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Smartwool Ski Full Cushion Review

If you're seeking a ski sock for the season, this model is the most reliable across the board
smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review
Credit: Smartwool
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $29 List | $18.73 at REI
Pros:  Comfortable and warm, good moisture management, durable, great fit, well-rounded appeal
Cons:  No lifetime guarantee
Manufacturer:   Smartwool
By Amber King and Isaac Laredo  ⋅  Dec 20, 2021
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 12
  • Comfort & Construction - 25% 9.0
  • Warmth - 25% 9.0
  • Breathability - 25% 7.0
  • Fit - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

Setting the standard is the Smartwool Ski Full Cushion, our go-to for all things winter. This sock uses premium materials and thoughtful features. The plush merino wool blend doesn't just offer exceptional comfort, but its next-to-skin fit promotes thermoregulation to keep you warm, whatever the weather. We have tested it touring, camping, and resort riding. In every case, it kept us warm, dry, and comfortable. This sock is great for those looking for a cushioned sock that is comfortable, durable, and form-fitting.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $29 List
$18.73 at REI
$27 List
Check Price at REI
$13.00 at Backcountry$23 List
$22.95 at REI
$15.00 List
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Pros Comfortable and warm, good moisture management, durable, great fit, well-rounded appealSnug fit, wicks moisture, quick drying, great for tight fitting bootsTop of foot ventilation, strategic cushioning, breathableLower price, comfortable cushioning, maintains warmth when wet, good constructionPriced right, warm when dry, comfortable, lightweight
Cons No lifetime guaranteeLacks cushioning, outside of boot warmth isn't greatPriceCompression zones on ankle and top of foot aren't ideal, breathabilityCold when wet, durability is so-so, not the most fitted sock
Bottom Line If you're seeking a ski sock for the season, this model is the most reliable across the boardOur favorite model for our performance fit boots and for high output activities like touringThis sock is a great middle-ground between zero and full cushion options to provide a comfortable, breathable fit in tight-fitting ski bootsPremium materials and a great fit at a price that saves you a few bucksThis is one of the least expensive models that still offers reliable performance for skiing or snowboarding
Rating Categories Smartwool Ski Full... Smartwool Ski Zero... Smartwool Targeted... REI Co-op Powderbou... Fox River Telluride...
Comfort & Construction (25%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Warmth (25%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Breathability (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Fit (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Smartwool Ski Full... Smartwool Ski Zero... Smartwool Targeted... REI Co-op Powderbou... Fox River Telluride...
Material 66% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 2% elastane 55% Merino wool, 41% nylon, 4% elastane 59% Merino wool, 38% nylon, 3% elastane 49% nylon, 48% RWS-certified Merino wool, 3% lycra spandex 53% acrylic, 27% nylon, 18% Merino wool blend, 2% spandex
Level of Cushioning Midweight Ultralightweight Lightweight Midweight Lightweight
Weight 3.1 oz 2.1 oz 2.5 oz 3.3 oz 2.8 oz
Left/Right specific? No No No No No
Overall Height 14 in 14 in 14 in 14 in 13 in
Padded Area Cushioned throughout Zero Cushion Toe, heel, shin Cushioned throughout Shin, heel, ankle

Our Analysis and Test Results

Featuring "indestructawool" technology, this sock isn't just durable but warm and comfortable to wear all day long. Whether you are an avid skier or taking your first turns on the slopes, this is our top recommendation and go-to if you're looking for a comfortable sock that will last you the rest of the season and those to come.

Performance Comparison


smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - the ski full cushion provides a comfortable fit in snowboard boots.
The Ski Full Cushion provides a comfortable fit in snowboard boots.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

Comfort & Construction


We are absolutely delighted by the amount of cushioning and comfort offered in the construction of this midweight, fully cushioned sock. Constructed of 66% Merino Wool, 32% Nylon, and 2% Elastane, not only does it stretch and stay in place, but provides great overall thermoregulation. The Ski Full Cushion is one of the most cushioned socks in the review. Despite its impressive cushioning, it maintains a relatively thin profile which fits well in tight boots.


Loaded with soft underfoot padding, our testers' feet were comfortable for the entire day on the mountain. The padding at the toes, underfoot, and heel provided an extra layer of insulation while the padding at the shin provides a little protection from "shin bang" for skiers.

While skiing, the compression panels around the arch, top of the foot, and ankle provide thermoregulation and keep the sock in place. Smartwool uses 4 stretching bands that are designed to act as anchors and provide a tighter fit throughout the sock. These bands are located on the lower instep, upper instep, ankle, and arch. Each band grabs the foot to maintain an excellent fit that doesn't slip or bunch up.

