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Best Socks for Red Wing Boots: I Tried The Top 3 Styles

William Barton
Expertise:

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024
5 min read

Red Wing boots can be a pain to break in. But you’re saving yourself a lot of trouble just by wearing the right socks.

I’ve been wearing Red Wing Iron Rangers and the Classic Moc Toe for years, and these are my favorite socks for all day comfort.

Breaking in my Iron Rangers was a bit of a chore. 

And since my first pair of Red Wings, I’ve also picked up the Classic Moc Toe, the Sawmill, and the Classic Chelsea

I love me some Red Wings. 

But what kind of socks are best for Red Wing boots? 

Well, I’ve tried a lot of different sock brands, and I’ll share with you my favorite to rock with Red Wing boots.

How Did I Come Up With My List?

image 10

I’ve bought more socks than any person ever should. Running BootSpy, I get asked a lot about socks, and in March 2021, I decided to go all in and find the best boot socks

I ended up spending over $500 trying all the best sock brands. So for a lot of pairs on this list, I’ve been wearing them every week for over a year. They’ve got their reps in. 

When I’m considering what makes a good sock, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Dry feet—some materials promote foot sweat, which leads to blisters and stinkiness
  • They stay up—I don’t like pulling my socks up mid-day
  • They’re comfortable—they should have padding in the right spots, venting in others
  • Durability—I want my socks to last at least a year, but two or three years is what I expect from the greats

My Hands-On Reviews

Best Overall: Camel City Mill Lightweight

image 9
The Camel City Mill Lightweight Work Sock

Camel City Mill is a relatively new brand and their focus is on USA-made wool socks for work. We’re talking hard blue-collar work. 

I figure that a boot like the Red Wing Iron Ranger, with its roots in mining, would be totally sympatico with a work boot sock. 

The Camel City Mill Lightweight is easily my favorite boot sock, and it feels fantastic with all of my Red Wings. 

What I Like

  • The 53% Ironside Merino wool blend keeps my feet from sweating, which means I don’t get blisters and my feet don’t stink. 

  • There’s padding in the toe, which is helpful with the bump toe in the Iron Ranger and the roomier Moc Toe front.

  • These socks are made in the USA and have a 10-year durability guarantee.

What I Don’t Like

  • At the time of writing, they’re only available in black. I wish they had more color options. 

What Other Reviewers Say

These socks have a 4.7-star rating out of 5, and several reviewers mention that their feet still feel refreshed, even after wearing their boots for 12 hours or more.

The Verdict

The Camel City Mill Lightweight is my favorite sock, and it’s what I personally wear with all of my Red Wing boots. 

They’re made in the USA, they have a 10-year durability guarantee, and the quality is excellent. The 53% Merino wool blend is a perfect balance of sweat-wicking moisture control, with enough synthetic fiber to ensure the socks actually stay up all day. 

While I wish they had more color options besides just black, the Camel City Mill Lightweight is the best for breaking in new Red Wings, or just wearing your old favorites.

Best Overall
Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock
Free Shipping $50+

Made in the USA from Merino wool, these work socks really are something else in terms of quality. They feature compression through the arch and calf which helps your feet recover after a long day. Plus, because they're Merino wool, they're breathable and help reduce foot sweat.

Check Price Read Our Review

Best with Thick Padding: Darn Tough Paul Bunyan

image 12
The Darn Tough Paul Bunyon OTC Sock

Darn Tough is one of the bigger names in the quality-sock game, and the Paul Bunyan sock is a real heavyweight. 

I have a pair of the Paul Bunyan socks, and they’re great. The only issue is that they make your foot a half-size larger. So if you have extra room in your boot and you’re looking to reduce the heel-slip, then this is a good sock for you.

What I Like

  • USA made.

  • It’s an over-the-calf style, which means it comes up below your knee.

  • There are lots of color and size options. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Because it’s so thick, it makes your foot basically a half-size larger, which can cramp your boot.

What Other Reviewers Say

A lot of reviewers appreciate the harder to find sizes, like small, medium, and XXL. Darn Tough does an excellent job keeping a huge variety of sizes in stock.

