Best Hiking Socks in 2019 – Field Tested & Reviewed: Are you planning to go hiking? If yes, then the first important thing you will need is a good pair of hiking boots. Secondly, hiking boots alone will not be able to protect you from blisters coming on your trek. Hence, you will also require a good pair of hiking socks.
Your feet are most essential when you are hiking. Without them, you will not be able to hike and if they are not protected well and kept comfortable, then hiking may turn into an activity of misery. Some of the issues include hotspots, blisters, and frostbites. But now, by wearing the best hiking socks these issues are taken care of itself.
In the last few years, various companies are manufacturing socks by taking care of all the important factors. They are making socks by using the latest technology and various firms have started using warm, soft and breathable materials such as merino wool. It doesn’t matter, whether you are going on a simple day trek or a highly challenging trek, a good pair of hiking socks will protect from all the issues.
For the first time, when you check the price of hiking socks, you might think they are expensive. We all know that the price of 12 cotton socks is less than $10. However, similar to all the other outdoor gears, hiking socks are developed for some of the important things such as to keep your feet warm and breathable, to prevent from any blobs, and to make your feet comfortable.
All the sock makers integrate technical materials such as merino wool and construct each sock with hidden layers and hybrid knit patterns to form different levels from the stretch. They also take proper consideration while applying compression to different areas of the foot. Without much ado, here we will provide you with the list of Best Hiking Socks in 2019 or Best Hiking Socks Reviews.
Best Hiking Socks in 2019
Darn tough full cushion sock will work absolutely well for any kind of hiking, trekking or backpacking adventure. These socks are built by a mixture of three materials which include Merino wool, Nylon, Lycra Spandex. As the socks are made up of 67% Merino wool, it will keep your feet dry and also provide great breathability.
These boots prevent you for any kind of slipping, brunching and blisters. The socks are highly durable and provide elastic in arch and support and also light-to-medium cushioning near the foot and shin. Here, heels and toes also get enough support, hence you will not get any holes in the sock, which has a great construction for all-day comfort. These socks are made in Vermont and are definitely guaranteed for life.
These socks are made from 71% Merino wool, 21% nylon, 7% polyester and 1% spandex. Due to this combination, these socks provide excellent durability, breathability, and moisture wicking material.
Combination of Merino wool and nylon is itch-free, anti-odor yarns provide durability for the lifetime of the socks. Moreover, the socks feature medium thickness and a very good toe and heel for extra support. Also, these socks are available at a reasonable price as compared to various other socks in the market. If you haven’t purchased woolen socks, then you can go with these socks. These are one of the best hiking socks in 2019.
These socks fall under our list of Best Hiking Socks 2019. They are made of 41% Polypropylene, 34% X2O Acrylic, 23% Stretch Nylon, 1% Stretch Polyester, and 1% Spandex. The socks are good for anyone who is looking for light socks. It consists of a highly cushioned foot, strong heel panel, and fast-drying Ultimax technology. You can wear these socks on multiple-days of trekking.
One of the best things about any Wigwam socks is that they are completely fit. But, when you wear these socks for long hours without a wash, its fabric will expand. They are well fit around your calf and material is absolutely comfortable at a given price.
Lastly, these socks are highly durable and comfortable as compared to other socks in the market.
These socks are made from 61% merino wool, 36% nylon, and 3% spandex. Darn tough micro cushion provides great comfort and will last forever.
Over the last few years, Darn Tough was giving great competition to Smartwool. But now, Darn Tough has become the leading manufacturer of hiking socks in the market. With great design, high-quality merino wool, and lifetime warranty, Darn Tough is the best brand in the market. Darn Tough falls under our list of Best Hiking Socks 2019.
The socks consist of extra stitches per inch, hence they are comfortable, durable and excellent fitting socks with no extra bulk. Due to high-density knitting, these socks provide great breathability and they are suitable for all the three seasons. The socks are highly comfortable, not highly elasticized around the arch or forefoot, and doesn’t form pressure points.
These socks keep your feet warm and comfortable as per the requirement. Cushion inside socks allows you to do full-day hiking without any issue.
