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8 Best Work Boot Socks: Tested & Reviewed by Me

Without the right socks, even the best work boots can be uncomfortable, distracting, or even a safety hazard.

Get the most out of your boots by pairing them with one of our picks for the best work boot socks.

Top Picks Overview

No more sweaty feet, no more cheap jumbo pack cotton rags they call socks, no more holes after three months.

I went on a mission to find the best work boot socks available, and I found some winners and some losers (p.s. some of the losers rhyme with “Carhartt”).

These work socks are all great for different reasons, and I’m going to break down how I tested them and why I think they’re the best work socks for your money.

How Did I Come Up With My List? (My Testing Process)

best work boot socks in a line all work socks tested
My final 8 top picks for the best work socks all lined up

There are a ton of work boot socks out there, so I started with the research phase and found about 15 brands that were worth a try.

I spent over $500 on socks for this article, which seemed ridiculous at the time, and still does. I really hope you get something out of this. I tested each sock on the following:

  • How long they stay up
  • How long do they last? (As of October 2023, I’ve had all these socks for a year)
  • Comfort
  • Sweat wicking and temperature regulation
  • Cushion and padding

Plus, I’m factoring in things like:

  • Customer Service
  • Price
  • Warranty and Guarantee
12 hour stay up test results comparing how work sock brands stay up
Pictured here are my two Camel City Mill socks and the Fox River Socks. I didn’t get a picture of the Darn Tough Paul Bunyan, but those also performed as well as the Camel City Mill socks.

While testing, I wore a range of boots (including safety toe and soft toe) with boot shafts measuring 6″, 8″, and even a 12″ boot. Though there was only one sock on this list that didn’t live up to the 12″ boot (the KMM’s).

Thermal Camera
I even spent time measuring the heat release pre and post sock wearing to see which brand kept my feet cooler.

So I assembled my list based on my own experiences with the brands and wearing the socks around for a year. Of the 15 pairs of socks I got, I picked 8 MVP’s that really stood out to me for different reasons, which I’ll dive into below.

Why Buying Quality Work Socks Matters

close up camel city mill work socks with boots in background
My Camel City Mill Lightweight socks were the top pick

A great work sock should do the following:

  • Thermoregulate: they should insulate in the cold but never make your feet hot and sweaty.
  • Moisture-wicking: as your feet release moisture, good socks should keep your feet cool and disperse that moisture.
  • Provide cushion: the best work socks have plenty of extra padding in the heel and toe, and I like to see socks with extra cushion in the toe if you wear safety-toe boots for work.
  • Last a long time: this goes without saying, but who wants to spend money on something that’s just going to break down in a month or two?
  • Stay up on your calf: I hate trying to fish my socks out of my boots to pull them up again. I need boot socks that stay up.
  • Help prevent foot fatigue: If a work sock has a bit of compression, it’ll help you avoid foot fatigue. Only one sock did that for me (Camel City Mill Lightweight).

So in making this list, I really focused on those six critical factors. Some of these socks are definitely on the more expensive side of things, but I think they’re worth the money.

For instance, the Camel City Mill socks are some of the most expensive here, but they’re also backed with a 10 year durability guarantee. So while they might seem pricey at first, in the long run, you’re getting your money’s worth.

BootSpy's #1 Boot Sock
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.

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My Recommendations

Best Overall: Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock

model putting on camel city mill lightweight work sock with thorogood moc toe work boot
Camel City Mill Lightweight in a Moc Toe Boot

The Camel City Mill Lightweight takes my top spot because it’s a sock I can wear year round and it’s both durable and comfortable.

They’re fantastic work socks for sweaty feet, which is my biggest struggle. My feet didn’t sweat at all once I put these socks on, so I became an immediate fan.

They’re 100% USA made with Ironside Merino wool and are backed with a 10 year durability guarantee.

Of all the socks on this list, the two Camel City Mill socks (the Camel City Heavyweight) and the Darn Tough Paul Bunyan socks were the only ones that stayed up on my calves and didn’t budge an inch after 12 hours.

The Camel City Mill Lightweight has light arch compression and compression through the calf. This led to better circulation, which reduced my foot fatigue and lead to faster recovery after a long day of work.

lightweight merino wool work socks from camel city mill in packaging

If I could only get one boot sock, it’d be the Camel City Mill Lightweight. I love having dry feet. My only issue is that it’s expensive, so not everyone (including myself) is going to be able to fill their whole sock drawer with them immediately.

