Lifestyle Technology

The best work socks for farming and other rough jobs


Anyone who has spent any time outside knows how important protecting yourself from the elements is. We think of a good sturdy jacket, of the right headwear, and of gloves that provide mobility and warmth. Not to be overlooked, of course, is your feet, because having the best work socks for your environment is crucial to keeping you up and moving through a long day.

After all, what’s between you and the sole of your shoes may be just as important as the soles themselves.

The old adage of “cotton kills” applies here — OK, maybe not in such an extreme way as it does when you’re alone in the wilderness and far away from civilization, but cotton does have shortfalls. Yeah, it may be a breathable fabric and there are times when cotton is perfectly fine, but if your feet sweat a lot or they get soaked in the rain, cotton socks won’t dry out. And that’ll leave your feet a pruney, blistery mess by the time the sun goes down.

Below are seven of our favorite work socks for men — ones that are definitely worth you trying out. Remember that size and weight make all the difference when finding the best work socks for the season.

Carhartt 3-Pack Force Performance Work Crew

A great feature of these socks is that they have anti-odor properties, which means that all that smelly bacteria aren’t going to stick around for a gross-out party. The performance crews also are made of a fast-drying technology thanks to synthetic fibers, so if you’re sweaty or getting rainwater or anything down into your boots, these socks should keep you rolling for hours longer.

Other key features to know:

  • 98% Polyester, 2% Spandex
  • Reinforced heel and toe of work socks for men delivers added durability and even longer wear.
  • Superior wicking action and quickly transports sweat so your feet stays dry and comfortable.
  • Breathable and able to stay cool and dry

FITS Heavy Expedition Boot Sock

This is the most premium sock on this list, but it’s well worth every dime when you’re out at 5 a.m. feeding the cattle or clearing the driveway. It has a comfortable seamless construction, and a feature FITS calls a “heel lock,” which expertly keeps the sock from slipping around your foot. If you really want to be good to your feet (or you’re looking for that perfect birthday or Christmas gift), these are the socks you reach for.

Other key features to know:

  • Merino Wool 82%, Nylon 13%, Polyester 3%, Lycra Spandex 2%
  • Heavyweight full-foot cushioning for warmth and protection
  • Durable nylon exterior for extended wear
  • Mid-calf height works well with hunting and ranching boots

Wolverine Crew Sock

These are probably our favorite grab-and-go socks. They’re super easy to slide on, and they have a sturdy and ribbed upper build that stays up well without squeezing too tightly around the calf. And they last. I never thought a largely cotton-blend could last like this, but my Wolverines hold up longer than most any other.

Other key features to know:

  • 79% Cotton, 21% Nylon
  • Made in U.S.
  • Machine Wash
  • Full cushion comfort
  • Smooth toe seems

Want to go taller? Click here for it in an over-the-calf version.

Wigwam At Work Black Socks

The calf ribbing that helps these socks stay upright on your leg contrasts nicely with the smooth toe seam and footbed. And this design has dense cushioning in multiple areas of the sock, like the shins and soles. 

Other key features to know:

  • 67% Cotton/17% Acrylic/13% Stretch Nylon/3% Elastic (rubber)
  • Made in the U.S.
  • Treated with Odor Guard to control foot odor and athlete’s foot

Dickies 3-Pack Heavyweight Work Crew Socks

With both great cushioning as well as compression features, these are some of the best socks on a budget that you’ll ever get your hands on. They have a particularly good feel in impact areas of the heel, toe, and foot pad, and they’re reinforced with heavier count yarn for solid durability.

Other key features to know:

  • 68% Cotton, 31% Polyester, 1% Spandex
  • Industrial Strength Big and tall sizing

Wells Lamont Grey Crew Work Socks

Wells Lamont uses a reinforced heel and toe for durability in common wear areas, and the company includes extra arch support and cushioning materials, which help when you have to be on your feet all day. The cotton/polyester yarn blend has a patented airstrip vent design to help your feet breathe, wick away moisture, and reduce odor.

Other key features to know:

  • Made to stretch: 66% cotton, 30% polyester, 2% nylon, 2% spandex
  • Manufactured in the US
  • Heel and toe are reinforced to reduce fatigue

How to gauge a comfortable sock

Most socks are going to feel comfortable right out of the package or if you try them on in a store. You have to look beyond that initial feeling and ask yourself:

  • Is there anything here that feels like it will become irritatingly tight or inhibit circulation over the long term?
  • Does the cuff (top opening) of the sock function well? If should be snug enough to keep out debris, but again, not so tight to hinder blood flow.
  • Does it deliver on temperature and moisture control? Wicking characteristics are common in modern socks, and even predominantly cotton socks are typically going to be blended with a synthetic to help manage temperature and sweat or exterior water.

What materials should a sock be made of?

If you’re shopping at Walmart, you’re probably going to end up with a cotton dominant sock. As stated earlier in this article, that’s not always a bad thing, but it’s important to know the limitations of that particular fabric in chilly or moist conditions. Wool (and, specifically, Merino wool) is often seen as the gold standard in a lot of outdoorswear these days — it’s breathable, and wool is amazing in that it insulates you even when wet, which is something cotton can’t do. Wool is going to be more expensive, though, but definitely know that modern wool is spun so as not to be itchy, just in case you’re thinking back to those uncomfortable wool socks of a generation ago. You’ll be very happy with a wool blend these days.

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