These compression bands do a great job of holding the socks in place.
These compression bands do a great job of holding the socks in place.
The band at the top of the sock does a fine job of holding the cuff...
The band at the top of the sock does a fine job of holding the cuff at the desired height. The snug fit of these socks may be a bit too tight for those with more pronounced calves.

Overall, this is the most comfortable contender we tested.

Warmth


This is one toasty sock! If you like slipping your foot into something that insulates and provides warmth all day, then we feel these are a great option.


We have used this sock in the resort and in the backcountry, and in both settings, we seldomly had cold feet. The higher proportion of wool used in its construct aids in making it one of the warmest options out there. Merino wool provides great insulation, breathability, and dries quickly. The compression paneling and wool help wick the moisture away from the skin and transports it to the other side of the sock. This allows for better overall warmth management on the slopes as you are less likely to start sweating and the sock will absorb less moisture.

smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - ski touring is a great way to test both warmth and breathability in...
Ski touring is a great way to test both warmth and breathability in a sock.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

In addition to backcountry splitboarding and skiing, we've also tested this sock extensively on the resort slopes. Even on the chairlift, our toes were seldomly cold and often warmer than the other foot when comparatively testing. Overall, we found this sock to be warmer than any other contender and it does a great job with moisture management.

Breathability


Breathability refers to a sock's ability to wick away moisture from the skin and transport it away from the foot. The Ski Full Cushion does a good job in this regard.


We attribute its breathability performance to material properties, ventilation zones, and the overall fit of the sock. Wool is a very breathable material that effectively wicks moisture. There are "mesh" ventilation zones on the top of the foot that help moisture and heat pass through this thinner area of the sock. This helps the sock be warmer overall as it's less likely to absorb moisture. In terms of drying, it does dry quickly for a ski sock — allowing you to use it for a couple of days on end — but it's not the fastest to dry out there. The integrated merino wool does an amazing job at moving water vapor from the skin to the surface before it condenses into a cold sweat. We have yet to have warm feet result in a damp sock.

smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - the ventilation zone is seen on the top of the foot which helps...
The ventilation zone is seen on the top of the foot which helps moisture move through the sock.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

Fit


This sock truly "fits like a glove". Integrating Elastane into the construction, these socks have stretch and rebound to provide a secure fit and fits nicely inside a pair of tighter ski and snowboard boots. While the padding does provide additional comfort, it's not so lofty that impedes a proper fit in a tight boot.


Designed to fit tightly against the skin to amplify wicking ability, this sock feels quite snug. Many of our testers liked this fit attribute, but some complained of it almost being a bit too tight. That said if you've got more pronounced calves then, this might not be the most comfortable sock for you.

The 4 Degree Elite Fit system provides 4 bands across the sock that work as anchors to prevent slipping or movement of the sock. This greatly helps the fit of the sock as it remains securely in place and tight to the foot and lower leg which ultimately helps the sock from moving or bunching, thereby preventing blisters.

smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - the ankle compression band.
The ankle compression band.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

If you like the sounds of this sock, but prefer a lightweight option, check out the Smartwool Ski Zero Cushion instead.

Durability


We have experienced great levels of durability using Smartwool socks and so far this model meets the same expectations.


It uses Indestructawool to help reinforce the sock. Indestructawool uses nylon reinforced wool on the outside of the sock to increase durability and 100% merino wool on the inside to maximize the warmth and wicking properties of the natural fiber. Our testers have had some Indestructawool socks for the past five years and state they are some of the most durable socks on the market. While it doesn't come with a lifetime no-questions-asked guarantee like the Darn Tough, it does come with a 2-year satisfaction guarantee.

smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - the repetitious movement of ski touring will quickly wear out the...
The repetitious movement of ski touring will quickly wear out the toe and heel area on poor-quality socks. The Ski Full Cushion should withstand a couple of seasons of this.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

Value


This sock scored very well across all of our performance metrics to earn the top spot on our ski socks podium. The price might be a little higher than some, but we are thoroughly impressed with their bomber performance. We feel the quality, comfort, breathability, and durability justify the asking price.

Conclusion


Winning our top score overall, this ski and snowboard sock is perfect for everybody looking to keep their feet warm in cold temperatures. Its precise and thoughtfully engineered architecture allows for superior wicking ability while balancing all-day comfort.

smartwool ski full cushion ski socks review - if you're looking for a sock that you can wear all day at the resort...
If you're looking for a sock that you can wear all day at the resort or while exploring the glaciers of Alaska, this is it! If you're to choose one option, and you've got the cash, this is it.
Credit: Amber King

Amber King and Isaac Laredo
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