Best Hiking Socks Reviewed & Rated

Alright, so you planned your hiking trip and you have everything you need: camping gear, proper hiking clothes, water, food, a compass and a map and hiking boots. Wait, did I forget something in this list? Of course! Hiking socks! No. Don’t go in your drawer to pick your white gym socks. They won’t do and you’ll end up cussing the whole trip. You need something that will keep your feet dry, without any blisters, and that will make you smile all day and night until your return home. Because who hates to wear socks that are so uncomfortable that you have to stop every few feet to pull them back up?

But what do you have to look for in hiking socks? A lot of things, but once you get the hang of it; the choice will be pretty easy.

Last Updated: January 23, 2018
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By Brittney Ward:

The following update includes a more current best hiking socks list, making the new total count to a top 15. Not only have we added 5 new socks to the list, but we've also added a criteria of evaluation and FAQ section to help you further your knowledge in choosing the best hiking socks. No matter where you choose to hike, you'll be able to find everything you need right here.

Featured Recommendations

People Socks Merino Wool
  • People Socks Merino Wool
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reinforced toe and heel
  • Medium thickness
  • Price: See Here
Darn Tough Vermont
  • Darn Tough Vermont
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Performance fit
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Price: See Here
SeoulStory7 Low
  • SeoulStory7 Low
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Y-heel tab
  • Extra Padding
  • Price: See Here

First of all, you want socks that have 100% wool or wool blend. Why wool? Because it can regulate temperature unlike cotton or fully synthetic socks. So in cold weathers, your socks will be able to retain the heat, and if it’s hotter outside, then your socks will be able to cool your feet down. Wool isn’t as breathable as cotton, but the most important thing in hiking socks is to keep your feet dry at all times.

Second, you want to make sure that you pick the proper material weight. You have to consider the temperature and general conditions where you’re planning your hiking trips. The lighter the sock material weight, the warmer the weather should be. This section is separated into four categories: a) Ultra-lightweight for hot to warm weather, b) Lightweight for warm weather, c) Midweight for warm to cold weather and finally d) Heavy weight for cold weather.

Finally comes the durability and lifetime guarantees, as well as gender specific socks. While men’s socks are more in the neutral tones, women’s hiking socks are more cute and colorful. For the durability, that’s why I’m here! Check out the top 15 best hiking socks to help you in your sock choice!

 

15 Best Hiking Socks

 

1. People Socks Merino Wool Crew

People Socks is known for their quality wool. Cheap wool is scratchy, piles up while you walk and falls apart rather quickly. They are so serious about their brand that their socks are 100% guaranteed. And if you’re scared that you’ll have to wash them by hand, don’t worry, because these socks are machine-washable! People Socks have been committed to giving its clients the best of the best so that your hiking and trekking trips are pleasant and so that your feet don’t suffer from all of the horrible things such as blisters, bad odor and chaffing.
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Material
These socks are made of wool blend, with 71% wool, 21% nylon, 7% polyester and 1% spandex. This is probably one of the best blends you can get. The wool will keep your feet at a good temperature, while the nylon will add some breathability. Plus! Since it’s a mix of wool and nylon, your feet won’t be itching from the rawness of the wool material. The spandex offers you a little gauge when it comes to fit, but don’t count on just this in case you buy a size smaller. Don’t forget to check the sizing chart!

Toe and Heel
As I explained earlier, if you’re going on a hiking trip, you need a sock with cushioning that will help your heel and toes during every impact. People Socks have reinforced the heels and toes of this pair of socks, so don’t worry about itching and hurting feet at the end of the day.

Cost and Value
For the quality and lower priced socks (compared to other company that tend to boost the prices up because their socks are made with wool), there’s no question as to why it’s our #1 in this list. People Socks have vowed to keep their prices low so that everyone can enjoy a comfortable hiking trip.
Pros
  • Toe and heel reinforced for cushioning
  • Cheap price
  • Wool Blend material
  • Perfect for cold to warm weather
Cons
  • Some reviewers found that their feet were too hot

2. Buttons and Pleats Merino Wool

The Buttons and Pleats premium merino wool hiking socks are a blend of wool material, with 65% merino wool. When the cold weather knocks at your door and you still want to go outside and enjoy the snow, these socks are sure to surprise you in the most positive way. And you don’t have to wash them by hand!
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Sock Length
Buttons and Pleats really thought about this one, because these hiking socks cover your ankle and calf, your lower leg is shielded from obstructions and your feet can stay warm. Crew socks are one of the most protective types of socks for hiking and is highly recommended in tall, grassy areas.

