If you’re keen not to let your running wind down over winter, these Smartwool Run Cold Weather Socks should be all the encouragement you need…

Smartwool Run Cold Weather Targeted Cushion Crew Socks

£23.99, smartwool.co.uk – international delivery available

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  • Well padded heels and toes
  • Impressively quick drying


  • Scratchier than some rivals
  • Need care when washing

Comfort: 3.5/5
Breathability: 4/5
Durability: 4/5

They might not be as important as picking the best running shoes or shorts, but choosing the right socks for running can make a real difference. If you’re after merino wool running socks, take a look at Smartwool’s selection. They’re not 100% merino; many of them mix merino with other synthetic materials such as nylon and elastane to give you the best of both worlds. But that makes for a soft, natural feeling on the foot with quick drying and anti-odour properties, as well as stretch and durability too. 

Smartwool Run Cold Weather Targeted Cushion Crew Socks performance

I tested the Smartwool Run Cold Weather Crew Socks, which are designed for sessions when temperatures drop. The mid-cut rise and thickness definitely brings warmth but the fabric has a slightly scratchier edge to it than some man-made fibres. It’s nothing crazy but if you like your socks buttery smooth then these aren’t your best bet. The Falke Stabilizing Cool Socks I tested are a much silkier option.  

Check out the rest of the best running socks

However, the Smartwool socks offer lots of soft padding in the heels and toes, with thicker material targeting the high impact areas. That’s helpful for cushioned landings over longer miles but also boosts durability by protecting the high-wear areas. I ran blister-free in these for 2-3 hours at a time.

Product shot of Smartwool running socks

There’s a slightly leaner fabric across the top of the midfoot that blends seamlessly into the toes. So there’s no troublesome seam and no unwanted rubbing.

I like that the legs are thin enough to sit well under leggings – a must for winter runs. The cuffs also hold without digging in. There’s virtually no seam here so that avoids irritation.

Along with the wicking properties of the merino blend, a few carefully placed breathable panels under the midfoot and up into the ankle help these socks handle sweat well. They dry comparatively quickly too, should you misstep in a puddle.

They come in three sizes and three mainly dark colours, which are a little more forgiving when you’re running muddy trails. You can machine wash them cold or warm and tumble dry on a low heat.