Of all the innovations in outdoor equipment that we have experienced in the last few decades, there is none more decadent and indulgent than the electric heated sock. By threading thin wire into the fabric, manufacturers have found a way to direct electricity through the sock fibers, generating heat, and solving a problem that that been bothering humans for millennia: the problem of cold feet.
Whether you are a backcountry skier heading out on a hike into the deep woods, or an angler looking to do some ice fishing in January, electric socks are an easy and incredibly cool way to stay warm. Because they’re fully rechargeable, you won’t spend a fortune like you would on warming packs or batteries.
When it comes to electric socks there are more than a few players in the game, so to speak. New and old companies alike are vying for their place at the head of the pack, and the result is a price and technology war that had produced socks that are more affordable and more highly performing than ever.
So, what are the 7 Best Electric Heated Socks? We’re about to get into that. But first, let’s take a look at some of the variables involved in making and using the perfect electric sock.
Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Electric Headed Sock:
SUNWILL Electric Heated Socks with Rechargeable battery
Battery: 7.4V 2200mAh Rechargeable
Heat Setting: Blue (Low, 6 hrs), White (Mid, 3.5 hrs), Red (High, 2 hrs)
Material: Cotton exterior, Lycra liner
Nothing makes us feel like we’ve woken up in the future than realizing that we forgot to charge our socks overnight, but that’s what you might find yourself saying if you get yourself a pair of these high-tech bad boys. They operate off of a rechargeable 7.4V battery which is strong enough to keep the whole surface of the foot nice and toasty, with some pretty decent instep coverage as well.
In fact, considering the dual-layer cotton / Lycra construction, they have a tendency to get a little too warm in many situations. Fortunately you are covered by the fact that SUNWILL has included three different temperature settings that are easy enough to switch between without removing your shoes. We recommend starting out at one of the lower settings, as it can take a few minutes for the full warming effects to become noticeable.
The only thing we didn’t like about these was that the battery pack, located at the top of the sock around mid-calf, is inconveniently placed for ski and snowboard boots. It would need to be just a little bit higher on the leg to allow it to fit into a ski boot, so we hope SUNWILL might offer something like that in the future.
However, for any activity where you are wearing less constrictive footwear, these socks won’t pose any issues. They are a snug fit on the foot and should slip right into most shows and ankle boots.
Battery time isn’t bad if you keep it on low to medium. Recharge time varies but we found it was possible in less than 4 hours.
Best Electric Socks with Smartphone Capability:
Lenz Products Heat Sock 1.0
Battery: 7.4V 2400mAh Rechargeable
Heat Setting: Low, Medium, High (up to 14 hours heat on low)
Material: 49% Polyester, 29% Polyamid, 10% Polyprpylen, 7% Merino, 5% Elasthan
The only concept that is stranger than plugging your socks in at night is having them connected to your smart phone, and that is exactly what Lenz Products has done with their first entry into the heated sock market. The HEAT SOCK 1.0 is simply the ‘smartest’ sock on our list, and we were stoked to get the opportunity to try them on.
The smartphone connectivity is simple and doesn’t seem to have any operational bugs. It allows you to shift between three different heat settings with a few taps of the phone, which would be a pretty handy feature if you’ve got these socks on beneath a pair of heavy boots.
What’s strange is that although you can use your phone to change the heat setting in real time, there is no option to simply turn the battery off. In fact, the only way to wear these without the heat on is to remove the battery altogether. Fortunately, the ‘low’ heat setting isn’t too toasty and is suitable for most adventures.
This sock is thinner than some of the cotton hybrids that we looked at. It gives them a tighter fit and a good compression. More so than other products, this one really felt like it would hold itself in place for activities like jogging and bicycling.
What’s surprising here is how the heating wires, which are threaded throughout the socks, are so prone to falling out of place or becoming disconnected. They simply are not firmly installed, and the result is a heating element that only works some of the time. Because of the significant price, we had assumed that the structure would be a little more well put together.
Also, you have to pay $5 extra to unlock the remaining 7 heat stages by getting the premium app. You’d think that might be included for the price!
Warmest Electric Socks:
Pristall Remote Control Heated Socks
Battery: 7.4V Rechargeable
Heat Setting: High / Medium / Low
Material: 3 layers: High density fibers, strategic heating panels, and a breathable top layer
The hands down coolest things about this pair of socks by Pristall is the wireless remote control, which amazingly syncs to the sock without any kind of cords. For activities like skiing, snowboarding, and hunting, having easy access to the remote without the hassle of all those cords is going to be a real game changer, which is why we predict that these will be some of the most popular socks of 2020.
