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Best Hiking Socks Reviewed

last updated Dec 06, 2019

When going hiking one of the most important pieces of gear but one of the most overlooked pieces of gear is the hiking socks. The hiking socks place such an important role in your arsenal of gear as they allow your feet to stay dry, warm, and keep you moving while on your hiking adventure. Without a great pair of hiking socks, you most likely would not make it off basecamp. That's why when going camping you should be packing a couple of pairs of hiking socks just so you have the peace of mind that you brought a pair of backups because most likely you will get a pair or two wets from either sweating, the rain, or even crossing a river.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

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Razer Trail
93.8/100 our score
Style
91
Insulation
96
Materials
91
Fit
97
Razer Trail
Why is it better?

Quick-drying

Mid-rise provides warmth keeps out debris

Lifetime guarantee

Polygiene technology to prevent odor and bacteria

Arch compression

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Razer Trail
Test Winner: Razer Trail
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Researched Sources
16
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.4k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Jordan Coleiro
By Jordan Coleiro:

This list of hiking socks has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed socks to keep you warm and protected while out on your next hike this season. A new addition to our list is the Danish Endurance Merino. We love this addition because it is highly rated, made from merino wool, and comes in a great variety of colors.

Sorting Options
Style Insulation Materials Fit By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Style
94 %
Insulation
91 %
Materials
96 %
Fit
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Rockay Link
$18.95
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Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Style
91 %
Insulation
96 %
Materials
91 %
Fit
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$24.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Style
92 %
Insulation
94 %
Materials
93 %
Fit
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$20.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Style
92 %
Insulation
90 %
Materials
92 %
Fit
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$22.95
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Style
87 %
Insulation
90 %
Materials
91 %
Fit
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$21.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Style
86 %
Insulation
90 %
Materials
93 %
Fit
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$18.00
Backcountry Link
$20.00
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#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Style
88 %
Insulation
91 %
Materials
90 %
Fit
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Style
93 %
Insulation
92 %
Materials
93 %
Fit
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$28.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Style
82 %
Insulation
89 %
Materials
90 %
Fit
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$89.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Style
87 %
Insulation
87 %
Materials
87 %
Fit
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (10.12.19)
Amazon Link
$24.95
Backcountry Link
$24.95
See Deal

Top Ten Hiking Socks

1. Rockay Anti-Blster, Compression Arch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Rockay Accelerate Anti-Blister Running Socks for Men and Women
Amazon Link
Style
94
Insulation
91
Materials
96
Fit
97
best offer for today
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Rockay Link
$18.95
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Pros:

Organic Merino Wool

Compressive Arch Support

Snug overall compression

Cons:

Not a calf length version yet

The Rockay accelerate sock will partner effectively with your choice of footwear. Enjoy the anti-blister performance, helpful targeted compression support for the foot arch, all-around solid compressive foot support, highly comfortable and protective Organic Merino wool structure, anti-odor performance, and great wick factor.

When you go hiking, choose a sock that is designed to support and work with your choice of hiking shoe/boot.

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Warmth and Comfort
Next time your foot hits the hiking trail be sure that this sock is on your foot and lining your hiking boot/shoe. While you hike to enjoy the comforting protection given by the best Organic Merino Wool. Foot arch support is notably good through targetted compression, more gentle compression hugs the rest of the foot for subtle support. The toe and heel areas are innovatively padded to ensure more support blended with comfort. This is a sock feature which is a must for hikers. The socks are highly attractive and offered in an impressive range of colors.

Drying Speed
Made up of Organic Wool, Polyamide, and Elastane, nothing can keep these socks wet for long. This concoction of materials will dry in no time.

Durability
While hiking you will need to be sure the material construction of your chosen socks is durable. Organic Merino Wool is very durable and sits at the top for the best comfort, quality, and durability.

Breathability and Wicking
Merino wool ensures a level of breathability and wick which ensures a hiker has cool feet when the weather heats up and a warm feeling when the weather turns chilly. This high-quality wool also works against the build-up of unpleasant odors.

