Any kind of serious hiking requires a lot of prep work. While it may not feel very glamorous to spend time planning out the exact details of what you’re going to wear on your hike, you’re definitely going to appreciate your own foresight as your hike progresses.
After all, the details can make or break any expedition, vacations included.
So if you know you’re going to spend a lot of time exploring nature on foot, it’s time to start thinking about the best hiking socks you can get.
But are hiking socks necessary? Why are there so many different kinds?
The Quick Answer
Hiking socks can do a lot to make your hikes more pleasant. They can help you avoid blisters or overly sweaty feet.
Plus, they can keep you either warm or cool, depending on the circumstances.
Here’s a quick overview of the best hiking socks available. It’s up to you to decide which of these models is the most useful to you personally.
When it comes to socks, it’s a good idea to stock up on several pairs anyway.
Our Hiking Sock Comparison
What do you need to check before you buy a pair of camping socks? This chart covers some important points.
Hiking Sock Reviews
Here are some product reviews that can help you on your mission to find the very best hiking socks.
1. Danish Endurance Merino Wool (Best Socks for Summer)
These unisex socks are made from 33% merino wool. This guarantees softness and an unobtrusive, form-fitting sensation. You can get them in various earthy colors as well as some jewel tones.
In addition to looking really appealing, these European-made socks are designed for maximum durability in any context. They can handle very long-distance treks without causing any problems, and they won’t get worn out even with regular use.
Since they come with a full money-back guarantee, you can tell that the manufacturer has absolute faith in the durability of this product.
Although these socks are well-made enough to do their job all year round, they are the most useful in the summer. The wool content provides softness but doesn’t make them too warm or bulky.
You can avoid getting overheated and won’t have to worry about fitting these socks inside your hiking shoes.
Most importantly, they’re designed to be anti-bacterial and to keep your feet dry. There are targeted ventilation zones, as well as well-placed padding that can reduce the strain on your feet.
Who It’s Best for
These are the best hiking socks for summer adventures. Between the airy fabric and the elegant colors, these socks are cool in more ways than one.
2. Seoul Story 7 5pack (Best for Winter)
When it comes to snowy hikes and winter sports, it’s important to find a pair of socks thick enough to keep you warm but thin enough to fit inside your boots. These women’s socks are made from 77% cotton, and they’re sure to keep your feet from getting chilly.
They’re well-padded, which is great if you want to take them on long journeys in the snow. You’re also unlikely to develop blisters if you stick to these socks. There’s arch support built in, so you may find that this product will reduce the pain and exhaustion in your feet.
Keeping your feet dry is especially important in the winter months. These socks absorb perspiration and also provide a bit of protection against snow.
They come with a compression top, which keeps them in place and saves you from having to readjust your socks under layers of winter clothing.
These socks are only ankle length, making them somewhat shorter than hiking socks tend to be. This is a good choice for tight boots and other winter footwear. They come in various pastel colors.
Who It’s Best For
Finding socks that can fit under boots presents a unique challenge, especially for women who enjoy wearing ankle boots. These are a great choice if you want a warm model that isn’t too bulky.
3. Solax Merino Wool Sport Socks (Best for Preventing Blisters)
Here’s another great pair of hiking socks that provide elastic arch support. These merino wool socks are extremely comfortable to wear, and they are sure to last you a very long time.
What causes blisters? Getting socks the wrong size can easily lead to this problem, but so can any sock that piles up in your hiking shoe or has seams around the toes or the heels.
There is no chance of that happening if you have SOLAX socks. They don’t have noticeable seams at all. Additionally, they’re made from a special spun fiber that keeps them from bunching up.
Not only will your feet stay extra-comfortable, they’ll keep fairly warm in the winter and won’t overheat in the summer. There are targeted ventilation zones, which help avoid any kind of chafing too.
Furthermore, these socks have reinforced heels. This makes them very durable and also gives them a classical look. If you’re planning a long expedition in any kind of weather, these could be the best hiking socks for you.
Who It’s Best For
These are definitely the best hiking socks for people who have sensitive skin. Since you don’t have to worry about seams or about the fabric bunching up, you can take on challenges you would have missed out on with rougher socks.
4. Hidden Peak Outdoor Men's Hiking Crew Socks (Best for Sweaty Feet)
These polyester socks are a great pick if you have problems with perspiration. The spun material is thin and wicks away the moisture, so you can be sure your feet will fresh even after a long day of walking. Breathability is guaranteed too.
They come with arch support and extra cushioning near the heels and near the ball of the foot. If you want socks that will keep your feet comfortable during a marathon or while you’re rock-climbing, these could be the best hiking socks for you.
Because they’re tight-fitting and provide arch support, they come with some of the benefits that compression socks can provide.
You can get these men’s socks in brown and in charcoal. Women with wider than average feet might enjoy using them as well.
Who It’s Best For
These men’s socks will keep you cool and take care of sweating for you. A particularly good choice for sporting activities.
5. Innotree Men's Hiking Socks (Best for Wet Conditions)
These cotton-blend socks are the best hiking socks for rainy weather. Although they’re not waterproof, they dry very quickly because of the fine-gauge knitting. Thus, you could use them for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing as well.
The knitting also makes them sweat-absorbent, which guarantees that your feet will stay dry no matter what. Odor won’t be a problem either.
