You should never go hiking without the proper equipment or the right gear for that matter. While there might not be too much diversity when it comes to choosing equipment, you certainly have plenty of choices when it comes to gear options.
Along with a reliable pair of hiking boots, you’re going to have to find yourself a good pair of hiking socks. In this regard, you would be pleased to know that the market has plenty to offer, with options varying in flexibility and comfort depending on your budget and preferences. To give you a better idea of what to look for, we put together a list of the ten best hiking socks money can buy
Best Hiking Socks – Reviews
10Columbia Men’s Moisture Control Ribbed Crew
Famed for their quality gears which they avail at amazing prices, Columbia enters the list with their light-weight hiking merino socks. They are padded unisex socks that come with a varying thickness which allows the sock to position itself properly without making it too thick or warm. Moreover, they also comprise a robust and thick upper welt that works well to ensure it holds up and does not fall or bunch. Overall, it is a wonderful choice for anyone needing adequate padding with properly distributed breathability.
9Smartwool Men’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks
Smartwool is a popular sock brand particularly for their signature incorporation of quality Merino wool. With these outdoor unisex socks, they have combined nylon material-which is extremely durable and Merino Wool to ensure you receive long-standing service. They are typical over-the-calf sock types that are ideal for general winter hiking while in thick and or tall boots.
8Wigwam Men’s Ultra Cool-Lite Ultimax
For any hiking fan that wants socks that dry quickly, then Wigwam quarter socks are your ideal choice. It has perfectly thin sides and top which makes them a conveniently cool pair of hiking socks for summer/warm weather. Moreover, although they are not padded, their toe and heel areas are reinforced to boost their durability. Wigwam socks are primarily made of acrylic and nylon materials and are a wonderful moisture wicking pair for any hiker to have.
7Injinji 2.0 Outdoor Original Weight Crew Nuwwol Socks
A formidable and long standing socks brand, Injinji presents the 2.0 Nuwwol outdoor socks. Aside from their unique toe pocket feature, these unisex outdoor socks also boast uniquely designed and positioned medium to thin area padding. Their characteristic toe pockets come in handy to smooth friction as is around and between your toes, keeping you completely free from blisters. Moreover, if you also have unusual toe shape or size, these are the ideal additions to your hiking socks collection.
6Darn Tough Vermont Women’s Crew Cushion Socks
Made by blending nylon and merino wool, Darn socks are among the best available hiking socks available. With merino, they amazingly wick and dry while nylon boosts their longevity courtesy of its durability. Besides being tall enough to fit a boot, this pair is also equipped with ample toe and heel padding that maintains the flat shape of its toe seams and is also completely unnoticeable. Finally, darn stands out for its genuine free replacements guarantee for life, where the manufacturer offers a new free pair once the initial pair wears out.
5Smartwool Women’s Hike Medium Crew Socks
A medium cushion, medium weight, full-length pair of socks that suits any hiking boot, Smart wool is the real deal when it comes to merino wool set of socks. In addition to boasting merino wool as its underlying material, it is characterized by sufficient padding to suit any hiker, not to mention being fully padded from back to front. If you are looking for a top-quality pair of merino wool made socks, you can never go wrong with Smart wool.
4Darn Tough Vermont Hiker Boot Full Cushion Sock
Darn makes the list with a perfectly seamless and smooth pair of socks. In particular, this model is a super-padded full-height sock which is ideal for any traditional hiker adorning large boots. What’s more, it also works well with hikers that work with massive full-leather hiking boots. Finally, these socks are made using a blend of nylon, Merino wool, and spandex materials to effectively clutch the collection of fibers not to mention their ever-solid form.
3Wigwam Men’s Cool-Lite Mid Hiker Pro
Made from a blend of fabrics including cotton, acrylic, nylon, and polyester, Wigwam cool-lite are a light, mid-weight, pair of socks that are suitable for use allow in 3-different seasons. These particular socks come with a generally fitting seam position just above its toes, not to mention their ability to withstand sweaty pressure. Unfortunately, they are not be used with shoes that are tight fitting since they could chafe.
2Buttons & Pleats Premium Merino Wool Hiking Socks
Primarily made from Merino wool and with a characteristic thick padding, these pair of socks is the ideal fit for winter occasions. They are a unisex, full-length, crew cut pair of hiking socks that accommodate any full-size hunting or hiking boot. What’s more, with their thickness, they are quite robust and durable, more so than pretty much any other pair of hiking socks in this price range.
