The 10 Best Work Socks for All-Day Wear, According to Our Editors

Steel-toed shoes and work boots can do a number on socks. We've tested the toughest and most comfortable options to find the best work socks.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.


If you work in construction or any of the other trades, or if you just spend a lot of your time in heavy men’s or women’s work boots, then you know the dilemma. You need those protective shoes to prevent injuries and mishaps, but steel-toed shoes, boots and other heavy-duty footwear are hard on socks, especially when worn all day long.

You can keep buying those multi-packs of cheap socks that’ll soon disintegrate, or you can invest in the best work socks made for heavy-duty use on the jobsite or outdoors on the most intense trails. We rounded up our editors’ all-time favorite socks that they’ve tested and loved, and you can bet they’re comfortable, durable options that provide cushioning and support while protecting those toes during long days on your feet.

1 / 11
Smartwool Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Smartwool Tall Crew Socks

Cushion, cushion and more cushion is our favorite feature of these thick socks from Smartwool. They’re some of the thickest we’ve tested, and they’re made for long days in the great outdoors or on the jobsite.

The padded sole is offset by firm support in the arch and ankle, which keeps these socks from slipping and bunching. We like the tall, full-cushion crew sock for various boot heights, and Smartwool even makes these in an over-the-calf model, too. Made with recycled nylon, these best work socks control moisture and odor while protecting your feet against blisters and boot chafing.

2 / 11
Darn Tough 2 Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Darn Tough Mid-Weight Work Socks

If you’re looking for another work sock option with ample cushioning, then your feet will thank you for these high-performance socks from Darn Tough. Almost every part of this mid-calf sock is cushioned, including up the leg shaft, and an extra-reinforced toe box means they’ll stand up to your gnarliest steel-toed boots.

Darn Tough socks come with a lifetime guarantee because they’re built to last, and they’re our editors’ go-to socks for hiking. The brand offers a wide range of sock styles, colors and types for any outdoor adventure or job.

3 / 11
Dickies Reinforced Steel Toe Crew Socks Ethan O'Donnell/Family Handyman

Dickies Reinforced Steel-Toed Crew Socks

These heavy-duty socks from Dickies are reinforced with the high-tech fiber in the heel and toe for added support while wearing work boots. Our editor, Ethan O’Donnell, says, “These are just a good old standard work sock.” He tested the steel-toed crew socks and noticed they’re slightly thicker than normal socks, yet comfortable to wear.

“They don’t move around on my feet, either,” O’Donnell says. “It’s also nice that they come in a six-pack, so you can have a fresh pair for every day on the jobsite.” In addition to staying put, we put the Dickies crew socks on our list because of the extended protection in the Achilles heel to guard against rubbing and blisters, as well as the cushy padding on the bottom of the sock.

4 / 11
Swiftwick Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Swiftwick Medium-Weight Socks

This crew-length outdoor work sock is tough enough for heavy boots. It’s made from a blend of merino wool and olefin, a wonder fiber known for its moisture-wicking properties. The result is a comfy sock with reinforced toe, heel and arch that keeps feet warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather.

Our deputy editor, Ryan Van Bibber, says, “They’re great socks! I wear them outdoors (for yard work, hikes, etc.) in summer temps, and they’re quite comfortable. They have a soft feel, and they don’t get stinky.”

5 / 11
Carhartt Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Carhartt Force Grid Wool-Blend Socks

With odor-fighting technology, a moisture-managing grid pattern and cushioning and reinforcement in the heel, arch and toe, this quarter sock from Carhartt is ideal for those who prefer a low-cut, yet sturdy, work sock. Made from a synthetic merino wool blend, they feature an enhanced heel pocket and abrasion-resistant yarn for a reliable fit in work boots.

Compared to other work socks our editors tested on this list, the Carhartt Force Grid socks are relatively lightweight, so we recommend them for hot jobs and workers who prefer a less noticeable sock.

6 / 11
Wrangler Ultra Dri Compression Tall Socks Ethan O'Donnell/Family Handyman

Wrangler Ultra Dri Compression Tall Socks

The Wrangler compression socks are the tallest socks on our list, and they also help reduce leg fatigue and swelling, ideal for those who work on their feet all day long. In addition to being tall, they’re one of the best values with three pairs included in each purchase.

“Although the Wrangler socks are thin, I appreciated their height, which stretch all the way over my calf,” O’Donnell says. “I also appreciate their ability to stay in place. They are awesome socks, and act as a thin base layer for my legs when paired with warm boots for fall motorcycle rides.”

7 / 11
Bombas Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Bombas All-Purpose Performance Socks

From the workday to the golf course, these all-purpose, mid-weight socks are designed to keep your feet cool and comfortable no matter what you’re doing. They wick away sweat to keep your feet dry for hours on end, and have Bombas’ signature honeycomb arch support to keep socks from sliding in your boot or tennis shoe. These best work socks are available in a range of colors and make a solid transition sock through your daily activities.

