Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our big thermal socks test 2023. Here we present all the thermal socks we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best thermal socks for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy thermal socks.




Summary

  • Thermal socks were originally designed for hiking and trekking tours, but can now also be found in other sports, such as cycling, horseback riding or football. They have also become very popular at home and in everyday work.
  • Thermal socks not only increase walking comfort but also help to insulate the feet, while at the same time preventing higher levels of perspiration through high breathability.
  • Unlike conventional sneaker socks or cuddly socks, practical functional clothing is usually made of higher-quality materials that are characterised by durability and robustness.

The Best Thermal Socks: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying thermal socks

In the following sections, we answer questions you may have asked yourself to help you decide whether or not to buy thermal socks.

Who are thermal socks for?

Although they were primarily designed for this purpose, they have now also found their way into everyday life and protect against cold feet, especially in the dark season.

However, if you like sports or are interested in camping, for example, you will hardly get around these functional socks.

They not only protect your feet from moisture and cold but also make you feel comfortable and support your movements.

First of all, breathable sports socks are suitable for everyone, not just athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of thermal socks?

We have summarised the advantages and disadvantages for you in the following box:

Advantages
  • Heat-insulating
  • Breathable
  • High walking comfort
  • High-quality materials
Disadvantages
  • Slightly more expensive than conventional socks
  • Less choice than conventional socks

Thermal socks are not only suitable for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, but also serve as cosy socks in the cold season. (Image source: Lum3n / pexels.com)

Decision: What types of thermal socks are there and which is right for you?

Once you have decided to buy thermal socks, it is important to consider which type is right for you. Therefore, in the coming sections we will take a detailed look at the different materials that functional socks are made of.

These determine important factors such as thermal insulation, breathability and moisture transport.

Basically, the following materials have prevailed:

  • Cotton
  • New wool
  • Synthetic fibres

The following sections go into detail about each of the above-mentioned types and show the respective advantages and disadvantages.

What distinguishes cotton thermal socks and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Cotton is a natural fibre, so it is not chemically altered. It is obtained directly from the cotton plant and grown in areas with warm climates, such as India.

Since cotton has a low allergy potential and does not scratch, it is the most commonly used material in textile production. Around 33% of the world’s textile fibre production is made of cotton. However, it is also used in medicine and cosmetics.

Thermal socks made of cotton are particularly suitable for shorter excursions in summer. For longer excursions, different material should be preferred, as cotton socks absorb large amounts of moisture but dry only slowly and thus promote the formation of blisters.

Advantages
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Can absorb large amounts of moisture
Disadvantages
  • Slow drying
  • Higher risk of blisters

What distinguishes thermal socks made of virgin wool and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

New wool is also a natural fibre. Unlike cotton, however, virgin wool is not obtained from plant sources but from animal sources, namely from the fur of living sheep.

Depending on the breed, there can be differences in quality – the Merino sheep provides the wool with the best quality.

Pure new wool is characterised by particularly good thermal insulation, whereby the wool itself is not so much warming as reflecting the heat of its own body. New wool is therefore also very popular in textile production.

Thermal socks made of virgin wool are particularly suitable for longer excursions, as they wick away moisture more quickly than cotton and thus offer a more pleasant wearing comfort.

Advantages
  • Wicks moisture away very well
  • Quick-drying
  • High wearing comfort
  • Good thermal insulation
Disadvantages
  • Comparatively expensive

What distinguishes thermal socks made of synthetic fibres and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Synthetic fibres are not natural fibres but man-made fibres, i.e. they are textiles that are obtained or modified from coal or petroleum by means of chemical processes.

This manufacturing process ensures particularly robust, dimensionally stable and durable materials, so that socks, for example, can be worn for many years without any problems.

Thermal socks are designed for various outdoor activities and sports and support your movements. (Image source: Fachry Zella Devandra / unsplash.com)

Synthetic fibres also provide a pleasant feeling on the skin, but special attention must be paid to the correct fit, otherwise, blisters can quickly develop. As they dry very quickly, they are also suitable for longer excursions.

Advantages
  • Breathable
  • Wicks away moisture very well
  • High wearing comfort
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable material
Disadvantages
  • Higher risk of blisters

Some socks are made of an all-around or hybrid material, i.e. they consist of several layers of different materials. They thus combine the advantages of the other materials and are therefore ideal for those who may be unsure!

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate thermal socks

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate thermal socks. Subjective factors such as colour, pattern and size are not considered in detail, although they also play a significant role in the purchase decision.

