The Best Hunting Socks For 2024 Tested & Reviewed

Three pairs of hunting socks hanging on a tree branch
2024’s Best Hunting Socks: here is a small sampling of some of my stockings hanging around in camp.

Is your big toe sticking through the end of your hunting socks? Well, buddy, it’s time to let that pair go and grab yourself a snug, breathable, and durable new pair from this guide to 2024’s best hunting socks.

As an avid hunter and guide in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, I’ve spent much time researching and testing hunting gear. From boots and knives to hunting packs and socks, I’ve got my hands on some amazing products over the years.

In this guide, I want to share with you my top picks for hunting socks. I’ve hand-selected and reviewed the 11 best pairs on the market today from top brands like KUIU, Darn Tough, and Smartwool, as well as some great options from blue-collar brands like Carhartt and RealTree.

Whether you’re hunting in warm or cold weather, need socks for sweaty feet, or require stalking socks for archery, you’ll find the perfect pair on this list. I’ve researched, tested, consulted with lifelong hunters, and compiled this no-nonsense guide to help keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable this hunting season.

So let’s dive in and explore the best hunting socks you can buy!

Why Picking The Right Hunting Sock Matters

Why Picking the Right Hunting Sock Matters

Hunting success is much like a wristwatch. All the gears, cogs, and pieces must work together for your hunt to function correctly. Harvesting an animal works the same way; it’s about putting all the pieces together at the right time and in the right place.

Warm, dry, and toasty feet are a critical piece of this puzzle and one you certainly should not overlook. There is a reason some hunters consistently harvest animals like clockwork, and it’s because they are well prepared, from their bow sights to their skinning knives to their… socks. 

But not all hunting socks are created the same. That’s why we’ve included several recommendations for different types of hunts and hunters.

Best All-Around Hunting Socks

If you don’t want to fuss about your feet and crave the best possible pair of hunting socks for the 2024 season, look no further. The following recommendations will serve you well during various hunts and ever-changing weather. For our money, it doesn’t get any better than the following:

Darn Tough Hunter Over-The-Calf Heavyweight

darn tough sock sticking out of zamberlan hunting boot
These are the best socks for my Zamberlan Outfitters – Photos By: Josh Riley Eat Elk Meat

Would you just look at that? Darn Tough rings in again as 2024’s absolute best all-around hunting sock on the market (They’ve taken the top spot three years) They suit anyone searching for a trusted go-to brand that won’t disappoint them during their hunt, regardless of season.

Thanks to their unprecedented durability, breathability, and versatility, Darn Tough has quickly become the leader in hiking, backpacking, and hunting socks. Their “Hunter” model helps prevent blisters with seamless technology that eliminates creases that rub against the skin and create blisters.

I like these over-the-calf socks best because they keep my boots from rubbing on my calves and have an “invisible feel,” eliminating distracting bunching or friction. This makes them great for my style of hunting. Darn Tough’s moisture-wicking merino wool also means that your feet will stay warm and dry in almost any condition.

Did we mention these socks are unconditionally guaranteed for life? If and when they wear out, send them back to Darn Tough, and they’ll ship you another pair in return, no questions asked. One pair of these bad boys could literally last a lifetime. I’ve owned mine for four years, and they’re in as good of shape now as they were in year one.

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 79% Merino wool, 19% nylon, 2% lycra spandex
  • Fit: Over-the-calf
  • Why We Think It’s The Best: Rugged and warm, these are my go-to rifle-hunting socks that I pair with my Zamberlan Outfitter boots. When I’m packing out elk in the snow, I need a sock that’s both breathable and warm.
  • Potential Drawbacks: If your feet run hot, then consider the mid-weight version.
  • Darn Tough Vs KUIU: We’re splitting hairs here but the crown goes to Darn Tough because, hey, they’re a sock company darn it! KUIU is upper-crust, we get it, but they play second fiddle in the sock game for yet another year!

KUIU ULTRA Merino Over-The-Calf

Ultra-cushioned pair of over-the-calf KUIU brand socks

If you’ve spent any amount of time on our website, you know by now that we’re addicted to KUIU gear. Why? Because they consistently produce second-to-none products like the ULTRA Merino. If you’re searching for a high-end sock that offers a tad more cushion and stretch than the Darn Toughs I just mentioned, look no further.

