Best Heated Socks for Extreme Cold Reviewed
During the long winter months, there is nothing worse than having cold feet while you are working, hiking, or any kind of activity for that matter. Our extremities (feet and hands) don't stay nearly as warm as the rest of our bodies and keeping them warm is essential. This is because the blood that circulates through our warm core takes a while to get to our fingers and toes and by the time it gets there if we are not adequately prepared, it cools. Thermal socks are, combined with a good pair of winter boots, are a great way to ensure that our feet stay warm and comfortable.
However, it seems that you have to spend a fortune to buy a decent pair of heated socks (more often referred to as thermal socks), especially when you are standing in the aisle at Cabela’s or Scheels with the price tags taunting you. I'm here to tell you that does not have to be that way. There are many thermal options that work well without breaking the bank.
We all know how uncomfortable it is to take off your shoes at the end of the day and it feels like your toes are on fire. They are bright red and you can't flex them to save your life. This is what happens when you don't wear heated socks to protect them from the seeping cold. If you are not adequately prepared for time in the cold, your feet will suffer for it. In extreme cases, you can do permanent damage to your feet. Therefore you need warm socks to keep the cold out.
The heated socks in our top 10 list will keep your feet warm against the elements and most are very reasonably priced for the warmth and comfort they provide. Read further below to learn about the criteria we used in selecting heated socks and determining which one just would not make the cut. Below that are some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers to those. Happy winter fun!
- Carhartt Extremes
- People Socks Hiking Socks
- Arctic Extreme Insulated Sock
- Soxnet Eco Friendly Socks
- Fun Toes Merino Wool
- Heat Holders Thermal Lounge
- Heat Holders Winter Sock
- DG Hill
- Wigwam -40 Below
- J.B. Icelandic
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Heated Socks
1. Carhartt Extremes
- Machine washable
- Reinforced sole
- Odor control
- Fully cushioned
- Leg can be tight
- Bunch up
Some people definitely prefer to have popular brands because they know they are guaranteed quality. Carhartt has been one of the most loved companies for cold weather wear since 1889. Considering they've been doing it so long it's a given they know how to make warm heated socks.Read more
Sweat and moisture is no match for the Extremes. Preventing odor and uncomfortable swamp feet is an important aspect for footwear to have, and Carhartt knows this. They make sure to put 100% into every piece of clothing, guaranteeing for the working person.
A lot of socks can be horrendously bulky around the ankle, luckily this is not the case for these heated socks. With "ankle vents" for better airflow, the bulk is greatly reduced while increasing the quality and TOG.
Cost and Value
It's expected you pay a little more when purchasing Carhartt products, but you know you're being provided high quality heated socks which means they're worth the extra money. They last longer which adds extra value since you can go without buying a new pair for quite a while.
2. People Socks Hiking Socks
Poor Heel Quality
There isn't much out there that's as annoying as a hard toe seam stabbing you with each step. People Socks realized this when making their hiking socks. Featuring a non-abrasive seam they ensure a comfortable all day wear with these heated socks. You can also count on the reinforced fabric lasting longer than most ridiculously overpriced thermal socks, and People Socks customer service is willing to help with any problems you might have.Read more
Chafing is actually pretty common with clothing made from wool, but with these hiking socks this is a thing of the past. Their elastic arches prevent chafing by moving with your feet instead of against them as you walk. Ideal for sensitive feet (for example, diabetics) or people that have an aversion to textured fabrics rubbing the wrong way.
For added comfort along with the elastic heel these heated socks are completely cushioned throughout the whole garment. Every aspect combined with this make these one of the most comfortable hiking socks on the market, great for work, sports, or even just lounging around the house.
Cost and Value
People Socks does no work with middlemen, which means less money out of your pocket. Buying direct from manufacturers lowers the cost exponentially, and bonus you get four pairs with one purchase! Amazing right?
3. Arctic Extreme Insulated Sock
- Feels like sherpa
- Long lasting
- Thick under shoes
- Run very large
It definitely makes you feel better when the word insulated is included in the name of the sock. The Arctic Extremes are made from soft synthetic acrylic and feel similar to your favorite throw blanket (the sherpa kind). The lining is heavily brushed and extra fuzzy, while still being high quality for perfect warmth. Non-itchy and perfect for sports and day-to-day activities alike. You can purchase them in basic black, gray, or striped (purple or green).Read more
Something that everyone looks for in their heated socks is the words "moisture wicking", which means dry. Gone are the days of sweaty feet! Of course, all the other socks on this list prevent sweat but these also keep out moisture from the outside. If you live in a rainy place and constantly walk around on wet ground you'll want this 100 %.