Toe and Heel
As per the People Socks’ 71% Premium Merino Wool Crew Hiking Socks, these ones are also reinforced at the heel and toe, extending the strength and duration of the lifespan of the socks. So don’t be concerned about having to buy a pair every few months or so, these socks are made to last you years (as long as you take care of them, obviously).

Cost and Value
Their price is close to the Skechers for Work Soft Stride-Softie Slip Resistant Lace-Up, but compared to them, they offer memory foam insoles as well as the Relaxed Fit that keeps your foot secure and comfortable throughout the day. These shoes can be used for casual wear, travel, as well as work and outdoor activities. They are chameleon shoes!
Pros
  • Midweight to heavy weight
  • Go up to calf for shielding against debris
  • Reinforced toe and heel
  • Machine washable
Cons
  • Some reviewers noticed that holes appeared soon after purchase on heel

3. Kirkland Signature Trail

There are so many positive comments from the reviewers that it’s hard to just point out a few positive characteristics. Kirkland can’t stop to surprise us with excellent quality for a cheap price, whether you buy online or in stores. With these merino wool blend socks, you’re certain that you’ll remain comfortable throughout your trips, for months to come!
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Odor resistant
Don’t you love it when you go out for a day in the wild and come back at night to stinky socks and shoes? Yeah, no. I don’t like that either. Thankfully, Kirkland’s (Yay Costco!) signature trail socks are odor resistant. Even after a few walks in the wild, these bad boys’ odor can’t make you gag.

Thickness
These merino wool blend socks are perfect, and it’s no reason they’re in our top 3. These are midweight hiking socks, and are mainly worn in colder weather, but some reviewers noticed that even if they wore them while hiking mounts on warmer weather, their feet remained comfortable and without any blisters.

Cost and Value
With so much positive review, the cost of these socks are a bargain and I would definitely recommend them to anyone. Don’t be afraid to have to buy some often, because many reviewers have had them for years, with a lot of mileage, and haven’t had to replace them yet.
Pros
  • Wool blend material
  • Odor resistant
  • Reinforced heel and toe
Cons
  • Wears off quickly

4. Darn Tough Micro Crew

4. Darn Tough Micro Crew
Highly versatile and efficient, these socks are perfect for hikers who’re looking for both comfort and performance. The crew cut length and ribbed merino wool are great for protecting your calves, ankles and keeping your socks from falling down. The finely knit wool keeps your feet warm during cold weather and during warmer weather, they're made to stay cool and dry. This material is so efficient, it also prevents bacteria and odors from forming.
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Antimicrobial Wool
This is a feature for serious athletes and those who aim to stay health conscious in all aspects of their lives. The breathable, fast drying material helps to prevent sweat from soaking in the socks. When sweat is absorbed and stays enclosed in one area for too long, the lack of air circulation can cause bacteria to form and which may lead to a variety of health problems, all that can be avoided with the help of these socks.

Ribbed Calf
For those of you who love the comfort and feel of a crew cut sock but hate pulling them up frequently, this is the sock with a solution. The ribbed lining located on the top portion of the sock is made to be flexible fitting around each individuals leg without ever being too constricting. If you prefer boots for hiking, these socks are a good companion.

Cost and Value
These are fairly expensive for one pair of socks, however the value of them is ranked high. A sock the provides multiple features is always going to be more costly but they will always provide the reliability and support you need for a long hike.
Pros
  • Ribbed material
  • Crew cut
  • Merino wool
  • Comfortable
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Higher priced
  • May feel slightly tight with first use

5. Wigwam Comfort Hiker

5. Wigwam Comfort Hiker
Wigwam has been a leading brand in camping and hiking gear for multiple years, gaining trust and building reliability with their products. Thick and fully cushioned, these socks work well in cold conditions and are preferred for hikers who like extra cushion and support with their footwear. Featuring a flexible, ribbed arch and just the right amount of elastic, these socks will form to the shape of your feet and legs, preventing the socks from falling down and bunching in your shoes. These socks are created with a blend of synthetic and natural fabrics to support the needs of hikers and extend the life of the sock.
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Quality Materials
Wigwam’s high standards of only using the best materials is why the brand is so acclaimed and highly recommended. Blending natural and synthetic fibers, they've created the perfect combination of fabrics to ensure warmth, comfort and dry socks for every dedicated hiker. Also, sticking with the durable merino wool, you can expect these socks to be reliable during all times of the year.

