Best Hiking Socks Reviewed & Rated
Your trip is planned and you’ve packed all the things you need: camping gear, proper clothes, water, food, a compass and a map, and boots. But this list is missing something very important - some high-quality hiking socks. Although you might be tempted to just pack your regular white gym ones, it’s important to know that they are not suitable gear, and wearing them on a long hike will have you cussing the whole way. You need something that will keep your feet dry and blister free, which is where a good pair comes in to save the day.
But what makes them different than regular ones? At first, you may find shopping for this small item of clothing intimidating, but once you know what you should look for, it becomes pretty easy.
First and foremost, you need a pair that is 100% wool or wool blend. Why wool? Because it can regulate temperature unlike cotton or synthetics. So in cold weather, they will be able to retain heat, and if it’s hot outside, they’ll cool your feet down. Wool isn’t as breathable as cotton, but the most important thing about them 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 trips. The warmer the weather, the lighter the sock material should be. There are four categories available:
Ultra-lightweight for hot to warm weather;
Lightweight for warm weather;
Midweight for warm to cold weather; and finally,
Heavyweight for cold weather.
Finally, you want to choose a pair which was made with quality in mind, ensuring that you get plenty of use out of them. The list below will show you the 10 highest rated options available for purchase online, helping you make the best possible choice when it comes to this essential piece of gear.
- Darn Tough Vermont
- SeoulStory7 Low
- YuEdge Antiskid Wicking
- Wigwam Comfort Hiker
- Thorlo KX Thick Cushion Crew
- Kirkland Signature Trail
- Injinji 2.0 Midweight Crew
- Buttons and Pleats Merino Wool
- Rockay Accelerate
- Danish Endurance Merino Wool
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Hiking Socks
1. Darn Tough Vermont
High Density Knitting
Merino Wool Blend with Lycra
True to Size
Made in the USA
Run Small Around Calf
Made and tested in Vermont, USA, they are made for cold weather and fun activities. Using a blend of wool, nylon and lycra spandex, you can rest assured that they will do everything you need them to. Available in both men’s and women’s versions, they’re easy to size and offer excellent comfort for all-day wear.Read more
The most important thing about is the material they’re made of. Each Darn Tough Vermont 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 sock to dry out faster than with just merino wool. Also, with the lycra spandex, you’re sure to not feel squeezed after an hour or two, like some others can do. Because of the merino wool, they are antimicrobial and moisture-wicking, so you don’t have to worry about unpleasant odors when you take your shoes/boots off after a long day outdoors. They also come in many colorways, to please everyone in the family!
They are seamless, meaning that the seam at the tip of the toes twisting during the trip and making your feet uncomfortable will never happen with them. 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 they have to offer, these are close to a bargain. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget for a good pair, then these are highly suggested.
2. SeoulStory7 Low
Cotton Blend Material
Thick Heel Stitching
With over 20 colorways, they are incredibly soft and comfortable. They will reduce blisters and will keep your feet warm with their unique features and material blend. They are perfect for men and women, so take a look at what they have to offer!Read more
These ones 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 they are anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking, so ideal for all outdoor sports, including 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. They 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 them on and off.
Cost and Value
For the number of pairs that you can get in their packs, they are the cheapest on the list. If you’re on a tighter budget or just don’t feel like spending a lot, but want quality and comfortability, then you might want to consider these ones.
3. YuEdge Antiskid Wicking
Bottom Vent Design
Shrinks After Washing
If you’re new and you’re looking for a ‘beginner’s’ sock, then maybe this will please you. YuEdge’s ones do not 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.Read more
They 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, chinlon is a little less known. Chinlon is the reason why this pair 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 worse compared to other textiles. Still, they are seamless and have a Y heel design which reduces pressure on the foot.
Cotton is a breathable fabric. YuEdge added to the breathability by putting a bottom vent design to regulate body temperature and keep you cool, while they provide record drying time. In addition, the foot side portion of the sock is made with a breathable mesh to keep your feet from perspiring.
