Stress can be put on our feet every day just by walking around. Being upright all day for work requires a sock solution that wicks away moisture and stays comfortable throughout the shift and any overtime. The best work socks to wear with boots are padded for comfort, keep feet dry, and prevent any hot areas or blisters from forming.
To make it through the day blister-free, work boots need to be paired with thicker socks rather than those made with generic cotton. Work socks should be resilient, durable, and keep feet comfortable after hours of wear, so workers don’t go home with sore feet at the end of the day. Healthy feet contribute to overall well-being; it’s hard to feel one’s best when feet are wet, cold, and irritated by friction. This guide can help shoppers find the best work socks to wear with their work boots.
- BEST OVERALL: Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TCK Moisture Wicking Work Crew Socks
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Sunew Warm Thermal Socks
- BEST FOR SWEATY FEET: Kodal Copper Infused Crew Socks
- BEST CUSHIONED: Thorlos Unisex-Adult WCXU Max Cushion Crew Socks
- BEST COMPRESSION: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
- BEST FOR STEEL-TOE BOOTS: Fox River Steel-Toe Mid-Calf Boot Work Socks
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Work Socks
A good pair of work socks prevents feet from being tired and sore at the end of the day and should be paired with the best work boots for men or the best work boots for women. The best work socks for an individual depend on their working conditions, how the socks fit in their boots, and how they hold up against long workdays. Here are some things to think about when purchasing work socks.
Socks generally protect feet from bacteria and wounds, such as blisters, by absorbing moisture, providing cushioning, and acting as a barrier to prevent feet from rubbing directly against footwear. They also work to minimize or eliminate foot odor caused by bacteria, sweat, and dirt, and they need to put up with some heavy usage.
Depending on the rigors of the job, shoppers may have different requirements. For office workers, cotton socks are fine, and these folks can probably get away with using the same pair of socks 2 days in a row. For laborers and others whose jobs require them to be outdoors and on one’s feet, work socks that don’t wear out through intense days are a must. If putting on the mileage at a work site, feet are more prone to the friction created between the skin and the sock, so shoppers need an option that gives their skin more protection.
Athletic-style socks are breathable and have padding at the heel and ball of the foot. This type of sock is sufficient for working but may be too thin for tougher jobs or cold weather. High-tech socks provide dry, comfortable feet year-round. Shoppers looking for socks to use in the winter may want to upgrade to thicker, insulated versions of these (and get a pair of winter work gloves, too).
Work socks for work boots are generally crew length and go up to the middle of the calf. The reason for this, especially for physical jobs that use industrial footwear, is that work socks should extend past the top of the boots to avoid having the boot rub uncomfortably against the ankles or lower calf. Another option for work socks is quarter socks, which come up just past the ankles. These types of socks work best with shorter work boots. Compression socks are usually knee height, so they can promote blood flow through the legs.
Any of these three styles are suitable for work boots. Ankle socks are not recommended as they leave the skin exposed to the height of the work boot. The length of the work socks is ultimately up to the shopper’s personal style and comfort.
The right sock material helps protect feet. Some popular fabric choices for socks include synthetic materials, merino wool, bamboo, and cotton.
- Synthetic materials are man-made materials, such as acrylic, nylon, and spandex. These types of fabrics are comfortable, durable, moisture wicking, and dry quickly. Certain types of synthetic materials help socks retain their shape, provide arch support, and ensure a snug fit.
- Merino wool is a natural fabric that’s soft, breathable, and warm. This material keeps wearers comfortable in different conditions because it naturally regulates temperature. This is a higher-quality material, which is reflected in the price.
- Bamboo is a breathable, natural, antibacterial fabric. It’s soft against the skin and better suited for warmer months, as bamboo socks won’t keep feet as warm as merino wool.
- Cotton is a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable fabric. It doesn’t wick as other materials do, which means socks made of cotton can absorb moisture and get wetter and heavy through the workday. If cotton is blended with other moisture-wicking materials, it can make a suitable work sock.