2. Razer Trail

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Rockay Razer Trail
Amazon Link
Style
91
Insulation
96
Materials
91
Fit
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.95
Pros:

Quick-drying

Mid-rise provides warmth keeps out debris

Lifetime guarantee

Polygiene technology to prevent odor and bacteria

Arch compression

Cons:

Only one color option

The Razer is a tough addition that is a great hiking companion. It is made from high density knit durable materials and also comes with a lifetime guarantee. The mid-rise of the garment helps to keep out debris and also provides warmth. One of the best features of this item is the fact that it is finished off with an anti-odor and bacteria blocking technology.

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Warmth and Comfort
This high-density knit sock feature a high-rise cut that will not only keep out debris but will also provide warmth. The garment features impressive arch support and a well-thought-out blend of materials. The 4% elastane provides just the right amount of compression without sacrificing comfort. The seamless toe lessens the chances of blisters or chafing and the reflective logo is a life-saver in low-light situations.

Drying Speed
Another reason that the Razer makes a great hiking companion is because of its quick-drying abilities. Nylon is innately water-resistant and dries within hours. The high-density knit materials provide great comfort, breathability, and a great option for multi-day hikes or traveling.

Durability
Besides the fact that these socks come with a lifetime guarantee, you can rest easy knowing that they are made from high-quality materials. The 100% recycled nylon, polyamide, and elastane are built to last. Nylon is well known for being soft and abrasion-resistant. The Razer is a great option for ascending or descending any trail.

Breathability and Wicking
Besides the fact that the materials used to knit this garment are naturally moisture-wicking, the strategically placed mesh zones also provide great breathability. The bottom and top of the foot, along with the back of the ankle, will breathe easily through any adventure.

3. Quarter Flare

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Rockay Quarter Flare
Amazon Link
Style
92
Insulation
94
Materials
93
Fit
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$20.95
Pros:

Strategically placed mesh panels

Durable

Versatile

Comfortable

Odor-resistant

Cons:

Only one color option

While you may expect something flashier with the name "Flare," this pair is a great hiking accessory. It is comfortable, has great cushioning for shock absorption, and dries quickly. The warmth and comfort of the Flare will help to keep you out on the trails for longer than ever before.

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Warmth and Comfort
This quarter-length addition combines a high-rise and a high density knit for impressive warmth, while also working to keep out debris on the trails. They are soft to the touch and feature cushioning under the heel and toe. This strategically placed cushioning helps to absorb shock and keep you out on the trails for longer than ever before. The elastane materials lend itself to arch compression and support.

Drying Speed
Whether you step in a puddle or get caught in a downpour, you don’t need to worry about the blister-causing discomforts of hiking in wet socks. If you have the chance to take a short break, the Flare will dry quickly in a bit of sunlight. Their primary material is nylon, which is naturally water-resistant. This is also a great feature for multi-day hikes or travel.

Durability
When a company offers a lifetime guarantee, you already know the product is going to be durable. One of the features that make the Flare so durable is the fact that you do not need to wash them after each use. This garment is finished with a Polygiene treatment that prevents the growth of bacteria and odor. The carefully spun high density knit ensures that each thread is strategically placed for impressive durability and comfort.

Breathability and Wicking
There are a lot more features to consider besides cushioning, color, and drying time. The breathability is one of the most crucial features to investigate when looking for a hiking garment. The Flare has specially placed mesh zones that will keep your feet from overheating. One downside to this option is that the nylon material is not specifically moisture-wicking. However, with such great breathability, we don’t foresee that being an issue.

4. Darn Tough Women's Hiker Micro Crew

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Darn Tough Vermont Women's Merino Wool Cushion Socks
Amazon Link
Style
92
Insulation
90
Materials
92
Fit
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.95
Pros:

High-performance warmth and comfort from one of the world’s best merino thermal brands

Do not retain the moisture

Cons:

Sizes run small

This company, Darn Tough, means business for both men and women. These socks are just as durable, antimicrobial, and comfortable as the men's. But of course, they were built specifically for women's feet. These socks have been made, tried, and tested in Vermont, USA. The company prides its self on making hiking socks that can not only compete with the rest, but go beyond your needs when it comes to hiking, and these socks do.