Rockay accelerate socks will match with any of the footwear. If you want to have an anti-blister journey, enough targeted support for foot arch and overall compressive foot support, extremely comfortable and protective organic Merino wool design, and more, then go with this hiking socks. These socks fall under category of best hiking socks 2019.
These socks provide great comfort and protection as they is built from best organic merino wool. Foot arch support is very good via targeted compression, and it consists of a widely elastic top at the top which hugs the ankle. The toe and heel areas are uniquely padded to make sure you get extra support along with comfort.
The socks have a tight seal which keeps the dirt out including compression and resists the material from bunching up. Also, it prevents from any blisters on the trek. Lastly, the ventilation zones will help to keep your feet cool.
As socks are made with the combination of organic wool, polyamide, and elastane, they will not remain wet for so long. The material absorbs water quickly.
Merino wool provides a high-level of breathability and wick which makes sure that hiker has cool feet when weather is hot and warm feet when weather is cold. The socks are designed in a way to sustain extreme conditions such as marathons and obstacle courses such as tough mudder.
Listing best-hiking socks reviews, and not mentioning Smartwool Women’s Hike Light Crew socks will not be a justice. When you are going out for a small hike or for a quick trail run, thick socks will result in sweat around your feet and calves. To resolve this, Smartwool Hike Light crew socks offer best comfort and support in a light, breathable sock.
These socks are built from 67% Merino Wool, 32% Nylon, 1% Elastane for best comfort as well as breathability. At the toe, you will get a flat knit toe seam, hence not a single part of the sock will result in the bunch up or rub wrong. The socks possess good cushioning and consist of a great elastic arch brace. These socks are specially knitted in the USA.
As the name says, Darn Tough Vermont Men’s Merino Wool socks are manufactured in Vermont by a firm, Darn Tough. The firm has gained a lot of popularity with its products. These socks are tough enough to withstand any of the weather conditions.
The socks possess very unique design which protects you from any blisters or bunching in any areas. As these socks are built from great material, you will feel extremely comfortable in your hiking boots. Your feet will remain warm all the time due to merino wool.
The socks are extremely lightweight and consist of undetachable toe seam. It also consists of mid-level cushion density underfoot which keeps socks warm or cool as per the requirement. Moreover, they will dry overnight.
The firm is well-known, because of the durability. The socks come with a lifetime guarantee, however, you will never need it.
The socks are built from merino wool, hence they will provide ultimate breathability and comfort in all the weather conditions. This fabric doesn’t suffocate and soaks up the moisture very quickly. Merino wool also works as an antimicrobial and removes all the bacteria and odor from the socks.
If you are looking for calf-length socks which are reasonable and has a great value, then go with Danish Endurance Unisex Merino wool hiking socks. As these socks are made using Merino wool, it makes your feet comfortable after each and every mile. These socks provide great strength and durability and keep your feet warm and cool as per the weather conditions.
The fabric absorbs the sweat very quickly and evaporates quickly, hence your feet will remain comfortable and dry. The ventilation mesh zones enable continuous airflow and due to paddling from heel to toe it absorbs shocks and protects from any blisters or obstacles.
The socks possess a unique design and are great for any kind of hiking, trekking, walking, skiing, backpacking activities. The socks are made in Europe to provide the best quality and comfort. The socks also possess anti-bacterial properties to keep your feet, warm, dry and comfortable while hiking, trekking skiing, etc.
The socks are available in a pair or 1 or 3. A package of three socks will cost you around $30, which is a great deal. The socks are compatible with any of hiking boot and provide great breathability and wicking features.
If you don’t like to keep your feet from slipping and overheating in your socks when you hike, then your sweaty feet are getting the best of you and it’s time to change your socks choice.
Firstly, you should always consider a sock which consists of materials known to wick away sweat, as you can still enjoy comfort and warmth without material which robs you of breathability.
Icebreaker comes with breathable mesh zones, which make for extra ventilation to keep your feet dry, cool and protect from blisters. The socks possess a seamless toe closure to protect from blisters. These are best hiking socks, which you can use for one complete year of hiking.