The correct sock fit is vital. Socks that are the wrong size or are too loose can wrinkle in the toes, causing friction that may turn into a blister. Stay-up technology uses the socks’ elasticity to keep them in a comfortable position without requiring them to be pulled up throughout the day. Work socks should feel good on the feet; with stay-up technology, they feel secure but not so tight that they put a strain on the body.
Socks may start to sag when the elastic wears out. This can be seen with lower-quality socks that wear out faster than we’d like, which may cost more money in the long run if shoppers have to replace less expensive socks continually. Higher-quality socks with stay-up technology keep their elasticity, even through the wash.
Ribbing is a pattern that incorporates vertical stripes that look like pleats into the sock’s cuff (the part that goes from the ankle to the calf). It’s used in garments to create a form-fitting knit style, giving the sock more elasticity. Ribbing makes this part of the sock snugger, which helps keep it in place while also allowing it to stretch out when putting on socks.
Ribbed texture gives socks a thicker feel without the bulk. It also gives socks a better fit overall and prevents the sock from bunching up at the ankle to create unnecessary friction.
Double Stitching and Reinforcement
Double stitching creates a stronger seam for the sock. Instead of one line of stitching, this style offers two, giving a bit of extra security so the seam doesn’t burst. Shoppers should choose seams for work socks that don’t irritate their feet, so opt for smooth toe seams or a low seam profile to minimize or remove chafing.
There are a few areas of reinforcement in work socks. Primarily, the toe and heel should have extra padding or tough fibers to protect the feet from injury or irritation. The proper fit and reinforced areas should reduce pressure on the feet from gravity, lower the impact from the floor, and decrease the downward pressure of the body on the feet.
Colors and Patterns
Work socks generally aren’t the flashiest socks. As these types of socks are usually hidden under work boots, they focus on performance over aesthetics. Their purpose is to stay tough, comfortable, and dry throughout the workday. When it comes to work socks, lean toward function over style; they may not look as good, but the feeling of dry feet at the end of the day shouldn’t be compromised.
There are brands that offer various colors and patterns for wearers who want socks that make a statement. Thicker work socks with patterns are generally muted colors in low-key, simple designs that have an agreeable appearance. Compression work socks tend to have more colors and patterns available, as these can be worn with other types of footwear that show off the socks more than work boots.
Our Top Picks
The following list includes some of the best work socks for wearing with boots. This selection takes into account the considerations outlined above, but the best work socks for each individual varies. Choose work socks that match the kind of work done, the temperature worked in, and the comfort and padding requirements needed.
The cushioning in Danish Endurance’s merino wool socks uses an ergonomic design to provide superior comfort in the wearer’s work boots. Padded from heel to toe, these socks offer anti-blister cushioning that reduces the risk of hot spots, aches, and jarring shocks during movement throughout the day.
The high-quality merino wool fabric offers natural temperature control and optimizes sweat transport to keep feet fresh and dry. These fibers help feet stay warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer—even if spending hours standing. With ventilation lanes to wick away moisture, a flat seam, and slip-on closure, these socks are ready to put in a full day of work.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Merino wool (30 percent), nylon (36 percent), acrylic (33 percent), elastane (1 percent)
- Colors: Light gray, black/gray, brown, red, green, navy
- Soft, luxurious feel
- Available in multiple colors
- Anti-blister cushioning
- Provides a snug fit
- Quality materials means higher price tag
- Air-dry only
Get the Danish Endurance work socks on Amazon.
Budget-conscious shoppers who don’t want to compromise quality may be interested in these TCK work socks. Available in packs of six pairs, these socks are designed to keep feet cool with moisture-wicking fibers, so socks stay dry on the feet. Using Dry IQ technology, these socks are made from ultrasoft spun polyester that has mesh paneling, increasing the fabric’s breathability. These socks keep feet comfortable with strategically placed cushioning along the footbed.