Not only are these socks comfortable, the tight fit around the ankles provides stability. Mountaineering, spelunking and other potentially dangerous sports instantly become safer if you’ve got a sure footing.
Who It’s Best For
Anyone who wants to spend their vacation on a lakeside or riverside is going to love these socks. Since they hold your ankle in place, they’re the best hiking socks for mountain treks as well.
6. Smartwool Men's PhD Outdoor Light (Best for Big Feet)
These US-made socks are 56% merino wool, which guarantees both softness and breathability. Perspiration won’t be a problem either. On the other hand, the wool is sure to keep your feet warm in the cold parts of the year.
If you have big feet, finding the right socks could be a challenge. These socks come in a variety of sizes and the website offers an extremely detailed sizing chart that covers calf circumference too. The sizing fits men’s shoe numbers, but women can easily enjoy these socks too.
Since the toe area is nearly seamless, there’s not much risk of blistering or other skin issues. These socks will provide you with an extremely comfortable experience in any context.
Who It’s Best For
Men and women alike can enjoy these versatile merino wool socks. If comfort is what you’re aiming for, these might be the best hiking socks for you.
7. Feetures Elite Merino (Best for Long Distance Hiking)
Here’s a great pair of anti-odor socks you can use for ultra-running or all-day hiking. They’re a good choice for running or biking as well. To complete the comfortable experience, these socks are seamless in the toe area.
They are made from merino wool as well as soft rayon. This means they’re pleasant to the touch and they’re also extremely breathable. Ventilation is one of the most important things when it comes to trekking over long distances.
You can wear these in any weather, as they’ll keep your feet safe even in damp conditions. While they don’t provide much warmth, they could be a good choice for some winter sports as well. After all, some boots or ski shoes are very tight-fitting and require very thin socks.
Despite the ultralight design, these socks are fairly durable and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Who It’s Best For
Being breathable and moisture-absorbent, these are great socks for all-day adventuring. The ultralight design is also appealing to backpackers.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in Hiking Socks
The best hiking socks for you will depend on the circumstances you’re going to use them in. Everyone wants durable socks, obviously. But what are the best shapes, sizes, and materials to go with?
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to buying hiking socks:
You May Need a Different Pair for Every Season
Are warm hiking socks or cool ones the best for you? It depends on where you live, but also on your hiking or camping plans. You can’t expect one pair of socks to work well both in sweltering heat and sub-zero climate.
Keep Your Shoes in Mind While Shopping
If you’re stuck on figuring out the right sock length for your needs, you should go for whatever is the most appropriate for your footwear. If you’re going skiing, long ones might be the best for you, while shorter socks are more versatile and generally more comfortable.
Footwear is an important factor when it comes to deciding on the best material as well.
Sock Size Is Very Important
Don’t settle for the wrong size under any circumstances. You don’t want to risk blisters or injuries.
Anyway, there are lots of different hiking sock models out there, so you’re sure to find someone who stocks socks in your size and foot shape.
Sensitive Skin and Hygienic Considerations
If you can’t stand itchy fabrics, merino wool is probably your best way to go. Cotton socks or synthetic fibers can be a great choice as well.
Sweating is another important issue and you don’t have to resign yourself to damp feet at the end of a long day. The best hiking socks don’t only wick away and absorb perspiration, they also make sure that it evaporates quickly. This prevents bacteria from forming and causing trouble.
Padding and Durability
Are you planning to use your socks for casual strolls or more hardcore nature adventuring? Do they have to perform well for a few hours at a time or are you planning to keep them on all day?
Some socks simply aren’t designed to endure all-day treks. You should also keep in mind that sports like running or rock climbing exert more than usual pressure on your socks.
Hence, padding won’t just provide you with comfort, it will keep your socks whole for a long time.
On the other hand, more padding also means a thicker material. It’s up to you to find the right balance between comfort and getting overheated.
Before you decide on the best hiking socks for you, make sure they’re equipped with clear washing instructions.
You should also keep in mind that because of the wool content, your hiking socks will take longer to dry than most laundry. If you have to wash them while you’re camping, make sure to have spares at hand.
Hiking Socks FAQ
Here are some of the top questions people ask about this product:
How thick are hiking socks?
The thinnest hiking socks are called ultralight and their thickness is 17.5 microns or less. These are the best hiking socks if you want to avoid overheating and you’re planning a short-distance trek.
There are light and medium cushioning socks. 24 microns is the thickest that hiking socks can be. These are called strong socks and they’ll provide a lot of cushioning, but they aren’t an option if it’s very hot outside.
How much do hiking socks weigh?
Their weight can be up to five ounces, but it’s usually much less.
If you’re a backpacker, any weight difference could be important to you, especially if you’re packing several pairs. But don’t sacrifice comfort for lightness in this case. Heavier socks are also better padded, and that could save you from a blister or two.
What’s the difference between men’s, women’s and unisex hiking socks?
Most of the time, it’s just a style thing that doesn’t affect the quality of the socks. But if you have narrow feet, women’s hiking socks might be the best choice for you.
On average, men have wider feet and some manufacturers design socks to reflect that.
A Final Word
Are hiking socks worth it? The success of your hiking trip won’t depend exclusively on what kind of socks you choose.
But if you do opt for hiking socks instead of regular ones, you’re likelier to enjoy the whole process without discomfort.
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