The socks have 0.25 crew height, offer high-density sole cushioning, and are built from 65% merino wool, 31% nylon, and 4% lycra spandex.
It is an absolutely warm and comfortable sock with great fit and compression for running around all day long. The SmartWool PhD has raised the competition, with good support for instep, arch and stretchy ‘X’ bracing on the top of the sock.
There are basically three different levels of cushioning useful for different activities and different bodies: Ultralight, Light, and Medium.
These socks fall under the category of best hiking socks 2019. These socks are best under medium hiking socks category. These socks are available in three different levels of cushioning, you can go with the best one.
The lightweight model offers great underfoot cushioning for all sorts of day-hiking, trail hiking, cycling, and other essential athletic activities while maintaining a great mix of thin, breathable material everywhere else. The lightweight model is highly breathable underfoot, this is possible as the socks are too close hence there is no bunching and very little air is being trapped.
The medium cushioning outdoor crew works absolutely well for multiple days of hiking and backpacking. These socks have good drying speed as compared to local department store socks.
SmartWool Ph.D. Midweight socks provide great durability due to the shape and quality of material used in the fabric. It offers a great performance day-in and day-out.
These socks are not as great as darn tough, which are able to last for years. Merino thermals socks will not last forever, after few years of usage, it will develop holes. To resolve this issue, SmartWool has stopped using merino wool and developed its own Indestructawool technology. Hence, around the heel and toe, SmartWool PhD is more durable. All the SmartWool PhD socks come with 2 years satisfaction guarantee.
Although these are the warmest and cushiest sock, they are not highly breathable. Socks possess very high wicking ability. The lightweight model socks provide very good breathability along with great cushioning underfoot but have a minimal thickness at all the other places.
How to select the right pair of socks?
While buying socks, you can check in what weather and environment you will be hiking or backpacking. Several socks are meant to perform well in humid conditions due to moisture wicking properties. While there are also socks which are built for mountaineering and winter travel.
While selecting the size, you should go with socks which fits tightly. If it’s possible, it will be awesome to slip the socks before buying them. By doing this, you will know how much cushion and support they are offering.
Important Things to consider before buying hiking socks
All the enthusiastic hikers who hike in cold weather are familiar with glove liners. Its great how much more warmth you will get out of your gloves when you add a wafer-thin, weighs as low as penny 100% merino glove liner. Here, expensive glove liners placed under a reasonable pair of gloves keep my hands as warm as a single pair of gloves which costs around $100.
The same thing is with the sock liners. They are designed well, thin and uniform, without any cushioning. It is somewhat compressed, but no patches of more thickness, reinforced sections or stretchy support panels. Due to this, they are inexpensive, and also the ones made of the highest quality materials by the best designers. However, by adding liners to average socks will make somewhat difference and increase the performance of the sock.
These type of socks are best for simple treks and summer. These socks are almost similar to sport socks, they possess stress airflow and moisture-wicking over warmth. All the ultra-lightweight socks are cushioned under the sole, hence they are thin and breathable. In extremely cold conditions, they can be used as a sock liner.
Lightweight socks are thicker and more cushioned as compared to ultra-lightweights and best suited for multiple day hikes on proper terrain in nice weather. Generally, possess some comprehensive properties and good for warm weather conditions where moisture wicking is very much important.
These are the most well-known hiking sock, they are thicker and extra cushioning in the toes, heel and the ankles. Midweight hiking socks provide more warmth and are good for extended hiking in three or four seasons, based on where you are heading. The socks should be durable, reinforced heels and toes and can be worn themselves. They should not be too much heavy to push hiking boot size up the level.
They are also referred to as “full-weight” socks. They are thickest, warmest, and most protective socks which you can have. They are built for extended trips, rough trails, and alpine or arctic conditions. In summer also, they are hot and heavy, hence you will regret after wearing them for some hours.
They are suitable for long treks in cold or frigid conditions. Hiking socks are available in a wonderful mind-blowing array of paddling types. Hence, you should select the one which is suitable for your trek.