To keep the socks in place, the design incorporates a stay-up ribbed leg and a light compression band around the arch of the foot. A seamless toe design also helps keep toes from bunching up inside the work boot. These socks are durable and comfortable enough for work but can be worn even when not working.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Polyester (96 percent), rubber (3 percent), spandex (1 percent)
- Colors: Black, gray, white
- Affordable 6-pack
- Breathable fabric
- Ribbed leg stops socks from falling
- Can feel too tight on thicker legs
Get the TCK work socks on Amazon.
Work doesn’t slow down just because the weather changes, so to keep feet dry and happy, thicker socks need to be worn that give all-day comfort and warmth. Heavy brushed fleece material on the inside and a textured synthetic blend on the outside offer wicking properties that keep feet warm and dry. With reinforced padding in the heel and toes to prevent foot irritation and reduce pressure, these socks are wear-resistant and comfortable. There’s additional cushioning around the instep, shin, and ankle to reduce foot pain throughout the workday.
These socks heat feet up by creating a vacuum of warm air next to the skin, so wearers stay warmer longer. Engineered to stay up, the socks have the right amount of elasticity to keep them in place without being too tight. Suited for cool and cold weather, thermal socks are a wonderful choice for those who need extra cushioning and warmth throughout the day.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Acrylic (91 percent), polyester (8 percent), spandex (1 percent)
- Colors: 10 various plaid and winter-themed patterns
- Great for keeping feet warm
- Added cushioning to reduce foot pain
- Elastic tops prevent them from falling down
- Significant thickness makes them difficult to wear with normal shoes
Get the Sunew work socks on Amazon.
Kodal’s copper-infused socks are a solution for those who experience sweaty feet throughout the workday. A yarn blend of combed cotton and copper makes these socks comfortable while also offering moisture wicking, wrinkle resistance, and a good fit. Copper is an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal material that naturally eliminates 99 percent of the sweat and odor from feet.
Mesh venting built into the material contributes to cool and dry feet, a plus for when it’s hot outside. Made of a fabric that’s neither too thick nor too thin, these copper-infused socks offer abrasion protection and a soft feel and can be worn comfortably year-round.
Available in ankle style or crew style, depending on boot height and preference, these socks fit the foot nicely with a stretch-top design. To clean these socks, wash in warm water and lay flat to dry.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Cotton (80 percent), copper-infused yarn (20 percent)
- Colors: Black with toe and heel details (yellow, blue, orange, or green)
- Eliminates most foot odors
- Suitable for all climates
- Good moisture-wicking properties
- Keeps feet dry in most conditions
- Must be careful when washing to avoid shrinking
Get the Kodal work socks on Amazon.
Thorlos created these work socks for those who spend their days standing in work boots. Several other brands only have cushioning in the toe and heel, but these work socks also include thick padding in weight-bearing areas, such as the ball of the foot, making standing for long periods much more tolerable. Padding has been clinically shown to reduce blisters, moisture, and pressure in work socks, illustrating the importance of proper cushion support.
Made of a synthetic blend of high-durability acrylic, nylon, elastic, and polyester, these socks have the moisture-wicking capabilities that keep feet dry and comfortable and the durability to last a long time. Designed to align with the contours of the foot, this sock offers a better fit and less chance of creating hot spots during wear. Stitched with a low-profile seam that won’t irritate the wearer’s feet, these socks also offer gentle, graduated compression to improve circulation, reduce foot fatigue, and hold the sock in place.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Acrylic (69 percent), nylon (19 percent), elastic (8 percent), polyester (4 percent)
- Colors: Black, white
- Cushioning protects feet while wearing shoes
- Padding can reduce blisters
- Made in the U.S.
- Quite pricey for a single pair
Get the Thorlos work socks on Amazon.
These Physix compression socks are a helpful choice as a work sock because they enhance circulation to deliver more oxygen-rich blood to the body. Offering a durable, graduated compression, these socks help with leg-swelling issues, such as varicose veins, calf compression, and more. Compression and support are provided in the heel, foot, calves, and toe box of the socks. They use an arch-to-calf compression technology that doesn’t pinch and fits snugly with stay-put cuffs. Double-stitched seams keep the sock’s construction strong without rubbing. These socks also feature a shock-absorption effect that helps reduce fatigue and swelling in the lower legs.