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Warmth and Comfort
A merino wool base makes these women's socks, both antimicrobial and antibacterial naturally. With the fine-gauge knitting that makes these socks extremely comfortable, you will forget that they are on your feet.

Drying Speed
Many reviewers have reported that even if these socks got wet during a hike, they were already dry by the time they got home. Made of 67% Merino Wool, these socks will always be dry and ready to go with you on your next adventure.

Durability
With high-density knitting of Merino Wool, Nylon and Spandex, these socks are incredibly durable. As if that wasn't enough, the company also supplies a lifetime guarantee.

Breathability and Wicking
Wool is a magical component is wicking away sweat. It absorbs the wetness without wetting your foot. It has been proven that these socks can be worn on multiple hikes while staying dry and odorless.

5. FITS Medium Hiker Crew Socks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
FITS Medium Hiker – Crew: Essential Hiking Socks
Amazon Link
Style
87
Insulation
90
Materials
91
Fit
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$21.99
Pros:

All round cushioning

Nice breathability and wick factor in the context

Warm

Cons:

Would be nice to see the socks offered in packs

You get all-around cushioning with lightweight durable and comfortable materials, which is a nice combination for hikers. As with good quality hiking socks we see the durable warmth from a blend of spandex, merino wool, nylon, and polyester.

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Warmth and Comfort
Crew length socks provide warmth and protection. Warmth in the winter and cool comfort in warmer environments, this combination is outstanding.
The warmth factor is achieved through smart sock tech in the form of a clever weave of synthetics giving durability, stretch and foot hug with merino wool to ensure comfort. The socks also work well for protecting the foot against friction and blisters.

Drying speed
The drying speed of these socks is very quick because the wool content is well balanced with synthetics, so moisture can wick away easily and the sock will dry out quickly.

Durability
This sock brand knows all about designing durable hiking socks and they continue to deliver high-quality products time and time again.
These socks work well in challenging hiking conditions and show a balance of cushion and durability while still being lightweight.

Breathability and Wicking
With a specific and well thought out blend of fabrics, your feet will stay clean and dry in these socks.

6. Injinji 2.0 Midweight Crew NuWool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Midweight Mini Crew Nuwwol Socks
Amazon Link
Style
86
Insulation
90
Materials
93
Fit
95
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$18.00
Backcountry Link
$20.00
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Pros:

Five-fingers give your toes wiggle room (and make these suitable to pair with five-finger hiking shoes)

Outstanding breathability

Lightweight

Cons:

Could take some getting used to

Fancy! These five-finger beauties feature a lightweight, technical design and were the fastest drying hiking socks we tested. The toes are meant to prevent blisters and even improve your balance and posture (more so if you wear them with five-finger running shoes). This sock was easily the fastest drying, but overall we felt that it didn’t really offer enough comfort and warmth for the price.

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Warmth and comfort
The Injinji Outdoor Midweight Crew NuWool was quite warm, but not really satisfying for the price point. The five-finger design is a novel experience and lovely if that’s what you are used to, but can become a little stifling after a long hike.

Drying Speed
The Injinji NuWool may be the fastest drying thick hiking sock out there. It was definitely the best of the bunch this time around.

Durability
Not as impressive as other hiking socks in this testing round. The soles have a tendency to generate fluff, suggesting that this fabric might start to wear through faster than we’d like.

Breathability and Wicking
These offered good breathability thanks to the airflow panels around the top of the foot.

7. Meriwool Merino

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
MERIWOOL Merino Wool Hiking Socks
Amazon Link
Style
88
Insulation
91
Materials
90
Fit
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
Pros:

Good breathability

Quick-dry synthetic material

Nice stretch factor

Built-in ventilation

Cons:

Lack of color choices

Another great pair of socks from Meriwool. The comfort is up to par with excellence, providing freedom from scratchiness. In the cold winter, you get a feeling of warm and comfortable and in summer months you get fresh and cool. You will find a built-in cushion exactly where you want it and a great moisture control performance. Offered in an appealing choice of three colors. These all year round socks are a great choice to add to your gear.