All-around Cushion
If you want to feel like your feet are walking on clouds without having your socks be too bulky in your shoes, then this is the perfect sock for you. The midweight cushion of the socks provides support and comfort throughout the entire fit without ever feeling too heavy. Hiking boots can be stiff around the ankles and cause blisters which is why it's recommended for hikers to wear thicker socks like these.

Cost and Value:
Ranging of an average price compared to similar hiking socks, you'll really feel like you're getting your full value with this pair. Not getting too specific in features but providing all the necessary support needed for hiking, you really can't go wrong when buying these socks.
Pros
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Midweight cushioning
  • Crew cut
  • Custom blend of materials
  • Retains heat well
Cons

Tight fitting

6. Darn Tough Vermont

6. Darn Tough Vermont
As the name says, these awesome socks are made in Vermont, USA. Darn Tough is able to come out with new styles every season, perfect for those to have more than just 10 pairs of socks in their drawers (like me). But don’t be defeated by this, the quality of their products never falters, especially with their unique features. Check it out!
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Material
I can’t skip the material as it’s the number one thing you should be on the look-out for while shopping for hiking socks. Each sock in constructed with 64% Merino wool, 33% nylon and 3% Lycra spandex, which means that the only natural fiber in the sock in the wool. This could be a good thing if you want your socks to dry out faster than with just merino or merino with another natural fiber. Also, with the Lycra spandex, you’re sure to not feel squeezed after an hour or two, like some socks can do. Because of the merino wool, these socks are antimicrobial and moisture-wicking, so you don’t have to worry about unpleasant odors when you take your hiking shoes/boots off after a long day outdoors. These hiking socks also come in many colorways, to please everyone in the family!

Seamless Sock
These socks are seamless, meaning that the seam at the tip of the toes that can twist during the trip and make your feet uncomfortable will never happen with these socks. This also means performance, no slipping, no bunching and no blisters!

Cost and Value
The price is on the higher scale of the price range, but honestly, for everything that these socks have to offer, these are close to a bargain. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget for a good pair of socks, then I’d suggest these ones.
Pros
  • Antimicrobial feature
  • Moisture-wicking feature
  • Seamless sock
  • Cushioning along the bottom of the foot
Cons
  • Pricy

7. SmartWool Hike Medium Crew

7. SmartWool Hike Medium Crew
SmartWool are known for their quality products. From them being knit in the United States, to having an elasticized band around the opening of the sock for extra support – you know, the sock won’t roll off while you walk! -, without forgetting their superior material blends, these hiking socks are sure to please more than one in your family.
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Material
With a merino wool blend of 66% merino wool, 33% nylon and 1% elastane, you’re sure to have your feet at a good temperature, with a certain degree of breathability. The 1% elastane gives you a little extra comfort as the sock won’t tighten too much around your foot; just enough to have a pleasant hike. Overall, this blend of materials will help to keep your feet dry, cool and comfortable.

Cushion
SmartWool surprises me each and every time, and I’m not kidding. So, you have the material and the sock length that you need, but you wonder if your toes and heels are going to be comfortable throughout the hiking trip? I can tell you now that they will be, as theses socks have a medium cushioning to help your feet absorb the impact on the trails.

Cost and Value
These socks are on the higher range of the price scale for the slip-resistant socks, but they offer so much to the wearer that it would be hard to put them aside. Take a look at those bad boys!
Pros
  • Elasticized arch brace
  • Cushion to help absorb impact
  • Wool blend for breathability and good foot temperature
  • Flat knit toe seam
Cons
  • Some reviewers noted the decrease in their quality product

8. Danish Endurance Merino Wool

8. Danish Endurance Merino Wool
Danish Endurance’s socks are all made in Europe, and they are recommended by former Navy Seal Erik B. Jorgensen to make sure that you get the best kind of quality socks there is. They are perfect if you plan on hiking, trekking, walking, backpacking and travelling year-round. These socks will keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and the fact that they are 100% money back guarantee just shows you how Danish Endurance are serious with their socks.
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Material
These socks are consisted of wool blend, with 33% merino wool, 33% acrylic, 33$ polyamide and 1% elastane. The merino wool will keep your feet at a regulated temperature, no matter the weather, while the polyamide has the highest resistance of all the raw textile materials. This means that they will not wear off quickly and will follow you in your trips for years to come. The acrylic is a strong and warm fabric also, that is often used, for example, for sweaters and tracksuits. So, you really don’t have to worry about the quality and durability of these socks!

Ventilation and Padding
These socks have a targeted ventilation system that allows your feet to remain cool or warm no matter the weather, with a constant airflow going to them. As with so many socks made for hiking, it’s important that they offer proper cushioning for your heel and toes. These socks do, which means that they reduce the impact on your feet at every landing.

