Whether you are cruising the piste or hiking the backcountry, everyone wants warm, dry feet. Snowboard and ski socks are created to keep feet dry with wicking materials, and comfortable all day long. Cotton or your everyday socks are a no no when it comes to the hill- they will do you more harm than good as cotton just absorbs moisture and holds it next to your skin! Snowboard and ski socks are created specifically for each sport, so unlike other clothing which can be interchangeable between sports, this is one item you want to stick to your sport.
Ski socks are designed with your ski boot in mind. Extra padding over the shin, heel and toe box are included, and a lighter weight material on instep. There are men and ladies specific socks as well as right and left specific socks for that perfect fit. A good sock will have a smaller size breakdown (ie. 6-7 instead of 6-10). There are also race fit socks. The aim of the game is to keep warm, but not have a bulky fit in your boot.
Snowboard socks are designed with a snowboard boot in mind. The sock is created with a forward lean to prevent a bunching of material at the front of the boot. Snowboard socks come in a variety of weights and warmth levels (depending on when and where you are riding), antibacterial properties and material created specifically for wicking moisture away from the foot. Other types of snowboard socks can include additional padding on the back of the calf as well as arch support.
Ski and snowboard socks are made from either synthetics (mix of polyester, nylon, acrylic, elastic and lycra) and/or wool (including the current trend towards merino wool). Each material boasts different properties for the sock such as warmth, wicking, flexibility, and durability. Every sock will have a different 'ingredient list' in regards to the percentage of wool or synthetic material that is in each sock. For maximum warmth go for a high wool content especially Merino wool.
A mistake commonly made it to wear 2 pairs of socks for extra warmth - this is a big mistake. Your brain only knows what is going on under your feet by the feelings your feet get from the skis or board on the snow. By wearing multiple pairs of socks you create so much padding around your feet that you can't feel what is going on on the snow. Ski racers are well known to wear incredibly thin socks to increase the sensation allowing them to make split second adjustments to their ski position. To a lesser extent we all need to do this. The issue is some people get cold feet when wearing thin socks so our solution is always to wear a silk sock liner under your ski socks. This will add a lot of warmth to you feet but if this is still not enough, fear not, we have another solution!
The wonders of technology! Brands such as Thermic and Hotronics have now created insoles and heated elements attached to battery packs that allow for the ultimate in all day warmth. Whilst you don't actually feel the heat too much what you notice is that you just never feel the cold. These last up to 8 hours and can be simply re-charged over night.
Shop for heated insoles and accessories.