Cost and Value
They 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 purchase a pair for one or two 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 not, then these offer a fair value.
4. Wigwam Comfort Hiker
Custom Blend Of Materials
Retains Heat Well
Wigwam has been a leading brand in outdoor sports gear for multiple years, gaining trust and building reliability with their products. Thick and fully cushioned, they work well in cold conditions and are preferred by hikers who like extra cushion and support with their footwear. Featuring a flexible, ribbed arch and just the right amount of elastic, they will form to the shape of your feet and legs, preventing them from falling down and bunching in your shoes. They are created with a blend of synthetic and natural fabrics to support the needs of hikers and extend the life of the sock.Read more
Wigwam’s high standards of only using the best materials are 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 feet for every dedicated hiker. Also, sticking with the durable merino wool, you can expect them to be reliable at all times of the year.
If you want to feel like your feet are walking on clouds without feeling any bulkiness in your shoes, then this is the perfect sock for you. Their midweight cushion provides support and comfort throughout the entire fit without ever feeling too heavy. The boots can be stiff around the ankles and cause blisters which is why it's recommended for hikers to wear thicker pairs like these.
Cost and Value
Ranging of an average price compared to similar models, 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 this sport, you really can't go wrong when buying them.
5. Thorlo KX Thick Cushion Crew
Thorlo, known for providing the ultimate protection, has created this thick cushioned 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 are clinically proven to reduce moisture, blisters and pain. Providing comfortable cushions in all the places that count, they were made to keep your feet relaxed during long walks and climbs.Read more
Do your feet tire easily during a hike? A thick, cushioned sock 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 ones that support your feet.
Custom Thorlon Fabric
Thorlo 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 models, the Thorlon fibers are what make the sock of such high quality and long-lasting comfort.
Cost and Value
They are priced very fairly for the level of comfort they provide. They aren't too expensive compared to other models and will also provide the user with long-term reliability.
6. Kirkland Signature Trail
Wool Blend Material
Reinforced Heel And Toe
Heavy Toe Seems
These ones have so many fans that it’s hard to point out just one positive characteristic. Kirkland gives us a pair that offers excellent quality for a cheap price, regardless of whether you buy them online or in stores. With them made of a merino wool blend, you can be certain that you’ll remain comfortable throughout your trips, for months to come!Read more
Walking for prolonged periods of time can build up quite a sweat, which, ultimately, can mean some serious foot odor. With natural materials such as wool, it’s much harder to get rid of it, which is why Kirkland made them to be odor free - giving you a fresh feel with every wear.
This merino wool blend sock is perfect, and it’s no surprise it's in our top 3. This is a midweight model mainly worn in colder weather, but some reviewers noticed that even if they wore them in warmer weather, their feet remained comfortable and without any blisters.
Cost and Value
With so much positive reviews, their cost is a definite bargain and we can definitely recommend them as a top choice. Don’t be afraid of having to replace these too often, seeing many reviewers have had them for years.
7. Injinji 2.0 Midweight Crew
Fits Around Toes
Not The Most Durable
These funny looking ones are actually great for support and a formed fit. The ribbed lining helps to keep them in place during movement, and also protects the skin from rough boots. They 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 prevents blisters and bacteria.Read more
Forms Around Toes
This style may seem strange at first but it is actually beneficial. They 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 barefoot feel but with added support and comfortable materials.
They come with built-in 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 forms around the foot. The material is flexible and can stretch to fit every individual. If you're tired of pulling up the pair you're wearing, this is a must-have feature.
Cost and Value
These are pretty costly per pair. The price is more expensive than other models but gives you a pair 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.