As you might expect, these bad boys sport super moisture-wicking and odor-resistant Merino wool that keeps your feet fresh as you stack up the miles. Their ribbed padding offers protection in high-wear areas that contact your boot, which helps keep your ankles and feet pain-free as you trudge through the backcountry. They don’t cut off circulation, cause blisters, or bunch up, either. What more could you ask for?

I’ve worn these socks and only these socks on a 7-day spike camp. Like the Darn Toughs above, they hold up to abuse. I’ve found the design allows for better blood flow to the foot, so my feet don’t feel all tight when I carry heavy loads downhill.

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 55% Merino wool, 25% nylon, 15% lycra, 5% lycra spandex
  • Fit: Over-the-calf, elastic and cushioned in several areas
  • Why We Love Them: KUIU doesn’t miss often, and these socks are no different. Every minute detail of these socks was designed with real backcountry ultralight hunters in mind.
  • Potential Drawbacks: Hey, man, we get it. Since when did we get to where we’re paying $35 for a pair of socks? A three-pack of these will set you back about a hundred bucks! Ouch.
  • KUIU VS. Smartwool: If it’s quality you’re after, go with KUIU here. If you’re trying to save a couple of quid, Smartwool heavyweight socks perform much like the ULTRA Merinos, but without all the bells and whistles like elastic bands and precision cushioning.

VIEW ON KUIU

Zamberlan Sawtooth boot

WIN A PAIR OF ZAMBERLAN SAWTOOTH BOOTS + SOCKS!

We’re giving away a pair of Zamberlan Sawtooth Boots (and Merino wool socks) to a random member of our newsletter on July 4th, 2024!

Subscribers will be automatically entered into ALL future EatElkMeat.com Gear Giveaways.

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Warmest Socks for Cold Weather

Here are a few recommendations for our favorite cold-weather hunting socks of 2024. These socks have proven time and time again to keep hunters’ feet warm and dry as the temperature drops below freezing. In short, keep your mind on the hunt, and not your toes, when the mercury falls.

Smartwool Hunt Classic Maximum Cushion

A hunters foot thats wearting a smartwool sock taking a little rest in the woods
I like to take my boots off mid-day and let my dogs breathe a little.

I’m partial to Smartwool socks because I’ve worn them in the field for several winters, and they haven’t let me down.

However, the Smartwool I was used to for the past few years was apparently discontinued this past season. So, I snagged a pair of their Hunt Classics, and they’re every bit as warm and toasty as their Heavy Crew.

Smartwool is flat-out warm, so I recommend it only for cold-weather hunters who need their feet to breathe when trudging along on frozen earth. 

Pro Tip: If your feet ever get sweaty in extra heavy socks and your toes turn to icicles when you stop moving, grab some Wigwam Gobi Liner Socks. They’ll remove moisture from your feet and keep them nice and toasty. 

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 74% Merino wool, 25% nylon, 1% elastane
  • Fit: Crew – they barely reach over my hunting boots
  • Why We Think They Are The Warmest: Keeping your toes warm is the product of a dry foot that is well insulated. The thickness of the merino wool keeps the heat nestled around my foot while wicking away any sweat. These socks are warmest because, well, they are the thickest!
  • Potential Drawbacks: My feet run warm, so I’ve noticed them getting a little sweaty in these after a lot of hiking. It’s not bad, but it’s something to be aware of. Nothing some sock liners can’t fix.
  • Smartwool Hunt vs. Fox River: In my experience, both of these brands lack durability and the ability to be worn for days on end without stinking. However, Fox River does make great Merino wool socks, and their military heavyweight sock stacks up very close to Smartwool Hunt socks.

Carhartt Arctic Boot Sock

Calf length tan and grey hunting sock from carhartt

Dubbed “the working man’s sock,” Carhartt has kept regular guys’ and gals’ feet warm since 1889. Their Arctic Boot is designed for the most rugged conditions a hunt can bring. While compiling this list, I took the advice of a lifelong moose hunter in Alaska, a buddy of mine, Ted, who told me to look no further than this pair of affordable, heavyweight wool socks.

He says these are among the best hunting socks he’s owned because they keep his feet warm during brutal Alaskan conditions. I don’t own a pair of these specific socks, but I know you can’t go wrong with them. Why? Because it’s Carhartt, for crying out loud. How often have they ever let you down? 

