The Best Work Socks for Wearing With Boots

Dry, comfortable feet through the workday can make the difference between a good day at work and a bad one.

Best Overall

The Best Work Socks Option: Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks

Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Work Socks Option: TCK Moisture Wicking Work Crew Socks

TCK Work u0026amp; Athletic Multi Pack Crew Socks

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Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Work Socks Option: Sunew Warm Thermal Socks

Sunew Warm Thermal Socks

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Stress can be put on our feet every day just by walking around. Being upright for hours at a time while working 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 have padding for comfort, keep feet dry, and prevent 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 boot socks should be resilient and 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.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TCK Work & Athletic Multi Pack Crew Socks
  3. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Sunew Warm Thermal Socks
  4. BEST FOR SWEATY FEET: Kodal Copper-Infused Crew Socks
  5. BEST CUSHIONED: Thorlo 12-Hour Shift Maximum Cushion Ankle Work Socks
  6. BEST COMPRESSION: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
  7. BEST FOR STEEL-TOE BOOTS: Fox River Steel-Toe Heavyweight Mid-Calf Boot Sock
  8. BEST TO KEEP WARM: Minus33 Expedition Mountaineer Over the Calf Socks
  9. BEST TO STAY COOL: Bamboo Sports Premium Bamboo Crew Socks
  10. BEST ALL-PURPOSE: Darn Tough Men’s Steely Boot Midweight Work Sock
Best Work Socks
Photo: iStockphoto.com

How We Chose the Best Work Socks 

During our research into quality socks for work boots to include on our list of recommendations, we considered certain criteria carefully. 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, so they can stand up to long workdays on foot. Most have 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. Cara Dobbertin, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with Practionr, weighs in:  “The best fabrics are typically moisture-wicking synthetics paired with wool for temperature regulation and durability.”

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.

Our Top Picks

The following list includes some of the best work socks to wear with boots. This selection takes into account the considerations outlined above, but the best work socks for each individual can vary. Choose work socks that match the kind of work done, the temperature worked in, and the comfort and padding requirements needed.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Merino wool (38 percent), acrylic (30 percent), nylon (30 percent), and elastane (2 percent)
  • Colors: 10, including light gray, black/gray, brown, red, green, navy, yellow

Pros

  • Socks have a soft, luxurious feel with ample cushioning that prevents blisters
  • Comes in a variety of colors and is available in variety packs
  • Fabric includes elastane, which provides a snug fit that prevents bunching

Cons

  • Requires more effort to clean, as socks have air-dry only care

The cushioning in Danish Endurance’s merino wool socks has an ergonomic design to provide superior comfort in the wearer’s work boots or hiking 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 for those who spend 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.

Get the Danish Endurance work socks at Amazon or Danish Endurance.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Polyester (96 percent), rubber (3 percent), spandex (1 percent)
  • Colors: Black, gray, white

Pros

  • Seamless toe design prevents bunching in the work boot toe box
  • Compression band and ribbed leg prevent socks from falling down
  • Mesh paneling and polyester material add breathability that prevents sweaty feet

Cons

  • Compression band on the leg can feel too tight on thicker legs

Budget-conscious shoppers who don’t want to compromise quality might 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. The socks are made using Dry IQ technology, and 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.

Get the TCK work socks at Amazon or TCK Sports.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Acrylic (91 percent), polyester (8 percent), spandex (1 percent)
  • Colors: 10-plus plaid and winter-themed patterns

Pros

  • Synthetic blend of materials wicks away sweat to keep feet dry
  • Brushed fleece material keeps wearers’ feet warm while working in colder weather
  • Elastic tops grip the calves to prevent them from falling down

Cons

  • Significant thickness makes them difficult to wear with normal shoes

Work doesn’t slow down just because the weather changes, but thicker socks like the Sunew thermal socks can keep feet dry for 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. Additional cushioning around the instep, shin, and ankle helps 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.