Cost and Value
The price is comparable to many of these socks on the list. What would might want to make you change your mind on one pair or the other is the material used for the sock construction, the colorways and the number of socks in the pack.
Pros
  • Wool blend with acrylic and polyamide for extra endurance
  • Cheap
  • Padding for heels and toes to help during impact
  • Odor-wicking and anti-bacterial features
Cons
  • The sizing doesn’t always fit – Some reviewers found them too big and others too narrow

9. Mirmaru Multi Performance

9. Mirmaru Multi Performance
These socks by Mirmaru are best used during outdoor performance activities, trekking and hiking. They provide long lasting comfort to you and your feet throughout the four seasons, as they can be worn as much during the summer than during the winter. And if you’re looking for a pair of socks that will support your legs and your feet, then you’re at the right place as the company has added cushioning in the underfoot.
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Material
These socks are a cotton blend, with 55% combed cotton, 40% polyester and 2% spandex. This doesn’t only mean that your feet will be able to breathe, but with the amount of polyester there is in the cotton blend, you are sure to have durable, anti-shrinking, anti-wrinkling, anti-mildew and anti-abrasion socks. What more can you ask for, really?

Length and Strength
You don’t only want a sock that is high enough to protect you from mosquito bites and obstructions in your track, you want a sock that can also help your feet stay comfortable throughout your activity. These socks arrive at the calf, and Mirmaru has thought about adding full cushioning at the bottom so that your toes, ball and heel are supported during the day, no matter the movement you make. When shopping for hiking socks, you want something that can fully support your feet. With the fabrics these socks were made with, your feet and leg (up to the calf) are compressed and you will never find your sock sliding down your leg, like so many models do.

Cost and Value
These are at the higher price range of our list, but with everything they have to offer, and the fact that they’re 100% satisfaction guaranteed means that they do mean business. If you have a few more bucks to spend on a pair of socks that will last a few years, perhaps you should take a look at them.
Pros
  • Arch Support
  • Calf-high socks
  • Cushioning for toes, ball and heel
  • Compression socks
  • Padded collar and tongue
  • Removable memory foam
Cons
  • Some reviewers found the toe stitching was cheaply done and uncomfortable

10. Thorlo KX Thick Cushion Crew

10. Thorlo KX Thick Cushion Crew
Thorlos, known for providing the ultimate protection for socks, has created this thick cushioned hiking sock. The sock rises to a crew cut length that is able to support itself with the built in ribbed lining. Created with a custom blend of fabrics, these socks are clinically proven to reduce moisture, blisters and pain. Providing comfortable cushions in all the places that count, these socks were made to keep your feet relaxed during long walks and climbs.
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Maximum Cushioning
Do your feet tire easily during a hike? Thick, cushioned socks may be a good solution. The padding built into the heel and ball area of the foot helps to reduce impact and friction, which tend to be the main cause of blisters. Your feet support you so it's important to wear socks that support your feet.

Custom Thorlon Fabric
Thorlos has done heavy research on what fabrics are the best for moisture wicking, support, durability and comfort. When they couldn't find a specific material that accomplished all these features, they decided to create their own. Now used in all their socks, the Thorlon fibers are what make the sock of such high quality and long-lasting comfort.

Cost and Value
These socks are priced very fairly for the level of comfort they provide. They aren't too expensive compared to other hiking socks and will also provide the user with long-term reliability.
Pros
  • Moisture wicking
  • Crew length
  • Thick cushioning
  • Prevents blisters
  • Impact protection
Cons
  • Padding may but too thick for some
  • Sizes run small

11. SeoulStory7 Low

11. SeoulStory7 Low
With over 20 colorways, these socks are incredibly soft and comfortable. They will reduce blisters and will keep your feet warm with their unique features and material blend. These socks are perfect for men and women, so take a look at what they have to offer!
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Material
These socks do not have any wool or wool blend in them. Instead, they have 77% cotton, 14% Spandex, 2% polyester and 7% elastane. This means that these anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking socks are ideal for outdoor sports such as hiking, snowboarding, camping and trekking. Don’t worry about stinky or blistery feet at the end of the day and just enjoy nature around you! With so much elasticity in the sock (elastane and Spandex), the compression feeling holds the sock firmly around your ankle.

