Hands-on Gear Review

Icebreaker Ski+ Light Review

Icebreaker Ski+ Light
Top Pick Award
Price:  $24 List | $18.00 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, quick drying, warm, lifetime guarantee
Cons:  Not very durable
Editors' Rating:   
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Material:  75% Merino/18% Nylon/7% Lycra
Weight:  3.20oz
Overall Height:  16.5"
Manufacturer:   Icebreaker

Our Verdict

The Icebreaker Ski+ Light is a high performance ski sock that sets itself apart when you're working up a sweat and cannot afford to have wet feet. It fits well, dries quickly, and will keep you warm when the mercury drops, which is why it wins our Top Pick award for wicking ability. However, it is not the best sock in this review. If you were to buy only one ski sock for the season, it should be the SmartWool PhD Ski Medium. The PhD has many features we like in the Icebreaker Ski + Light, but is more comfortable and durable.

Product Update
The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite is now the Icebreaker Ski+ Light. In addition to the new name, the line is spruced up with a few new colors, one of which is featured in the photo above. Scroll down to see the new color options.

The Ski+ Lite has a lifetime guarantee which ensures your satisfaction, but it is not our best buy. That title goes to the Fox River Wilmot, which is $9 to $11 cheaper than the Icebreaker or Smartwool model, respectively. The Wilmot is not as high performing, but we found it to be much more durable than the Skier+ Lite and just plain cozy. With comfy wool, a great fit, and a price tag of $15, it is easily the best value.

The Ski+ Lite might not be the toughest sock out there, or the best fit for everyone, but with a lifetime guarantee, an impressive construction, and high performing nature, it is among the best in the business.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Ski Socks Review


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andrew Soleman

Last Updated:
Tuesday
April 14, 2015

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The Icebreaker Ski+ Light vs. the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite


The difference between the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite and the new Icebreaker Ski+ Light is just a spelling tweak. We've checked in with the folks at Icebreaker and they assure us that no technical updates have taken place. There are, however, a few new color options to note: Drift/Kale/Sulfur and Cadet/Fathom Heather/Copper. The Ski + Light is still available in black, as it has been in previous seasons and the price continues to be set at $24.

Take a look at the two new color options below!
Icebreaker Ski+ Light
Icebreaker Ski+ Light

Hands-On Review of the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite


This is the ski sock with the highest percentage of merino wool, at 75%. It was the overall favorite of at least one of our testers, but lost out in the final standings due to just a few details. The Icebreaker showed signs of use much quicker than anticipated, greatly decreasing its comfort. However, it always came home dry at the end of the day, something no other sock was able to do.

The Icebreaker Ski + Light  with 75% merino wool  is very warm and was found to be the most efficient sock at wicking away moisture. Throughout the day this sock allows you keep your mind on your objectives and off of your toes.
The Icebreaker Ski + Light, with 75% merino wool, is very warm and was found to be the most efficient sock at wicking away moisture. Throughout the day this sock allows you keep your mind on your objectives and off of your toes.

Comfort


Right out of the box, these socks are hard to beat. The Ski+ Lite has a nice, snug fit for most, though some testers found them far too tight around the foot. Compared to the SmartWool PhD Ski Medium, this sock's padding is much less in the shin and similar in the foot, but its design to conform each sock to a specific foot makes this sock extremely comfortable for some. However, its comfort deteriorated over time as the wool began to break down, and left them feeling thin and beaten.

The top contenders for most comfortable sock: the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite (left) and the SmartWool PhD Ski Medium (right). Ultimately  the Icebreaker is better at wicking  but the Smartwool is far more durable.
The top contenders for most comfortable sock: the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite (left) and the SmartWool PhD Ski Medium (right). Ultimately, the Icebreaker is better at wicking, but the Smartwool is far more durable.

Warmth


The last thing you want to be cold while skiing is your feet. The Ski+ Lite is among the warmest we tested. Despite being on the thinner side, these socks stood up to frigid temps and when they got wet, were the most efficient at maintaining that heat. While other socks like the Fox River Wilmot may feel warmer by the fire, these socks are what you need out in the trenches when performance is second to none.

