merino wool socks
None of these links are affiliate links. They are just products I’ve used personally or other people have recommended to me.

Merino wool comes from Merino sheep that originated in Spain but were domesticated in New Zealand. Merino sheep have soft fine wool that performs well for modern athletes, hikers, and sportspeople.

This guide will help you decide whether you should invest in merino socks and which pair you should buy.

Table of Contents

  1. Why should you consider merino wool socks?
  2. Top Brands
  3. What height should you buy?
  4. Fabric: Blends or 100% wool?
  5. Everyday Wear Recommendations

Why you should consider merino wool socks

You might need a little time to get over the initial sticker shock the cost of merino wool socks.

But once you do, it’s just possible that you’ll never go back to cotton socks again.

Merino wool socks have the ability to wick away moisture from your feet. Combine that with their antibacterial properties, and you’ll cut down on stinky socks.

Also, merino wool retains warmth even when wet and they don’t feel as sticky when wet.

That’s perfect whether you’re hiking, cycling to work or cycling around the world.

Survivalist types like to keep merino socks around in case the world takes a step back to the stone ages.

It might sound slightly weird. Shucks, it may BE weird, but people get kinda of addicted to merino wool clothing!

Top Brands

Some of the big players in the industry are SmartWool, Icebreaker and, my personal favorite, Darn Tough socks.

You’ll also find merino wool socks at Costco. They offer good quality and unbeatable prices as low as $11.99 for 4 pairs.

If you’re looking for value, you can keep an eye at Sierra Trading Post and REI outlets for discounts.

What height should you buy?

Socks come in all sorts of heights with names such as crew, 1/4 length, no-show and so forth. It can be a little confusing, so here’s a guide to understanding the different sizes:

Sock height chart

Fabric: Blends or 100% wool?

Typically, you’ll find that most socks are a blend of merino wool with nylon and Spandex/Lycra/elastane. The reason is that merino by itself is often not as strong as cotton. By blending merino with other fabrics, you can get a more durable sock while keeping the positive characteristics of merino.

A higher percentage of merino wool in the blend isn’t necessarily a sign of quality. Darn Tough socks – some of the strongest I’ve ever used – have a lower percentage of merino wool, but make up for it with durability.

However, I’ve found that a higher % of Merino wool does mean that they feel softer to wear.

Everyday Wear Recommendations

For every-day office usage and cycling to work:

WOMEN: Darn Tough Vertex Tab No Show Ultra Light

Material: 54% Nylon, 40% Merino Wool, 6% Lycra® Spandex
Cushioning: Ultra-Light
Advantages: incredibly durable, works well for everyday shoes thanks to no-show sock height.
Drawbacks: The merino is a little coarser than other merino socks.

See Darn Tough Tough Vertex Tab No Show

MEN: Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool Dress Crew Light Sock

Material: 49% Nylon, 46% Merino Wool, 5% Lycra® Spandex
Cushioning: Light
Advantages: incredibly durable, works well with dress shoes or sport shoes due to the light cushioning
Drawbacks: The merino is a little coarser than other merino socks.

These socks are crew socks, so they come to mid-calf length. They have a thin layer of cushioning, so you’ll find that they work well with dress shoes or sport sessions.

I’ve worn a pair of these weekly for four years before I finally retired them.

See Darn Tough Dress Crew Light Sock

Anything to Add?

I hope you found this guide useful, and please add any recommendations/suggestions below in the comments.