It is absolutely fine to experiment with different socks for some years before you confidently pick socks which are best fit for you. However, it is absolutely okay to travel with different types of socks. By this, you will be able to know which socks work well in which conditions and which materials work well for your feet.
Wool offers complete care in terms of comfort, warmth, breathability, moisture wicking and durability. It can absorb moisture quickly and also has great odor control.
Many people think that merino wool is itchy, however new Merino mixes well and it is fully soft and wearable. Several brands provide an itch-free guarantee. Icebreaker is building merino underwater for over a decade now, hence it should be good.
Even though 100% merino wool is available, but it’s not as durable and elastic as 90% wool blends. Hence, a large variety of high-performance hiking socks consists of 30-50% synthetic to provide proper elasticity and durability.
Synthetic material dries quickly, weighs less as compared to wool and costs less to produce. Synthetic material mixes well with propylene, nylon, and acrylic to do a wonderful job of copying wool or cotton including the benefit of long-lasting.
Bamboo is lightweight, silky smooth, naturally insulating and highly comfortable material. When it is mixed with synthetics or cotton, it makes socks feel softer and better fitting.
This material is not suitable for hiking socks, cotton tries to absorb sweat rather than wicking it away and provides no insulation whenever it is wet. Cotton takes a lot of time to dry, and due to all these factors, it might cause blisters if worn during hiking.
Extremely comfortable and lightweight, these socks are best at wicking away sweat. Silk is sometimes used in premium sleeping bag liners to catch more warmth without the sweatiness that contact with synthetics can induce and silks work well in sock liners.
Just like Merino, it is also great moisture mover. Polyester dries fastly and does its work. It is less expensive than merino to manufacture and so the socks will be more reasonable.
Nylon is generally added to the sock fibers. Socks are never only made from nylon. This material is added to enhance the strength and durability of socks. It is specially mixed with merino and polyester fibers to provide various features.
Lycra, or Spandex
These fibers are always present in the socks. This material provides elasticity due to which it accommodates different foot sizes and enables the sock to stay on your feet.
Most of the hikers believe that Merino wool is comfortable material for socks hence I keep the socks made from merino wool at the top of the list. Socks are never made from a single material, they are mixed with various other materials to provide proper comfort and durability.
Socks which are fully fit provides the best comfort and prevents from any blobs and also hold motionlessness on the foot. Moreover, fitted socks remove any chances of wrinkles or uneven sock wear such as “bunching up” effect.
It’s unbelieve how many times we have kept hiking socks in the washer and dryer and had come out with a feeling of fitting like new socks. Durability is based on the brand and in the last few years it is changing among the same makers. For instance, Smartwool possesses soft and comfortable socks, but now recently we have found that holes are formed quickly now than ever before.
Darn Tough socks are not the softest, but we haven’t come across any issues of holes till now in either Micro crew or Quarter Cushion. Most of the socks have issues of pilling which can solved by line drying. Smartwool is another kind of socks which are well-known for durability.
You will be amazed by how long a $20 pair of hiking socks can last. If you use some socks pairs in rotation, then you can expect the socks to last for minimum 2-3 seasons without any issue. All the hiking socks in our list will last for some seasons and maybe even more based on how you take care of them and use.
Caring for Hiking Socks
On the treks, you should keep your socks clean in order to improve their life. Cleaning will help to remove all the garbage and bacteria from socks. This allows the socks to live longer by stopping the breakdown of fibers.
Moreover, clean socks have fewer chances to get affected by any blister. If your terrain consists of blisters, then it is essential to keep socks clean to avoid any kind of infection.
For the majority of merino wool products, we suggest washing in cold water and line drying. The rules of washing vary as on the maker and some also claim that merino can be machine dried. However, we found that this reduces lifespan. While merino wools mixed with polyester socks are some of the material which you can wash in your dryer. They don’t possess the same durability problems as merino products and warm dryer has the ability to retain the original shape of the socks.
In order to clean on a trail, use a gallon ziplock bag with some drops of Dr. Bronner’s soap and some amount of water. Keep some pair of socks in there and shake them vigorously until the water changes to nasty colors. Empty out the water, rinse the socks and hang them from your backpack to dry.