1Thorlos Men’s Light Hiking Socks
A moderately-padded full-length pair of socks, the Lite Men’s crew sock is well suited to satisfy your needs. It boasts an extra reinforcement in its instep area that tightly holds to your foot preventing moving or bunching. They comprise a somewhat proprietary THOR fabric that works to strengthen it. Nonetheless, with its thick-padding construct and value, it is suitable for users of traditional hiking boots/footgear.
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Hiking Socks Buying Guide?
Before coming to a decision, you should first make sure that you fully understand what hiking socks are all about. While some might think that a sports sock should pretty much fit the profile, we’re her to tell you that certainly isn’t the case. Given the uneven nature of the terrain you will be walking on, you want a pair of socks that keep your feet comfortable and blister-free when trekking. In this regard, you should always judge a pair of hiking socks based on their height, cushioning, fabric, and how they fit.
Hiking socks come in different heights, each style with its own benefits. From bottom-of-the ankle socks to socks that nearly reach your knees, these socks share roughly the same structural characteristics, the longer a pair of socks is the better it protects your feet from rubbing against the shoes. In principle, hiking socks come in four different heights, each designed to meet a specific purpose.
No-show hiking socks – These socks provide little protection when it comes to boot abrasion, although they make it up by providing a much better air flow. The main reason for opting to buy such a pair of hiking socks is to use them with low-cut footwear like trail-running shoes or light hiking shoes that don’t rub against your feet all that much.
Ankle hiking socks – Somewhat higher than no-show socks, ankle hiking socks usually cover your ankle bone so as to provide you with a higher standard of protection. Still not as high as some experienced hikers would feel comfortable wearing, however, yet high enough to provide a comfortable experience when worn with low-cut footwear.
Crew hiking socks – With these socks, you get a reasonably good protection that goes all the way above your ankle bones. For this reason, crew hiking socks are more or less the perfect fit for almost any hiker, regardless of the footwear. Having said that, we should point out that they might cause you to sweat a bit more than usual when worn with low-cut shoes but that the added protection they offer certainly makes up for it.
Knee-high hiking socks – Like the name suggests, knee-high hiking socks stretch all the way to your knees, providing you with the highest possible standard of protection of all hiking socks types. They not only provide protection against the environment but also from boot abrasion, the type of abrasion you are usually subjected to when wearing burly boots.
Another element to consider when purchasing hiking socks is the cushioning they provide. The amount of cushioning differs from one pair to another because hikers have different opinions on what constitutes a good cushioning and whether not hiking socks should be cushioned in the first place. In general, you want your feet to be well-protected when you’re out hiking, the extend of which should usually come down to personal preference.
No cushioning – These minimalistic socks are designed for hot weather, meaning that their first purpose is to cool you down when worn over long periods of time. These socks are usually worn in tandem with low-cut footwear that doesn’t rub against your feet all that hard. Additionally, experienced hikers will sometimes use these type of socks underneath other, thicker hiking socks for their ability to wick away moisture.
Light cushioning – Speaking of moisture wicking, this is the main purpose of light cushioning hiking socks, which are not to be used with tall boots of any kind. We say this because taller boots will certainly rub against your ankles when walking on uneven terrain for too long, thus the need for adequate protection. Although light in weight and very thin, these socks provide slightly more coverage than no-cushioning hiking socks, yet not as much as thicker socks.
Medium cushioning – We should point out that each pair of quality hiking socks usually features an indicative of their cushioning standard on the packaging and medium cushioning hiking socks are by far the most popular. These particular socks provide a reasonable amount of protection – enough to keep you safe and well-protected yet light enough to be comfortable. They are also comfortable in almost any weather given their versatile construction.
Heavy cushioning – These are the thickest, most cushioned hiking socks out there, the type that are usually worn on long trips and in cold weather. Due to their heavy construction, these socks are too thick to be worn during your average backpacking journey. Instead, they should be used for mountaineering and for going on cold-weather trekking. Needless to say, they also provide the best possible protection a pair of hiking socks can offer.
Last but not least, one should always consider the fabrics of any socks they’re wearing, especially when it comes to hiking or exercising socks. For the most part, wool seems to be the key element in all hiking socks, generally used in a blend of polyester, nylon, silk, and/or spandex. The reason why wool is so common is because of its capacity to regulate the temperature inside the shoe so that it won’t cause whoever’s wearing the socks to sweat too much. It is also common for most modern hiking socks to use merino wool which is engineered to be relatively itch-free and much more comfortable than standard wool.