You put stress on your feet every day just by walking around. If you’re on your feet all day for work, you need a sock solution that wicks moisture and stays comfortable through your shift and any overtime. The best work socks to wear with boots are padded for comfort, keep your feet dry, and prevent any hot areas or blisters from forming.
If you’re going to make it through the day blister-free, work boots need thicker socks than generic cotton. Work socks should be resilient, durable, and keep your feet comfortable after hours of wear, so you don’t go home with sore feet at the end of the day. Healthy feet contribute to your overall well-being—it’s hard to feel your best when your feet are wet, cold, and irritated by friction. This guide should help you figure out the best type of work socks to wear with your work boots.
- BEST OVERALL: DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Hiking & Walking Socks
- BEST HEAVY DUTY: Warm Thermal Socks, Sunew
- BEST FOR SWEATY FEET: Kodal Copper Infused Athletic 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 Look for When Choosing the Best Work Socks
A good pair of work socks prevent your feet from being tired and sore at the end of the day and should be paired with suitable men’s work boots, or women’s work boots. The best work socks for you depend on your working conditions, how the socks fit in your boots, and how they hold up against long workdays. Here are some things to think about when purchasing work socks.
Socks generally protect your feet from bacteria and wounds, such as blisters, by absorbing moisture, cushioning, and acting as a barrier to prevent your feet from rubbing directly against your 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 your job, you may have different requirements. For office workers, cotton socks are fine, and you can probably get away with using the same pair of socks two days in a row. For laborers and other jobs that require you to be outdoors and on your feet, work socks that don’t wear out through intense days are a must. If you’re putting on the mileage at a worksite, your feet are more prone to the friction created between your skin and your sock, so you need an option that gives your skin more protection.
Athletic style socks are breathable and have padding at the heel and ball of the foot. These types of socks are sufficient for working but may be too thin for tougher jobs or cold weather. High tech socks give you dry, comfortable feet year-round. For use in the winter, you may want to upgrade to thicker, insulated versions of these socks (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 your boots to avoid having the boot rub uncomfortably against your 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 your legs.
Any of these three styles are suitable for work boots. Ankle socks are not recommended as they leave your skin exposed to the height of the work boot. The length of your work socks is ultimately up to your personal style and comfort.
The right sock material helps protect your 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, give arch support, and ensure a snug fit.
- Merino wool is a natural fabric that’s soft, breathable, and warm. This material keeps you comfortable in different conditions because it naturally regulates temperature. This is a higher-quality material, which reflects in the price.
- Bamboo is a breathable, natural, antibacterial fabric. It’s soft against your skin and better suited for warmer months, as bamboo socks won’t keep your 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 you to pull them up throughout the day. Work socks should feel good on your feet; with stay-up technology, they feel secure but not so tight that they put a strain on your body.
Socks may start to sag when the elastic wears out. You’ll see this with lower-quality socks that wear out faster than you’d like, which may cost you more money in the long run if you have to continually replace less expensive socks. 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 you put on your socks. Ribbed textures give socks a thicker feel without the bulk. Ribbed texture gives your 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. You want to choose seams for your work socks that don’t irritate your 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 your body on your 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 you do, the temperature you work in, and the comfort and padding requirements you need.
The cushioning in DANISH ENDURANCE’s merino wool socks uses an ergonomic design to provide superior comfort in your 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 your feet fresh and dry. These fibers help your feet stay warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer—even if you spend hours on your feet. 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.
Work doesn’t slow down just because the weather changes, so to keep your feet dry and happy, you need to wear a thicker sock that gives 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 your 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 your feet by creating a vacuum of warm air next to the skin, so you stay warmer longer. Engineered to stay up, these 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.
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 anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal 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 your boot height and preference, these socks fit your foot nicely with a stretch-top design. To clean these socks, wash in warm water and lay them flat to dry.
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 your 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 your feet, these socks also offer gentle, graduated compression to improve circulation, reduce foot fatigue, and hold the sock in place.
These Physix compression socks are a helpful choice as a work sock because they enhance your circulation to deliver more oxygen-rich blood to your 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.
The compression socks 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 put on and comfortable enough to wear even when it’s hot outside.
With the breathable, moisture-wicking properties of the nylon and spandex material, these high-tech socks air dry quickly. Available in several colors, these socks can look good as well as help with circulation. They aren’t thick pairs, but their durability and comfortable construction make them a helpful choice if you need compression work socks.
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 work 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 your feet. These mid-calf socks use exclusive technology to quickly wick moisture away and remove moisture buildup, leaving your feet and ankles dry, comfortable, and blister-free. These work socks are thicker than some other socks, but they can still fit nicely into your work boots.
FAQs About Your New Work Socks
The best work socks last through a long day on your feet. They keep your feet dry and comfortable, making the workday less taxing on your body. Though they may seem straightforward to use, you 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 than typical work socks and longer, too. They have less cushion than other types of work socks, so are better to wear if you require socks with a compression feature. If it’s cold or you need extra cushioning, you can layer work socks over your compression socks, just make sure your 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?
You likely need one pair of work socks per day. However, depending on work conditions, you 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.