What I Like

  • The high percentage of Merino wool makes these super durable and keeps my feet from getting sweaty.

  • They stay up for at least 12 hours at a time so I never have to pull them back up when working. Plus the support and compression through the calf and arch definitely help keep my feet feeling fresh.

  • The 10 year durability guarantee is pretty impressive, and you can get free shipping if you order a few pairs.

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re near the top of the list in terms of price, which makes it difficult to stock your whole drawer with them in one go.

  • They only offer black and grey socks at the time of writing, and they only offer size L and XL for guys with boot sizes 8-13. I’m hoping they expand their range soon.

What Other Reviewers Say

In reading through a ton of reviews for many of the brands on this list, the biggest concern many guys have is with sweaty feet and blisters. The Camel City Mill Lightweight has solved that issue—if you’re trying to tame your sweaty feet, you need to try wool socks.

The Verdict

The Camel City Mill Lightweight felt the most balanced of all the socks I tried. They stay up for a long time, they kept my feet dry and comfortable, and never felt too hot and certainly never too cold. I love the amount of padding in the toe, though for steel toe boots in the winter, I’d definitely get a steel-toe specific sock.

Overall, for an all-purpose work sock, I don’t think you can beat the Camel City Mill Lightweight.

BootSpy's #1 Boot Sock
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 for Steel Toe Boots: Fox River Steel Toe Heavyweight Crew

closeup fox river socks steel toe boot sock
There’s a lot of padding at the toe on these Fox River socks.

Fox River makes premium level socks and their Steel Toe Heavyweight Crew offers the best balance between heel padding, toe cushion, and value for money you can find.

However, these socks are all synthetic, so while they were comfortable in steel toe boots, I also had sweaty feet in them toward the end of the day. I actually prefer the heavyweight wool sock Camel City Mill Heavyweight on most cold days, unless it’s below freezing and I’m wearing steel toes.

fox river heavy steel toe boot socks
Look at that toe

The Fox River Heavyweight version has 1.5cm of cushion in the toe, which is plenty to keep blisters and unwanted abrasions from your feet.

What I Like

  • The amount of toe padding (1.5cm) is unusual at this price point and desirable if you wear tough boots.

  • The flat lock toe stitching is reinforced, which increases the durability significantly.

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re made with synthetic materials and can definitely cause your feet to sweat, so you may want to get two pairs so you can switch in the middle of the day.

What Other Reviewers Say

Looking through the reviews for these socks is making me sweat. If you’re like one of the reviewers who spend 12-16 hours a day in your steel toe boots, you know how much of a burden a bad sock can be. One reviewer says he’s been coming back to Fox River for 10 years and has no intention to stop.

The Verdict

Steel toe boots require an entirely different sock. The Fox River Steel Toe Heavyweight Crew is that sock. I only wear these on sub-freezing days with steel toe boots because the full synthetic material construction causes a lot more foot sweat than the Camel City Mill Lightweight or Heavyweight. But it’s still a great option to have in your closet.

Best for Steel Toe Boots
Fox River Steel Toe Heavyweight Work Socks

With 1.5cm of padding in the heel and toe, these socks have no problem keeping unwanted blisters away.

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Best for Hot Weather: Dickies Dri-tech Moisture Control Crew Socks

Dickies DriTech grey socks front and profile view on model
These have some great features, but after a year of wearing them, they get less comfortable after a few months and then wear out in a year.

Unless you’re the Terminator T-800 honorably jumping into a vat of molten steel, Dickies Men’s Dri-tech Moisture Control Socks will keep you cool and comfortable in the hottest working situations.

It’s made of 78% cotton, which is one of the most breathable textiles on the market. Cotton is also naturally sweat wicking and temperature stabilizing.

There’s just enough polyester in there to help these socks stay up, but it’s balanced out with nylon to provide ventilation channels for air circulation and more moisture control in warm weather.

These socks get bonus points for the fit. They’re firm, but not constricting, which is also great for hot weather.

They’re too short for 8″ and 12″ boots though, and they didn’t do a fantastic job staying up all day. I probably had to hike them up two or three times throughout the day.