If you find yourself constantly having to bend over, pull up your pant leg, and hike up your socks (or foot gloves as some of my friends call them) grab yourself a pair of the Arctic Extremes. They have a ribbed opening to keep them where they're supposed to be, from morning until night. Absolutely perfect for active runners or anyone exerting energy.
Cost and Value
Highly insulated and known for their fuzzy insides the extremes are one of the better values on the market. Heated socks do not have to be overpriced for them to be of high caliber. You won't regret spending your hard earned cash on these socks.
4. Soxnet Eco Friendly Socks
- Recycled material
- Boot sock
- Tight on calves
- Absorb moisture
For all you environmentalists out there looking for vegan-friendly, Soxnet has the heated socks for you. Made from recycled cotton you don't have to give up warmth and comfort to your beliefs. Although not water resistant, they are fully cushioned and absorb impact tremendously. They also fit nicely inside your boots without getting that tight feeling that your shoes have shrunk.Read more
The Soxnet's come up past the knee and stay put. This way they not only keep your feet warm but your legs as well. It becomes very irritating to constantly pull your socks up when you're trying to work or do anything at all.
The lining inside is brushed similarly to wool socks but is a considerable amount softer because they are cotton. This helps retain heat better than regular cotton socks, putting them high on the list of thermal socks with the merino wools.
Cost and Value
Soxnet socks are on the lowest point of the price spectrum, but you're not sacrificing anything with this. Four in one and priced for the everyday working "man" (or woman) while still being surprisingly comfortable and perfectly warm. Definitely worth it.
5. Fun Toes Merino Wool
- All purpose
- Keeps shape
- Quick drying
- All day wear
- Less wool than other brands
- Uncomfortable toe stitching
These all purpose "FUN TOES" are great for any circumstances. Working outside? Check. Hiking Mt. Everest? Check. Illness that restricts blood flow? Double check. These wonderful socks not only are made from high quality wool and nylon, they also have polyester and spandex for a great fit. No more bunching inside your shoes or boots! A whopping 93% fit rate "as expected"! Most socks only have up to 87%, so thankfully no more guesstimating with size to buy!Read more
You can be grateful these socks don't absorb moisture, preventing your sweat from stinking up the fibers. Since these are "lightweight" compared to the other heavyweight socks they allow more air to pass through without compromising their heated elements. Fantastic, right? You'll never get that feeling of "foot funk" again after buying these, happily, this will prevent boot stink as well!
Capability to wear in your boots without restriction is very important when shopping for heated socks. Fun toes provide warmth and functionality, this way you don't have to go up in size when shoe shopping. Nobody enjoys feeling like their shoes are cutting off blood flow.
Cost and Value
With six pairs in the package, these socks are for sure one of the best values you can find without resorting to cheapo store brands. Warm, comfy, and long-lasting all-in-one packs a punch for this deal!
6. Heat Holders Thermal Lounge
- Soft, brushed lining
- Moisture wicking
- Engineered to retain heat
- Excellent thermal properties
- Socks run large
These socks are lined and very soft and comfortable, just what you want when spending time outside in the depths of winter. They won’t overheat or make your feet sweaty either, which is a bonus. If you have sweaty feet, these thermal socks are a great option. If you just like soft, brushed comfort in your winter boots, well, here you are!Read more
The yarn used in these socks are excellent at keeping heat in for excellent insulation. Polar Extreme also uses a special manufacturing technique to ensure that the yarn’s natural thermal ability works at its best. Cozy and warm.
The key to staying warm and comfortable in the cold is layers. This sock is lined with a soft, brushed liner that will be both warm and extremely comfortable on your feet. They will also wick moisture away from your feet. A dry foot is much warmer and more comfortable.
Cost and Value
These socks are very reasonably priced for a set of two pairs. For the warmth and comfort, you will enjoy you might expect them to cost much more. They really are a very good value.