8 / 11
Thorlo Moderate Cushion Crew Work Socks Ethan O'Donnell/Family Handyman

Thorlo Moderate Cushion Crew Work Socks

Thorlo socks are O’Donnell’s personal favorites when it comes to work socks. “Although they have a thicker weave, they do not feel bulky or thick on your feet,” he says. “They stay put nicely, but the best part is their cushioning, which makes you feel like your feet are walking on little pillows. Honestly, little pillows are the best way to describe these socks.”

From hiking and skiing to working all day in steel-toed boots, the Thorlo socks address foot comfort issues associated with a variety of different activities. They come with extra padding in the heel and ball of the foot—in other words, the areas that take the most beating during long days on the job. Less pressure on the feet means fewer aches and pains, so your whole body will thank you at the end of the day.

9 / 11
Feetures Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Feetures Trail Max Cushion Mini Crew

If you’re looking for socks for light work and outdoor adventures, the Feetures trail socks keep feet dry and cool. They also provide a good amount of bottom cushioning while maintaining a lightweight feel. We love the supportive compression these mini crews provide in the arch of the foot. Plus, they have a nice stretchiness over the ankles and lower calf. If you’re someone with a thicker ankle area, you won’t have to worry about these socks being tight or suffocating!

10 / 11
Fox River Steel Toe Heavy Weight Crew Socks Ethan O'Donnell/Family Handyman

Fox River Steel-Toe Heavy-Weight Crew Socks

These hard-working socks from Fox River offer extra-large areas of protection in the toe box, as well as the Achilles area, where the padding stretches well up the ankle. Wicking technology and an arch support system provide added comfort in these socks, and synthetic fans will like that these are a wool-free option.

“The Fox River work socks are clearly the thickest and warmest of the work socks,” O’Donnell says. “They also tend to move around on your foot, requiring adjustment when no shoes or boots are being worn.” However, extra-thick socks are a must if you work in cold climate. The additional padding is also an apperciated feature when roofing a house or completing any other task where your feet are constantly shifting in different angles.

11 / 11

darn tough socks

What to Look for When Buying Work Socks

If you know, you know. Good socks are an essential part of your workwear—as essential as a rugged pair of work pants and almost as important as a hard hat. Here’s what to look for when shopping for heavy-duty work socks.

  • Durability: The heels and toes are the fastest to fall apart, so look for socks where these areas are reinforced.
  • Cushion and thickness: Even in hot weather, you need a thick pair of socks to protect your feet from the interior of heavy boots. An extra layer of cushioning on the sole will give your feet—and your whole body—some relief on those long days on the job.
  • Fabric and breathability: Finding thick, cushioned socks doesn’t mean you have to wear the heavy wool socks your grandparents used to mend. Cotton, breathable merino wool, bamboo and other moisture-wicking materials keep your feet dry and cool while you work.
  • Length: Although this has a lot to do with personal preference, choose a sock that’s at least a little taller than the shaft of your boot or shoe so it stays in place.
  • Stay-up support: Few things are more annoying—and uncomfortable—than socks that won’t stay up. Look for a ribbed shaft and reinforced elastic at the top so socks don’t bunch up in your boots.

How We Tested the Best Work Socks

Family Handyman editors wore the socks on this list for hours on end while doing yard work, hiking, running errands and more. That means we wore them across various levels of activity, from light and moderate activity to heavy work, in order to determine which socks performed the best.

If we were testing long socks, we wore hiking or work boots. While testing shorter socks that come just above the ankle, we wore athletic shoes. We also tested the socks on rainy and hot days to see how they kept our feet dry. Additionally, we wore and washed the socks we tested to ensure that every brand is durable and that the socks didn’t pill or mat after washing.

All in all, our editors tried and researched more than 30 pairs of socks to bring you our 10 favorite pairs of work socks.


Should I wear compression socks if I stand all day at work?

If you work in a job that requires you to be on your feet for hours at a time, then fitted compression socks can help increase blood flow through the legs. Non-medical work compression socks should have light to medium pressure.

What socks should you wear with steel-toed boots?

Thick socks with added cushion in the arch and heel are best to wear with steel-toed boots. Work socks that are thick enough can provide an extra layer of protection to help prevent calluses or corns.

Mary Henn
Mary Henn, MFA is an Associate Shopping Editor at Family Handyman. She’s also a national award-winning writer and journalist. Her expertise lies in interior design, home decor, gardening and outdoor trends. When she’s not working on the latest content at FHM, you can find her reading poetry or hiking with her dog, Henry.