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Warmth and Comfort
The warmth and comfort are guaranteed through a subtle blending of Merino wool at 33%, acrylic at 33% and for the needed sock stretch factor elastane at 1%. These socks mold comfortably to the foot and work for you in all weather conditions. You get a toe to heel padding with good shock-absorbent characteristics.

Drying speed
Dry out time is ultra-fast due to the use of comfortable synthetic fibers that do not hold and absorb moisture. Moisture sits on the surface of synthetic fibers, so evaporation quickly takes moisture away.

Durability
In past times cotton socks were much favored for comfort and durability. The synthetic combination of purposely designed fibers in these socks has taken the concept of durability forward. These socks have a high durability level and will be a long time part of your hiking or casual wear kit.

Breathability and Wicking
From toe to heel, Merino wool has designed sock ventilation areas that ensure breath-ability. In these socks, your feet can flex and breath regardless of how you use them. Use them for trekking, hiking, other outdoor activities or just for everyday wear, these socks give you comfort, quality, breath-ability, wick factor, and style. Wicking comes from the synthetic qualities of the blended materials, these synthetic fibers are created to wick moisture away from your feet through evaporation. Do not hot iron these socks because they are constructed from synthetics and it is best to wash them in warm water. This way you will prolong the durability of these socks.

8. Danish Endurance Merino

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
DANISH ENDURANCE Merino Wool Hiking Socks
Amazon Link
Style
93
Insulation
92
Materials
93
Fit
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$28.95
Pros:

Made from merino wool

comes in a three pack

Great color options

Cons:

Sizes can be off

These socks from Danish Endurance are not only made from merino wool but they also come in a 3 pack to ensure that you not only have a quality pair of hiking socks but you also have some backup pairs as well.

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Warmth and Comfort
As stated above the fact that these hiking socks are constructed from Merino wool is a big bonus and means that these socks will last you many hiking adventures to come. This is important when looking for a pair of hiking socks as if they do not fit properly then there is no use for them. These socks are offered in a variety of sizes to ensure you receive the best fit and are comfortable throughout your hike.

Drying Speed
Insulation is what these socks were made for. They not only are breathable for your feet but they are also constructed from merino wool which means they will keep your feet not only protected and warm but also will also keep your feet dry which is crucial when you out in the wilderness.

Durability
Users of these socks have raved about the number of uses they actually get from these socks. Which is, in fact, perfect when you are considering the longevity of the product. No one wants socks that won't hold up after one or two times on your feet.

Breathability and Wicking
When it comes to the look and style of these socks from Danish Endurance the simple design and all-around color actually work for these socks and add a sense of style even with their simplicity. They also have some areas throughout the sock that allows for breathability to ensure that your feet do not get stuffy and sweaty while on your hike. Also, the fact that they come in a three-pack is a bonus!

9. Darn Tough Men's Hiker 1/4 Cushion Sock

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Darn Tough Men's Hiker 1/4 Sock Cushion
Amazon Link
Style
82
Insulation
89
Materials
90
Fit
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$89.95
Pros:

Antibacterial and anti-odor

Great cushion

Nice wick factor

Cons:

Sizes run small

Darn Tough offers a great range of hiking socks all of which are designed to perform well for hikers. You get short, calf, knee-length choices, compression socks and more. Whatever conditions are thrown at you while out hiking in various challenging terrains, these socks will prove their own worth. Well made hiking socks with a lifetime guarantee, it does not get much better than that. You get a choice of three colors for these high performing durable socks.

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Warmth and Comfort
Hike with confidence in the most challenging of climates without worries.
The sole of the sock is fully cushioned without adding bulkiness or extra material bunching up causing discomfort. For warmth, we see a difference here to other hiking socks, the combination of materials is different and very functional, you get Merino wool, Lycra, Spandex, and Polyester. This combination will give a hiker great foot warmth and nice comfort, whatever the hiking conditions, comfort with warmth is certain.