The price is certainly an attractive feature here. They are significantly more moderately priced of some of the other socks with the same wire-frame construction, and from what we could tell, the heat output was basically the same.
As far as the actual sock goes this one features a three-layer construction that gives them a heft and thickness that is actually quite comfortable. You can, however, feel the internal heating wires in some positions. Because the wires are so lightly threaded within the sock, sometimes some bunching can occur and you need to take your boot off to straighten things out.
One thing the Pristall socks have going for them is comfort. They are significantly more breathable than other socks in this category, which is most likely achieved somewhere in the high density fiber weave. We can’t say for certain how they did it, but Pristall managed to create a heated sock that won’t cause excessive amounts of sweating.
Best Electric Socks for Hunting:
Mobile Warming Battery heated Socks
Battery: 3.7V Rechargeable
Heat Setting: Blue (Low, 6 hrs), White (Mid, 3.5 hrs), Red (High, 2 hrs)
Material: Cotton exterior, Lycra liner
Because the manufacturers are so focused on creating a sock that generates warmth, they can sometimes forget to pay attention to one of the most important aspects of footwear: comfort. Mobile Warming’s sock is a nice soft fabric that holds tight against the leg, and even after multiple uses, manages to retain some of that new sock feel.
The wires are cleverly hidden here, sewn in between the layers of the sock. They are not altogether gone, as you can still feel them with your foot, but at least they are not exposed as they are with some brands. Other things we like include the handheld controller and the stylish grey look.
It’s strange how the internal wire structures seem to modify the shape and fit of the sock. It’s almost like they are too thick or too rigid for the soft sock, however we wonder if it is this added thickness that makes them more durable. In fact the wires on the Mobile Warming socks were far more firmly installed than in other products that have come across out list.
The company advertises these socks as being fully machine washable, however we are not sure how well that claim holds up. We noticed a significant drop in heating ability after the first wash, and we can only expect to get similar results from subsequent washings. Our recommendation is to stick to gentle hand-washing, as there is it far less likely that the wire structure will become damaged in the process.
Best Budget Electric Heated Socks:
Rabbitroom Unisex Rechargeable Electric Heated Socks Kit
Battery: 3.7V RechargeableLi-ion battery
Heat Setting: 50%, 75%, 100% (Up to 6 hours)
One of the major barriers that electric socks have faced in gaining popularity is the price point at which many of the best-performing products are introduced. Because they are often too expensive for the casual consumer, many products have not been able to remain viable and have been kicked out of the marketplace before they had their time to shine. Fortunately, due to some technological advancements and rapidly dropping materials prices, socks like the RABBITROOM Heated Sock have been able to carve out their own little chunk of the market.
Not only is this perhaps the most affordable sock that our team reviewed, but it is the only one that features a 100% knit cotton construction. While in most cases cotton socks would not be the best choice for staying warm, in this case, they provide a highly breathable and water resisting barrier that keeps your feet feeling great for hours at a time. As a natural fabric it also tends to hold its shape quite well over time as opposed to the highly synthetic materials that the majority of heated socks are made of.
One of the ways that Rabbitroom managed to make such an affordable electric sock was to cut back on the total heated area, restricting it to front instep area of each foot. While this means that the heat output is somewhat less that competing products, it also means that there is only one wire inside the sock and it runs along the top of the foot instead of the bottom, so what we are really talking about is a significant boost in comfort and performance.
Anyways, the area that is most likely to get cold is the toes, right? So perhaps Rabbitroom is on to something with this design, because the price simply can’t be beat.
Best Electric Heated Socks for Skiing:
GLOBAL VASION Electric Heated Socks with Rechargeable Battery
Battery: 3.7V Li-ion Rechargeable
Heat Setting: Red (3-3.5 hrs), Orange (4.5-5 hrs), Green (6-6.5 hrs)
Material: Triple layer synthetic
There are two small but important features that make GLOBAL VASION’s electric socks among the very finest that are out there. The first is a set of reinforced heel and toe pads. While the toe pad’s main purpose is to house the heating element, it ends up serving an unexpected but highly appreciated purpose of supporting the toe and foot against impact. It makes these some of the beast heated socks for high-impact sports like skiing, skating, running, and working outdoors.
