The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Icebreaker Ski+ Light Review

A quick to dry well-rounded ski sock that can perform in all conditions, wet and dry.
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Price:  $24 List | $23.02 at Amazon
Pros:  Quick to dry, comfortable, lighter padded construction
Cons:  Lacks durability
Manufacturer:   Icebreaker
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 7, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 7
  • Comfort & Construction - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Drying Speed & Wicking Ability - 20% 9
  • Fit - 20% 9
  • Durability - 20% 5

Our Verdict

If you need something that'll dry in a flash, the Icebreaker Ski+ Light may be the ticket. Say goodbye to cold feet in this merino-wool blend. It offers impeccable wicking capabilities that will have you wearing this sock all day…from the slopes to the chalet. We tested it while skiing and snowboarding in both the backcountry and resort in Colorado. Enduring temps that dipped into double negatives while sitting on a chair lift, our feet (with a great pair of boots) stayed warm and comfortable. Even when wet, the higher proportion of luxurious merino wool insulates to keep feet warm.

While the Icebreaker is not as warm as the Smartwool PhD Ski Medium, it's a great alternative for those seeking a lighter option but don't want to go as light as the Darn Tough Over-The-Calf Padded Light, our Top Pick for Wicking Ability. Overall, this sock was considered for our Editors' Choice Award for its well-rounded construction but ultimately lost out because of its lesser durability and warmth overall. However, it's still a great sock that will perform in all conditions and fits nicely under a pair of tight ski boots.


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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $23.02 at Amazon$26.95 at REI
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Pros Quick to dry, comfortable, lighter padded constructionWarm, comfortable, durable, reliableDurable, comfortable, warmSuper durable, great fit, super wicking ability, lifetime guaranteePriced right, warm when dry, comfortable, lightweight
Cons Lacks durabilityNo lifetime guaranteeLacks lifetime guarantee, expensiveNot very warm, no additional paddingCold when wet, durability is so-so
Bottom Line A quick to dry well-rounded ski sock that can perform in all conditions, wet and dry.If you're seeking a ski sock for the season, this is the most reliable with the best overall performance.An industry standard that should be part of everybody's winter wardrobe.A lightweight sock that will keep your feet dry even on the warmest days of winter.The best valued sock in this review for skiing or snowboarding.
Rating Categories Icebreaker Ski+ Light Smartwool PhD Ski Medium PhD Ski Medium Over-the-Calf Padded Light Fox River Telluride Medium
Comfort & Construction (20%)
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
10
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7
10
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8
Warmth (20%)
10
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8
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9
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9
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6
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7
Drying Speed & Wicking Ability (20%)
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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10
10
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6
Fit (20%)
10
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9
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8
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Durability (20%)
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9
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6
Specs Icebreaker Ski+... Smartwool PhD Ski... PhD Ski Medium Over-the-Calf... Fox River...
Material 57% Merino Wool, 40% Nylon, 3% Lycra 65% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 2% Elastane, Imported Yarn 62% merino wool, 36% nylon, 2% elastane 60% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex 53% acrylic, 27% nylon, 18% Merino/wool blend, 2% spandex
Level of Cushioning Lightweight Medium (feels lightweight) Medium (feels lightweight) Ultralightweight Lightweight
Weight of both socks 3.15 oz 3.15 oz 2.95 oz 2.85 oz 2.80 oz
Left/Right specific? Yes No No No No
Overall height 14.25 inches 13 inches 13 inches 14 inches 13 inches
Padded area Shin, calf, foot, ankle Shin, underfoot, ankle Shin, underfoot, ankle Shin Shin, heel, ankle
Warranty or Guarantee Lifetime Guarentee Head to Heels Guarentee upon arrival w/ 2 year Guarentee Head to Heels Guarentee upon arrival w/ 2 year Guarentee Unconditional Lifetime Guarentee One year warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

As a lightly cushioned option, the Ski+ Light dries quickly and thermoregulates over a vast range of temperatures. This merino wool blend is perfect if you're looking for a little bit of comfort with the perks of lightweight performance.

Performance Comparison


Eddy skins up the trail  pointing out potential descents for the future in quick to dry Ski+ Light.
Eddy skins up the trail, pointing out potential descents for the future in quick to dry Ski+ Light.