*Editor’s Note: As of October 2023, a lot of these socks are starting to wear out for me. They’re cheap, so I feel they still belong on this list as a budget option. But they’re not durable at all. You’ll get 6 months to a year of wear out of these before needing new ones. Definitely not Camel City Mill or Darn Tough quality.

What I Like

  • They feature moisture control fibers and its mostly cotton composition makes it breathable and cool.

  • They run true to size.

  • It’s not too tight, which is comfortable in hot weather.

What I Don’t Like

  • The bottom of the sock has thin padding and all the socks in my pack only lasted about a year before getting holes.

  • Not good for 8″ boots and taller.

What Other Reviewers Say

Outdoor workers with diabetes loved how these socks didn’t cut off their circulation like a tighter work sock would.

There were a few complaints about how the bottom could be more padded, but there were just as many people who agreed that this quality added to the sock’s coolness.

The Verdict

Thanks to a mix of fit, cotton make-up, and moisture control fibers, the Dickies Dri-tech Moisture Control Crew Socks are great for hot environments. While I’d still pick the Camel City Mill Lightweight if you struggle with sweaty feet, these Dickies socks are a decent budget friendly alternative (if you’re willing to replace them every 6-12 months.

Best for Hot Weather
Dickies Dri-Tech Moisture Control Crew Socks

Steel toe boots are heavy, and you’ll need socks that counter that with comfort and breathability, but don't skimp on the support factor. The Dri-Tech Crew Socks provide all of that, while also controlling moisture for guys with sweaty feet.

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Best for Cold Weather: Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Socks

wigwam thick wool socks front and profile view on model
These are padded all around. They’re seriously cushioned socks.

The Wigwam Merino Comfort Hikers are full cushion socks made of 67% Merino wool, which is crucial in cold weather. What makes these soar above the other cold weather socks out there though is that, unlike that ugly Christmas sweater, they’re not itchy.

Most “Merino wool” socks are anywhere between 15-25% Merino wool. These Wigwams are a whopping 67%.

The fabric composite of these socks efficiently holds warmth between the fibers. Even though it’s considered a mid-weight sock, this makes it warmer than a synthetic sock of the same weight.

Wigwam has the highest amount of wool in their socks compared to the other Merino wool brands, but I actually think that has a negative effect here. They’re really nice and durable, but I’ve had a decent amount of pilling on these so far. Definitely much more than on my Camel City Mill or Darn Tough socks.

Also, these lack the cool features other brands have like the ribbed padding of the Camel City Lightweight or the fat steel toe of the Fox River.

What I Like

  • It relies on material type and cooling technology to effectively keep your foot warm, instead of bulk, which can be uncomfortable inside your boot.

  • Wigwam socks are 100% American made.

  • Merino wool effectively neutralizes odor.

What I Don’t Like

  • Some find the top band a bit tight. I think Wigwam does that to counteract that the high percentage of wool doesn’t stay up as long.

  • The high percentage of wool leads to a lot of pilling and some general “looseness” of the sock over time.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers were pleased that these socks are 100% made in the USA.

The Verdict

If you’re going on a winter hike or you’re an Alaskan logger, Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Socks are for you. Even from personal experience, I’ve found it difficult to find a warm work sock that won’t make my boot feel like it’s a size too small and cause foot pain. By relying on specific material types and warming technology, these socks work smarter, not harder.

Best for Cold Weather
Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker 2-Pack

If you’re going on a winter hike or you’re an Alaskan logger, Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Socks are for you. Even from personal experience, I’ve found it difficult to find a warm work sock that won’t make my boot feel like it’s a size too small. By relying on specific material types and warming technology, these socks work smarter, not harder.

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Most Durable: Camel City Mill Heavyweight Wool Work Sock

camel city mill heavyweight wool boot sock on model
Excellent cushion and padding on these socks. Plus, I love their 10-year durability guarantee.

Camel City Mill literally only has two socks: the Lightweight and the Heavyweight, and I definitely didn’t want to leave this one off the list because it’s my top pick for durable socks.

Like the Lightweight, the Camel City Mill Heavyweight is made with Ironside Merino wool, but has heavy cushion in the toe, heel, and throughout the footbed for extra comfort. There’s also extra padding through the calf, so this is a great sock for western work boots or any boot 8″ and taller.

I’ll probably be rocking my Heavyweights all winter long because they keep my feet warm. And since they’re wool, my feet don’t get sweaty.