The second feature that has us so excited is simply the added height of these socks. Because they are several inches taller and come up higher on the leg, the battery pocket sits high enough to allow these socks to be used comfortable with ski or snowboard boots, something that no other pair of electric socks so far has been able to do with this level of comfort and usability.
However, the GLOBAL VASION socks aren’t perfect. The battery life seemed significantly reduced compared to direct price range competitors, in some cases offering no more than two hours of batter life per use, or in other cases demonstrating behavior of inadequate charging. Could the problem be with the charger? We would be interested to hear more reports about this from other users. It oculd have just been the pair we received.
Overall this is a very comfortable sock with a solid heating function and the added bonus of some extra cushioning. For the price it’s nothing short of a smart purchase. You might just need to order a second pair to make sure that you always have one charged up and ready to go.
Best Electric Heated Socks for Wearing Around the House:
QILOVE Extra Warm Rechargeable Battery Heated Socks
Battery: 3.7V 220 mAh Rechargeable
Heat Setting: Red (3-3.5 hrs), Orange (4.5-5 hrs), Green (6-6.5 hrs)
Material: Cotton / Synthetic Hybrid
The fact that relative newcomer to the heated apparel game QILOVE has such an impressive variety of heated items for sale, from beanies to socks to insoles, means that they are making a serious attempt at cornering the budget electric sock market. Their flagship heated sock utilizes a 3.7V battery to pump heat throughout the sock fabric along the top of the foot. Working in tandem with a targeted compression design that gets tighter closer to the toe, these socks are capable of increasing and restoring blood circulation even without the heating function on.
The fact that the heating element runs along the top of the foot means that there is little chance of experiencing discomfort inside the show or boot. Whereas some electric socks have multiple wires running along the bottom of the foot, these have only the padding of the natural woven fabric. The heat manages to spread throughout the sock quite well, even reaching the bottom of the foot after it has some time to warm up.
However we would be lying if we said that these socks were as good as heating the toes as thoroughly as they could. Because of the top placed heating element, it is possible that the backs of your toes will become overheated before the bottoms of your toes are adequately warm. We recommend turning your socks on for a brief period before putting them on so that they have a chance to warm up adequately.
Unfortunately the QUILOVE Battery Heated Socks have one of the bulkiest battery packs that we’ve seen, sticking out from the side of the sock an inch or more. They are not tall enough for the batter pack to be above the rim of a ski or snowboard boot, so perhaps this is a pair of electric socks that is more suitable for lounging around the house on a cold Sunday than taking along for a motorcycle ride in April.
How Do Electric Socks Work?
The basic principle behind electric socks is quite simple. A small battery pack, usually housed in a small pocket on the top of the sock, is connected to a wire or set of wires that run towards a heating element(s) further down on the sock. The heating elements convert the electric current to heat, which radiates outward to warm the toes, which are significantly more likely to get too cold in the first place.
However there are some significant variations in exactly how these socks are made. For instance, the placement of the heating elements is something that will change greatly from one pair to another. By paying attention to what parts of your feet get cold the easiest or fastest, you can choose an element placement that is good for you.
Electric Heated Socks: Battery Considerations
There are two basic battery types for electric socks, each with its own benefits.
Rechargeable Lithium Ion
The majority of electric socks being sold these days are taking advantage of a small rechargeable battery pack that can be removed from a pocket in the sock and charged via external charger. The obvious benefit of this is that you don’t have to constantly replace the AA’s that would otherwise be required.
There are some electric socks on the market that still use replaceable / disposable batteries such as AAs or AAAs, however these are usually discount models and do not generally offer the same quality of workmanship as the rechargeable models.
Keep Your Battery Ports Clean
Proper maintenance and care of the battery terminals is very important as this area can become corroded due to battery damage and disrupt the power flow to the heating elements. Check out this YouTube video on how to Clean Battery Leak Damage in Electronics.
Safety Guide for Electric Heated Socks
Because heated socks utilize electricity to produce heat and that heat is within a flammable material, it is best practice to keep an eye on how your electric socks are being used and how long they are left on “HIGH”. While there have been no serious incidents involving electric socks, the possibility of overheating is not zero. If you feel your socks heating beyond a comfortable level the first thing you should do is disconnect the battery.
