What Socks Should I Wear With Hockey Skates?

Posted on February 8, 2022 by Dan Kent
Hockey Skates

When you’re getting your gear ready for your next game or practice, the socks you choose to wear may seem like an unimportant detail. However, choosing the right pair of socks can add a lot of extra comfort and stability for you in the long run and can improve your skating skills.

You can choose from thicker or thinner varieties of hockey socks, with taller or shorter lengths. Some players opt to wear no socks at all — though that’s a personal preference for more experienced players. It all depends on how you like your skates to fit, as thicker socks can make them more snug and thinner socks can allow extra room for your feet to breathe.

Should You Wear Socks or Go Without Them?

Some players prefer to skip the socks altogether and wear their ice skates while barefoot. This is generally not recommended for newer players who are still learning how to play and get comfortable on the ice.

The main reason that some players prefer to go barefoot is that the hockey skates can feel tighter and more secure on their feet. However, there are several potential downfalls to not wearing socks with your skates and it’s important to be aware of them before making the decision to go sock-less.

Before even considering not wearing socks, you’ll want your hockey skates to be baked or already broken in. Wearing a brand new pair without socks is a surefire way to get blisters and hot spots on your feet.

Baking a set of hockey skates is a way to ensure a custom fit, without paying for actual custom skates. You’ll want to proceed carefully if you choose this method, as you can ruin a pair of skates relatively easily.

Potential Downsides to Skipping the Skate Socks

  • When your feet inevitably sweat from the friction of the skates and the fast-paced skating and maneuvering, you’re likely to have an increased level of moisture inside of your skates (usually, socks would soak up some of the sweat and keep your feet dry).
  • Due to the increased moisture, you may find that your skates are damp or even wet on the inside after a game. You’ll have to allow them to dry or risk putting on moist skates for your next practice.
  • Also due to the increased level of moisture, you may find that your skates begin to smell unpleasant.
  • With no protection for your feet, you’ll likely suffer blisters at some point — which can be uncomfortable to play through.

Thicker Vs. Thinner Hockey Socks

Thick hockey socks can offer an increased level of protection and add cushioning to your feet. A solid pair of wool hiking socks can go a long way and can keep your feet warm and dry during your time on the ice. This is a popular choice for many players.

Some players prefer thin socks that don’t offer much in the way of protection but simply help to keep the ice skates from rubbing on their feet and heels. These socks can provide your feet space to breathe and move around a bit, while still keeping the fit secure and comfortable.

Some players I have played with, advocate the no-sock approach for maximum contact with the skate – which they say helps improve their agility on the ice.

If you’re unsure as to which type of sock you’d prefer, it’s best to try on a few pairs before making a decision. You can try different socks for your practice sessions until you find the right type for you.

Taller Vs. Shorter Hockey Socks

In the same vein as the thicker vs thinner debate, you’ll find that most players have their own personal preferences for taller vs shorter socks. You’ll be able to choose from options that go up to your knee or a simple pair of ankle socks.

The taller the sock is, the more protection your leg will have while playing. Hockey can be a dangerous sport and a tall, thick sock can protect against skate blades and pucks better than an ankle sock can. Not to mention you’ll be kept warmer with the extra material.

You can even find cut-proof skate socks from Bauer that will provide you with an even greater sense of protection while you’re out on the ice.

Best Type of Material For Hockey Socks

When choosing a pair of socks for any sport, you want to choose a moisture-absorbing material that will ensure sweat is quickly wicked away from your feet while you’re playing. You can’t go wrong with socks made from wool, nylon, or acrylic.

Cotton socks do little in the way of absorbing moisture and instead, may make your feet feel damp which can be uncomfortable. Having wet feet for an entire game may also lead to certain types of foot fungus, so it’s better to avoid the issue altogether.

Wool is a popular material for socks, especially when it comes to providing your feet with breathable comfort. Merino wool specifically is great for keeping your feet warm in the cold temperatures of the ice rink.

Nylon and acrylic are both synthetic as opposed to natural materials, but they can be fashioned into great all-around sports socks. They will wick moisture when your feet begin to sweat, which will keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Choose the Right Fit For You

It’s important to choose the pair of socks that fits comfortably for you and that you feel confident playing in. Socks can add a lot in terms of general comfort when you’re out on the ice playing hockey — as a good pair can keep your feet warm and dry.

Wool socks are a great balance of both a breathable and sweat-wicking material that will ensure your toes are kept snug and warm throughout the game. You can also purchase cut-resistant socks made from kevlar to add that extra layer of protection against any accidents.

Choosing to skip the socks and go barefoot is a choice that some players make but it’s encouraged that you look up the possible downsides of doing so. You may have an increased number of blisters and other foot-related issues.

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada, Stocktrades.ca.

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