Length and Padding
The added cushioning on the heel, toes and ball protect your feet from the impact every time they land on the ground, and guards them also from painful blisters. These socks would be considered midweight, as they can be used in cooler and warmer weather without any discomfort. It would seem someone also thought about the agonizing sock-slipping problem, where you have to stop every 5 minutes to un-bunch them or to raise them back up. SeoulStory7 came out with a solution: The Y-heel tab. In addition to that, the tab helps with slipping your socks on and off.

Cost and Value
For the number of socks that you can in their packs, I’d say that these socks are the cheapest on the list. If you’re on a tighter budget or just don’t feel like spending a lot for socks, but want quality and comfortability, then you might want to consider these socks.
Pros
  • Y-heel tab
  • Cotton blend material with extra elasticity
  • Moisture-wicking feature
  • Anti-bacterial feature
  • Arch-support elasticity
Cons
  • Some reviewers had blisters after a few hours in their hiking trip

12. SmartWool Hike Light Crew

12. SmartWool Hike Light Crew
SmartWool socks were first created for cold toes in the snow, now the brand is creating the most innovative designs for a variety of activities, including hiking. The merino wool used in the socks helps to keep your feet warm but also controls moisture so that your feet can stay dry and breathable at the same time. The elasticized arch and ribbed top material allow the sock to form to your foot and hold its place, a perfect feature for those constantly moving on their feet. No matter where you're hiking, this is a brand you can rely on to help get the job done.
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Form Fitting
Socks tend to feel better when they aren't loose and falling down your foot. When your hiking, you don't have time to stop and consistently pull your socks back up. These SmartWool socks will form to any foot shape with their elastic ribbed arch. Without ever feeling too tight, the sock holds its place on the foot and allows the user to focus on their activities.

Lightweight Cushioning
For those who like a little room in their shoes but still want comfort, this sock is a perfect choice. Providing cushion in all the important areas that helps reduce friction, these socks will help keep your feet at ease. Also feeling lightweight enough to not cramp the space in your shoes, they make a great companion for the hikers who like to stay on even elevations.

Cost and Value
These socks are a little costly per pair. The merino wool and quality stitching makes these socks highly durable though, so you can expect them to last a long time. I have had a pair for multiple months now, washing them many times, and the socks are still in great condition. I would recommend them for a variety of activities.
Pros
  • Ribbed material
  • Elastic arch
  • Crew cut
  • Merino wool
  • Flat lined toe seams
Cons

Can be tight for those with larger or muscular calves

13. Injinji 2.0 Midweight Crew

13. Injinji 2.0 Midweight Crew
These funny looking socks are actually great for support and a formed fit. The ribbed lining helps to keep the socks in place during movement, and also protect the skin from rough hiking boots. The socks are created with a blend of fibers that makes them perfect for all types of weather conditions; helping to keep feet warm, dry and cool. The panels at the top of the foot help to create proper air circulation which can help to prevents blisters and bacteria.
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Forms Around Toes
This style may seem strange at first but it is actually beneficial. The socks form around the toes, creating the perfect sock fit that doesn't slide or move around in your shoes. This form fitting style creates a similar barefoot feel but with the added support and comfortable materials.

Ribbed Lining
These socks come with built in with ribbed lining in both the top of the sock and in a band around the arch. The ribbing helps to secure the sock in place and also form around the foot. The material is flexible and can stretch to fit every individual. If you're tired of pulling up your socks, this is a must have feature.

Cost and Value
These socks are pretty costly per pair. The price is more expensive than other hiking socks but are equipped with a more innovative style and support. If you can get past looks and are truly looking for a functional sock, you won't have to look any further.
Pros
  • Breathable panels
  • Crew cut
  • Fits around toes
  • Ribbed material
  • Midweight cushioning
Cons

May not work with tight shoes due to the extra material between the toes

14. YuEdge Antiskid Wicking

14. YuEdge Antiskid Wicking
If you’re new to the hiking sport and you’re looking for a ‘beginner’s’ sock, then maybe this will please you. YuEdge’s socks do no shrink and don’t distort after a few washes, unlike other brands, and they are anti-mildew. And with their elastic cuffs, they are sure to remain where you put them, without any sliding down or bunching up in your shoes.
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Material
These YuEdge’s socks are made of 80% cotton, 17% chinlon and 3% Spandex. While cotton is known for its breathability feature and Spandex is known for its elasticity, I believe that chinlon is a little less known. Chinlon is the reason why this pair of socks is at the bottom of our list. It’s a mix of China and nylon, and yes, it is a finer and smoother fabric, but its durability is less compared to other textiles. You must be comfortable when you pick hiking socks, especially if you’re just starting out. I’ recommend these socks to beginners because they are seamless, which means that there won’t be any seams digging into your toes or heels. In addition to this, the Y-heel design reduces the pressure on the foot.

