The 5 Best Socks For Hiking
When you're taking in the majesty of the outdoors (or just the sights around a neighborhood), you're too busy to waste time worrying about your feet. That's why having the best socks for hiking are essential. The right socks will provide support, wick away moisture, and, most importantly, minimize blisters.
The first thing you'll want to consider when it comes to choosing the best socks is material. Walking around with damp feet in a shoe is a recipe for blisters, which is why wool hiking socks are the gold standard. Wool absorbs and wicks moisture, provides cushioning, and if you get a smooth wool like Merino, isn't scratchy. And though wool usually brings to mind cozy sweaters, because it's relatively quick drying, it can also make for a great warm weather hiking sock or a good option for people with sweaty feet.
But don't ignore well-considered synthetics like nylon and Lycra which can be cheaper, provide extra stretch, and help feet dry quickly, too. Those are also reasons why they're often combined with wool. However, you'll want to avoid cotton for hiking. While the material absorbs sweat, it is also slow to dry, making it more likely to give you blisters.
Next, you'll want to consider sock height. You want a sock that will cover your ankles an inch or two beyond where your shoes stop to prevent rubbing and, again, blisters. That means an ankle-length sock might work with trail runner shoes, but for lace-up boots, you'll want a crew or knee-high length. If you'll be venturing out to an area with the likes of poison ivy or burdock, consider a higher sock for protection, too.
With those considerations in mind, and after consulting the comfort enjoyed by thousands of real-life customers, the best hiking socks on Amazon, below.
1. The Best Overall Socks For Hiking
For a fraction of the price of many other Merino wool-based socks, these crew-height socks offer many of the same qualities as more expensive socks and have the love of more than 3,000 five-star reviews to prove it. While the "medium-heavy" thickness make them not ideal for the very hottest days of summer and some were annoyed that these are best tumble or air dried, customers have overall been thrilled with this best-seller for how fast the socks are at drying and how comfortable they are to wear. They are sized for both men and women's shoes and available in an ankle length, too.
Fans say: "These socks dry faster than even a thin dress sock, great for light traveling. They didn't smell even after two days of hiking! I now work out and run in these socks too. After over four months of heavy, constant use and washing (not following the care instructions btw just throwing in with everything else) they are only now beginning to show the slightest wear in the ball of the foot which is wear my socks always wear out first."
2. The Best Lightweight Socks For Hiking In The Summer
With a 33 percent Merino wool, 33 percent acrylic, 33 percent polyamide, and 1 percent elastane blend, these socks are a little lighter on the wool than most other top-quality hiking socks but don't skimp on cushioning, making them a great choice for warm weather walks. The well-designed toe seam minimizes rubbing where blisters often occur, and the ribbed calf support prevents them from falling down. These best-selling unisex socks have a 4.3-star overall rating, too.
Fans say: "I spend all day on my feet, and these fit great under my running shoes. They keep my feet dry and comfortable even on hot days. They are thin, only thick where you need it. My feet sweat way more in polyester 'sport' socks then in these."
3. Cult-Favorite Hiking Socks With A Lifetime Warranty
The company behind Darn Tough has been making socks in Vermont since 1978 and racking up fans ever since. With a 4.8-star overall rating, these wool socks are an Amazon favorite for the undetectable toe seam, ribbed calf support, and long-lasting cushioning. Plus, there's a lifetime unconditional warranty in case it's not the perfect sock for you. There are also separate men's socks, though the biggest difference is mostly the colors offered and sizing. Unfortunately, these socks are not cheap.
Fans say: "As for comfort ... probably the best socks I've ever tried in that department. Only Smartwool brand has come close, but these Darn Tough ones have even less of a seam up at the toes, and so have no points of friction at all. Even after a long day of hiking, where my feet/shoes/socks have been wet and done miles of hiking, I'll have no signs of friction, hot spots, or blisters. I've even stopped wearing sock liners with these, since I've found I don't need them."
4. The Best For Socks For Arch Support
Smartwool socks are the other cult sock hikers often swear by. While the toe seams on Smartwool socks are a little more prominent than those on Darn Tough, these socks tend to offer better arch support. So if that's a big concern, consider these wool-based socks with a 4.4-star overall rating.
Fans say: "These have exceptional support, cushion, comfort, and breathability. Even after washing, they still look like new. Temperature-wise, they were great at keeping me warm on freezing walks in Minnesota and keeping me cool/dry enough on hikes in Mexico. The versatility is very impressive."
5. Budget-Friendly Compression Socks For Hiking
At less than $3 a pair, these 85 percent nylon, 10 percent polyester, and 5 percent elastane compression socks are a great choice for hikers not looking to spend a lot of money. The synthetic material does a good job of keeping feet dry to avoid dreaded blisters, and the arch support adds to the comfort level. With more than a thousand five-star reviews, they prove you don't have to spend a lot for quality socks.
Fans say: "The socks are [every] bit as good as more expensive ones... [We] use them the entire time we are traveling because we walk and hike a minimum of five miles per day wherever we are. These are unisex. The hubs and I just tried them on and they fit perfectly."
Mic may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Mic's editorial and sales departments.