Other compression socks are a struggle to put on, but these long socks are easy to slip into and comfortable enough to wear even when it’s hot outside. With the breathable, moisture-wicking properties of the nylon and spandex material, they air-dry quickly. Available in several colors, these socks can look good as well as help with circulation. They aren’t thick socks, but their durability and comfortable construction make them a helpful choice if in need of compression work socks.
- Length: Knee-high
- Fabric: Nylon (70 percent), spandex (30 percent)
- Colors: 13 (11 in black with various colored accents, 1 white, 1 beige)
- Easy to put on for compression socks
- Breathable fabric
- Great for users with poor circulation
Get the Physix work socks on Amazon.
Workers can face a long day wearing steel-toe boots, but these synthetic work socks by Fox River offer thick, long-lasting, durable comfort that might make the days seem less onerous. Made by Fox River, a company that started out making socks for lumberjacks in 1900, these socks are built for tough workdays. Made of an incredibly comfortable and extra-warm synthetic blend, these calf socks feature extra cushioning in the toe box and above the heel for longer wear and use in cold weather.
A “URfit system” gives a custom fit by combining memory-knit compression, a contoured rib top, and spandex compression zones to keep the sock secure on the feet. These mid-calf socks use exclusive technology to wick moisture away quickly and remove moisture buildup, leaving feet and ankles dry, comfortable, and blister-free. These work socks are thicker than some other socks, but they can still fit nicely into work boots.
- Length: Mid-calf
- Fabric: Acrylic (80 percent), nylon (18 percent), spandex (2 percent)
- Colors: White
- Shock-absorbing heels
- Smooth toe seam
- Made from durable materials
- Limited color availability
Get the Fox River work socks on Amazon.
Shoppers looking for a high-quality sock upgrade for heavy-duty work both indoors and outdoors will want to consider the Danish Endurance work socks.
Alternatively, those interested in a more budget-friendly option could pick up the TCK work socks, which include six pairs of moisture-wicking cushioned socks that are great for busy workers on their feet.
How We Chose the Best Work Socks
During our research into quality socks for work boots to include on our list of recommendations, we took certain criteria into careful consideration. We looked at the materials used to provide both high-end and budget-friendly options, with a mixture of natural wools and synthetic polyesters and nylons. All of our top picks are made with durability in mind, able to stand up to long workdays on foot with padded toe and heel areas to help mitigate foot fatigue and the associated aches and pains.
Sweat control was another top factor in our considerations, so we made sure to find socks that feature moisture-wicking properties to help keep feet fresh. We also looked into the best sock sizes most suited for work boots and found that crew socks that come up to the mid-calf area were the most popular. Ankle socks are too short to provide adequate support, while knee-high socks are a little too cumbersome—although we did include one pair for shoppers looking for compression socks.
The best work socks last through a long day on one’s feet. They keep feet dry and comfortable, making the workday less taxing on the body. Though they may seem straightforward to use, prospective shoppers can reference these commonly asked questions and answers to find out more information on work socks.
Q. Are compression socks good for work boots?
Compression socks are thinner and longer than typical work socks. They have less cushion than other types of work socks, so they are better to wear if shoppers want socks with a compression feature. If it’s cold or shoppers need extra cushioning, work socks can be layered over the compression socks; just make sure the compression socks go on first.
Q. What are the best socks to wear with steel-toe boots?
Look for a pair of work socks that are specifically intended for steel-toe boots, as they’ll last longer than other types of socks.
Q. How often should you change your work socks in a day?
One pair of work socks per day are usually needed. However, depending on work conditions, wearers may want to change into a spare pair partway through the workday. To avoid bacteria and dirt buildup, work socks should be washed before wearing them again.