Breathability
If you read it all, you know by now that cotton is a breathable fabric. YuEdge added to the breathability by putting a bottom vent design to regulate the body temperature and keep you cool, and the drying time is 5 times faster than of cotton. In addition, the foot side portion of the sock is made with a breathable mesh to keep your feet from perspiring.

Cost and Value
As I said earlier, these socks are at the bottom of the list because of the chinlon that was used, reducing the durability of the sock. But if you’re just looking to purchasing a pair of socks for one or two hiking trips, or if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend too much before knowing if you’ll like this sport or no, then these socks offer a fair value.
Pros
  • Seamless
  • Elastic cuffs
  • Breathable mesh
  • Bottom vent design
  • Y-heel design
Cons
  • Chinlon in the cotton blend

15. Lebolike Multi Performance

15. Lebolike Multi Performance
If you’re looking for a pair of hiking socks that can also be useful for other sports such snowboard, climbing, trekking, cycling, running or golf, then these ones are sure to please you. Lebolike came out with a pair of hiking socks that could be used year-round, thanks to the material they used and the way they sewed them. And if you’re not fully pleased with their product, you can return them for a full refund!
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Material
Unlike many of the socks on this list, these ones do not have wool in them. On the contrary, the blend is of 78% combed cotton, 18% polyester and 4% spandex for additional stretch and comfort. As they’re meant to be worn year-round, this fabric blend is no surprise. Because of the use of two synthetic material, the drying time is 8 times as fast as if they had used only cotton.

Ventilation Design
Because of the absence of wool, the breathability of this sock is close to perfect. The side of the sock has a breathable mesh design. This means that the heat your feet produce during hiking or any other kind of sport is regulated and keeps you cool. But notice that since there isn’t any wool, your feet might end up warmer and more humid than wool blend socks.

Cost and Value
These socks come in a pack of 5, and since they can be used year-round, the price is amazing if I do say so myself. You will get your money’s worth with these socks, especially if purchasing socks isn’t always a priority for you.
Pros
  • Antimicrobial feature
  • Odor-wicking socks
  • Breathable mesh on side portion of sock
  • Year-round socks
Cons
  • No wool for temperature regulation

Finally, I hope that this list knocked your socks up (PUN!) and I hope that you are now able to make a choice as to what is better for your kind of hiking trip. Keep in mind that the most important things to look out for are the materials, the weight (what’s the temperature where you’ll be hiking?), the length, the sock fit and the comfort, the wicking ability, as well the insulation and drying speed. If you’re not sure about a pair of sock, make sure that they are refundable before buying or you’ll be stuck with them. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your hiking trips as much as I do mine!

Criteria of Evaluation

 

Material Types And Weights

Best-Hiking-Socks-Critera-1

As we mentioned above, there are a variety of features you’ll want to look for when choosing the proper hiking socks. While many features are optional and based on personal preference, there are also many key features that help to make a reliable, long-lasting sock.

One very important feature for hiking socks is the type of material that they’re created with. You probably already know by now, that merino wool is one of the best options on the market and cotton is a material you’ll want to stay away from. What you may not know is that there are a variety of other materials that wick moisture and also provide warmth and comfort. Some of these materials are: silk, spandex, polyester and nylon.

You won’t find most socks made with only one material, nowadays they’re usually created using a combination of multiple fabrics. Most importantly, keep in mind that synthetic materials are usually more durable than natural materials.

Going hand in hand with material types is the weight or thickness of the materials. Again, this can tend to be a preference but the weight of the sock can also change the features and physical feel. Thin socks are good for warm weather and allowing for more space in your shoes. While they don’t provide as much protection, they still can work well for lower hiking shoes. Thick socks are better for keeping for feet warm, providing cushion, support and protecting your skin from rubbing against your shoes.

Overall, the types of thickness and materials best for hiking socks, are chosen for their compatibility to the types of weather and climate of your environment. No matter what kind of climate you’re in, we will always recommend to wear socks created with materials that will help keep your feet dry.

Sock Length

The length of your socks are meant to be compatible to the type of your shoes. As we previously mentioned, most hiking socks are going to rise above the ankle. Hiking boots tend to be made of tough materials and thick ankle cushions. These features are great for adding durability but they can also be tough on the skin so it’s important to have protective socks that cover the area of contact.

While lower cut socks cover just the bare minimum, if you really want to avoid getting blisters and feel comfortable, you’ll want crew cut length socks or higher. These socks will provide you with the highest level of protection against friction and irritation. Longer socks are good for layering and can be worn with hiking boots that cover the ankle.