7. Heat Holders Winter Sock
- Extra long looped pile
- 2.3 TOG
- 23 colors/designs
- Everyday wear
- All-day wear
- Don't hold up well in wash
- Shrink after wash
There are many people out there allergic to wool (my mom included) and even just coming in contact with shed fibers can cause "hives" (itchy skin patches). The heat holders are made from acrylic, nylon, polyester, and elastane for guaranteed warmth and comfort. They have a thermal overall grade (or TOG) of 2.3, and for those that have no idea what I'm talking about; they're 7x warmer than cotton socks and 3x warmer than regular thermal socks. Also perfect for everyday wear not just for extreme weathers! (Score)Read more
Specially Developed Yarn
Using advanced technology the yarn that makes these socks provides insulation of the highest performance to keep cold out. It also prevents seeping moisture and has ultimate breathing abilities. Finally, a heated sock for the average person that unluckily suffers from freezing feet. Even just to wear around the house they're exactly what you need.
Experts use a specific brushing process on their yarn to maximize air pockets inside the sock, holding warm air for longer periods. This also enhances the softness of the fabric, making them super cozy. Ideal for warehouse workers, cashiers, AP (asset protection) and just about every other "normal" job out there.
Cost and Value
One of the more well-known socks for being ultra warm and reasonable are the heat holders. I have friends that work outside and are very athletic who swear by these being worth the money. Although if you don't like washing your socks every time you wear them maybe go with something else because there's only one pair per pack.
8. DG Hill
- Fits adults and children
- Cushioned heel
- Fleece linings
- 80% wool
- Run large
- Slippery inside
- Loose fit
It isn't very often you can find a thermal sock that advertises it can fit adults and children. DG Hill does. They say their extra small fits little kids sizes 9.5-13, therefore your little guy or gal can match mom and dad while staying wonderfully toasty. No more anxiety about letting little ones jump in puddles and walk through snow mounds.Read more
I've noticed that when your socks start to give up the ghost they go out heel first. DH Hill must have noticed this too because they reinforced the fibers in the heel of the sock for extended wear. Their lifespan is longer than the average heated sock, and with 3 pairs in a pack you shouldn't have to buy more for quite some time. Unless your family is like ours and doesn't do laundry until you've literally ran out of clothes, then you'll need several more packs.
Extensive walking, standing, or being on your feet, in general, can really take it out on your arches. At the end of the day, you feel like your feet are ready to snap in half from lack of support. Thermal socks are so thick it prevents any extra space inside your shoes which makes added insoles a no-go. DG Hill took this into account and added built-in arch support for the working man (or woman).
Cost and Value
In the middle of the spectrum DG Hills are worth the little extra you pay due to the fabrics and innovative technology used to make them soft and warm. Ultra comfort at a reasonable price. They also have the highest percentage of wool used.
9. Wigwam -40 Below
- Lifetime guarantee
- Blended fibers
- Cushioned insole
- Slide down
- Lint after wash
- Absorb sweat
If you're looking for a more sleek sock that still has the warmth you require, stop right there! The Wigwam socks fit nicely inside your shoes without compromising your feet. Eleven colors to choose from for every occasion gives you more options than many of the other heated socks out there do. Usually, they only come in the basic white, black or grey. Not the Wigwam! There different shades of blue, green and even a pair in red. Heavyweight made from 50% wool, 48% nylon and 2% spandex for a comfortable fit. In business over 110 years you know these are guaranteed!Read more
The way the yarn has been woven creates the perfect heat trap to keep your feet warm. Using loops instead of plain stitches helps circulate the temperature inside of the socks, think how your car uses the air already in it for extra toasty heat. No need to layer sock upon sock because once you put these on you'll forget what cold feels like.
When you work and walk (and work and walk) your socks wear down and thin out, then the holes appear. Thankfully the synthetic nylon fibers used along with the wool for these boot socks keep them lasting longer than their competitors. This factor also prevents them from stretching out and becoming misshapen so they will always fit snugly! Add in the cushion and you have one of the most comfortable thermal socks available.
Cost and Value
When you see the price tag on these heated socks you might cringe, since they are the most expensive pair on this list. Luckily I can tell you that they are so so worth it. The warmest, most weather resistant pair of thermal socks for the coldest temperatures (as low as -40 below). So close your eyes and hit "checkout" and you'll be glad you did.
