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Do you wear snowboard socks?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:19 am
by John
Do you wear snowboard-specific socks? I don't. I started out my days on the snow skiing, and wearing medium-thickness socks. Then I got talked into wearing thin socks, and they've been my choice ever since, including since I switched to snowboarding.

I usually wear Hot Chillys, though I have another brand also, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

I thought of this question while riding yesterday, when it was about 1 degree. I wasn't out that long, but if I had stayed, I would have wanted to put some toe warmers in my boots. (I used to do that fairly often with ski boots, but I do that seldom with snowboard boots.)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:27 am
by bernwern
I used to doubt snowboard socks until i tried them. Get Smart-Wool, as they have had better comfort, dryness, and durability than the others. They make a noticeable difference in my comfort and riding.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:40 pm
by runswithdog
One pair of Smart Wool brand, one pair of Burton brand.
Both are great and quite toasty, great wicking.

Cold toes usually on days below 5 degrees (especially on the chair)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:11 pm
by canoer
I have a favorite pair of socks that I only wear snowboarding, but they aren't specific to the sport. The brand is Ultimax and they were a gift. My toes got a bit cold yesterday when it was around 10. I guess that means I should wash them and restore some loft. :)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:59 pm
by MunkySpunk
What's the difference? (Real question, not sarcasm)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:16 pm
by Rob
At least some of my socks are snowboard-specific, and I agree with several other posters. My Smart-Wool pair is my favorite.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:06 pm
by John
What's the difference? Other than marketing, I'm not sure. I'm thinking that it involves the placement of extra padding, on the theory that snowboard boots have a different configuration than ski boots.

Then again, I'm hoping that someone with a more definite answer comes along.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:36 am
by bernwern
The primary difference is the materials. Most are made out of synthetics and merino wool. Smart Wool socks are made nearly from 100% merino wool. Merino is moisture wicking, soft, and non-irritating. Merino also works better than nearly every synthetic, and certainly better than cotton (cotton is one of the single worst fabrics you can wear in the winter).

That is not to say that is the only difference.....

Sock fit is another huge difference. My Smart Wool socks go up over my calf and stay there (for 150+ days of use) whereas my experience with other brands was not so good. I have some regular Smart Wool socks as well, and they do not fit like the snowboard socks. I also have some of th skiing Smart Wool socks (from a gift) and they work nearly as good.

Insulation weight is another difference. They make varying thicknesses of socks, usually designated as light, mid, or heavy weight. For me, the mid-weights work best....but I have gotten swamp-foot in 40°+ spring days after riding for over 8 hours. I just bring 2 pair and solve my problem :)

The last difference is construction. Not just how the seams are sewn, but where. If sewn in the wrong spots they can cause irritation; if stitched poorly they will also cause irritation, but lose durability. The Smart Wool ones I have (both snowboard and ski) have varying thicknesses of wool in spots; the Ski ones actually have more on the calf and I would recommend those for anyone experiencing "calf-bite". I personally have barely noticed a difference between the ski and snowboard versions, but the overall sock is much better than alternatives.

Hope that helps....if not, sorry because that I all I have :)


PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:48 am
by John
It sounds like what you're describing are differences in socks generally, not ski versus snowboard socks. (Then again, I'm not sure there is a big difference. I'm still looking.)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:52 am
by runswithdog
Okay, how about the difference between a snowboard Smart Wool sock and a ski Smart Wool sock?

I compared them side by side. Okay, okay, only visually, not in a laboratory!

The snowboard sock seemed to have more padding in the rear,(ankle up to mid calf, and heel. There is also sort of a thin area one inch wide, in the articulating area (aprox. at area where foot "hinges" from the leg)

I agree with Bern. They "stay up" extrememly well. There is a couple inch wide banded area at the top which I am sure helps.

The ski sock seemed to have more padding in the front only
(to help with shin bruising?)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:58 am
by bernwern
^ maybe I should have elaborated on first-hand experience.

Yes, socks are constructed from varying materials, cuts, etc. Just like snowboards are typically all constructed in a very similar sandwiching pattern with metal edges. But what materials are used, where they are used, etc will make one board (or sock) better than another.

My personal feedback on my Smart Wool socks:
-I have 19" calves, and they not only fit over them but stay over them (don't stretch over time like other socks).
-Despite large calves, the socks still fit very comfortably on all areas of my foot and leg.
-Smart Wool uses more than one thickness of wool on various parts of the skiing and snowboarding socks, helping to soften up pressure points.
-Smart Wool socks use mesh-like areas in both the ski and snowboard socks, allowing greater moisture displacement, although these areas differ in each sock.

It's hard to explain, but once you try them you will be impressed. I thought they were a gimmick until my buddy showed me his Burton socks about 5 years ago and told me how much he loved them; when I saw some on sale, I got them. I noticed the difference immediately in comfort, moisture wicking, etc. Over the past few years I have had Burton, generic mernio wool, two other brands I don't recall, and Smart Wool socks. The Smart Wool ones seem the best because they keep their form and fit longer, plus the quality of the product makes them last longer (others would fall down after losing elasticity, stitching would come apart, they would get holes, etc). I have had the least problems with Smart Wool, and I put 150+ days on my last 2 pairs and they are still OK, but finally losing their form....time to retire them to reserve gear since they have no holes or other problems :)

I used to ride in thin dress socks (because they were not cotton). Those were nicer than cotton socks and regular wool socks, but I would get swamp foot easier and also get colder sooner. Regular wool socks were not as comfy due to seams, bunched fabric in spots, etc. I guarantee once you try some skiing/boarding socks you will like them more.....the major question is how much you want to pay for them.

If you are interested, here are a few links with some on sale from (whom I use and trust):

I just got some of the PhD ones this year...a ski and a snowboard pair. They are better than the others, but not sure if it is that noticeable for the extra money....they were a gift, anyways :)


PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:29 am
by wrathfuldeity
thick sb socks and used to also wear liners but not much of a difference so now just the socks.