Another good reason to wear crew cut or longer socks is to protect your legs from the environment you’re hiking in. Whether it’s itchy grass, ticks, poisonous plants or a variety of other biting pests, longer socks will protect your skin from being harmed by your surroundings. Sometimes we’re moving too fast to see the hazards or the pests biting you are too small to notice at first glance, like a mosquito. Overall, it’s better to over prepare than to under prepare.

Knee high socks are another length that can be worn for hiking. These types of socks are better suited for colder, icy weather. These high socks can fully protect your calves and shins from any raw, outside contact. Usually coming with a flexible ribbed top material, the socks not only stay up better, but they can also work as lower grade compression socks. Compression socks should only be worn during physical activities and can help increase proper blood flow to the heart.

All in all, when choosing the length of your hiking socks, remember to consider these key elements: what kind of shoes will I be wearing? What is the climate like where I’m hiking? And, what kind of protective measures am I looking to take?

Weather Conditions

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When choosing the best hiking socks for the job, considering the location and weather is very important. First, you don’t want to be thrown off by unsuspected climates in the middle of the hike. Second, you’re going to want to find a sock that will perform better to your specific needs.

Icy, windy weather is extremely different from warm tropical temperatures and they each require different types of footwear. It’s obvious you’ll need warmer socks for cold weather and thinner socks for warmer weather, but there are many features that provide these options and you’ll want to make sure to choose the right ones.

As we’ve mentioned before, merino wool is a top choice for cold weather as they keep your feet warm but also provide moisture wicking technology to keep your feet cool and dry. Thick, longer socks are also better because you can layer with them and they provide more of a full coverage against.

Of course, those features won’t do any good in hotter climates. You need a thinner material that can adapt to moderate to hot temperatures and still provide a moisture wicking feature. We’ve mentioned all the types of materials above that will work well for this aspect.

No matter where you choose to hike, you can always find a sock that fits the climate and your personal needs. Warm, cool, thin, thick; it’s all here. Now the only thing you need to do is figure out where you’re going and you’ll be sure to find the perfect companion hiking sock.

Support and Comfort

While most people think about support and comfort having to do mainly with the shoe, there’s ultimately no point is paying a high price for a quality shoe if you’re going to pair them with thin cotton socks that have holes in them. The type of sock you choose to wear is just as important as the shoe and aids in the ultimate comfort of your hike.

Comfort can be found in various forms in the sock. The first, most obvious one would be the material. Cotton is too thin and will make your feet cold and sweaty, while regular wool may be too hot or itchy. We’ve mentioned above what types of materials are best for moisture control, warm/cold weather and air circulation. There are always going to be a variety of fabric options to meet the specific needs of others.

Another important aspect of comfort is alleviating pressure in the areas of the foot that support the most weight. Many hiking socks, but more specifically thick hiking socks, are built in with extra padding or cushion around the ball and heel areas of the sock. The less friction and pressure against your feet will allow them to feel better and perform for longer periods of time.

Along with comfort, comes support. Your favorite pair of socks may feel comfortable but they probably don’t have enough support to label them as proper hiking socks. Support can be found in the extra cushioning provided in various socks, but it is also disguised as an elastic ribbed brand located across the arch of the foot. This is a great feature for those who need extra arch support, but is also good for providing a form, flexible fit.

Lastly, support and comfort can both be found in the thickness of the sock. Thick socks can prevent friction and your shoes from rubbing against your ankles. With a variety of ways to create a relaxing, beneficial feel, you’ll be able to find the perfect hiking socks for your individual tastes.

Durability

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This is a feature that no matter where you go or what type of socks you choose to wear, is a must have for long-term reliability. Socks need to be replaced as soon as they begin to show damage, so when spending a decent amount of money on hiking socks, you’re definitely going to want to make sure that they will hold up to the task.

Durability is found in all aspects of the sock, from fabric to stitching. A good quality sock should last you at least 3 months. It is calculated that on average it takes about 2000 steps to walk 1 mile. If you’re a true hiker and are looking to make some real distance, you’re going to need a sock that provides long-lasting durability.

Padding and cushion in the pressure areas of the sock can also add to durability. The heel and ball of your foot is constantly coming in contact with your shoes and because of this, it is an area that tends to wear easily. Extra cushioning in these areas allows the material to last longer avoid wear or tears.

To build their reputation and prove their quality, some brands will offer a money-back or lifetime guarantee on their hiking socks. If you’ve never purchased hiking socks before this is a great feature to take advantage of. Not only does it make the brand more trustworthy, but it also allows the user to find the perfect sock without continuously investing money in socks that don’t work for the hike.