10. J.B. Icelandic
Being made from preshrunk wool and nylon the J.B. Icelandic socks are great when you're looking for socks that won't downsize after a wash. If you also seem to have trouble with your feet overheating and being drenched in sweat by the end of the day then these socks are for you. The wool they're made from regulates body temperature and wicks away moisture. This Canadian company knows cold, so you can bet their -40 below socks will withstand all freezing temps! BONUS! They don't itch and scratch like many other wool socks out there!Read more
One of the main perks of these heated socks is that they are completely cushioned. Terry cushion adds warmth and comfort, which are two important aspects to have when you're on your feet in the elements for extended periods of time. What exactly is Terry? This is when one side is the cushioned surface while the other is either the ribbed or plain knit sole. It's also great at absorbing impact!
Considering these thermal socks prevent extreme sweating, they also prevent odor due to the breathable fibers in the wool. Your family will thank you after purchasing these when there is no terrifying smell as you take off your boots. Gone are the days your wife makes you wash your feet the second you get home or your cat faints from sniffing your shoes.
Cost and Value
Although these are a little more on the expensive side for only 2 pairs they are well worth it. Thick and comfortable, they also come in three colors. Hunters won't have to worry about their socks sticking out because they come in a deep green that will match your camo gear. Also layer-able for those that have illnesses that affect their blood flow, causing chronic cold feet.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the most important aspects that makes any heated sock successful is whether or not it has insulation. Conduction (the type of heat transfer insulation in your socks) is what keeps your feet warm inside your footwear. It uses the heat your body naturally produces and stores it to protect against the cold while also regulating your body temperature to prevent overheating. Considering overheating causes sweat and sweat makes you colder (and makes your clothes stink) this also keeps your feet toasty while smelling and feeling fresh. Without insulation, your socks will not keep you safe from freezing temps, so if a company claims their socks are "thermal" but don't have some form of insulation they are not heated socks. Don't buy them unless you're looking to be disappointed.
A variety of materials can provide proper insulation. These include wool, fleece, Thinsulate, and flannel. Different material will have different heat retention properties and will be suitable to different levels of cold. For example, Thinsulate is a better insulator for extreme cold than wool and a well-knit wool is a better insulator than most flannels.
At the end of the day, the higher the score on this metric, the better the insulation the sock offers. Usually, those socks that score higher on this metric are made of the fabrics we discussed above.
Since heated socks are worn during vigorous activity, it’s necessary that they can take a beating (as the saying goes). This is exactly the reason companies reinforce their fabrics so that their products are up to par. You may ask how they reinforce the fabrics, and the answer is; it's all in the techniques used to weave the yarn. Using the wrong loops and stitches can ruin a perfectly designed garment, making it more likely to fall apart after one wear and wash. Another important aspect is whether or not interface fabric is attached to the main fabrics.
Regular socks are typically very thin and used for protection against the dirtiness inside your shoes. Thermal socks, on the other hand, are usually thicker, more heavyweight and heavy duty, guaranteeing the comfort and warmth you're looking for. If the socks are nice and thickly knitted, then it retains heat better and resists cold a little better. It's critical that the heated socks be "cushy" compared to regular socks to keep warm in the coldest climates.
Socks that score higher in this category tend to be heavier and warmer. If you are looking for a sock that will keep the cold away, you’ll most likely want a sock that scores higher in this criterion.
The thickness of the sock depends on what the sock was made up of and its intended use. If a sock was intended to be worn under dress shoes in the summer, then you will not find the socks to be very thick, and you won't find them on this list.
Socks on this list are made up of material that is good at trapping heat, such as wool and cashmere, but sometimes they are also mixed with other materials, such as polyester or nylon, to give a bit of stretchiness to the sock. Socks need to be easy to put on and fit around your feet, and it’s very hard to make a material like wool naturally do that.
Thinner socks are usually made for conditions where breathability and temperature are of utmost importance, whereas socks on this list are often thicker, in order to retain heat in cold conditions. The higher the score on this criterion, the thicker the sock is. While this can be good for heat retention, also consider what kind of shoes you'll be pairing your new socks with. You might need to rely on the material more to retain heat, if your shoe can't provide the space for a thick fabric to trap heat.
How a sock fits should greatly affect your decision in whether to buy that specific sock or not. The right socks should fit comfortably on the heel, not over or under it. The right ones will not bunch at the top or be falling down at the shaft. These signs often point to faulty manufacturing than to how your feet are shaped. The height of the socks will depend on what you wear. If you’re wearing shoes that touch your ankles or go over it, then it doesn’t do much good to wear socks that go below the ankles, except in a very few cases.