A few more safety tips:
• NEVER USE ELECTRIC HEATED SOCKS WHEN THEY ARE WET
If live electricity comes into contact with that amount of water, it could cause a short, or even a painful shock.
• ELECTRIC SOCKS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN
Children may not be able to operate the heat controls, in addition to hazards that present themselves because of the wires and small electronic parts.
• SHUT OFF POWER OR DISCONNECT BATTERY IMMEDIATELY IF DISCOMFORT OCCURS
If you notice something working improperly or causing discomfort you should disconnect the power source immediately before you try and diagnose the problem.
• PAY ATTENTION TO HOW LONG YOU USE THE ‘HIGH’ TEMPERATURE SETTING FOR In some cases, the sock fabric can heat up to a dangerous level. Although fire is highly unlikely, the best way to stay safe is to follow instructions and pay attention to the included safety guidelines to make sure that your product isn’t being used improperly.
The best thing about reviewing electric socks is that each pair you try on is going to be brand new and have that warm and tight new sock feeling. We have to admit that this was a fun review to put together, and we were hesitant to part with some of the test samples.
Boiling it all down to best of the best would be a difficult challenge indeed, but we can give it a shot.
For comfy foot warming on a chilly winter Sunday around the house, there really is no better option than the QUILOVE Extra warm rechargeable socks. They were perhaps the most comfortable pair that we tried on, and the targeted compression technology went a long way to increasing leg circulation, even without the added electric heat.
However the more motivated outdoorsman might need something with a little bit more performance value. In this case we would be hard pressed to recommend anything other than the Mobile Warming battery heated socks. They have one of the tightest ‘grips’ of all the socks we tried on, and the ability of an electric warming stock to stay in place during the day’s activities is one of the most important features that we can think of.
BONUS: How to Care for Your Electric Socks
Because of the electronic / metallic components that are stitched inside your electric socks, special care is required to make sure that the connections don’t come loose and the heating element is not damaged by being soaked with water. While many electric socks are capable of being machine washed, an equal amount are not.
Tips from the Team for taking care of your electric socks:
- ALWAYS CHECK IF YOUR SOCKS ARE MACHINE WASHABLE
Because there are different styles of electric sock, some varieties are not designed to handle full submersion in water and therefore should not be put through the washing machine. These socks need to be washed by hand. It can be a chore, but it is by far the best way to make sure your electric socks keep working at top levels.
- CONSIDER HAND-WASHING EITHER WAY
Even if your electric socks are marketed at machine washable, you might want to consider keeping them out of the washing machine altogether if you really want to extend the shelf life. We’ve seen some evidence that even machine wash certified products tend to lose their warming capabilities after multiple trips through the washer.
- DON’T PUT YOUR ELECTRIC SOCKS IN THE DRYER
While some electric socks may be able to handle a trip through the washing machine, no electric sock should go in the dryer. Be sure to air dry these as the heating mechanisms can be extremely sensitive.
- TAKE GOOD CARE OF THE HEATING ELEMENT
No matter what style of electric socks you have, the most important part of them is going to be the heating element, because unlike the battery compartment, the heating element often can not be removed without damaging or destroying the sock.
Be sure to read through all instruction manuals that come with your electric socks and follow manufacturer guidelines closely.
Frequently Asked Questions
All electric socks are different, so it is very important to check the specifications before you wash your electric socks. While there are some products that are machine-washable, an equal number of products are hand-wash only, and the machine cycle will damage the internal heating element.
Our recommendation is to hand-wash ALL electric socks, as there is significantly less risk of damaging the heating elements and wire structure. Many who have put these socks through the washer have reported experiencing diminished heating capabilities from that point onward.
The batteries that power the electric socks are perhaps the most important component of the idea, considering that they are responsible for delivering the heat to the foot area. As far as watts and mAh, the electric socks on our list are measured in volts,and are usually either 3.7V or 7.1V.
Milliampere hours range from 2200 to 2400, though there may be more variation than that in other models not shown here.
The best way to find replacement batteries for your electric heated socks is to determine the battery product number which is often available with the product specifications. By searching for this number it is possible to find a supplier who has affordable replacement batteries available.
Another good source would be the product manufacturer. While not all of the socks we reviewed were made by companies that have customer service departments, some of them do, and many of them are lovely people to chat with who wouldn’t mind finding a replacement battery for you.