Durability is one of the most important features in any sock, but especially a hiking sock. Hiking is a rough, strenuous activity that can put a heavy amount of pressure of your feet, so having durable and reliable socks is of high importance. A durable sock can also be better for your health too. The better your feet can stay protected, the less chance you have of getting an exercise related injury.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. What kind of features make the best hiking socks?

A. There are many features and combinations that truly make a good hiking sock. First I would say the material is an important feature; having socks that provide warmth yet also keep your feet cool and dry is a must. Next, cushion and support is an important feature to have as it helps to reduce pressure and friction on the foot. Finally I would say our preferences of comfort is important. This can range from thin-thick, short-long or warm-cool socks. No matter what features you choose, you just always want to make sure that they’re providing you with the ultimate levels of comfort.

Q. Are long socks better for hiking?

A. The length of your socks is usually just a preference, however there are some added benefits of wearing longer socks. For hikers who like to wear thicker boots, the potential for blisters and your shoes rubbing against your ankles becomes much higher. Wearing long socks can protect your skin from any friction. For those who like to hike in areas that have tall grass and lots of wildlife, long socks can also be a good choice to help protect your legs from ticks and poisonous plants. Overall, when it comes to hiking in the nature, the more protection is better for your health.

Q. How can I prevent getting blisters in my hiking boots?

A. Blisters can occur from vulnerable, moist feet and friction or repeated rubbing against the skin. It’s important to look at the styles of shoes you’re wearing and how they come in contact with your skin. If you’re wearing low sneakers or thick boots, the back of the shoe may rub against your heels during movement. Wearing longer socks can help to prevent this blister causing friction. For soft, vulnerable feet, you’ll want to find socks with moisture wicking features to help keep your feet dry and more resilient. No matter what types of shoes you’re wearing, make sure you find a companion sock that can protect your skin and you’ll never have to worry about blisters again.

Q. Can everyday socks be worn as hiking socks?

A. I wouldn’t ever recommend wearing regular socks for any physical activity. Everyday socks are usually made from thin cotton material which isn’t strong enough to protect your feet or help feet them dry. Hiking socks need to be protective and supportive to compensate for all types of movements and terrain. Uphill climbs, rocky roads and muddy trails will turn your regular socks into a sweaty uncomfortable mess. We recommend treating your feet to the ultimate padding and comfort they deserve for helping you go to all the places that make your life feel complete.

Q. Should I wear different types of hiking socks for Winter and Summer?

A. You can choose to wear any type of hiking sock you like as long as they’re protecting your feet, however certain features work better for certain seasons. For example, during the summertime heat, you may not want to wear thick cushioning wool socks that will create extra warmth; those types of socks are usually better during the wintertime. For warmer weather, you’ll most likely want to wear shorter, lightweight socks made of moisture wicking materials to help keep your feet dry and cool. Ultimately it’s your personal preference on what socks to wear, but we personally recommend trying to match the materials to the type of weather.

Q. What are the top brands for hiking socks?

A. There are quite a few brands that have established a trustworthy and reliable reputation for themselves; we’ve also included these brands into our best list. These are companies that create innovative solutions, current styles and use quality materials. The best brands for hiking socks are currently as follows: Darn Tough, Wigwam, SmartWool, Danish Endurance and Mirmaru. These brands all specialize in creating quality socks that are comfortable enough for a variety of strenuous activities. If you’re looking for socks that are customized to provide the most comfort during a hike, these brands are a great place to start.

Q. What type of cushioning is best for year-round hiking?

A. Since temperatures and weather conditions can be drastically different during summer and winter, it’s important to have a sock that isn’t too thick in cushioning but still provides enough stability and support. We recommend light-medium cushioning, that provides enough padding in the areas of support (like the ball and heel area of the foot). Providing warmth in moderate to cooler areas and still being breathable and cool enough during the heat, if you’re looking for a year-round sock this is the type of sock you’ll want to look for.

Q. How often should I replace my hiking socks?

A. Hiking socks, and any socks in general, should be replaced as soon as you start to notice wear or damage. People may not think much of it, but damaged socks can also be damaging to your health. Socks are made to be a barrier to protect your feet against your shoes, so if there’s holes or tears, your sock can’t provide you with the full coverage that you need. Worn out materials don’t repel moisture as well and exposed skin can lead to blisters, irritation and other bacterial issues. Overall, it’s recommended to wear socks only if they’re completely intact and showing no signs of damage.

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