When you will pair durable synthetic cushioning ‘outer’ sock with luxurious wafer-thin merino liner, you will have a great experience. The layering of socks will protect from blistering. Hence two lightweight socks prevent blistering as compared to one thick sock which weighs almost the same as both the things kept together. This is mainly due to the layers of the sock rub against the shoe and each other and hardly to your feet.
If you are going on the trek by wearing new hiking boots or expecting an especially slippery hike, you can either think of liner or layering lightweight socks.
The crew is the most basic hiking socks height, which ranges between 6-8 inches from the heel and just a few couple of inches above any pair of hiking boots. Most of us agree that this is the normal height for hiking: crew socks don’t make you feel very warm and also provide some lower leg protection from brush and rocks. Hiking pants might be thinner, hence the added cushion is helpful, and if you are wearing shorts on the simple trails, then the crew are great.
Quarter height hiking socks cover the heel and ankle, however, don’t extend up the leg like crew socks. Minimalist hikers and those in the extreme heat of summer might go with 1/4 socks like the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini. These socks work well if you aren’t wearing boots with high ankles and don’t require any protection from scratches.
Essential Benefits of Hiking Socks
List of benefits of hiking socks is given below:
Comfort: Firstly, these socks provide cushioning for your feet. The main purpose of cushioning is that protects from any blisters so that you can have a great hiking experience.
Moisture Wicking: Secondly, the socks wick moisture from your legs. This is vital as wet feet during hiking doesn’t avoid blisters, which might become painful and uncomfortable to you. Good quality hiking socks are built from warm materials. This helps to keep your feet warm in cold months of the year such as winter. While buying socks for winter hiking, you should go with the best thermal socks you can find.
Prevent Friction: One of the other benefits of these socks is it prevents friction. While hiking, your feet makes a lot of movement which forms a lot of friction in the soles of your feet.
Promote Circulation: One amazing benefit of hiking socks is helps in promoting circulation which is essential for all hikers as you need to have good health in order to hike and have a great time. The socks divide pressure properly on all sites to provide great support.
Quality: The most essential thing is that the socks are built from the material which is quick to dry like pure wool. This is essential when you want to hike in cold months. The material used for making socks is of great quality, hence the socks are durable and prevent from friction. You should go with the socks made of wool, as it is the best material.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the main difference between hiking sock and regular sock?
Hiking socks are different as compared to your regular sock in various ways as listed below:
– Selective padding
– Wicking fibers
– Height of boots
– Strengthened weaves
It is absolutely true that all socks are of different height. Also, it is very much essential to match that with your boot and all the sock makers for outdoor gear focus on this thing very much.
Chosen padding and reinforcement are essential for hiking socks than daily socks. Particularly ball of the foot, heel and also calf are padded. Padding in center and top of socks is less to keep socks cooler at the time of wearing it.
Wicking fibers are useful to keep the feet dry and avoid wet feet.
2. Why do hiking socks consist of spandex?
The main purpose of mixing spandex with other materials in the socks is that it provides a good level of a stretch factor which provides foot flexibility while wearing a sock. Another reason is spandex is synthetic hence it helps with wick factor as it will not absorb moisture.
3. I am planning to purchase all wool hiking socks, is that a great idea?
Wool is comfortable as well as durable. Wool has been used for a long time for different wears such as hiking, climbing, and running. Wool works absolutely well when it is mixed with the proper combination of synthetic fibers. Lastly, it depends on the try and test method. Go with different wool socks and see if they fulfill your needs.
4. What are waterproof hiking socks?
These socks are made different combinations of neoprene in order to keep your feet dry. Also while your boots and shoes are soaked, you can continue hiking without any issues.
Waterproof hiking socks got some liking when some ultra-hikers started using them. But, they are not the best option and they’ve fought hard to maintain a good following.
The major cons of these socks is that they are thick, hot, heavy and deteriorate quickly. When the socks wear out because of friction and abrasion, they are no longer waterproof.