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 63% Wool, 24% nylon, 12% acrylic, 1% spandex
  • Fit: Boot – great for midlength boots
  • Why We Trust Carhartt: We grew up with Carhartt. I know it, you know it. Carhartt is for people who work hard and play hard.
  • Drawbacks: Not entirely merino wool. The main difference between these socks and others above is that these will likely not hold up for days on end like Darn Tough will.
  • Carhartt Arctic VS. WIGWAM Woodland: I also own a few pairs of WIGWAM that I snagged at a big box store. Their merino wool is comparable to what you get from Carhartt and is a few bucks less.

VIEW ON AMAZON

RealTree Heavyweight Tall All-Season

RealTree merino wool over-the-calf foot warmers

RealTree brought the heat when they released this budget-friendly pair of Merino wool socks. With full cushioning and a high level of insulation, these are meant for hunters who spend time trudging through chilly late-season conditions.

No, these aren’t engineered with the same attention to detail as the Darn Toughs above, nor do they offer a lifetime warranty, but they should perform well in the field regardless.

RealTree makes the best option around for cold-weather hunters looking to save a couple of bucks to spend on dip. (Or, whatever. Who doesn’t like more money?)

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 80% Merino wool, 17% nylon, 3% spandex
  • Fit: Over-the-calf – works best with tall boots
  • What We Like: They are affordable! I guide 50+ days a year, and I can’t afford Darn Tough for every pair. These are some trusty entry-level merino wool socks that will get the job done for a fraction of the price.
  • Drawbacks: No lifetime warranty. Honestly, I haven’t put enough miles on these to make a real judgment call on durability. So far, so good, though.
  • RealTree VS. Cabelas: Cabelas has a comparable pair of Merino wool socks, but it’s Cabelas! You might end up signing up for a credit card when you go in to buy a pair of socks!

VIEW ON AMAZON

Breathable Socks for Warm Weather

Not all hunts occur in frigid conditions, so we’ve included the best sock recommendations for the warmer months. Whether it be a warm September archery elk hunt or a summer African safari hunt, you can go wrong with the following two recommendations.

Darn Tough Coolmax Boot (Non- Merino Wool)

two feet laying in a hammock at camp. The feet have darn tough hunting socks on them
Once again, it’s naptime with the boots off to cool my feet down! Photo: Josh Riley Eat Elk Meat

I couldn’t help but add another pair of Darn Tough socks to this list. Again, they provide an unconditional lifetime warranty on their socks, meaning if they wear out, you can send them back for a new pair. We like these Coolmax polyester socks because they keep your feet dry, cool, and comfortable when hunting on a hot late-summer afternoon.

The Coolmax boot socks are also great for warm-weather hiking, backpacking, and backcountry fishing trips. Ultimately, Darn Tough’s Coolmax Polyester enables your feet to breathe and pulls moisture away from your foot, making them the best warm-weather hunting socks on the market.

I love merino wool and use it whenever possible. But not all situations call for such a “stuffy” sock. What I love about my Cookmax Darn Toughs is that my feet feel like they can breathe when they start to get a little sweaty.

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 60% Coolmax polyester, 31% nylon, 6% acrylic, 3% lycra spandex
  • Fit: Full-cushioned boot – great for days where you know you are going to be putting on the miles
  • What We Like: This specific model has a really lightweight feel to it; if you’re not a Merino wool person, this is the best you can get, in our opinion.
  • Drawbacks: When it comes to performance socks not made of wool, they’re upper echelon. Our only question is: why are there no cost savings given the less-expensive materials to make the CoolMax?
  • Darn Tough VS. Fox River Ramble:  Fox River’s Ramble sock is pretty much the spitting image of the Darn Tough CoolMax. If you can pick either sock up on sale, go for it!

Farm To Feet Boulder Light Cushion

two feet in the sunlight wearing farm to feet
I love the added cushion and the soft feel of F2F. My hiking shoes love them. Photos By: Josh Riley Eat Elk Meat

New for 2024, F2F dethrones Smartwool for the top spot in the lightweight merino category. I recently snagged a pair of these Boulder socks, and after wearing them on a couple of hikes, I decided that they deserve to be on the list.

F2F’s Boulder sock is made from 100% merino, but surprisingly it is very breathable and keeps its cushion for several days of wear. What impressed me most when testing out these socks was that they dry out extremely fast. I hang them up, and within a half hour or so, they’re as dry as can be.

I am no stranger to getting my feet wet, especially in warm weather and early-season situations. It’s hard to say I’ll switch from Darn Tough, but I’ll definitely have a pair of Farm To Feet along with me this year.

