Over the years we have worn a lot of different ski socks and the best ski sock we have found to date are the Smartwool PhD Ski Graduated Compression Ultra Light Socks.
A Good Fit
A good boot fit starts with a good sock. You can spend all the money in the world for a custom ski boot but if you’re wearing the wrong socks– your feet will not be happy. All you should really need from your sock is a snug fit along with a material that wicks moisture away from your foot.
If you find yourself getting cold feet get yourself boot heaters, a thicker sock will not really help you. There is enough insulation in modern ski boots to keep your feet nice and toasty. A compression sock takes up less room, allowing more warm air to fill the boot while helping improve blood flow through the foot. All of the above will keep your feet warm and prevent cramping.
When it comes to ski socks the only material you ever want to mess around with is merino wool. Wool is a hygroscopic insulator. This means that it keeps the tiny air pockets intact, acting as little insulators — the key to being able to keep you both warm and cool. Wool is also able to soak up as much as 30 percent of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet. Pretty cool.
The main thing that feeds foot smell is sweat. With more than 250,000 sweat glands each, your feet are among the sweatiest parts of your body. In reality, sweat is basically just salt and water, and doesn’t have a distinctive smell. The smell is actually caused by the bacteria on our skin that eats the sweat and excretes waste with a strong odor. Wool reduces the opportunity for odors to develop by quickly absorbing sweat and evaporating it into the air. Unlike synthetic fabrics, wool does not retain odors and will freshen just from airing out. In addition, the outer layer of wool fibers have a high concentration of fatty acids, which have anti-bacterial properties.
A compression sock also prevents bunching, which eliminates any unnecessary hot spots that can cause discomfort or even blistering. Compressions socks also keep oxygenated blood flowing to the muscles in your feet. The more oxygen the cells in your foot have, the better they will function. When skiing, the body produces lactic acid as a waste product. If this lactic acid is not removed from the muscles, it can contribute to soreness and decreased ability to perform. The increased circulation allows more warm blood to your feet, helping keep your toes nice and toasty.