By Darn Tough Vermont
At Darn Tough Vermont, our days are consumed with knitting socks, driven by our belief that we have yet to produce our best one. Why this obsession? To create the best experience for the people who wear socks.
We are privileged to have a partnership with the High Fives Foundation that’s lasted over a decade. The foundation of this partnership is mutual respect and belief in each other’s mission, so we can align on making the outdoor community a better place.
We know happy feet can be the difference between a bad day and a great day outdoors. When you’re out there, the last thing you should be worried about is your feet. But how do you find the best socks for you?
Today, we’re going to walk you through how to choose the best sock for skiing and snowboarding, two of High Fives pillar sports.
But first, let’s consider a few features you want to look for in every sock, regardless of your activity.
Features You Always Want in Your Socks
These are what we at Darn Tough consider the essentials to a high-performance sock. No matter what you’re doing, we recommend choosing socks that include these features.
• Performance Fibers: Not all sock materials are created equal, and choosing a sock knit from the wrong material is one sure way to end up with blisters. Most Darn Tough socks are knit with Merino Wool, because it’s naturally soft, durable, thermoregulating, moisture wicking, and odor resistant.
• Performance Fit: Darn Tough socks are knit with a Performance Fit, so the sock hugs your foot and acts like a second skin. This allows the sock to move with your feet, reducing blisters and increasing durability.
• Fine Gauge Knitting: A dense knit with fine yarns translates to long-lasting socks with a great fit. We use 168 needles to pack a LOT into every square inch, yet with zero bulk.
• Durability: You don’t want sock-failure to be the reason your day goes south. Darn Tough socks are reinforced in key high-wear areas and backed by our Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee.
• Arch Support: We knit elastic through the arch of the foot to reduce foot fatigue, while also helping keep your socks firmly in place.
• True Seamless™ Toe: Our socks have no seams. We knit in the round and join the toe with a looping mechanism for a flat, smooth feel.
Choosing Socks by Activity
Before we dive into which socks to choose for snow spots, let’s first address the why. Why do you need ski socks, not just any old socks?
We knit activity-specific socks to meet needs specific to that activity. You wouldn’t wear sandals to go snowboarding, because you know you need a shoe designed to work with your equipment and keep your feet warm and protected. Your footwear needs to complement your activity.
The same is true for socks. You can have the best shoes in the world, but if your socks aren’t right, your feet will notice. We pack our socks with activity-specific features based off years of testing, feedback, and warranty data.
One example of this is sock height: As a rule of thumb, we recommend that your sock is always as tall as your shoes, so your sock can protect you from rubbing caused by your shoes. We knit a variety of height options for each activity based on the common footwear heights.
Socks for Skiing & Snowboarding
Darn Tough snow socks are knit with a LOT of technical features. All these socks have performance mesh on the foot – this provides a top-notch fit with no added bulk and increases breathability. We also knit durability zones under the foot and up the back of the heel, where boots typically rub, so these socks will last season after season.
When we’re talking about height, we mean, how tall is your sock? At Darn Tough, we knit options that range from no shows that barely cover your foot to over-the-calves going straight up to your knee.
You might notice most of our ski and ride socks are these Over-the-Calf styles. That height aligns with the tall boots typical to these sports, but it also means you get the benefit Merino Wool’s warmth and moisture-wicking abilities for your entire lower leg, as well as your feet.
But if you prefer a shorter sock when you’re out on the mountain, we knit styles in our Nordic Boot height, which reaches up to mid-calf. Depending on your footwear, you might find our midweight Hike socks another great option.
Yarns come in different weights, meaning thicknesses. While none of our yarns are thick – you’d likely call them a thread – we do knit with a range of yarns, from Ultra-Lightweight to Heavyweight, creating a range of feels and insulation options.
We offer three different weight options for ski and snowboard: Ultra-Lightweight, Lightweight, and Midweight. If you prefer to keep things ultra-thin and ultra-light in your boots, (you guessed it) Ultra-Lightweight is probably right for you. Don’t let these thin socks fool you though – they’re still knit with Merino Wool, which means they still work overtime to keep your feet just the right temperature, no matter the conditions.
If you’re looking for maximum warmth from your socks though, we’d point you to our Midweight sock options. The natural insulation on these is hard to beat, but they don’t add any unnecessary bulk in your boots. If you’re in between, you can’t go wrong with our Lightweight snow socks, the perfect balance of keeping things light AND warm.
Cushion is created by terry loops knit into the socks. These tiny loops create a plush padding that adds warmth, extra blister protection, and comfort. We knit socks with no cushion, cushion underfoot and in key areas, or cushion throughout the entire sock.
When it comes to choosing the right ski or snowboard sock, consider if and where you want cushioning.
• None at all? Go No Cushion.
• Underfoot only? Go Cushion
• Looking for shin coverage? Look for our Cushion options that include Shin Padding for extra cush where boots often push.
We don’t knit Full Cushion snow socks, as boots for these sports tend to be restrictive and meant to be worn close to skin. That said, if you want padding everywhere our Men’s and Women’s Mountaineering socks are arguably the warmest socks we make.
Applying What We’ve Learned
How do these choices combine to guide you to the right ski sock? An example (or two):
Prone to cold feet? Go Midweight and Over-the-Calf height for maximum warmth, and don’t be afraid of that Cushion. The Women’s Yeti and Men’s Heady Yeti are great examples. Want the same features with the addition of shin protection? Try our Men’s Function X and Women’s Edge. The segmented shin padding provides comfort while promoting airflow.
Is hard and fast your mantra? Do you like to feel the snow underneath you? The Men’s and Women’s RFL socks are all performance, no frills. Super thin and light, you’ll likely forget you’re wearing them.
And we can’t not give a shoutout to the Men’s and Women’s Solstice. Don’t base your sock choice on looks alone… but these socks look beautiful AND deliver. The Lightweight design is hard to go wrong with.