Size: Women’s Medium
Foot size: 7-8
Material: 77% merino wool, 19% nylon, 4% elastane
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area; Wasatch backcountry & hiking trails; PCMR
Days used: 30
Earlier this season, I was looking for a mid-weight sock to try to fill up some of the extra room that had developed in my packed-out ski boots. I’d read Jason Hutchins’ review of the Icebreaker Ski Lite Over the Calf sock, so was interested in trying the women’s version, which has a different sizing and color scheme.
As Jason said in his review, the Skier Lite is composed primarily of merino wool. While many other brands incorporate merino wool into their socks, Icebreaker socks contain a higher percentage of merino wool, which Icebreaker claims makes the sock very breathable, warm, soft, and odor-repelling.
I usually wear anywhere between a women’s size 7 and size 8 street shoe, which according to Icebreaker’s size chart puts me right in between sizes: Small (up to size 7.5) and Medium (7.5-9). My other ski socks are all size medium, however, so I decided to size up.
Around the width of my foot and my calf, the size medium fits very comfortably and is similar to my mid-weight SmartWool PhD Racer ski socks. I did notice, however, that the Skier Lite felt less restricting and therefore a little more comfortable than my thinner-weight SmartWool PhD Ski Lite sock.
As far as length goes, however, the Skier Lite sock has a substantially longer cuff (2-3 inches) and is longer from heel to toe (0.5-1 inch) than my other size medium socks. When I pull the sock snug to prevent bunching, the heal seam rises slightly up my Achilles tendon. And when I pull the sock up all the way, the top of the cuff extends just over the top of my patella, whereas my other skis socks end just below.
I usually wear the Skier Lite below the knee, however, for a few reasons. First, when it is pulled all the way up, it feels slightly tight and restricting on my knee. And after repeatedly bending my knee during activity, the sock generally works it way down below my knee anyway. But as Jason mentioned in his review, the Skier Lite has a three-quarter-inch elastane cuff, which is sufficient to keep the sock in place below the knee, and, like Jason, when worn this way I didn’t notice any wrinkling or further movement of the sock.
All that to say, based on the heel-to-toe length in the cuff length compared to the other size medium socks I have, I would definitely consider sizing down if you happen to be between sizes.
As far as softness goes, the Icebreaker Skier Lite feels slightly softer than my other SmartWool socks. The only difference I’ve noticed is that the Skier Lite is stiffer and feels slightly less soft in the reinforced wear zones, which are located on the heel (“heel flap” and “heel turn”) and at the ball of the foot. However, I do not notice any discomfort from the stiffer material and instead, since I was looking to fill in extra room in my boots, I benefit from the bit of extra padding.
I also appreciate a ski sock that is versatile and can be worn while doing other activities as well. I have skied in the Skier Lite a lot, but I have also hiked and played ice hockey while wearing it. Across the board, there was enough padding to be comfortable, and I’ve never had an issue with blisters.
I also suspect this extra padding will give the Skier Lite a little more durability than my SmartWool PhD Racer, socks which are now see-through in the heels after several years of use. Granted, I’ve worn the Skier Lite for only 30 days or so, but so far they show zero signs of wear. And even as they do wear, there’s simply more material there to be worn down.
While it’s difficult to say exactly how the breathability of the Skier Lite compares to other socks, I would say it’s similar to my other midweight SmartWool PhD Racer socks (which for obvious reasons is slightly less than the thinner SmartWool PhD Ski Lite socks I own). But the nice thing about the Icebreaker Skier Lite is how well they wick moisture. When I pull my foot out of my boot, they usually feel less damp than my SmartWool socks. Even when accidentally stepping in melted-snow puddles in the locker room, they felt less damp, which I assume is the sock wicking away that water from my foot and throughout more of the sock.
One of the advertized benefits of merino wool is that it is odor resistant, but in this particular case, I wasn’t able to verify that claim fully. I don’t make a regular practice of to smelling my socks, but in the usual handling of taking them on and off, etc., I didn’t notice them ever smelling any better or worse than any of my SmartWool socks, which are made with a lower percentage of merino wool. That said, the other Icebreaker merino wool products I’ve used this season (the Flexi Chute Ripple neckwarmer and Carve Full-Zip Top midlayer) were surprisingly resistant to odor compared to synthetic materials.
While I do appreciate a thinner sock on super warm days or when wearing very tight boots, the Skier Lite is great for all other conditions and even a variety of activities because of the reinforced wear zones, the snug yet comfortable fit, and soft material. If you’re between sizes, I would suggest sizing down to accommodate for the longer cuff and heel-to-toe length, but I can recommend this sock to anyone looking for a midweight ski sock.