Best cold weather running socks 2021 – Winter running Guide

My recommendation for winter running socks for you is Pembrook Wool Sport Socks.

As a year long runner, change in season won’t stop me from hitting the road. But you know what I hate the most? Wet and cold feet during my runs. I guess it has happened to most runners as well, you made the wrong choice in either running shoes or socks.

lazy sleeping

It’s tempting to skip a few runs as winter sets in, but the right choice can make the experience much much better. So you won’t associate the feeling of unpleasantness with winter running. After trying on some and throwing away a lot, I’ve come up with the best socks that are suitable for running in winter.  

5 best cold weather running socks

  1. Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks 
  2. Pembrook Wool Sport Socks (My Recommendation)
  3. Sox Shop Winter Socks
  4. Showers Pass Multisport Wool Socks (Best waterproof)
  5. Under Armour ColdGear Boot Socks (Best Budget)

What kind of socks are best for cold weather?

In cold weather, the ideal material would be wool, a type of fibre that is known for its moisture absorbing properties. Most socks manufacturers use merino wool for their winter socks. They are much softer than regular wool, making it comfortable to wear next to skin.

Choice of socks length will be your personal preference. There are a few more things to consider when you are making your choice. Let’s explore more about the features in winter running socks you should be looking for.

The Materials

Avoid Cotton

As you might already know. You’ll want to avoid cotton socks. The reason cotton makes a terrible socks material during winter is because of their bad insulation properties, plus it holds moisture from your feet, making it uncomfortable to wear. It further loses its insulation property once it gets wet, which results in a cold and sweaty foot. 

Merino Wool

Merino Wool gained popularity in recent years due to its ability to regulate your body temperature. I found that socks that made up of this material keep my feet and body warm for the entire running session. It probably happens to you as well, it’s harder for my body to stay warm if I have cold feet.

merino wool

This natural type of fibre is comfortable to wear and supersoft, but it’s not that durable. Socks manufacturers often blend it with other synthetic materials like Polyester, Nylon or Elastane (you can know the properties of each material here) to make it firmer and more long-lasting. The correct blend of material will be breathable, high insulation, long lasting and prevents odor as well. 

Do you need waterproof socks? 

Only in extremely cold conditions. Manufacturers add a waterproof layer between two surfaces (inner and outer) to stop water from penetrating through the socks, thus preventing water from the outer surface from reaching your foot.

Some brands still manage to make it breathable, but don’t expect it to be as breathable as regular socks. If you are running in extreme cold conditions, the layer is great for you as it traps heat to keep your foot warm. 

If you’re using it for slightly warmer weather, you’ll risk trapping sweat inside your foot, which is uncomfortable for most people. I will only use waterproof socks on trails running in cold weather, it helps me to keep water away from my feet. If you’re running in 40°F(5°C) to 70°F(21°), regular winter running socks would be great enough. 

Sock length

No-show, ankle length,quarter crew, crew length, to over the calf(Check sock length lingos here). There is no fixed rule on which one is the best. 

(Tips: I will usually prefer longer socks to keep my foot warm if I’m wearing shorts. Longer socks help me to keep the majority of water away during trail running in cold weather too. )

Most brands have several options(socks length) for you to choose from, it is entirely based on personal preference. Longer socks will be a safer choice if you’re unsure of winter temperature, it protects you from harsh weather or frostbite. 

Moisture removal

You’ll want a pair of socks that can keep you dry and sweat free. Merino wool mentioned above does exactly this. Bear with me if it sounds too technical…

porous socks

Merino fibers have a porous structure(lots of little holes), which absorbs moisture from your feet and transport it away from your skin as vapors. You will not be left with wet and cold feet after your runs, this feature keeps your feet odourless for a long period of time.  

The thicker the better? 

Thicker socks keep your foot warm for a longer period. It also traps an extra amount of heat if you don’t make your choice wisely. Different runners required different levels of thickness from their socks. You’ll never know if you never test it out. 

Tips: Choose thicker socks to begin with, to make sure you’re keeping your feet warm. Gradually move to thinner socks if you find yourself keeping too much heat in your running shoes. 

Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Road Running, Trail Running on Cold Weather
  • Material: 73% Olefin, 11% Polyester, 11% Nylon,5% Elastane.
  • Length: Crew Length
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

Drymax is well-known for their technology in producing breathable socks. Olefin is a type of synthetic fibre that has high water repellent properties. Drymax socks have two layers of knit fabric designed to absorb moisture from your inner foot and transport it to the outer foot. 

Breathable compression arch band enhances runner’s blood circulation, making sure the foot stays warm during cold weather.

Drymax uses their MicroZap technology(Antimicrobial treatment) to process their running socks. It keeps bacteria out of your foot, thus preventing your foot from creating bad smell. If your feet always smell bad(like me), these socks will definitely help you to control the bad odor. 

Pro(s):

  • Breathable
  • Olefin material that keep your foot dry
  • Lots of choice in size

Cons(s): 

  • Some people still have sweaty feet while using it

Pembrook Wool Sport Socks (My Recommendation)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running, Road running in Cold Weather
  • Material: 60% Merino Wool, 10% Elastic, 15% Acrylic and 15% Nylon
  • Length: Quarter Crew
  • Cushioning: 5 out of 5
  • Made in: –

Highlights

With 60% of merino wool, these socks are designed to keep your feet warm and dry during cold winter. Like drymax, it also has 2 layer fabric that facilitates the drying process. It’s worth noting that the socks are great for any season. Its versatile nature makes it a great choice for people who like a pair of socks for all different activities. The inner layers are entirely seamless(visit here to know more about how seamless socks work). It protects your feet from blisters even after a long run.

