We frequently get asked for our thoughts on the best material for dress socks. While much of this comes down to personal preference, we strongly believe that socks knit primarily with natural yarns (i.e. wool or cotton socks) are significantly more comfortable than socks that contain a high amount of synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers such as polyester do not breathe as well as natural fibers and can cause your feet to sweat.

Wool vs Cotton Socks

We’ve established that natural fibers are more comfortable, so when choosing between wool or cotton socks, which is best? Again, this is largely a matter of personal preference but there are clear distinctions between these two fibers that can help guide your decision:

Merino Wool Pima Cotton
Which is softer?   X
Which best manages moisture? X
Which manages odor best? X
Cooler for hottest temperatures? X
Warmest for cold temperatures? X
Which feels lighter? X

It is important to note that when we discuss wool dress socks, we are referring to merino wool which is very different from traditional wool that you may think of as itchy and scratchy. Merino wool is much finer, making it softer and smoother.

Best Material for Soft Dress Socks

If you’re looking for extremely soft dress socks, we recommend our cotton dress socks. The majority of our cotton dress socks are knit using American-grown, extra-long staple Supima cotton which produces a buttery-soft sock that is incredibly comfortable. If you’re interested in learning more about the cotton that we use, head over to our article about Supima cotton.

Soft Dress Socks
A pair of our silky-smooth pima cotton dress socks. Your search for soft dress socks ends here.

Best Dress Socks for Sweaty Feet

While it may not be the most pleasant topic to discuss, many gentlemen suffer from sweaty feet and the materials in your dress socks will have a major impact on this ailment. So what are the best dress socks for sweaty feet? Given the preconceived notions that many folks have about merino wool, it may seem counter-intuitive, but merino wool dress socks are best-suited to eliminate this issue.

Puddle with Rain Drops
There is nothing pleasant about sopping wet socks. Opt for merino wool dress socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable.


Merino wool is naturally able to manage moisture. In fact, it can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture while still feeling dry to the touch. Merino sheep, the source of merino wool, live primarily in the mountains of New Zealand where they experience cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Their coats have adapted to these extremes to keep them dry and comfortable, making merino wool and ideal fiber to use in crafting dress socks.

Merino Wool for Dress SocksMerino sheep have adapted to thrive in their harsh habitat, making their wool an excellent material for producing dress socks.

Merino wool absorbs sweat and pulls it away from the skin, allowing for the moisture to evaporate and helping to keep your socks dry. Not only does this moisture wicking help to get sweat out of your socks, but it also combats odor; odor-causing bacteria requires a damp environment. Finally, merino wool fibers have a natural, antibacterial coating on them that further assist in eliminating odor.

Moisture Wicking Wool Dress SocksUnlike cotton and many other fibers, merino wool naturally wicks moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Best Material for Warm Dress Socks

If cold winters or a chilly office have you on the hunt for warm dress socks, look no further than our merino wool over the calf dress socks. Merino wool fibers contain natural crimps that, in cold weather, are able to retain body heat.

Merino Wool Over the Calf Dress SocksMerino wool over the calf dress socks, ideal for keeping warm. 

As discussed above, merino wool performs significantly better at managing moisture when compared to cotton; cotton retains moisture against your skin while merino wool pulls it away from the body. When searching for warm dress socks, this is a very important distinction. Merino wool will still keep you warm, even when wet.

Finally, the knee high length of our merino wool over the calf dress socks provides greater coverage of your leg for additional warmth.

Best Dress Socks for Hot Weather

For many of the reasons we listed above, merino wool does an excellent job of keeping you comfortable year-round in both warm and cool weather. It breathes, manages moisture and combats odor, all things that are needed in warm weather.

However, when the weather escalates from warm to hot, we recommend opting for our cotton dress socks. The cotton feels lighter and is extremely smooth against your skin, making them slightly more comfortable in truly hot weather. To learn more about the unique properties of the cotton that we use, see our detailed article on Supima cotton.

Cool Dress Socks for a Warm OfficeWhen the mercury skyrockets, reach for pima cotton dress socks to keep you cool.


We hope that this article was informative and helps in your decision-making process! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. Shop our collection and pick out your next favorite pair of dress socks.

Find My Perfect Pair

Nathan James
Nathan James

CEO, Boardroom Socks

Nathan's favorite dress socks are our burgundy merino wool socks. You will also frequently find him wearing our new no-show socks. Outside of the office he enjoys fishing, reading and exploring Charlotte with his wife.

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