8. Buttons and Pleats Merino Wool
Midweight To Heavy Weight
Calf Shielding Against Debris
Reinforced Toe And Heel
The Buttons and Pleats premium merino wool model is made of 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, they are sure to surprise you in the most positive way. And you don’t have to wash them by hand!Read more
Buttons and Pleats really thought about this one, because they cover your ankle and calf, your lower leg is shielded from obstructions and your feet can stay warm. They are one of the most protective models and are highly recommended in tall, grassy areas.
Toe and Heel
They are reinforced at the heel and toe, extending their lifespan. So don’t be concerned about having to buy a pair every few months or so, they are made to last you years (as long as you take care of them, obviously).
Cost and Value
Considering the fact that these are made of a merino wool blend, the pack of 3 comes at a great price for a product that offers this level of quality. Although it will set you back more than a regular pair of cotton ones, you are definitely making the right choice with this item that’s sure to last you a long time.
9. Rockay Accelerate
May Slip During Wear
Looking for a great no-show pair for running? Take a look at this option by Rockay. They are made from Organic Merino Wool and provide a superior fit. In addition, they help you avoid blisters and won't slip out of place.Read more
Organic Merino Wool
Merino Wool is amazing when it comes to helping you keep your feet at a comfortable temperature. Whether in hot or cold temperatures they will help you maintain optimal comfort. With superior moisture wicking capability, you won't have to worry about uncomfortable, sweaty feet. Additionally, with reduced sweat comes reduced odor which everyone can appreciate.
Compression Fit + Heel Tab
When you are on a serious run the last thing you want to worry about is a slipping sock. Slipping will lead to blisters and raw, painful areas on your feet. The compression fit hugs your feet and helps them stay in place. When you add the heel tab you know you don't have to worry about blisters. It contours to the heel and helps ensure they stay in place.
Cost and Value
When it comes to cost, these ones fall toward the top of the pack. They are full of features to keep you comfortable and cool during your longest hikes whether you are in warm or cold climates. Also, they will fit your feet in all the ways necessary to keep your feet in top running condition. These features help to increase the overall value and are reasons we love this choice by Rockay.
10. Danish Endurance Merino Wool
Padding For Heels And Toes
Danish Endurance's models 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 there is. They are perfect if you plan on trekking, walking, backpacking and traveling year-round. These ones 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 serious Danish Endurance are with their products.Read more
These are made with a 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 out quickly and will follow you on your trips for years to come. The acrylic is also a strong and warm fabric, that is often used for sweaters and tracksuits. So, you really don’t have to worry about their quality and durability!
Ventilation and Padding
They 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 others, it’s important that they offer proper cushioning for your heel and toes. These ones do, which means that they reduce the impact on your feet with every landing.
Cost and Value
The price is comparable to many of the other options on the list. They come in various colors, as well as a pack of 3 or just single items. This ensures you can make the choice that works for you.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As mentioned above, there are a variety of features you’ll want to look for when choosing the perfect pair. While many features are optional and based on personal preference, there are also many key ones that help to make a reliable, long-lasting sock.
One very important aspect 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 many of those 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 be related to what you prefer, but the weight of the sock can also change the features and physical feel. Thin ones are good for warm weather and allow for more space in your shoes. While they don’t provide as much protection, they still can work well for lower shoes. Thick ones 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 that are best are chosen for their compatibility with the types of weather and climate of your environment. No matter what kind of climate you’re in, we will always recommend wearing ones created with materials that will help keep your feet dry.
Their length needs to be compatible with the type of your shoes. Most models are going to rise above the ankle. Boots tend to be made of tough materials and thick ankle cushions, and while these features are great for adding durability, they can also be tough on the skin so it’s important to have protective ones that cover the area of contact.
While lower cut ones cover just the bare minimum, if you really want to avoid getting blisters and feel comfortable, you’ll want a crew cut length sock or higher. These ones will provide you with the highest level of protection against friction and irritation. Longer ones are good for layering and can be worn with boots that cover the ankle.
