Keep your feet feeling fresh and comfy with our selection of the best socks for men and women
The humble sock is often overlooked but it’s a true everyday hero. Make the effort to buy only the best socks and your feet will thank you. Choose a bad pair and you’ll potentially have to put up with sad, sore and prematurely pongy feet which will put a downer on any day.
The best socks shouldn’t draw attention to themselves. In fact, if you are conscious of your socks then this is probably because they aren’t doing their job. A good sock will be snug and soft but in a way that’s just there – you won’t even notice it – and will stay in place throughout the day without needing to be pulled up or adjusted regularly. What’s more, the best socks should do a good job of keeping your feet at a comfortable temperature, so you don’t have to suffer from cold or clammy feet.
In this roundup, we’ve chosen a broad selection of everyday socks which can be worn with a variety of regular shoes for everyday living. Have a look through our recommendations and you’ll find options suitable for everything from work to walking the dog and anything in between.
How to choose the best socks for you
Do your feet run hot or cold?
Some people are blessed with brilliant circulation while others have icy extremities even in the heat of midsummer. If you are the latter you’ll need to think carefully about your socks in colder months and look for designs made from heat holding natural fibres – wool knits, blends or thicker cotton.
At the other extreme, those of you with hot (or particularly busy) feet can benefit from merino or bamboo blends which keep your feet dry, comfortable and pong-free even when you’re constantly on the move.
READ NEXT: The best foot cream to buy
What does your everyday routine look like?
If you run daily or are on your feet all day, then you need to think carefully about how durable and comfy your socks are. Look for options that have reinforced heels and toes and also consider choosing a design with added cushioning.
A good-fitting, well-designed sock can help keep your feet, and you, happy during even the most hectic of days. Socks wear quickly if they aren’t made to last and, worse still, poor quality socks can result in blisters and sore feet.
What is your shoe situation?
There is little point in buying a thick boot sock if you wear only low top trainers. Equally having a jazzy design with all sorts of aesthetic bells and whistles is going to be surplus to requirement if you’re never out of wellies. Make sure you’ve got a selection of socks that suit your footwear, your attire and your daily routine.
What is your budget?
While it is possible to find socks for a bargain price, the old adage ‘buy cheap buy twice’ might as well have been written with socks in mind – you do tend to get what you pay for. Some of the cheaper socks we’ve tested from big-name high-street retailers (and didn’t include in this round-up) had elastic that began to sag after just a few wash cycles.
You can get decent socks without spending a fortune, but if you want socks that will provide increased wear resistance, sag-free elastic and the ultimate in comfort, it is definitely worth spending more.
READ NEXT: Our guide to the best slippers
The best socks to buy in 2023
1. Darn Tough Micro Crew socks: The ultimate all-round socks
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
No, the price is not a misprint. Yes, that’s for one pair. Darn Tough’s range of socks provide foot-cosseting comfort and a lifetime warranty that’s worth paying a premium for. Wear them out, and you can send them back and get a new pair as many times as you need.
The socks are lovingly crafted from a combination of merino wool, lycra and nylon. You can choose from gender-specific designs in various weights – ultra-lightweight, lightweight and mid-weight, for instance – depending on how much insulation or breathability you require. The cushioning in each sock is tailored to the intended usage, too, ranging from none to progressively increased coverage for work, running and hiking-specific designs.
Whichever version you choose, comfort and fit is exemplary and they’re impressively pong-free too – we’ve worn pairs for days on end without a hint of whiff. In fact, we barely wear any other socks anymore. They’re that good.
Key specs – Material: Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra; Recommended season: All; Reinforced areas: Toes, heels; Colourways: Many
2. M&S Wool Blend Socks: Best affordable sock for colder months
Price: £10 for 2 pairs | Buy now from M&S
Would a roundup of socks be complete without mention of M&S? These wool blend socks are pleasingly thick yet not too chunky for everyday wear. They feel cosy and supportive thanks to a cushioned sole, too.
We’re long-time fans of these socks. They’re built to last and have held up well during hiking, running and walking without showing undue wear and tear. The understated styling means that they’ll work well with both smart and casual outfits too.
Key specs – Material: Wool, polyester, polyamide, acrylic, cotton, viscose, elastane; Recommended season: Winter; Reinforced areas: cushioned soles; Colourways: 4
3. Heat Holders Originals: Best for keeping warm
Price: £9 | Buy now from Heat Holders
Believe us when we say there are few things more blissful than putting your feet into a brand-new pair of Heat Holders. Made from long pile cushioning the insides are like clouds of the softest fluff you could ever imagine, not least because the fibres have been painstakingly brushed.
As the name suggests, these thermal socks are all about helping the feet retain warmth. They do this by trapping air in the abundant fibres and keeping it close to your skin. And we can safely say that they work – it’s no wonder they’re popular with their legions of cold-footed fans.
These are thick socks so if your footwear is already snug these might not fit but we find these work fine in trainers and wellies. What’s more, they’re lovely to wear around the house too.
Key specs – Material: Acrylic, Nylon, Polyester, Elastane; Recommended season: winter; Reinforced areas: None; Colourways: 8
4. Bam Bamboo Classic Socks Hatherleigh: Best for keeping fresh
Price: £18.50 for 4 | Buy now from Bam
These socks are a total revelation. The bright, colour block design looks great and they feel soft and comfortable. They’re perfect for hard-working feet, too.
The socks reach above the ankle but below mid-calf. The toes and heels are reinforced with terry knit which makes them feel more cosy and bodes well for a long-lasting sock.
The fact that they are made from natural bamboo means that they are antibacterial and breathable – cheesy feet should be a thing of the past. We noticed that even after a long day trudging about in these and a pair of trainers there wasn’t so much as a whiff of unpleasantness.
Key specs – Material: Bamboo Viscose, Polyamide, Elastane; Recommended season: all; Reinforced areas: Toes, heels; Colourways: 4
5. Stand4Socks David Attenbrrr socks: Best for giving something back
Price: £13 | Buy now from Stand4Socks
At first sight, you’d be forgiven for thinking these were a gimmick – little more than jokey Christmas stocking fodder. But you’d be wrong. There’s a lot more to these bright and cheerful socks than initially meets the eye.
Firstly, they are part of a charitable pledge. For every pair bought Stand4Socks pledges to donate a pair to people in need, namely homeless people. Socks are the most requested item by those running homeless shelters and so far, Stand4Socks have donated over 150,000 pairs of socks to vulnerable people.
Each pair is thick and warm, without being bulky. They have a supported arch area plus reinforced toes and heels. And they’re super soft to boot (pun intended). These are well designed, thoughtful and caring socks.
Key specs – Material: Combed Cotton, Polyamide, Elastane; Recommended season: all; Reinforced areas: Toes, heels; Colourways: 10 plus
6. London Sock Company Boot Socks: Best for understated luxury
Price: £18 per pair | Buy now from London Sock Company
These absolutely sing with understated luxury. Knitted with organic cotton into a ribbed design that manages to be thick without being heavy. Designed to be worn under boots, these are warm while also offering both anti-bacterial and anti-odour properties.
We love the company’s logo embroidered on each sock – not to mention the kaleidoscope of colours available including pink and spiced orange. They’re not cheap, though.
Key specs – Material: Organic cotton; Recommended season: All; Reinforced areas: None; Colourways: 10