To make it easier in buying socks, there are names for socks at certain heights. The smallest of the bunch is the roll top or the low-cut sock, which has the top at 3” from the heel. Then there is the sport or sportlet tab, which has the top at 4” from the heel. These socks usually touch the ankle. There is then the quarter socks which go above the ankle at 5” and above. Crew socks come next, covering most of your shin and calves at 11”, and there are the hi-crews, which touch your knees and go above them at 15” and more.
The higher the score on this criterion, the better the sock, whatever its length, fits around the foot and gently compresses it for added support.
Finding a comfortable pair of socks that wrap your feet in luxury and support with a good level of compression is essential for comfortable feet. When you are trapped in your shoes or boots all day, you need a layer of hygienic, moisture-wicking and heat-retaining socks to keep your feet smiling. An overall combination of the other criteria we evaluated our top 10 for, comfort is dependent on the quality of the materials, the thickness and breathability of the sock, it's fit and also the uniqueness of the wearer.
Materials like cotton are breathable and easily absorb and wick away moisture, making them a prime choice for the construction of socks. Materials like silk are much more luxurious and have a great feel against the skin, but are much harder to source due to supply constraints. Which material you prefer will depend on your budget and your personal situation. When evaluating our top 10 for comfort, we considered the material and the versatility of wear the sock offers.
We've ranked comfort based on thousands of customer reviews from all over the world to give you a general impression of what people are saying about the product, but at the end of the day, you know yourself best. Trust your gut!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Heated socks are vital for those who expose themselves to cold temperatures on a daily basis, and even for those who are simply out in extreme cold for an extended period of time, such as when participating in snow sports.
Frostnip is the first stage of frostbite, where extremities such as your toes, will appear red, but cold to the touch. Re-warming the affected area with warm (not hot) water can help improve blood circulation to prevent further damage to the tissue
Frostbite is more serious, where extremities can turn white or purple, and sometimes feel warm to the touch due to inflammatory responses in the skin. Immediate attention and rewarming is needed, along with anti-inflammatories and the advice of a medical professional. Wrap the area in warm soft cloth immediately, and seek medical attention.
The best way to ward off being cold while outside in the winter, along with proper attire and warm, heated socks, is to stay active! If you find yourself outdoors in the cold, say at a sporting event in the snow, the best thing to do is to keep moving. Being active improves your circulation and blood flow, keeps your muscles working and warm, and will help prevent you from feeling cold.
Movement can also help ward off frostnip and frostbite, so instead of just standing or sitting, take a few breaks to walk around.
Other Factors to Consider
The bottom line is that each of the ten pair of socks we have selected to feature in our buyer's guide is a quality, high-performance product designed for anyone who is looking stay warm during the winter months, or when hiking up to the summit of a mountain.
Here's the catch: you are a unique person with special styles, preferences and specific needs. While we have surveyed thousands of reviews from across the globe, not one of them is equal to you. Our advice: use our guide, but don't just rely on our overall scores. Some criteria may be more important to you than others.
If you can identify which features or requirements apply most to you, you can combine our research and information with your own unique needs to truly find the best product. Once you do that, all you need to do is buy them and get out there!
Frequently Asked Questions
Most heated/thermal socks are made from wool, which needs to be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle (or better yet; hand washed) and left to air dry. This prevents any shrinkage or stretching of the fibers. If you just stuff them in the wash like your regular socks, then they will not last more than one wear and you'll be wasting your money.
Thermal socks keep your feet warm but circulating the heat produced by your own body (you can even buy heated socks that are electric for added warmth). With the tight knits paired with innovative loose loops, cold air can't come in and the warm can't get out.
It's all a matter of opinion, but regulars are less of a hassle. No need to replace batteries or worry about them needing something replaced/repaired. It's also a lot cheaper to buy new ones when the old ones are no longer any good.
Layers help to trap warm air next to your skin for heat retention. This is why most thermal socks are constructed in layers or have knits designed to trap air within. It's also why a sock that is already freezing cold won't do much to keep your feet warm. A great tip for long hours in the cold is to wear an extra pair of thermal socks next to your abdomen or chest inside your clothes. If your socks get wet or lose their insulation, slip this prewarmed pair on to continue keeping your feet warm and protected.
You could, yes but they are not designed to retain heat and stretching them to fit one over another will provide a little warmth, but it will provide more compression and discomfort than anything. Also, cotton socks just aren't great insulators, so they tend to cool, even in layers. Compression forces warm air out which also defeats the purpose. So, while you can do this, we really don't recommend it.