Another good reason to wear crew cut or longer models is to protect your legs from the environment you’re in. Whether it’s itchy grass, ticks, poisonous plants or a variety of other biting pests, longer ones 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 ones are another length that can be worn for this activity. These types are better suited for colder, icy weather. They can fully protect your calves and shins from any raw, outside contact. Usually coming with a flexible ribbed top material, they not only stay up better, but they can also work as a lower grade compression sock. Compression ones should only be worn during physical activities and can help increase proper blood flow to the heart.
All in all, when choosing the length, remember to consider these key elements: what kind of shoes will I be wearing? What is the climate like where I’m going? And, what kind of protective measures am I looking to take?
Along with comfort, comes support. Your favorite pair may feel comfortable but they probably don’t have enough support to label them as a suitable pair. Support can be found in the extra cushioning provided in various models, 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-fitting, flexible fit.
Lastly, support and comfort can both be found in the thickness of the sock. Thick ones 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 pair for your individual tastes.
While most people think about support and comfort having to do mainly with the shoe, there’s ultimately no point in paying a high price for a quality shoe if you’re going to pair them with thin cotton ones 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 models, but more specifically thick ones, are built 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.
When choosing the best pair 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 ones for cold weather and thinner ones 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 ones are also better because you can layer with them and they provide more of a full coverage against the harsh cold.
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. Choosing thinner wool ones, with some synthetic materials added for more moisture wicking and lightweight feel, they are your best bet during the hot months.
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 sock.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Remember that anytime you are going to try on hiking boots with intentions of purchasing a new pair, be sure to wear or bring along your hiking socks. Most times, the thickness of hiking socks can affect a boots feel and fit, and you want to be comfortable going the extra mile.
While most quality hiking socks that will keep your feet warm as well as breathable in your boots are usually made of merino wool, this material on it's own can tend to shrink if you wash and throw in the drier. Blended materials that incorporate wools and a stretchy component, such as lycra, can help cut down on this aspect, and provide a snug, yet forgiving fit.
Other Factors to Consider
This is a feature that no matter where you go or what type of sock you choose to wear, is a must have for long-term reliability. They need to be replaced as soon as they begin to show damage, so when spending a decent amount of money on a proper pair, 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 are 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 a lifetime guarantee. If you’ve never purchased a specialized pair 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 ones that don’t work for the hike.
Durability is one of the most important features in any sock, but especially in these ones. It's a rough, strenuous activity that can put a heavy amount of pressure on your feet, so having durable and reliable ones is of highest 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
There are many features and combinations that truly make a good sock. These include material, cushion and support and of course preference for comfort - while some prefer thin, short and cool, others may feel better wearing thick and warm ones that go over the calf.
Their length is usually just a preference, however, there are some added benefits of wearing a longer sock. For hikers who like to wear thicker boots, the potential for blisters and shoes rubbing against their ankles becomes much higher. Wearing long ones can protect your skin from any friction. For those who like to hike in areas that have tall grass and lots of wildlife, long ones can also be a good choice to help protect their legs from ticks and poisonous plants. Overall, when it comes to being in nature, more protection is better for your health.
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 a longer sock can help to prevent this blister-causing friction. For soft, vulnerable feet, you’ll want to find ones with moisture wicking features to help keep your feet dry and more resilient. No matter what type 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.
This is not recommended. Everyday ones are usually made from a thin cotton material which isn’t strong enough to protect your feet or help keep them dry. Specialized ones 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 ones 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.
You can choose to wear any type of sock you like as long as it's 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 ones that will create extra warmth; those types are usually better during the winter. For warmer weather, you’ll most likely want to wear shorter, lightweight ones made of moisture-wicking materials to help keep your feet dry and cool. Ultimately it’s your personal preference on what to wear, but we personally recommend trying to match the materials to the type of weather.
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).
Any sock in general should be replaced as soon as you start to notice wear or damage. People may not think much of it, but a damaged sock can also be damaging to your health. They 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 them only if they’re completely intact and showing no signs of damage.