The Verdict

If you’re an over-the-calf sock enthusiast, it’s hard to beat the Darn Tough Paul Bunyan. While I usually opt for a thinner sock, there aren’t many socks like this for when the weather gets real cold. 

I only recommend the Paul Bunyan if you have a bit of extra room in your boot—the padding is thick and will make your foot feel about a half-size larger (which could cramp your boots). But they’re soft, comfortable, and built to last.

Best with Thick Padding
Darn Tough Paul Bunyan OTC Socks

Made mostly with Merino wool, these socks wick away moisture and stay surprisingly breathable in warmer weather. And in cold weather, they're your best friends. Darn Tough is the business.

Check Price

Best for Red Wing Work Boots: Camel City Mill Heavyweight

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The Camel City Mill Heavyweight Work Sock

I’ve talked a lot about Red Wing’s Heritage line (the Iron Ranger and Moc Toe), but Red Wing also has a lot of work boots, too. 

If you’ve got a steel toe Red Wing, my recommended sock is the Camel City Mill Heavyweight

Again, Camel City Mill only has two models: the Lightweight and the Heavyweight, and both are designed specifically for blue-collar work. 

While I prefer the Lightweight for everyday use, I wear my Heavyweights if I’m ever working in steel toe boots or if it’s cold outside.

What I Like

  • There’s thicker padding in the heel, toe, and through the calf, which makes these socks great for heavy steel toe boots.

  • Despite being thicker socks, they still have a lot of breathability and keep my feet dry.

  • They stay hiked up for many hours, which is unusual for a heavy wool sock. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There’s only one size and color available (boot size 8-11.5, in black). 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers have given the Camel City Mill Heavyweight a perfect score (at least at the time I’m writing this), and a few reviews mention that the socks are thick, but not so thick that they cramp your boots. 

Of course, USA-made is a big deal for a lot of us, and that’s another highlight reviewers mention.

The Verdict

If you need a pair of socks for your steel toe Red Wing boots, I recommend the Camel City Mill Heavyweight. It’s not quite as burly as the Darn Tough Paul Bunyon, but it also doesn’t overfill your boot. 

While I wish there were more size and color options, I’m a big fan of Camel City Mill overall and love that they’re a USA-made sock and have that great 10-year guarantee.

Best for Red Wing Work Boots
Camel City Mill Heavyweight Wool Work Sock
Free Shipping $50+

The Heavyweight from Camel City Mill is the best work sock you can get for a steel toe boot. The padding is heavy in the heel and toe, but since it's made with Merino wool, this sock is also very breathable and won't make your feet sweaty.

Check Price Read Our Review

Get Your Red Wings On

If you’re about to break in your new Red Wings, a good pair of socks is at the top of the list to help you loosen up that leather without getting blisters.

My favorite sock for Red Wing boots (and just my favorite boot sock in general) is the Camel City Mill Lightweight. To me, it’s got the perfect balance of weight and breathability. I’ve never gotten a blister when wearing them, even when I’m breaking in a new pair of boots. 

Our Top Pick
Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock
Free Shipping $50+

Made in the USA from Merino wool, these work socks really are something else in terms of quality. They feature compression through the arch and calf which helps your feet recover after a long day. Plus, because they're Merino wool, they're breathable and help reduce foot sweat.

Check Price Read Our Review

All of the socks I’ve listed about are made with Merino wool, which means they wick sweat well and will keep your feet dry. 

Plus, they’re all USA-made, which is great if you like to support American companies. 

All you have to do next is get to breaking in your Red Wings. 


FAQs

What socks should I wear with Red Wing boots?

My favorite socks to wear with Red Wing boots are Camel City Mill Lightweight wool socks. They keep your feet from sweating and are backed with a 10-year durability guarantee, plus they’re made in the USA.

How do I make my Red Wing boots more comfortable?

The easiest way to make your Red Wing boots more comfortable is to wear the right socks with your boots. The Camel City Mill Lightweight has enough padding for comfort and it’s still light enough to where it doesn’t overcrowd your boot.

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