Specs / Benefits / Drawbacks / Comparisons
  • Composition: 100% US Merino Wool
  • Fit: Crew is a perfect pair to match with Zamberlan Lynx Boots. 
  • Why We Like Them: I think the comfort/breathability matrix intersects perfectly with the Boulder sock. I would go as far as saying that they are the most comfortable on this list.
  • Drawbacks: So far, so good with these socks. Zero issues.
  • Farm To Feet VS. Darn Tough: Farm to Feet is also Made In the USA and has a rock-solid warranty, but it is significantly cheaper.

Heated Hunting Socks for Ultra-Cold Weather

It’s 2024, but you’ll live in the future once you buy a pair of these electronic, heated hunting socks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s saggy old cotton hunting socks, so he may call you a yellow belly and laugh in your face for wearing them. Rest assured, when you pop on a pair of these for your next frigid hunt, and Gramps is shivering in the tree stand, you’ll get the last laugh.

Volt Heat

Volt Heat brand black electric foot warmer for hunting, fishing, and outdoors

These bad boys from Volt Heat made our list of 2023’s best-heated hunting socks thanks to their high performance and 10 hours of runtime (battery life.) They make 2024’s list because they’re the only pair of heated stockings I’ve ever actually owned, and after three winters in the duck blind with them, I’ve got no qualms plugging them here for you.

Volt Heat utilizes a zero-layer heat system, which will keep your feet excellently heated in the most efficient way possible. They’re perfect for the spare-no-expense hunter with cold feet, no matter how thick his socks are.

Protip: Get to know the heat settings before entering the field.

  • Composition: 92% Micro polyester, 8% spandex
  • Fit: Full boot – warmth distributed evenly
  • Battery: 3-Volt 2.2AH Lithium-Polymer rechargeable batteries

VIEW ON VOLT HEAT

Snow Deer

Snow Deer brand heated rechargeable electric socks

We’ve also included this pair of electric stockings from Snow Deer to appease the budget-minded hunters among us. These are among the highest-rated heated socks on Amazon and are nearly half the price of the Volt Heats above.

Snow Deer strategically placed heating pads to warm the tops and bottoms of your feet, giving them an even distribution of warmth for even the coldest of weather. They also utilize CoolMax polyester, which will keep your feet well-heated while breathing enough to prevent sweat. 

  • Composition80% CoolMax polyester, 12%, polyester, 8% elastane
  • FitFull boot – warmth distributed evenly
  • Battery3.7 Volt 2.2AH Lithium-Polymer rechargeable batteries

VIEW ON AMAZON

Best Liner Socks For Sweaty Feet
Wigwam Gobi Liner Socks

Sweaty feet are a problem for several reasons. First, you don’t want to be Mr. or Ms. Stinky Feet while sitting around hunting camp. Secondly, sweaty feet can lead to blisters and ice-cold feet once they stop moving. Someone with consistently sweaty feet should consider these highly recommended hunting sock liners for their next hunt.

I personally don’t sweat enough to justify wearing these, but I included them on this list because Hunters and hikers report that Wigwam Gobi liners wick that extra moisture away and keep blisters at bay.

Pair these liners with any of the above-listed options, and you’ll sit pretty with dry feet on your next hunt. Many users of Wigwam sock liners report quality and long-lasting materials that can last for many years if taken care of properly.

If your feet don’t sweat much, I’d forgo these liners, as any of the above-listed socks will perform well without them. 

  • Composition: 95% Olefin, 4% nylon, 1% spandex
  • Fit: Crew – slightly longer in the calf area than other crew socks

VIEW ON AMAZON

Best Stalking Socks

Last on our list of 2024’s best hunting sock categories is the stalking sock. While some hunters just peel their boots off and stalk in their regular socks, you should consider purchasing a pair of actual stalking socks. After all, the socks on this list are expensive, and you’re likely to guff them up by trampling through the underbrush. They also don’t provide much protection from the elements, but luckily our recommendation does.

Skinner Minimalist Barefoot Shoes

Don’t scare the elk and deer away with those cloddy boots. Instead, order these stalking socks from Skinner. Barefoot sock shoes like these are perfect for bowhunters who utilize the spot-and-stalk method of hunting.

The barefoot feel of these socks allows you to silently close the distance between you and your prey while keeping your feet protected from the elements below. This sentiment is echoed on many bow-hunting forums, as many hunters have these at the ready on a backcountry elk or deer hunt. 

