermal yarn for extra warmth
- Extra cushioning for arch support
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Soft, wicking material
- Lightweight – not ideal for extreme temperatures
- Seamed toe
- Bulky and thick
Our Top Three Editor’s Picks
Keeping your feet warm is a crucial component of a good hunt. You aren’t going to be very comfortable spending the day in the woods with a simple, think pair of cotton socks. That’s why you need a good pair of quality hunting socks.
For a sock that meets all your needs, the Darn Tough Hunter brand is the sock for you. Made in the USA with Merino wool, these stockings are going to keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable, whether it’s for one day or four – guaranteed for a lifetime.
If you like luxury, we recommend Smartwool PhD Hunt Extra Heavy Socks. These socks are made with 76% Merino wool and are the best socks for women who are hunting. Arch and ankle supports will keep your feet comfortable for extended hunting trips.
We don’t want you to feel like you’re going to miss out on essential features if you’re on a budget. That’s why we recommend Carhartt Men’s Cold Weather Socks. Made of 86% wool, these socks are known for their durability, comfort, and warmth.