Wicking Ability & Drying Speed


This is where these socks are at their best. Better than the SmartWool PhD, this sock wicks away moisture quickly due to its high percentage of merino wool. When the PhD was getting wet late in the day, the Ski+ Lite was dry and ready for more. If moisture is in the equation, no sock can beat the Ski+Lite.

Ski Boot Fit


The construction of these socks is like no other. This is the only sock we tested with a specific right and left foot, which makes for a perfect fit for most feet. (Though if you have a high volume foot, consider the SmartWool PhD). Like the SmartWool model, this sock has elastic around the feet and shins to keep the sock in place, and we found this to work beautifully. The Ski+ Lite is among the thinnest socks we tested and slipped into a performance fitting ski boot quite well, though if thin is your demand, consider the Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Ultralight, as it is the sleekest sock we tested.

The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite (left) compared with the taller and thinner Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Ultralight (right). The Icebreaker model wins for best wicking capability.
The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite (left) compared with the taller and thinner Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Ultralight (right). The Icebreaker model wins for best wicking capability.

Durability


Merino wool isn't the hardiest of materials, and The Ski+ Lite is no different. This sock is susceptible to thinning in high friction areas and wore out much faster than all other socks tested. On the upside, it doesn't require as much washing since it doesn't absorb or hold odors like synthetics materials do.

The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite wore out quickly in the heel  much faster than any other sock we tested.
The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite wore out quickly in the heel, much faster than any other sock we tested.

Best Applications


The Icebreaker Ski+ Lite is at its best in demanding conditions, warm, cold, and wet. Long, hard days out in the snow where you want a sock that will dry quickly are perfect for the Icebreaker. Equally at home at the resort as in the backcountry, this sock is built to ski and that is what it does best.

Warm feet = happy feet. The right sock makes the difference. Here the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite getting it done on a powder day.
Warm feet = happy feet. The right sock makes the difference. Here the Icebreaker Ski+ Lite getting it done on a powder day.

Value


At $23, this sock is not cheap. Though there are cheaper options, like the Fox River Wilmot, for the price, this sock outperformed the field. Also with a lifetime guarantee, you can destroy this sock and know that it will always be replaced upon your request.

Conclusion


All ski socks are not created equal. Though there are better all-around socks, like the SmartWool PhD, the Ski+ Lite is a high-performing sock that is built to handle anything you can throw at it. It wins our Top Pick award for best wicking ability.

Other Versions


Ski+ Ultra Lite
Icebreaker Men's Ski Plus Compression Ultra Lite
  • Cost - $38
  • No shin and foot cushioning (minimally protected at achilles)
  • Compression features

Ski+ Medium
Icebreaker Men's Ski Plus Med
  • Cost - $25
  • Cushioned shin and toes
  • Slightly heavier weight
Andrew Soleman


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 30, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (5.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Moto-touring  somewhere between Jasper and Banff

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   Nov 30, 2015 - 01:59pm
Ian A · Skier · Brooklyn, NY
Ever since I first encountered these socks at an end-of-season sale at White Pine Touring in SLC several years ago, they have been my one and only ski sock – resort skiing and backcountry.

The foot-specific form and thickness variability is perfect. Good quality, thin(nish) socks with well-fitted boots will always yield warmer feet in my experience, and these have been ace in that equation. I have pairs that have been through the wash 30-40 times* and still hug my calves like the day I bought them. I definitely have not encountered durability issues.

* I usually wear my socks for many days in a row without machine washing – I just do a light hand wash in the sink in the evening and they are dry in the am. Plus, with the Merino, odors are practically non-existent.

I seriously love these socks.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 6, 2015 - 02:29pm
Jessie
By far the best ski sock for backcountry and resort skiing. I patrolled for 2 years and have chronically cold feet, but these socks helped tremendously. During those years I wore completely through a pair of Smartwools but the Icebreakers have held up to this day.


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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