Get the Sunew work socks at Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Cotton (80 percent), copper-infused yarn (20 percent)
  • Colors: Black with toe and heel details (yellow, blue, orange, or green)

Pros

  • Made with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral fabric that eliminates most foot odors
  • Available in 2 different heights and a variety of color options
  • Socks have built-in arch support that adds stability and comfort

Cons

  • Must air-dry after washing to prevent the socks from shrinking

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 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 the socks, wash in warm water and lay flat to dry.

Get the Kodal work socks at Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Acrylic (69 percent), nylon (20 percent), elastic (8 percent), polyester (3 percent)
  • Colors: Black, white

Pros

  • Strategically placed padding helps to prevent blisters and foot fatigue
  • Socks provide compression around the foot to promote circulation
  • Synthetic blend of materials is breathable and wicks away moisture

Cons

  • Socks are prone to shrinking when put in the dryer

Thorlo created these work socks for those who spend their days standing in work boots. Several other brands have cushioning only in the toe and heel, but these work socks also include thick padding in weight-bearing areas, such as the ball of the foot, so that standing for long periods can be 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 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.

Get the Thorlo work socks at Amazon or Thorlo.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Knee-high
  • Fabric: Nylon (70 percent), spandex (30 percent)
  • Colors: 13 (11 in black with various colored accents, 1 white, 1 beige)

Pros

  • Numerous color options make it easy to mix and match with outfits
  • Breathable fabric prevents feet and legs from getting uncomfortably hot
  • Helps prevent swelling and varicose veins in the feet, ankles, and calves

Cons

  • Hand-wash only fabric makes them a chore to clean and dry

These Physix Gear compression socks enhance circulation to deliver more oxygen-rich blood to the body while working on one’s feet. A durable, graduated compression helps with lower leg issues like varicose veins, fatigue, and swelling. Compression and support are provided in the heel, foot, calves, and toe box of the socks. The compression technology 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 shock-absorption to reduce pain and fatigue in the lower legs.

Wearers report that these long socks are easy to slip into and comfortable enough to wear even when it’s hot outside.

The fabric’s moisture-wicking properties lead to quick air-drying. They aren’t thick socks, but their durability and comfortable construction make them a helpful choice if in need of compression work socks, and they come in several color or design combinations.

Get the Physix work socks at Amazon or Physix Gear.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Acrylic (80 percent), nylon (18 percent), spandex (2 percent)
  • Colors: White

Pros

  • Added cushioning in heel and toe box add durability and comfort
  • Smooth toe seam prevents the sock from crowding the foot
  • Spandex compression zones and contoured top create a snug fit

Cons

  • Socks are available in white only, limiting their versatility

Construction workers, factory workers, and others who are required to wear steel-toe boots face the threat of blisters from this safety footwear. These synthetic work socks 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. The calf socks feature extra cushioning in the toe box and above the heel for longer wear and use in cold weather. Their fabric is a comfortable and extra-warm synthetic blend.

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 wick moisture away quickly and remove moisture buildup, leaving feet and ankles dry, comfortable, and blister-free. They are thicker than some other socks, but they can still fit nicely into work boots.

Get the Fox River work socks at Amazon or Fox River.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: Merino wool (82 percent), polyester (10 percent), nylon (5 percent), spandex (3 percent)
  • Colors: Gray heather

Pros

  • High wool content gives these socks excellent heat-retaining qualities
  • Cushioning in the foot and seamless toe add to comfort while wearing
  • Spandex in the fabric keeps sock tops snug around the calf and foot

Cons

  • Only available in a single color option, making them difficult to color coordinate if needed

Those whose work requires them to spend hours outside in cold conditions might look to these mountaineering socks from Minus33. They consist of 82 percent merino wool, giving them tremendous ability to retain heat. They also combat sweaty feet by wicking moisture away from the foot and causing it to evaporate. With their ability to keep feet warm even after absorbing up to 30 percent of their weight in water, these socks are also a good choice for working in wet conditions.