Of course, the material of the socks is just as important, but we have already gone into this in detail.

We will present the following criteria in more detail in the following sections:

  • Fit
  • Padding
  • Heating elements
  • Care
  • Tog value

These are typical product characteristics that should make it easier for you to choose the right model for you.

Fit

You should attach great importance to the correct fit of your socks. Not every sock is equally suitable for every foot. Differences in size and cut are most common in men’s and women’s socks because their feet have different widths.

Thermal socks also often have an ergonomic fit, which is usually lacking in conventional socks. The ergonomic fit is adapted to the purpose of the garment, for example, certain sports, and is intended to optimally support the foot in movement.

The wrong cut or the wrong sock size can therefore lead to particularly unpleasant pressure points when worn or even restrict or hinder the wearer’s movement.

Padding

Thermal socks are often padded at the heels and balls of the feet so that the foot can roll better. This is supposed to lead to better wearing and walking comfort. However, it cannot be said as a general rule that padded socks are better than unpadded ones. Instead, the sock has to fit the respective shoe.

High hiking boots support the ankle and are usually well padded by themselves. Additional padding in the socks is therefore unnecessary and possibly also annoying. Light hiking boots, on the other hand, have little padding and should therefore be supplemented with padded socks.

If you are unsure which socks go with which shoes, you should ideally seek advice locally or take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Did you know that thermal socks belong to the so-called functional textiles?

Because the materials of the socks have a certain function, they are assigned to this group of textiles. Other properties include water resistance, breathability, UV resistance and dirt repellency.

Heating elements

Some thermal socks have heating elements for extra warmth on the feet. Mostly this works through a heating coil that runs through the sock and is powered by electricity.

Another option is to use heating pads that are attached to the sock with adhesive strips. Here, the heat is generated by a chemical reaction based on the oxidation of iron powder.

The power supply for the more frequently used heating coil is provided by means of an integrated or supplied rechargeable battery, which is attached to the sock shank with press studs, for example, and can be charged from the household mains.

For excursions lasting several days, it is advisable to take several rechargeable batteries with you for continuous heat generation. Some models also work with batteries, but these are less environmentally friendly and less ergonomically designed than rechargeable batteries.

It should be noted that such socks can turn out to be significantly more expensive than the normal models. Depending on the model, a budget of 20 to 200 euros should be planned here.

Additional heating elements are particularly suitable for diabetics, as they often suffer from cold feet due to poor circulation.

Care

Proper care contributes to the longevity of the products and to better wearing comfort. This can vary depending on the material. As a rule, the manufacturers provide appropriate care instructions on the labels, which you should pay attention to before washing. In general, the following applies:

Cotton socks should be washed at a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius and ironed at a maximum of level 2.

For socks made of new wool, simple airing is often sufficient, as the wool usually cleans itself well. Otherwise, you should wash them at a maximum of 30 degrees Celsius on the delicate wash cycle and not iron them, as the creases will disappear by themselves.

Synthetic fibres are quite easy to care for. We recommend washing them at up to 40 degrees Celsius and not ironing them.

If there are heating elements, you should remove them before washing them and put the socks in a wash bag. You should also avoid spin cycles and aggressive detergents.

It is generally recommended to use a mild or wool detergent to wash thermal socks.

Tog value

The tog value is a universal unit of measurement for the thermal resistance of textiles. More precisely, it is used to measure the thermal performance of e.g. garments or blankets. The higher the tog value, the warmer the textile will keep you. The following table serves as a guide:

Product Tog value
Average thermal socks 0.89 tog
Especially warm thermal socks 2.3 tog
Light summer blankets 3.0 – 4.5 tog
Thick winter blankets 12.0 – 13.5 tog

Interesting facts about thermal socks

Other functional textiles

Not only do thermal socks belong to the family of thermal underwear, i.e. those garments that offer added functional value. In fact, this category also includes vests, pants, tights and jackets, for example.

Here, too, there are different designs and price categories. The best thing to do is go to a specialist shop for advice.

Other ways to keep your feet warm

As you already know, thermal socks keep your feet warm and make walking more comfortable. Another way to warm your feet is with heated insoles.

These are also produced for different areas of use, i.e. for different types of sports or for everyday use at home. Depending on the heating power, they keep the feet warm for up to 18 hours and are available for about 50 euros.

A fun fact at the end

The words sock and stocking are often used synonymously in everyday speech. In fact, both words describe different items of clothing, as they differ significantly in length.

A sock usually covers the foot and ankle, whereas a stocking also covers the leg.

Image source: 123rf.com / 45161412

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