I’m usually too caught up in the heat of the moment to change into something like this. But if you’ve got the patience, I suggest scoring a pair of these rugged socks.

  • Composition: StretchKnit™, which is composed of 6 secret ultra-functional fibers.
  • Fit: Ankle – perfect for tossing on spur-of-the-moment during your hunt

VIEW ON AMAZON

Factors We Considered When Reviewing and Testing Hunting Socks

Hunter pulling up a camo sock
A lot goes into making a quality sock for your hard workin’ feet

How We Tested These Hunting Socks / Why You Can Trust Us

Did we run each of these socks on a 10,000-cycle Martindale abrasion test?

Did we put boiling water in each sock in our backyards and test the temperature after an hour?

No. I’ve already told you I’m a hunting guide and woodsman. I barely have enough time to sit at the computer and write this post. What I can tell you is that 180-200 days out of the year, I have a set of hiking or hunting boots on my feet, and you probably can’t reach me on my cell.

Eat Elk Meat staff is constantly in the field, hunting, fishing, or hiking, and consistently testing and reviewing gear. So the gear we use is the gear we test and review. We walk tens of thousands of steps a day up and down mountains, step in streams, and sweat and bleed in our socks.

All the socks we recommend must meet the following criteria.

Comfort & Fit

Saggy socks that don’t fit well will drive you crazy, so we only recommend products that hunters highly rate in terms of comfort. We don’t have time for socks that bunch up, create blisters, and ultimately let us down in the field, and neither should you.

Materials

Socks made from quality materials like Merino wool and Coolmax polyester will feel more comfortable, last longer, and perform better in the field. Your feet are the last thing you need to stress you out as you try to fill your tag, so we only recommend products made from these top-notch materials that’ll serve you well during specific seasons and situations.

Warmth

As an avid elk hunter who has spent months of my life living outdoors in Colorado’s fall and winter, I know that seriously chilly weather is what I signed up for. That’s why I considered the overall warmth of each pair of socks on this list and recommended products to keep your tootsies nice and toasty when the temperature drops.

“I enjoy having cold feet when I hunt.” – Absolutely Nobody Ever

Breathability

Whether you’re hunting in Arizona in 90-degree heat or trudging through the Montana backcountry in the bitter cold of December, your feet need to breathe. Socks that release moisture to keep your feet dry and blister-free will make your hunt much more enjoyable. That’s why we’ve recommended products known to ventilate your feet, regardless of the weather.

Durability

At $20+ a pop (and over $100 for the heated variety!), hunting socks are an investment that should last more than just a season or two. To help save you money and time, we recommend socks known to stand the test of time. Hunters put their gear through hell, so the products we purchase have got to be durable. Socks are no different.

Length

No, the length of your sock isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s certainly something we considered when putting together this list. When choosing a fit for your socks — whether crew, ankle, boot, or knee — consider the length of your footwear first. Ideally, you should wear a sock that rests a few inches comfortably above the top of your boot.

Cushion

I hike over a hundred miles through the backcountry every season, so I know firsthand how important cushioning is for my socks. I recommend light-cushioned socks for warm-weather hunters who don’t move around much, medium-cushioned socks for hike-in drop-camp hunters, and heavy-cushioned socks for backcountry hunters who expect chilly weather.

Which Socks Will You Wear on Your Upcoming Hunt?

Two green and black hunting socks that have R and L on them. They are Zamberlan Brand.

As I mentioned above, it’s a terrific idea to purchase multiple types of hunting socks from this list, give them a go in the field, and see what works best for you. The highly recommended socks on this list are meant to keep you focused on the hunt and keep you from agonizing about your feet.

Why trust us? After all, we’re just backcountry guides and lifelong hunters who test hunting gear for a living. Well, EatElkMeat.Com was started to help the average hunter get the real scoop on new gear and to make the great outdoors more accessible for everyone!

What are you going to do? Keep those hole-in-the-toe socks you already own. Or will you prepare yourself for the next hunt the right way? Whether it’s warm or cold weather hunting socks you’re looking for, any of the options on this list should keep your feet warm, dry, and blister-free, provided you use the right pair in the right situation.

So, whether you grab a pair of Darn Tough, Smartwool, Carhartt, or Volt Heat socks, you’ll be grateful that you invested in your feet as you trudge through the backcountry and try your darndest to fill that 2024 tag.

Because hunting season is too short, and we need all the help we can get to bring home a kill.

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Last Updated on February 5, 2024

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