Minus33 socks should offer comfort as well as warmth thanks to a thick bottom that provides added cushioning and a seamless toe that won’t bunch up inside a work boot. These socks are also 3 percent spandex, so they hug the foot and ankle. Plus, they come up a bit higher than some crew styles, so they are suitable for work boots with higher shafts.

Get the Minus33 Merino Wool work socks at Amazon or Target.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: 80 percent rayon made from bamboo, 18 percent polyester, 2 percent spandex
  • Colors: Heather gray, black, khaki, light gray, white, brown

Pros

  • Made with breathable bamboo fabric that helps keep feet cool
  • Bamboo fabric naturally resists odors, helping to eliminate smelly feet
  • Socks are available in a variety of color options

Cons

  • Some customers complain that these socks wear out too quickly

The bamboo material in this pair of work socks is ideal for those who suffer from sweaty and smelly feet at the end of their workday. The socks consist of 80 percent rayon made from bamboo. This material makes them breathable while giving them tremendous moisture-wicking qualities, thus helping to keep feet cool and dry. Bamboo fibers also help to eliminate odors so feet don’t stink at the end of the day. And since bamboo also happens to be hypoallergenic, these socks are a great option for those who have sensitive skin.

Bamboo Sports Premium work socks also have a cushioned

sole

for comfort, and their mid-calf height is a good match for most work boots. The socks are available in packs of three and come in a variety of colors, including heather gray, black, khaki, light gray, white, and brown.

Get the Bamboo Sports work socks at Amazon or Bamboo Sports.

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Product Specs

  • Length: Mid-calf
  • Fabric: 56 percent merino wool, 42 percent nylon, 3 percent spandex
  • Colors: Timber, graphite

Pros

  • Manufacturer will replace the socks if they wear out or develop holes
  • Cushioned toe box prevents blisters caused by steel-toe work boots
  • Breathable mesh upper prevents feet from getting sweaty and smelly

Cons

  • One of the most expensive work socks on the market

This mid-weight work sock combines the warmth of wool with the wicking action of nylon to create a sock that’s breathable and durable. Darn Tough socks consist of a near-even mix of merino wool and nylon. This combination helps to keep feet warm even when working outside in cooler conditions. With its mesh instep, this fabric is breathable enough to prevent sweaty and stinky feet in warmer weather. These boots are versatile enough to wear with steel-toe or rubber boots.

The socks also have a thick and cushy toe box that helps protect the top of the toes from blisters when wearing steel-toe boots. While Darn Tough’s come with a premium price tag, the company says it will replace them if they ever wear out or tear, no questions asked.

Get the Darn Tough work socks at Amazon or Darn Tough.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing Work Socks

The Best Work Socks
Photo: amazon.com

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. 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.

Usage

Socks generally protect feet from bacteria and wounds like 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 jobsite, 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).

Length

Work socks for work boots are generally mid-calf (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. “An over-the-calf length provides both protection and support,” Dobbertin says. 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 because they leave the skin exposed to the height of the work boot. The length of the work socks is ultimately up to a shopper’s personal style and comfort.

Fabrics

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.

Stay-Up Technology

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

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 provides 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

A work sock needs to be well made to stand up to the rigors of a long workday, according to Dobbertin. “High-quality construction features include reinforced heels and toes, seamless designs, and a snug elastic fit that doesn’t slip,” she says.

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 will want to choose seams for work socks that don’t irritate their feet, opting 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.

While reinforcement is important, Dobbertin stresses that work socks shouldn’t be overly thick. “The ideal thickness offers enough cushioning without compromising boot fit, with targeted padding at stress points,” she says.

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.

Some brands 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.

FAQs

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, but they are better to wear if you want socks with a compression feature to promote blood flow. If it’s cold or you 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 usually is sufficient. 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.

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Kat Hodgins

Contributing Writer

Kat Hodgins is a freelance copy and content writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. This lifelong DIYer and hands-on learner has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a BobVila.com contributor since 2020. With an affinity for jumping headfirst into home projects and finding products that make home life easier, Kat’s major contributions to the Bob Vila team are in DIY ventures and home goods.

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