Drying speed
The smart blend of tightly woven materials ensures a fair level of protection against moisture which in turn means drying speed is good. As with many quality hiking socks, the blend of synthetic fibers ensures a fast drying time.

Durability
You get durability through the combination of synthetic fibers blended with merino wool. This combination gives durability to the hiking socks while keeping true to comfort and durability.

Breathability and Wicking
Synthetics are known to promote a good wick factor while keeping a level of healthy breath-ability. Merino wool has antimicrobial characteristics so the odor is not a problem during long hikes, and bacteria cannot get a breeding foothold.

10. SmartWool PhD Medium Outdoor Crew

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
SmartWool Men's PhD Outdoor Medium Crew
Amazon Link
Style
87
Insulation
87
Materials
87
Fit
84
best offer for today
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$24.95
Backcountry Link
$24.95
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Pros:

Incredible fit for active use

Great durability

Keep you warm

Cons:

Not quite as breathable as other socks on the list

A superbly warm and comfortable sock, with excellent fit and compression for running around all day long. The SmartWool Ph.D. has definitely upped the competition, with great support for your instep and arch and a stretchy ‘X’ bracing the top of the sock. There are three levels of cushioning available for different activities and different bodies: Ultralight, Light, and Medium.

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Warmth and Comfort
Luxury! These were the warmest and most comfortable sock we tried in the medium weight hiking sock category (the Icebreaker Multisport Mini was really comfortable and light, but they’re apples and oranges). Even warmer than the Darn Toughs. With three different levels of cushioning, you can find your perfect match.

Drying Speed
Not bad, not great. Quick-drying speed compared to department store sports socks, unimpressive drying speed compared to the other superbly designed and tested hiking socks on this list.

Durability
With the SmartWool Ph.D. Midweight, you’re looking at the great durability of the shape and fabric, and continued performance in all the other key areas. Just not quite as durable as the Darn Tough range, whose lifetime guarantee is hard to beat. One common detractor with Merino thermals is that they don’t last forever: after a few years of wearing your favorite thermals day in day out, they tend to develop tiny holes and runs around areas of high abrasion. Merino socks are no exception, though we think it’s well worth the extra performance you get from merino.

Breathability and Wicking
The warmest and cushiest sock we tested, and understandably not the most breathable, though they came pretty close. Very good wicking ability. The Lightweight version of SmartWool’s Ph.D. hiking sock range is a much better model for breathability, combining ample cushioning below the foot but minimal thickness everywhere else.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Style

Liners
Most people who hike or backpack cold weather are familiar with glove liners. It’s amazing how much extra warmth you get out of your gloves when you add a wafer-thin, weighs-as-much-as-a-penny 100% merino glove liner. In my experience, expensive glove liners under an affordable pair of unfussy gloves keep my hands just as warm as a single pair of gloves that cost in excess of $100.

The same logic is true of sock liners. They’re simple in construction: thin and uniform, without any cushioning. There’s a bit of compression, but no patches of extra thickness, reinforced sections or elasticated support panels. Because of this, they’re pretty cheap, even the ones made of the highest quality materials by the best designers. Yet adding one of these liners to an average pair of hiking socks makes a world of difference, increasing the performance (and therefore the value) of the sock. You can wear liners by themselves in a pinch, on a warm day, but be aware that you’ll wear out the heel in no time.

Ultra-lightweight
Best for easy treks and summer weather, ultra-lightweight hiking socks are basically sports socks like any other: they stress airflow and moisture-wicking over the warmth or the ability to perform well in cold, wet weather. Ultra-lightweight socks tend to be cushioned only under the sole, leaving the rest of the foot covered by a thin breathable material. Slightly more sock than a liner.

Lightweight
Lightweight socks are a little warmer and more cushioned than ultra-lightweights and suitable for multiple-day hikes on a decent terrain in nice weather. They’re often nicely fitted and supportive feeling though, even without thick fibers or dense weaves all over. It can be worn with or without a liner.

