Running in cold weather can often help to get the blood flowing and keep you warm. But swimming in the cold can be a different experience – and a much more uncomfortable one.
If you are training for a triathlon in cold weather, it may be worthwhile investing in a pair of the best swim socks for triathletes. These will not only keep your feet warm and maintain circulation, but they also offer good grip when out of the water.
We recommend the Zone3 Neoprene Swim Socks as our top pick. They’re 2 mm thick and are extra-length for better coverage, as well as having nice traction.
If you are racing in a triathlon, you’ll only be allowed to use them in water below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. But they’re worth having for those times. Plus swim training in cold, open water.
Here’s our full list of the socks we recommend.
Top 3 Best and Favorite
1. Zone3 Neoprene Swim Socks
The Zone 3 Neoprene Swim Socks are 2 mm thick and have been designed with extra length so that they can be tucked into your wetsuit. This eliminates exposed skin between the sock and the wetsuit.
They also have a handy Velcro strap on the top of the calf that helps to keep the sock in place so you don’t need to worry about it slipping as you’re swimming. The sole is lightly textured for good traction when walking or jogging to and from the water.
These neoprene socks come in five sizes—from extra small to extra large—and two different colors.
Note that they may not be effective in extremely cold weather due to their thinner size of 2 mm. They’re best used in water that’s slightly warmer.
- Tight-fitting design
- Longer length
- Gripped sole
- 2 mm thick neoprene
- Not suitable for extremely cold water
2. HUUB Design Neoprene Swim Socks
If you want a slightly thicker sock than the first option, the HUUB Design Neoprene SwimSocks are 3 mm in thickness, which offers more insulation.
You should be able to swim in water a few degrees colder with these socks, although they may still not be ideal for water temperatures closer to freezing.
The sole is reinforced which helps to protect the feet from debris and possible hazards when walking on dry land. It also has an innovative split-toe design, where the big toe is separated from the others. This is to allow for better balance.
A silicone layer on the sole also makes this shoe slip-resistant to keep you even safer. Velcro closures keep the sock tight on your foot and allow you to wear it either under or over your wetsuit.
- 3 mm neoprene
- Reinforced sole
- Split-toe design
- Velcro closure
- The split-toe design may feel awkward to some individuals
3. ZCCO1 Neoprene Socks
These socks are affordable and provide excellent quality for their price.
They’re 3 mm thick, with a high-elastic design, meaning they’re stretchy and easy to get on and off and they also cling tightly to your skin to provide a streamlined fit.
The seams of these socks have been both glued and double-stitched to increase their durability. Underneath, there’s a light dotted texture but it doesn’t provide as much traction as other socks.
This might not be a problem if you won’t be walking or running on slippery surfaces, and the lack of rubber on the sole does make them very flexible and easy to swim in.
- High-elastic design
- Double-stitched and glued seams
- 3 mm thick neoprene
- Non-slip design
- This sock doesn’t provide as much traction as others
Top Long Socks
4. Synergy Wetsuits Neoprene Swim Socks
These socks are form-fitting to prevent water from entering them while you’re swimming. They’re also longer so they can be tucked into a wetsuit if preferred. An SCS Smoothskin lining makes them soft on the skin and further prevents water from getting in.
Made of 2.5 mm neoprene, they’re effective for use in moderately cold water. These socks prevent the cold of the water from reaching your skin and insulate your body heat, keeping the warmth in. Blindstitched seams are glued and heat-taped for extra durability.
Silicone thread along the back of the ankle helps to keep the sock in place while you’re moving through the water.
The sole of the bootie is also threaded with silicone, for protection against the ground and traction on slippery surfaces.
- SCS smoothskin lining
- Silicone threaded sole
- Extended length
- Might not be suitable for very cold water
Best Low Socks
5. Neosport Low-Top Neoprene Sock
If you prefer a shorter sock that doesn’t need to be tucked into your wetsuit or comes over your wetsuit, then these low-top socks may be the right choice for you.
They’re made of 2 mm neoprene, making them suitable for moderately cold water.
The 4-way stretch neoprene has an EZ Slip-On design and insulates your body heat, keeping your circulation going when you’re in a cold environment. Flatlock seams prevent chafing and offer improved durability.
Under the foot, there’s a traction sole to help keep your footing on many different surfaces while wearing these socks.
These socks run large and it’s advised that you should order a full size down for a comfortable fit or even two sizes down for a tight fit.
- 4-way stretch neoprene
- Durable traction sole
- Flatlock stitched
- EZ Slip-On Design
- They run slightly large and one should order a full size down or even two full sizes
6. CAPAS Neoprene Waterproof Socks
Not all neoprene swim socks are slip-resistant and sometimes you won’t need this feature.
But if you’re going to be getting out of the water onto a dock or a similar surface that could be slippery, non-slip socks are important.
The sole and toe are made of neoprene and are 2 mm in thickness, with the rest of the sock being slightly thinner and made of nylon.
This sock is breathable and aims more to protect your feet against rocks, debris, and other hazards on the ground rather than protecting your feet while you swim.
A seamless inner layer reduces the chances of chafing that could cause discomfort. On the outside of the sock, blindstitched and glued seams increase the durability of this sock.
Rubber lugs under the sole follow a similar pattern to the tires on an SUV for exceptional traction on slick surfaces.
- Seamless inner sock layer
- 2 mm thick neoprene sole
- Tire pattern outsole
- Blind-stitched design
- Water will soak through and wet your feet
7. Skyone Neoprene Socks
These swim socks are 3 mm thick and have a stretchy design that makes it easy to get them on and off with minimal effort. They’re also eye-catching and comfortable and come in four sizes for a good fit.
The materials are designed to keep your feet warm when swimming or doing other watersports. While they’re one of the thicker pairs on this list, they’re still flexible enough to allow the foot to move through its natural range of motion in the water.
It has a lightly textured sole for good grip without being too rigid. Although the seams are visible and make up part of the design, they’re glued and blindstitched for extra durability.
Some may find that the sizing of these socks is slightly inconsistent and can be difficult to find the right size for your foot. We advise carefully studying the sizing chart before buying.
- 3mm premium neoprene
- Warm thermal materials
- Anti-slip design
- Easy to slip on and off
- Some may find that the sizing is inconsistent
What Makes Good Swim Socks?
Good swim socks should be made of neoprene, the same material that your wetsuit is made from. They should be at least 2-3 mm thick to keep your feet warm and maintain good circulation.
The soles of the socks should also have rubber tread to provide traction when walking. You will need to walk to your swimming spot and also walk to your transition point once you’ve finished your swim and you don’t want to slip.
When Are Neoprene Swim Socks In An Ironman Legal?
You can only use neoprene socks in water that’s below 65 degrees Fahrenheit—18.8 degrees Celcius.
If the water temperature is higher than that it’s illegal to wear them.
How Much Insulation Are You Looking For?
The thicker the neoprene of your socks, the more insulated your feet will be. The colder the water you’re swimming in, the thicker socks you should use.
If you’re going to be swimming in a variety of different places and you aren’t sure how the temperatures may differ, then thicker socks will be a better choice to ensure maximum insulation.
Are They Flexible Enough To Swim In?
Swim socks have a rubber bottom to allow for traction when walking. If the bottom is too stiff, it could cause drag when you’re in the water.
Look for a pair of socks that have enough grip to keep you safe when walking, but are still flexible enough in the sole to swim easily.