Lastly, I wouldn’t recommend these socks to anyone. However, these socks might work well for anyone who has wet, macerated feet for several hikers.
5. I have great hiking socks but with huge odor problems, what should I do?
These socks will result in sweaty feet or wet hiking conditions. To resolve this, you require socks with antibacterial functions. Buy one pair of Darn Tough Mens Hiker socks, this will mostly resolve the things.
6. Are my socks solely the reason for my blisters?
Firstly, ensure that the socks are not pulled up and fallen down into bunches under your feet, this will result in hot spots and blisters. Next, ensure that no lumps or debris stuck in the sock. A small scratch due to tiny pebble, or any other debris might result in a blister. Lastly, check out for a seam in your socks. Seam or woven seams if they aren’t flat, then they will result in blister spots.
7. Is it good to take a backup pair of socks?
This is very much important for long distance hiking. As on this kind of hiking, you can never estimate weather conditions. In case your feet become wet despite protection, then you should change socks to avoid discomfort, likely foot rashes and blistering due to wet socks. Also, hiking socks dry out very quickly, then wet socks once become dry can again be used for hiking.
8. Are thick hiking socks the best at padding my sore feet/ keeping me warm?
Padding has its benefits as well as drawbacks. Too much padding may lead you to some issues.
Purchasing socks which have thick padding all over will result in sweaty hot feet which get gross and soft. This, in turn, results in blisters and likely cold injuries in the winter months, if you’re not careful.
While buying socks, look for socks with thick padding on the balls of the feet and on the calf. While in most of the cases, you will require socks which are probably thin in the rest of the areas. While hiking in cold weather, you might prefer thicker socks. They will keep your feet warm in most of the cases.
Several people make the mistake of choosing highly thick socks for warmth. Here, if your boots are small and sock padding grows big for the footwear, this will result in cold toes.
When socks are compressed by small boots or shoes, foot loses both insulation as well as blood flow. Hence, it is never suggested to buy an overly-thick sock for footwear.
Important Tips for Hiking Socks
1. You should own different socks for different seasons
Based on the weather, which is mostly dependent on the season, you are different hiking socks. At the time of hiking in summer you will require cushioning, however, it’s essential not to wear socks that are too hot.
While in winter, it is vital to wear socks that are thick and made from right material, mostly wool, to keep your feet hot. Also, layering your socks during hiking in winter will help to keep your feet warm.
2. Never buy cotton hiking socks
Cotton socks are very bad for hikers. These socks aren’t able to remove moisture. Also, these socks don’t prevent any blisters or uncomfortable irritations. As these socks retain moisture for a long time, it’s hard to dry them out. Hence, you should never buy cotton hiking socks.
3. Ensure that boots fit well with the socks
When your hiking boots are just somewhat bigger than the correct pair of socks will make them more comfortable and will prevent any irritations that occur from uncomfortable footwear.
While selecting a boot, if your smaller size boot is too small, then go with the boot which fits properly even it possess some room in it. A thick hiking sock will be able to cover the extra space in your boot and make your foot comfortable.
4. Wear two pair of Socks
Various hikers have implemented the system of wearing two socks while hiking. This system is suitable in summer based on the two styles you choose. The inner liner consists of the very thin sock which goes on first.
However, the main sock moves slowly with the boot during walking, the inner liner is kept against your skin which reduces irritation from rubbing. Based on the season, the material and the thickness you opt for the main pair varies. Also, select proper hiking socks as per the weather conditions.
Hiking socks are available in different categories. Select the best hiking socks by considering all the factors listed above. You should check reviews of the socks you want to purchase.
Out of various socks, Darn Tough Full Cushion is an all-rounder for men and Smartwool Hike Medium Cushion is best for women. Apart from this, we highly suggest you to purchase hiking socks according to the weather conditions. Lastly, we suggest you to buy socks which are made by a combination of nylon and polyester or merino wool. Socks made from these materials are usually long-lasting.
We hope that this comprehensive guide is useful to you. By following the instructions given in this guide, you will be able to purchase best hiking socks for men or women in 2019. Lastly, don’t forget to share this guide with your friends and followers.