Mid-weight
Midweight hiking socks offer more warmth, and are ideal for extended hiking in three or four seasons, depending on where you’re traveling to. They usually have some extra cushioning thickness around the top of the foot and the ankle as well as underfoot. They should have durable, reinforced heels and toes, but, worn by themselves. aren’t so bulky as to push your hiking boot size up a level.

Mountaineering socks
Mountaineering socks or full-cushion socks are the thickest, warmest, most protective socks you can get. They are made for extended trips, rough trails, and alpine or arctic conditions. In anything milder, they are hot and heavy and you will regret carrying them around in your pack after you realize it’s way too hot to wear them. Usually tall enough to sit over the calf or under the knee, and thick enough to deflect lots of trail debris and blackberry snags.

Insulation

Pairing a durable synthetic cushioning ‘outer’ sock with a luxurious, wafer-thin merino liner can be a great way to enjoy the best of both.

Layering your socks can also prevent blistering, i.e. two lightweights socks prevent blistering better than one thick sock that weighs as much as both put together. This is because of the layers of sock rub against the shoe and each other, and rarely your feet. If you’re breaking in new hiking boots or expecting a particularly slippery hike, consider using a liner or layering lightweight socks. There’s no rule that says you can’t layer with an ultra-lightweight sock instead of a cushion-less liner.

If you’re really pushed for space in your pack, liners are your friend: take seven pairs of liners and two pairs of thick socks instead of seven pairs of thick. Overall you want a pair of socks that will offer you the comfort you expect when going on a hike as without proper insulation you will have a comfortable time and could put yourself in harm's way in cold climates.

Materials

You’ll probably experiment for a few years with different blends before you’re confidently picking the right socks for every hike with no regrets. In the meantime, it’s great to travel with options and layer/swap out as needed. You’ll get to know what performs better in your conditions, and which materials your feet like to have on them.

Wool
A very popular choice for hiking socks, wool provides fantastic all-round performance in terms of comfort, warmth, breathability, moisture-wicking, and durability, with the added advantages of being anti-microbial and odor resistant. It can be heavier than synthetics and take a little longer to dry.

Many people remember wool as itchy, but new Merino blends are incredibly soft and wearable. Some brands even offer an itch-free guarantee. Icebreaker has been making merino underwear for over a decade now, so it must be ok!

Although 100% merino thermals can be found, pure merino isn’t quite as durable or as stretchy as 90% wool blends. As a result, most high-performance hiking socks incorporate 30-50% synthetic to increase elasticity and durability.

Synthetic
Dries fast, weighs less than wool, and is cheaper to produce. Synthetic blends made from propylene, nylon, and acrylic do a good enough job of mimicking wool or cotton, with the advantage of being longer-lasting.

Bamboo
Silky smooth and naturally insulating, bamboo is lightweight and comfy. Blended with synthetics or cotton, it makes hiking socks feel softer and better fitting. A fast-growing, lower-resource-intensive renewable resource. Bamboo-blend hiking socks are a good choice for vegans looking for extra comfort but wanting to keep clear of silk and wool blends.

Cotton
Not recommended for hiking socks, cotton tends to absorb sweat instead of wick it away and gives no insulation whatsoever when wet (have you ever tried to grab a hot oven tray with a wet kitchen towel?). Cotton takes ages to dry, and due to a combination of all these factors, cotton socks can cause blisters if worn when hiking.

Silk
Exceedingly comfortable and lightweight, silk socks are superb at wicking away sweat. Silk is often used in high-end sleeping bag liners to trap extra warmth without the sweatiness that contact with synthetics can induce, and silk does just as well in sock liners. Not durable enough to feature in ‘outer’ socks very often.

Fit

Icebreaker concept stores have all their most popular hiking sock styles on hand to give you a first-hand (or first-foot) experience of what levels of comfort and cushioning you can expect from each model.

