Picture this: you're having an amazing day floating through the two feet of fresh pow that fell throughout the night. It's bluebird, the day is crisp, and your lungs are screaming with each inhalation of the cold fresh air. As you're waiting in the liftline to head back up the mountain, adrenaline rushing through your body from straight- lining that chute you've been looking at all year, you think to yourself, “Damn, my feet hurt, and they're cold, too.”
Nothing's worse than cold and/or uncomfortable feet when boarding. You know you're going down when you feel a blister coming on, or when your feet start tingling from either lack of warmth or lack of circulation. Socks are a vital ingredient when it comes to having a shred day. However, there are a plethora of socks to choose from with an insane variety of features … where to begin?
That's where we come in: to distinguish the specifics of each sock. Aside from the trendier qualities companies have developed lately (i.e., forward-flex technology), some of the more common themes throughout the world of socks seem to be a padded shin, a “no feel” toe seam, a turned welt top, a reinforced heel and toe, and elastic ankle support. There are many unique characteristics as well, such as a flat-knit side panel, a padded donut area over the top of the foot, and thin toe channels. What will they come up with next? Hopefully the following information will help you to choose which sock's best for you.
Bridgedale Snowboard–This wool/nylon-blend sock features forward-flex technology, ankle support, and an articulated Y heel to eliminate bunching at the ankle and sock movement; a moisture- management system for dry feet; and padded shin and calf areas for cushion and comfort.
Wigwam Ultimax Snowboard–Made mostly of acrylic and only ten-percent wool, this sock offers protection against blisters through its moisture-control system, which supposedly moves moisture and perspiration from the bottom of the sock to the top where it evaporates. It also features a Y heel pocket (which holds the sock in place), and an ultra-dense, thin sole to eliminate extra bulk and friction. Also available: Free Ride, Merino Wool Snowboard, and Merino Wool Comfort Snowboard.
Fox River Boarder Zone–This mid-calf, medium-weight sock contains premium worsted wool throughout for warmth and natural moisture control. It also features a Thermalined sole for shock absorption and insulation, a thinner panel over the arch for boot comfort, an elastic ankle panel, and a cushioned shin. Also available: Wick Dry Snowboard and Wick Dry Attitude.
SmartWool Snowboard–Made from 90 percent of the finest wool, SmartWool has created a sock with medium-density padding to ensure a snug and comfortable fit; shin- and lace-pressure protection; and cushioning against shock, blisters, and abrasions. Increased support above the ankle helps to prevent slippage, and a flat-knit side panel reduces compression as well as maximizes ventilation. Also available: Snow Rider.
Burton BoneOut–This sock is made with Thermostat, a super-soft synthetic fabric with high insulating properties and advanced wicking strength. It also features a padded donut area on top of the foot for additional instep pain reduction. As with all of Burton's socks, a form-fitting forward-lean increases instep comfort, thin toe channels increase circulation, and padding in the Achilles area allows for a better boot fit and improved heel hold. Also available: AK Wool, Access, BX3, and DryRide.
Thorlo Snowboard–Multi-density padding is combined in this wool/acrylic-blend sock to provide wickability, warmth, and maximum comfort. High-density padding at the Achilles tendon adds heel security; medium-density padding found at the calf and the ball of the foot creates extra cushioning; and low-ddensity padding at the heel, shin, and instep protects against pressure, and allows the boot to fit snugly.
Da Kine Highback–Made from 65-percent wool, this sock features an elastic ankle support to inhibit sagging, multi-density padding for warmth and protection, extra cushion in the footbed for smooth riding and landings, and a well-insulated toe area to keep them toasty. Also available: Thin Line.
Columbia Peakfinder–This lightweight, over-the-calf sock combines OUTLAST fibers–a material that regulates the temperature around your foot making it neither too hot nor too cold–acrylic, merino wool, and silk to minimize uncomfortable and potentially dangerous temperature extremes. It also has targeted cushioning for impact absorption, and ankle and arch supports to keep socks in place and reduce blistering.
Bonfire Tech–This sock features Amicor Plus technology–an integrated fiber blend that locks in antibacterial protection and does not hold moisture. Also, the knit foot bed increases the feel of your board, boot, and binding connection; and snowboard-specific padding eases pressure on top of the foot and in the calf area.
Patagonia Midweight Capilene Alpine Length–This merino wool/capilene/nylon-blend sock features an arch band for a secure fit, and terry-looped knit construction on top of the foot for a better technical fit and feel in boots and to allow for better moisture transfer. Also available: Lightweight Capilene Alpine Length.
Seirus Super Sock–This four-way super-stretch, reversible sock offers breathable macro-porous technology, which ensures dry comfort and all the warmth benefits of closed-cell Neoprene. Also available: Neosock and Stormsock.