Comfort


This sock is super cozy and comfortable. It offers a thin level of cushioning in all the right places. Find it under the foot at the site of the heel and toes. A unique feature that we didn't see in any other product is a slight amount of cushioning in the calf and the shin.

A look at the internal construction of the Ski+ Light. It offers a light design with soft materials that are cozy against the skin and some additional padding on the calf that no other sock features (among our test group).
A look at the internal construction of the Ski+ Light. It offers a light design with soft materials that are cozy against the skin and some additional padding on the calf that no other sock features (among our test group).

Other socks like the Darn Tough Over-The-Calf Padded Light and Smartwool PhD Ski Medium don't have this additional level of padding. The sock is made out of 57% Merino Wool, 40% Nylon, and 3% Lycra, offering a soft to the touch feel against the skin. Since it dries quickly and wicks well, it can be worn all day - from the hills to bed.

A deeper look at the padding and compression panelling that provides an exceptional overall fit.
A deeper look at the padding and compression panelling that provides an exceptional overall fit.

Warmth


Providing warmth on both dry and wet days, many of our testers didn't need additional boot warmers or the like when temps plummeted. Utilizing a high density of merino wool in its thin construction, it retains heat well and insulates even when wet. If you're seeking a thinner sock option that provides ample warmth, this is it. Wear it on cold days, wet or dry.

Good insulation underfoot with great breathability equates to warmth in all temperatures.
Good insulation underfoot with great breathability equates to warmth in all temperatures.

Drying Speed & Wicking Ability


Looking for something that can dry quickly and wick effectively? Utilizing 40% nylon in its construction, this sock has some serious wicking ability. For the most part, our feet stayed dry, even when the sock got wet. To boot, when on a hut trip in Aspen, Colorado, we easily wore the sock from the hill to bed. When taking off our boots, the sock dried within a few minutes, providing comfort and the ability to wear all day.

Eddy wore this sock while skiing  then around the hut  then to bed. Quick to dry  its got great wicking ability all around.
Eddy wore this sock while skiing, then around the hut, then to bed. Quick to dry, its got great wicking ability all around.

Fit


Constructed as a light design, it fits very well underneath tight boots. When putting boots on, it doesn't deform, bunch, or roll. While skiing, the sock stays in place, utilizing the integrated compression panels under the arch with a tinier heel cup for a more precise fit. Comparatively, it's a little taller than the Fox River Telluride (our Best Buy winner) and a shorter than the Darn Tough. For fabric thickness, it's in between thickness in comparison to the Smartwool PhD Medium and the Darn Tough Over-The-Calf Padded Light. A great in-between option that fits nicely underneath boots both tight and loose.

A look at the fit.
A look at the fit.

Durability


While this sock didn't fall the shreds during our three-month testing period, it shows the most wear and tear. The seams have held up fine, but the fabric in high use areas has compacted under pressure. As a result, it's lost a bit of warmth after a season of hard use. The construction looks decent, but not as high quality as more durable options like the Darn Tough or Smartwool. It does come with a lifetime guarantee, which is a huge bonus!

A look at some areas of compression and compaction observed after just a few weeks of use. Not the best durability overall.
A look at some areas of compression and compaction observed after just a few weeks of use. Not the best durability overall.

Best Applications


This sock is simply all-around awesome, which is why it was considered for our Editors Choice Award. Wear it in all types of weather for resort skiing and trips into the unknown. It's perfect for more aerobic days, so don't be afraid to use it while cross-country skiing or skinning uphill. Warm or cold, its wide range of thermoregulation will keep you warm. It seems like there isn't anything this sock couldn't do.

Jo gets ready for descent after hiking uphill for a while. The Icebreaker socks are perfect for this.
Jo gets ready for descent after hiking uphill for a while. The Icebreaker socks are perfect for this.

Value


Listed for $24 retail, it's a buck or two cheaper than other high-end socks and our Editor's Choice winner. While it doesn't seem to offer the same bomber durability as the Smartwool, it still performs remarkably on the hill. While there are some other high-value options, we still think the price is right on for its level of performance.

Conclusion


The Icebreaker Ski+ Light is a perfect go-to if you like a little bit of cushioning, but need a thin sock that will perform in all sorts of weather. If you need to keep your feet warm and dry, this is one of our top choices.


Amber King