You may have to (and want to) wear a sock liner, meaning you can’t feel how silky smooth the sock does or doesn’t feel against your skin, but you do get a sense of how much compression you’ll get, how much underfoot cushioning, how snugly the end sits on your toes, how high the sock comes up your leg and how well it sits on your calf. Obviously, it will be a fraction looser without the liner, but remember that feet do tend to swell up within a couple of hours of activity.

Overall when it comes to fit check to make sure the socks you are interested in are available in a variety of sizes as if you decide to get a pair of socks that do not fit, they will be useless. Another way to check the sizing of the socks is to check the customer reviews as this will give you an inside look at if the sizing is accurate and if they fit well for other customers.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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expert tips icon
Why Merino Wool?

Always make sure your hiking socks contain Merino wool, the more the better. The reason that you want a great pair of Merino wool socks while hiking is the fact that they do not itch and maintain temperature to make sure you are comfortable while on your next hiking adventure.

Check the sizing

When it comes to socks make sure to check the sizing just as you would a new pair of shoes as if you decide to get a pair of socks that do not fit properly, they can be uncomfortable and cause you a tougher time while on your next hike.

Other Factors to Consider

Size

Hiking socks come in a really wide variety of sizes as well as thicknesses. Generally, the more expensive the sock and the more dialed-in the fit, the more sizing options the company will give you. Sock sizings are usually done in ranges (Eg. 11-14). If you are at one end of a range and your feet are a little broad or a little narrow, go up or down to the next size to ensure a better fit. Remember that your feet swell, and you want to accommodate that. Socks that are too small might dig into your calves or cramp your toes, and also don’t give you any room for liners.

Overall when looking for the perfect sizing of a sock, you want to do the same thing you would do if you were looking for shoes. Measure your foot by using the sellers sizing chart to ensure which size will best fit. It is sometimes recommended to go a size up as it is better to have extra room then a sock that is to small as that may cut off the circulation and be uncomfortable and the last thing you want when you're in the middle of a hike. Your feet are your most important tool when hiking so ensure that your socks and shoes fit properly, so you will have no issues on your next hiking adventure.

If you want to double-check you are getting a quality sock and the sizing will be correct even after you have measured your foot using the sizing chart supplied by the seller is to check the customer reviews. This way you can see if the sizing was accurate from other customers that decided to purchase the socks you have your eyes on.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why do hiking socks have spandex?

a:

The reason is that spandex when blended with other materials allows a nice level of the stretch factor to give your foot flexibility while wearing the sock. Another bonus is that spandex is synthetic so it helps wick factor because it will not absorb moisture.

q: I’m thinking of buying all wool hiking socks, is that a good idea?

a:

Wool is very comfortable in the right context, wool can be durable in the right context. Wool has a long history of being used for challenging boot wear hiking, running, climbing. Wool works really well in hiking socks when it is blended with the right combination of synthetic fibers. It’s about a matter of experimentation and personal choice, try out the wool socks and see if you are satisfied. Wool also does a great job at conserving your body heat and will ensure that if you are in colder climates, your feet will stay warm.

q: I have a great pair of hiking socks, they really perform well but cause huge odor problems, what can I do?

a:

Clearly your encountering either sweaty feet or wet hiking conditions, you need a pair of socks with antibacterial functions. Try a pair of Darn Tough Men's Hiker socks, I think the result will solve your situation.

q: Why do the in-between of my toes blister when I go for a long hike?

a:

It sounds like you are experiencing moisture build up between your toes. I suggest you try a pair of hiking socks which offer a separate toe compartment. These will keep your toes separated and the sock material between your toes will wick away moisture from the skin.

q: For long hikes a friend recently suggested I take along a back up pair of socks, is this sound advice?

a:

The advice is very sound for long-distance hiking, you can never fully predict what weather conditions you will encounter. If your feet get very wet no matter how protective the sock, you can change socks and avoid discomfort, potential foot rashes and blistering due to friction from a wet sock. Nowadays, hiking socks dry out very quickly, the wet socks can be carried and they will dry out and become your back up socks again.