Four Performance Socks That Are Worth the Money

The best solutions for keeping your feet warm, dry, and blister free whenever you're in the woods or on the water


Our team tested four pairs of merino wool socks to discover which can handle cold weather best.

Farm to Feet Cedar Falls Wader

1. BEST OF THE TEST: Farm to Feet Cedar Falls Wader ★ ★ ★ ★ ★Specs • Seamless toe • Outer nylon plaiting • Instep cushioning loop • 79% U.S. merino wool, 20% ­nylon, 1% spandex  ‘These socks are heavy duty. My feet stayed warm and dry for hours in 20-degree temperatures.’ —Hurlburt  ‘Great fit and good padding throughout. I appreciated the comfort compression throughout the whole sock.’ —Sofianek  ‘Incredibly warm and comfortable. These are now my go-to hunting socks.’ —Lundgren  ‘Plush feel. They were a good fit around the arch and ankle. But with rubber boots, I found the socks would slide down my leg.’ —Jervis Amazon

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Fits Ultra Heavy Big Game ­Rugged Boot Sock

2. Fits Ultra Heavy Big Game ­Rugged Boot Sock ★ ★ ★ ★Specs • Nylon-reinforced exterior • Double-welted top • Color-coded seam on toe • 74% merino wool, 13% nylon, 8% acrylic, 3% polyester, 2% Lycra spandex  ‘Looks odd because of the pointed toe but fits like a glove.’ —Jervis  ‘They are constructed with high-quality, durable materials but didn’t fit my feet very well.’ —Lundgren  ‘Not the warmest, and a bit difficult to get on and off. Once on, though, very ­comfortable.’ —Sofianek  ‘A good three-season sock. Kept me cool early and warm late.’ —Hurlburt Editor’s Note: This sock is now called the Heavy Expedition. Amazon

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Icebreaker Men’s Ski+ OTC

3. Icebreaker Men’s Ski+ OTC ★ ★ ★ ★Specs • Ankle and heel support zones • Breathable forefoot zone • Seamless toe • 77% merino wool, 21% nylon, 2% Lycra spandex  ‘Anatomic design means one sock is for the left foot; the other is for the right. The result? Great fit.’ —Jervis  ‘The loft and cushion are inadequate for cold-weather hunting. They’re also thinner than the others, so I wonder about long-term ­durability.’ —Lundgren  ‘Very well made and easy to get on and off. Solid all-around hunting sock.’ —Sofianek  ‘Surprisingly warm for a thinner sock—even on the coldest fall mornings. Padding is weird, but it’s in all the right spots.’ —Hurlburt Amazon

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Smartwool Hunt Extra Heavy OTC

4. Smartwool Hunt Extra Heavy OTC ★ ★ ★ ★Specs • Heavy full-cushion leg and foot • Flat-knit toe seam • Ankle and arch braces • 76% merino wool, 23% nylon, 1% elastane  ‘Longer than a standard sock, which makes them ideal for cold-weather situations. There is also enough cushion to allow for heavy and extended use without causing fatigue.’ —Lundgren  ‘I like the extra elastic ribbing at the top of the sock. Helps them stay up. I also like the construction and believe they will hold up for years.’ —Sofianek  ‘Warm, but too tight on my calf. Big boys won’t like the fit.’ —Hurlburt  ‘Well made and warm, but the fit was too loose for me.’ —Jervis Amazon

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Joel Hurlburt ➞ Age: 44 ➞ Home Hunting Area: New York ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 35

Kriston Jervis ➞ Age: 30 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Kentucky ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 30

Jeff Lundgren ➞ Age: 34 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Minnesota ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 25

Joel Sofianek ➞ Age: 50 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Montana ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 30