What I Like

  • Heavy cushion in the toe and heel make these a great sock for safety-toe boots.

  • They’re mid-calf socks and they stay up for at least 12 hours without having to adjust them.

  • They’re not so thick that your boot won’t fit—they’re more dense than thick, which means you can wear them comfortably.

What I Don’t Like

  • They only come in size L and XL, which will fit guys with boot sizes 8-13.

  • I want to see a tan or khaki version of this sock.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers who have to go out in the cold with steel toe boots love this sock. If you’ve ever had to work in the freezing cold with a steel toe on, you know how bad it can get.

The Verdict

For a winter-weight wool work sock, I think the Camel City Mill Heavyweight is the best way to go. They’re over the calf, and they stay hiked up throughout the day. If you wear 8″ boots or taller, these will keep your calves and shins comfortable.

Even though they’re dense, because they’re wool, my feet never got sweaty or hot when wearing them, and they didn’t smell after a long day of work.

BootSpy's #1 Heavyweight Sock
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.

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Best for Sweaty Feet: KMM Moisture Wicking Work Boot Crew Socks

KMM Moisture Wicking socks front and profile view on foot
KMM socks. They’re inexpensive, you get a lot, and they’re simple.

This pair of socks is reinforced with high-density fibers and a mesh construction design on the top for breathability. The spandex also allows the tip to move with your toes better than most socks.

These are really best for the budget-restricted buyer. They’re basic cotton socks, and good for the price, but they don’t hold a candle to some of the other brands on this list. Plus, look at how they showed up at my door:

kmm socks shipping package tear
Maybe the delivery guy took one for himself?

Comfort-wise, KMMs are well cushioned in high-impact areas and feature arch support. This superior cushioning is the big difference between these socks and my pick for the best hot weather socks.

What I Like

  • There’s just enough polyester in the blend so that it’s durable and won’t shrink, but won’t get in the way of the socks’ cooling properties.

  • They’re affordable.

What I Don’t Like

  • They snag easily, so always wash gently. They’ll wear out much more quickly compared to the wool brands on this list.

What Other Reviewers Say

Many reviewers were impressed with how long these socks lasted, even after dozens and dozens of washes.

The Verdict

Through a combination of sophisticated comfort technology and moisture-wicking technology, KMM Moisture Wicking Work Boot Crew Socks ensure your feet rarely sweat, but take care of the moisture in the event they do. They’re also a great comfort option.

Best for Sweaty Feet
KMM Moisture Wicking Work Boot Crew Socks

If you want cozy socks that don’t make you sweat, the KMM Moisture Wicking Heavy Duty Work Boot Socks are your guys. You can easily find packets of 10 for about $25, making these some of the most affordable yet effective sweat-wicking socks in their price range.

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Best Over the Calf: Darn Tough Paul Bunyan Over the Calf Socks

darn tough over the calf paul bunyan sock putting on western work boots

The point of having an over the calf sock is to ensure it stays on your leg. The last thing you want when you’re mid-aim during a hunting trip or moving a huge log is to be distracted by a slipping sock.

The leg of the Darn Tough Paul Bunyan OTC Sock goes as far up as your knee, effectively making your calf an anchor.

Another quality that helps these socks stick to your leg is its makeup. These over the calf work socks are 65% Merino wool, which is known for its strength and comfort. There’s also a touch of nylon and spandex for flexibility and durability in the mix.

For extra comfort, the inside of the sock is terry looped, which means a loop is formed between every stitch to create more cushioning.

What I Like

  • They’re true to size.

  • The use of Merino wool and the length of the leg keep these socks from slipping down.

  • The terry-looped Merino wool, nylon, and spandex make these socks stretchy and comfortable, despite how snug they are.

What I Don’t Like

  • Since they’re more likely to be exposed than shorter socks, I wish they came in a variety of colors.

What Other Reviewers Say

It seems these socks fit well for people of most sizes, even guys with larger calves. Of course, the brand name “Darn Tough” certainly invites criticism if they don’t live up to it. But reviewers stand by the name, with some saying they’ve owned their Darn Tough work socks for several years.

The Verdict

Darn Tough Paul Bunyan Over the Calf Socks are an effective solution to concerns over falling socks, but also a good liner for winter days when layers are a good idea.

Over the calf length socks stay on your leg better than shorter work socks, so opt for these if that’s your primary concern.

Best Over the Calf
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.

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Best Cushion: MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks

Mirmaru cotton padded socks front and profile view on model

There are three reasons the MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks win my award for best cushioned work socks:

First, they’re made of 55% combed cotton, which is a special process that makes it softer than other cottons. What’s left are the longest, straightest, and highest-quality fibers. These fibers are then piled weaved, which means extra fabric extends above the foundation for extra cushioning. 

MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks are also reinforced with high-density fibers and cushioning under the foot. This protects from shear and stops blisters.

Finally, these socks are designed to be compressed and elastic. This means they gently support and protect your arch, as well as your heels and ankles. The compression also holds the sock securely on the calf.

What I Like

  • They have a fun style and come in great color options.

  • The combed cotton is smooth,comfortable, and durable.

  • The high-density fibers and pile cushioning prevent shear.

What I Don’t Like

  • They run small, so order one size up.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers love these socks for their comfort and durability.

I found some reviews saying the socks are so tight that they leave marks on the calf. Follow my advice and order the next size up to avoid this same fate.

The Verdict

Because of the combed cotton and the special cushioning technology, MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks are the most comfortable socks on our list.

Best Cushion
MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks

Because of the combed cotton and the special cushioning technology, MIRMARU Outdoor Trekking Crew Socks are the most comfortable socks on our list. They’re also one of the best support socks outside of medical grade compression socks.

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5 Things to Consider When Choosing Socks For Work Boots

model putting on thorogood work boot over camel city mill wool work sock

Size and Snugness: Always see if the sock runs big or small. If the sock doesn’t fit you perfectly, you run the risk of discomfort. The sock may slip or bunch up in your boot.

Leg Height: Over the calf socks stick to your leg better than shorter socks. If you’re more comfortable with shorter socks, just make sure they’re tight enough so they don’t ride down.

Material: Cotton is breathable, spandex is flexible, but wool is the best of the best when it comes to work sock materials. Wool—specifically Merino wool—is comfortable, breathable, durable, doesn’t get stinky, doesn’t let your feet get sweaty. It’s a fantastic material.

Durability: Polyester is often used to fortify work socks. Make sure you read descriptions so you aren’t investing in something that doesn’t have a proven track record.

Comfort: How comfortable you are in your socks is the best way to know if they’re working. If there’s insufficient arch support for example, you’ll feel it. 

Price: There are always deals out there. Overall, you get what you pay for and you never want to compromise on safety.

Socked and Loaded 

My go-to all-round socks for work are the Camel City Mill Lightweight because of their durability, reduced friction, and ability to stay in place. They make stiff work boots more comfortable to wear and my feet never got sweaty in them.

Best Overall Work Sock
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

And if you’re rocking a pair of steel toe boots, your best bet is the Fox River Steel Toe Heavyweight Crew.

Just remember that your work boots are only as good as the socks you pair them with. We’re pretty confident that one of these guys will do you well.

Most Rugged
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

FAQs

Should I wear thick socks with work boots?

Most work socks are thicker than regular socks due to added cushioning and support, but socks that are too thick might make your boot feel too tight. It’s more important to wear socks that are comfortable for you, with proper support, and with a longer leg than the boot shaft itself.

How do you keep socks dry in work boots?

To avoid outside moisture, make sure to wear waterproof work boots. To avoid sweat moisture, use moisture wicking socks. You can also put foot powder or an antiperspirant on your foot before you put your sock on, and a little bit in the shoe.

What type of socks should I wear with steel toe boots?

Wear work socks with cushioning in high-impact areas, like the ball and the heel, and a reinforced arch for extra support.

How can I stop my feet from sweating in my work boots?

Wear moisture wicking socks and use foot powder or an antiperspirant. Again, put the powder or antiperspirant on your foot and in the boot.

What socks are good if you stand all day?

If you stand all day for work, you want something with cushion in the heel and toe. I recommend the Camel City Mill Lightweight because it keeps your feet dry and also provides comfort for the ball of your foot and your heels.

Is cotton or polyester better for work socks?

Cotton is better than polyester, but wool is better than both cotton and polyester. If you want a comfortable and long-lasting work sock, you should get a wool sock. Wool socks are great in the summer heat also because wool is 35% better at wicking moisture compared to polyester and cotton.

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