Stompy boots and finding the right socks for winter

— by Alyson Walsh


Photo: Sarah Brick


Winter boots demand the right socks. For optimum comfort and extra warmth, socks shouldn’t be an after-thought, you have to find the correct pairing. Particularly if, like me, you enjoy a good walk around the park (or what TikTokkers are now calling #softhiking). Stompy footwear has specific requirements. Personally, I prefer thick, woolly walking socks with big boots to ensure a good fit around the ankle, the right length ( ideally they should sit above the top of your  boots), and avoid any rubbing. If your socks are too thin, your feet will slide around inside your boots like Tonya Harding on a good day. Always remember the style equation:

Chunky boots + substantial socks = maximum comfort.

This combination can be visually pleasing, a peep of sock brings a little energy to an outfit. It helps break things up, and offers an opportunity to introduce colour, texture and interest. My favourites are the thick, cushioned walking socks from Community Clothing; knitted in Leicestershire, they are a wool-blend with a good amount of stretch and come in an array of colours including: ‘Seaweed’ ‘Slate’ and ‘Port.’ (I’m wearing a pair in the photo above). One of my most stylish friends teams Pairs walking socks with her classic Red Wing boots. The responsibly-sourced wool socks are designed for comfort and made in Scotland by a small independent company.


Elsewhere, I’ve heard good things about the Last Long socks at Finisterre. Sustainably-made with British wool, the socks have over-600 five star reviews on the website. Falke is arguably the most luxurious sock-maker in the business; another friend rates the cosy wool boot socks and rustic rib boot socks. For affordable prices, I often pick up socks at Muji (though the sizing can be a bit confusing), they wear and wash well. I snagged a couple of pairs of the men’s grey sports socks in New York, earlier this month. And, Uniqlo’s HeatTech is always a good idea.

To perk up a pared-down outfit try the off-beat jacquards, florals and colour-pairings from Japanese label Tabio. Statement socks can also be found at  Penelope Chilvers and Rototo.  Knee-highs are an excellent option, and worn with a midi skirt or maxi-length, your legs will be warmer and no-one will be any the wiser. Try Catherine Tough for patterned pairs or Swedish Stockings for plain.

I know what you’re thinking: bare legs in mid-winter, that woman really is a hardy northerner. Admittedly, the top photo was taken in autumn, and initially I tried the outfit on with a pair of knee boots but it just didn’t feel right. Tights are too much of a faff and so I tend to avoid Hosiery Hell. If you have to… Snag Tights are designed to be worn by all sizes and a good fit.


A selection of stompy boots and substantial socks. And more on the benefits of walking HERE:

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My cashmere crew neck jumper is from a previous Uniqlo partnership (similar colours available HERE). The mohair tank top was a gift from Brora and is now less than half price in the sale. The denim skirt was a gift from Toast (sent after my feature on denim skirts you can walk in). I bought my boots from Solovair and the walking socks from Community Clothing.

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    Winter boots demand the right socks. For optimum comfort and extra warmth, socks shouldn’t be an after-thought, you have to find the correct pairing.