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 Cabelas 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.
- Carhartt Extremes
- Machine washable
- Odor control
- Arctic Extreme Insulated Sock
- Moisture control
- Brushed comfort
- Soxnet Eco Friendly Socks
- Recycled cotton
- Cushioned sole
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.
10 Best Heated Socks
1. Carhartt Extremes
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.
- Machine washable
- Reinforced sole
- Odor control
- Fully cushioned
- Leg can be tight
- Bunch up
2. Arctic Extreme Insulated Sock
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.
- Feels like sherpa
- Long lasting
- Thick under shoes
- Run very large
3. Soxnet Eco Friendly Socks
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.
- Recycled material
- Boot sock
- Tight on calves
- Absorb moisture
4. Fun Toes Merino Wool
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!
- All purpose
- Keeps shape
- Quick drying
- All day wear
- Less wool than other brands
- Uncomfortable toe stitching
5. Heat Holders Winter Sock
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.
- 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
6. Heat Holders Thermal
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.
- Soft, brushed lining
- Moisture wicking
- Engineered to retain heat
- Excellent thermal properties
- Socks run large
7. People Socks Hiking Socks
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?
8. DG Hill
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.
- Fits adults and children
- Cushioned heel
- Fleece linings
- 80% wool
- Run large
- Slippery inside
- Loose fit
9. J.B. Icelandic
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.
10. Wigwam -40 Below
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.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Blended fibers
- Cushioned insole
- Slide down
- Lint after wash
- Absorb sweat
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!
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Heated Socks
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.
Since heated socks are worn during vigorous activity it’ss 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you wash heated/thermal socks?
A: 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.
Q: How do they work?
A: 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.
Q: Between regular heated socks and electric, which is better?
A: 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.
Q: Why layers? Wouldn’t it be better to just have one super thick material to stay warm?
A: 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.
Q: Okay, layers. Then can’t I just wear two or three pairs of athletic cotton socks?
A: 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.