A pair of these socks last me more than 6 months due to its durable construction. It is machine washable, I’ll just put it into the washing machine after every use without worrying about wear and tear. The heel and toe section are thicker than other areas of the socks, Pembrook added extra cushioning in these areas to give runners extra support.

Pro(s):

  • Great price point
  • 60% Merino Wool
  • Reinforced Heel and Toe section
  • Breathable

Cons(s): 

  • Some runners found the size has variation, even within the same pair. (Personally I haven’t encounter this problem)

Sox Shop Winter Socks

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running, Road Running on cold weather
  • Material: 70% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon
  • Length: Over the calf
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: Canada

Highlights

Sox Shop is a Canadian brand from The Great Canadian Sox, the company from Toronto designed and produced a variety of socks for a few decades. Their winter thermal sox is made from 70% of merino wool, the largest amount of all other brands mentioned in here. The 30% Nylon came from the padding underneath the feet that added to give you extra cushioning and adding extra heat. 

Other than running, many people are using it for daily use at home to keep your foot warm. Variety of colour choice makes it attractive for the general consumer. Pricing for each socks is very affordable considering the material used(70% merino wood) and size of the socks(over the calf). 

Pro(s):

  • Good value for money
  • 70% Merino Wood
  • Variety of colour

Cons(s): 

  • Sizing is way too large (Be careful when choosing the size)
  • Some buyer still have cold feet while wear the socks

Showers Pass Multisport Wool Socks (Best waterproof)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running
  • Material: 40% Merino Wool
  • Length: Mid Cut
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

Showers Pass has been involved in the socks industry for more than 20 years. Their other waterproof apparel are used by runners, hikers and many others who need high performance waterproof wear. If you like trail running in the coldest winter, you can’t go wrong with these socks.

This Shower Pass Waterproof socks sandwiches a polyurethane(waterproof and slightly breathable membrane) between knit outer and merino wool inner lining. It keeps outside water away from your feet. Like Pembrook socks, it features a reinforced toe and heel to add comfort to your feet. They’ve explained their design in a very detailed way here.

Remember to save these socks for your coldest run, your feet will feel pretty warm even in a cold and wet condition. Many runners like how the socks are designed to fit in their feet, you might feel the socks are smaller in size than other socks, but it’s designed specifically to have little compression in order to fit your foot. 

Pro(s):

  • Waterproof
  • Keep your feet warm in extreme cold
  • Designed to fit

Cons(s): 

  • Expensive
  • Too warm result in sweaty feet if your feet sweat easily

Under Armour ColdGear Boot Socks(Best Budget)

Check on Amazon:

Facts

  • Activities: Trail running, Casual Running, Safety Shoes
  • Material: 68% Polyester, 16% Wool, 15% Nylon, 1% Spandex
  • Length: Crew Length
  • Cushioning: 4 out of 5
  • Made in: USA

Highlights

This Under Armour Boot Socks has all the features you need in cold weather running socks. It might not be the best in everything, but it certainly does the job for a relatively low price. It is machine washable and has enough thickness for your late fall to early winter running. 

If your feet get warm and sweat easily, these socks are enough for you. Its wool is known to have a good level of moisture management. I’ve never been disappointed by its performance in every run. This is my first choice in late summer to early winter runs. It’s the most popular choice for the average consumer due to its branding, all-around features, and attractive price point. 

Pro(s):

  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Anti-Odor Technology
  • Comfortable

Cons(s): 

  • Some have complained about the quality consistency 

How do I keep my feet warm while running?

There are 3 things I will never compromise on in winter running(You shouldn’t either). 

  1. Having the right gear
  2. Longer Pre-Run Warm Up
  3. Post Run Workout

Running in cold weather can do more harm than good to your body if you’re not with the right gear. After a few mistakes, I always made sure that I had enough protection from cold wind and possible rain.

Other than winter running socks, having running shoes(different from regular running shoes) with lesser engineered mesh also helps to keep my feet warm. They are indeed less breathable, but it’s a trade-off worth sacrificing everytime. It’s also important to add an extra layer of windproof jacket to avoid getting caught in cold.

Longer pre-run workout is almost the common sense for experienced runners. It warms you to a point where a slight drop in body-temperature in the early stage of running sessions doesn’t bother you.

Post Run Workout is essential to keep your body warm after your run. Your body temperature drops when you stop running. Having some workout sessions help to prevent you from getting caught in the cold due to strong wind. This is why having a windproof jacket is a must during winter running.

Wrap it up…

With so many choices of running socks on the market, choosing the right one for you might take some time and trying. Pembrook Wool Sport Socks continue to be my favourite due to its Merino Wool construction, reinforced heel and toe, and great price point. Although some runners have complained about the wrong size, I have not encountered any sizing problem until this point.

To prevent your body from getting caught in cold, keep your feet and body warm, some simple warm-up sessions is all you need! Hope you get some value out of this post. AthleticGens.com will continue to inspire you and keep you in good shape in many ways.

See you on the road!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print
Recent Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *