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When temperatures drop, there are few things more uncomfortable than chilly toes. To get a foothold on this problem, it’s worth investing in a comfy pair of thermal socks so your feet can feel warm and cosy both at home and when you’re out and about.
Usually made from heat-insulating fabrics like wool, thermal socks tend to be thicker than your average pair of socks, and many are designed to offer extra support and cushioning - perfect if you’re looking to keep warm when you’re walking the dog or cheering on the kids from the sidelines. Of course, there are cosy pairs that work just as well at home, when snuggling up under a duvet or on the sofa.
We’ve scoured the Mumsnet forums for Mumsnetter-recommended pairs to highlight the best thermal socks to invest in to keep your toes super snug all winter long.
If you're looking for more ways to keep cosy and warm this winter, we've also created guides to the best blanket hoodies, the best heated throw blankets, and the best heated gilets so you can stay snug whatever the weather.
Here are the best thermal socks to buy in 2022.
1. Best overall: Bonjour 4-Pack High Performance Ski Socks
Price: RRP £13 (4-pack) | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 53% cotton, 45% polyester, 2% elastane | Sizes: 4-7
If you’re looking for a product that’ll tick most boxes, you’re onto a winner with this thermal sock multipack from London-based brand, Bonjour. The socks have so many great features including inbuilt grip zones, shin padding and cushioning for extra foot and ankle support. And they’re knee-high to keep your legs as toasty and warm as your toes.
They’re stylish without being garish, and the main material is natural cotton so you’ll find them nice and breathable to wear while they keep you cosy and warm.
They come in a generous pack of four, so if you’re out hiking you’ll have plenty of spares to keep you going, and at £13, you’re looking at paying just over £3 per pair.
2. Best budget: TU Very Warm Boot Socks (3-Pack)
Price: RRP £8 (3-pack) | Buy now from TU
Material: 51% polyester, 29% wool, 10% acrylic, 8% polyamide, 1% viscose, 1% elastane | Sizes: 6-8.5, 9-12
A pair of socks that’ll keep your toes toasty warm but without a high price tag? Look no further than these boot socks from Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s.
Made from wool with added fibres, they’ll not only create warmth, but they’re also designed to allow your feet to stay ventilated throughout the day. A great feature for a budget-priced option as cheaper products are typically made from synthetic materials.
These socks also have a reinforced heel and toe for good support and comfort while you go about your day, and the subtle black and navy colour combo make them easy to wear with any outfit.
You get three in a pack for less than a tenner, which works out at just over two pounds per pair. For such good quality and design, this is a fantastic bargain.
3. Best for kids: Thermal Cotton Rich Wellie Socks
Price: RRP £6.50 | Buy now from Next
Material: 87% cotton, 12% nylon, 1% lycra Elastane | Sizes: 6-8.5, 9-12, 12.5-3.5, 4-7
A must-have for kids during the winter months is a pair of lined wellies for warmth and waterproofing. The best way to achieve maximum cosiness is with a pair of super thick and soft wellie socks that slot snugly into boots so they can splash about in ice-cold puddles while their feet stay warm and dry.
Kids who are big on style will love this eye-catching designs, including unicorn and rainbow prints. You’ll find a full range of children’s sizes available, from 6 infant through to 7 junior, and as they’re made from almost 90% breathable cotton, you can’t beat the quality.
These socks will be sure to last the whole winter, no matter what your kids throw at them.
They’re brilliant value for money to boot.
4. Best for durability: Darn Tough Lightweight Cushion Socks
Price: RRP £21 | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 54% polyamide, 43% wool (Merino), 3% elastane | Sizes: S, M, L
What Mumsnet users say
“If you want the very best that will last - Darn Tough” - recommended by Mumsnet user, bingohandjob
Made in Vermont, USA, these socks don’t come cheap, but they have some of the best reviews around. Designed for high performance, Darn Tough promises that you’ll experience “no slipping, no bunching, and no blisters”. The socks also feature invisible seams, so you won’t experience any friction from irritating bumps edges within the sock. The company pride themselves on their motto: "put it on, forget it's on”.
Easy to take care of, they can be popped in the washing machine, and the cute animal designs are available in a range of colours. You can also get them in an assortment of other, more subtle styles and plain block colours.
One thing worth mentioning (flagged in several reviews), is that the fit is pretty snug. If you like extra support inside your boots then go for your usual size, otherwise it's worth bearing in mind to purchase one size larger than what you’d normally opt for.
Prices start at around £20, so these socks are mostly aimed at the dedicated hiker who’s keen to invest in high-end equipment. If you have the cash to splash they’re definitely worth a look.
5. Best for comfort: Heat Holders Thick Fluffy Thermal Socks
Price: RRP £9 | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 91% acrylic, 5% polyamide, 3% polyester, 1% elastane | Sizes: 4-8
What Mumsnet users say
“I have loads of pairs of Heat Holders. They are great” - recommended by Mumsnet user, SunbathingDragon
Heat Holders are probably the most well-known brand when it comes to thermal socks. They’ve got a great reputation for cosiness, warmth and decent quality. Priced at the higher end of the market, at around £10 for a pair, these aren't a bargain buy but if you want guaranteed comfort and warmth, then these are a great option - the company even goes as far as to say their socks are seven times warmer than a regular cotton sock.
They’re available in a huge variety of colours and styles. You can literally shop around for hours until you find the perfect pair for you.
It’s worth pointing out that they’re made from completely synthetic materials, so could make your feet a little sweaty after a while. The fabric won’t allow for much natural air circulation to flow through to your feet while wearing them, so you may need to take them off at intervals to let your feet ‘air out’.
These socks are best for use at home, when you’re snuggling up on the sofa or staying cosy in bed. They’re pretty bulky, so they won’t feel comfortable in a pair of shoes, although they’d work well as wellie liners to keep feet warm on a cold and wet day out walking.
The Heat Holders’ name is inspired by the product’s design that combines innovative knitting technology to produce a fluffy cushioned pile that holds in warm air - and honestly, it really works!
6. Best long socks: M&S Collection 2-Pack Thermal Knee-High Socks
Price: RRP £10 (2-pack) | Buy now from M&S
Material: 93% viscose, 6% polyamide and 1% elastane lycra | Sizes: 3-5, 6-8, 3-5W, 6-8W
When it gets really cold outside, then it’s well worth pulling on a pair of cosy knee-high socks and these M&S Collection socks fit the bill.
Using Freshfeet™ technology, these socks have a reinforced heel and toe so they won't wear out easily. The fabric has added stretch for a flexible, comfortable fit, and antibacterial properties help to keep away bad odours - a great choice for all-day activities or even long commutes to work.
They come in a handy pack of two, and at £10, they’re great value. Considering the high quality and design, this is a pretty reasonable price and you can choose from two colours: charcoal grey or black.
7. Best for hiking: Danish Endurance Outdoor Walking Socks
Price: RRP £30 (3-pack) | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 38% wool, 35% polyamide, 24% polypropylene, 3% elastane | Sizes: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13-15
What Mumsnet users say
“I have some Danish Endurance socks from Amazon that are a merino wool blend and nice and warm. I have other winter socks but these are my favourite” - recommended by Mumsnet user, MinervaTerrathorn
If you’re looking for a high performance pair to support your feet during intensive activities like hiking or winter sports, then Danish Endurance is a brand you can rely on.
Targeted cushioning helps to reduce the risk of blisters and sore feet, making these socks really reliable for treks, long rambles and other outdoor adventures. They’ll be equally useful if you’re on the go all day.
Danish Endurance products are personally tested by an Everest mountaineer (Rasmus Kragh) who makes sure that the socks continuously maintain high quality standards. The brand is also conscious of their manufacturing standards, focusing on ensuring fair trade.
At just over £30, they’re not cheap, but you do get three pairs in the pack and you can choose from a variety of colours to suit your personal taste. They also have an ‘anti-hole guarantee’, meaning that if a hole appears in the socks during the first year of purchase the company will replace them for free.
8. Best for extreme cold: Quechua 2-Pack Warm Hiking Socks
Price: RRP £25 (2-pack) | Buy now from Decathlon
Material: 88% wool, 11% polyamide, 1% elastane | Sizes: 35/38, 39/42
These socks by Decathlon’s own brand, Quechua, have been specifically designed for durability and high performance in extremely cold weather. Whether it's skiing in the mountains or hiking on a freezing cold day, you’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of super cool temperatures while your feet stay warm and protected.
Plush merino wool on the inside ensures maximum comfort and air circulation, while for added strength, the outside is reinforced with multi-stranded polyamide to keep your feet fully supported in extreme weather conditions.
These don’t come cheap, at £24.99 for two pairs, but the superior design and materials make them worth the extra cash.
9. Best multipack: YSense 5-Pack Wool Socks
Price: RRP £15 (5-pack) | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 36% polyester, 35% wool, 29% cotton | Sizes: 4-8
This multipack of warm socks has some great online reviews. The best thing about them is the variety of great styles and designs in each pack. Choose from Nordic designs, block colours, stripes and even cutsey cats.
Made from a substantial combination of wool and cotton, these socks are breathable as well as warm. They can be worn around the house for extra winter cosiness, or as a great liner for boots and shoes - many reviews rave about them not being too thick and bulky so that they can be comfortably worn as regular socks.
A small downside is that they can only be hand washed. However, of all items to hand wash, socks are probably the least labour-intensive, so it should be too much of a chore.
Another positive element is the price. Multipacks are often a great way to save cash, but with five pairs for just under £12, it works out at less than £2.50 a pair. The bright, eye-catching design and cosy comfort would definitely make these socks a fabulous stocking filler for family and friends.
10. Best thermal bed socks: Good Ideas 3-Pack Thermal Bed Socks
Price: RRP £11 (3-pack) | Buy now from Amazon
Material: 90% acrylic, 10% polyester | Sizes: 4-8
If you’re looking for a cosy pair of socks to wear at home or in bed, then look no further than these soft and fuzzy ones from Good Ideas. They have great reviews, mostly focused on the extreme comfort and softness, as well as the quality material that doesn't shrink in the wash.
You get a pack of three socks for around £11, which quite honestly is a bargain, and the colours are nice and subtle pastel shades of pink, blue and white.
The obvious downside to these socks is that they’re made from completely synthetic materials, so your feet may get a little sweaty when the temperature gets too warm. Overall though, considering the great price and super comfort, these socks were well worth purchasing.
Do thermal socks really work?
Absolutely. The materials used in thermal socks are naturally heat-inducing, or woven using special design technology, to trap hot air into the socks. Many thermal socks are bulked up too, so they insulate your feet, protecting sensitive skin from getting a chill. If you suffer from cold feet during the winter months, then it’s definitely worth buying a pair of thermal socks.
What are thermal socks made from?
A variety of fabrics. Usually a combination based on performance requirements. Some will have a high wool or cotton content to encourage breathability, which is important for comfort during outdoor activities such as hiking.
You can also find socks made for the sole purpose of staying cosy at home. These are often made from synthetic materials like acrylic to keep maximum heat inside the socks. Bear in mind that synthetic materials can cause your feet to sweat, so you might feel the need to take them off and cool down at regular intervals. On the upside though, they usually carry a more reasonable price tag than socks made from organic, natural materials.
Can you wear shoes with thermal socks?
Yes, but take care to choose the right socks if you intend to wear them with shoes.
Many thermal socks are designed as cosy house slippers and will be made from synthetics materials, which aren’t very breathable and won’t be comfortable in a pair of shoes. These kind of socks can also be bulky, so you’ll have a hard time squeezing your feet into a pair of shoes with all that fluffy fabric in the way.
If you want to find a pair of thermal socks that’ll comfortably slip into your shoes, then opt for more high quality ones made from merino wool or thick cotton. These will almost certainly have more of a sheer feel, and natural fibres will allow air to circulate within your shoes, keeping feet fresh as you go about your day.
What are the best thermal socks to buy?
We rate the Bonjour High Performance Ski Socks. They have so many great features including inbuilt grip zones, shin padding and cushioning for extra foot and ankle support. They come in statement colours and a great value to boot.
How we chose our recommendations
We did some online research, looking at which thermal socks had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them. We also spent hours on the Mumsnet forums to highlight thermal sock reviews and recommendations from real parents.
We consulted independent review sites, as well as scouring the internet for honest reviews to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of thermal socks.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.
We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.
If you decided to buy something that we recommended as a result of our research, we usually (not always) get paid affiliate commission from the retailer where you make a purchase. But, if you weren't impressed with the product and decided to return it, we wouldn't make a penny.