Hiking is an activity many people around the world engage in because it gives people a chance to connect with nature and spend time with loved ones without any disturbance. And hiking is all fun and games until a person starts to feel uncomfortable because they picked the wrong socks for the activity.
The best hiking socks depend on many factors, including a person’s preference for fabric type and other factors like the weather. That’s right. Weather conditions have a huge impact on the kind of socks a person should pick—thin socks for rainy days and thicker ones for snowy days.
Another factor is the type of shoes a person is wearing. There are different types of socks for hiking boots and formal shoes. The best socks for formal events might not be the best socks for hiking and other similar activities.
But before getting into the top products, it might be helpful to know what qualities a hiker will need in their socks depending on the different types of weather.
Best Socks By Weather
Socks for Cold Weather
Hiking in the snow-clad mountains offers hikers mesmerizing views and breathtaking sceneries. But one thing that can dampen the mood is cold feet. Nobody likes to have cold feet while engaging in an outdoor activity or any activity for that matter.
If the weather outside is cold or snowy, the best hiking socks would be those which are thick and warm. This way, a person’s feet will remain snug and comfortable regardless of the biting cold weather conditions.
Socks made of wool are the best socks for hiking during the winter or when there is a chill in the air. It is preferable to get crew socks that can cover one’s feet up to the lower part of their calves. Woolen socks also have better cushioning.
The thing about wool is that it dries pretty quickly too. Thus, even if a little bit of snow enters the shoe by mistake, the material is such that it will dry up quicker than cotton socks.
Socks for Rainy Weather
Many hikers do not allow rainy weather to rain on their parade. However, the rain may seep into their shoes and create a very undesirable feeling. During wet weather conditions, picking some light and thin fabric socks might be the best choice.
The best hiking socks for rainy weather would be nylon socks. This suggestion is because the material dries pretty quickly, even if it gets wet. On the other hand, materials like cotton will be dreadful because they soak up moisture quickly.
There are a few waterproof socks available in the market that will help in keeping a hiker’s feet warm and dry even on the rainiest days.
Socks for Warm Weather
Warm weather is the ideal condition for a hike. To let everything go as smoothly as possible, hikers would want to keep their feet happy too. Looking for good ventilating capacity and thin fabrics will have to be the number one priority. In warmer conditions, the best hiking socks would be lightweight wool or other synthetic materials.
There may be some confusion regarding why this article is suggesting wool for summer and hot weather. Well, the truth is, wool can regulate temperature. This way, a person’s feet will not feel too hot or too cold. Wool also has antimicrobial properties, which will help in reducing bacteria growth that causes bad smells.
On the other hand, synthetic material socks like nylon, polyester, and spandex can dry reasonably quickly. Although cotton socks are more affordable, it is always best to go for wool or synthetic fiber variants for hot days.
Socks for Boots
For boots, the best hiking socks are crew socks or short crew socks. These two types cover a person’s ankles and reach the lower part of the calves. The reason why crew socks are the best socks for hiking is that they protect the hiker’s ankles from chaffing. They can also prevent scratches and insect bites.
If the socks are shorter than the height of the boot, constant contact of the skin with the boot’s interiors will lead to the formation of some nasty blisters.
For hiking boots, a person might need a little bit of cushioning to keep the feet comfortable even after long walks. However, the more cushioning a pair of socks has, the thicker. And when the socks are thick, it might not be the best choice for scorching days. In such cases, the decision to wear cushioned socks or socks without cushioning would need to be a judgment call.
The Best Socks For Hiking
Here are some excellent choices of hiking socks for different conditions that can help readers get an idea about what to buy:
Since there are different weather conditions and a person’s socks needs may change according to them, this article will discuss the two best options for each condition. With this product list, anyone can get the best hiking socks for themselves and their adventures:
The Best Warm Weather Socks
1. Swiftwick Pursuit Hike
What a hiker needs on warm days are something light and dry. With the Swiftwick Pursuit Hike, anyone can get both of these at a very affordable price. This product can deliver the comfort that a person will need while going on a hiking trip or running session.
One distinctive feature about Swiftwick is that it includes Olefin fiber, which can effectively wick moisture to a significant extent and also dry up very quickly. At the same time, these socks also infuse Merino wool into its material. Everyone knows how Merino wool can absorb moisture and still help in regulating heat. When it comes to drying capacity, the Swiftwick Pursuit Hike might just be the best hiking socks in the market.
Cushioning is necessary when it comes to hiking, even if a person wants to wear thin and light socks. With the Swiftwick, one can cut that off the list of their problems thanks to its Ultra Light Cushion feature. Because of this cushioning, there is no extra weight while wearing ultralight hiking boots or running shoes. Comfort and lightweight come in one package with this product.
Remember that feeling of the toe seam pressing against the toes and causing blisters? Well, a person will not have to with the Swiftwick since it has a seamless toe stitch. Friction caused by shoes and socks will be a thing of the past.
Putting comfort as the most crucial aspect of a pair of socks, Swiftwick has come up with a Y-heel contour design. The design consists of y-shaped stitching at the heels to offer comfort and stability. It advances with the contours of the feet for better fitting.
The length of this pair of socks is ideal because the crew height allows for protection from bites, scratches, and debris.
Sustainability, comfort, and the needs of the customers are the number one priorities of this excellent brand. With this product, they have nailed the warm weather challenge with flying colors.
2. Darn Tough Hiker Crew Socks
As usual, when it comes to socks, the most critical aspect of it is the material, next to the fit. So, what fabric type does the Darn Tough Hiker Crew Socks use? Merino wool makes up 61% of it with 36% nylon and 3% lycra spandex. With this combination, it is difficult for the product to go wrong.
Working alongside thru-hikers, Darn Tough Vermont has been able to excel in the durability and comfort areas. If anyone is looking for a pair of hiking socks to deliver what it claims, this is the way to go. Darn Tough is known for its superior quality, as well as their lifetime guarantee. That’s right. Darn Tough guarantees all of their products for the wearer’s entire life, without any conditions.
To make sure that the usual wear zones on the socks do not fray too quickly, the brand has allowed for high density knit. This feature increases the socks’ durability and fit. And with more stitches in a single inch, the comfort increases. At the same time, it reduces added bulk on the surface.
As for the cushioning, it is of mid-level density. Cushioning will help a person’s feet to stay comfortable even after hours of hiking. It also adds extra warmth when needed and also allows for more hiking hours since the user will not feel uncomfortable.
One reason why hikers feel uncomfortable while going out is because of the thick seams on the tips of their socks. This reason is why at Darn Tough, they have strived towards stitching the seams as thin yet durable as possible. Users will not feel anything on the toes while wearing these socks.
The ribbed support on these socks makes sure that the user does not slip or bunch. It also adds to a better fitting ability. While some socks might start to get increasingly loose after each wear and end up slipping and bunching at the toes or heels, the Darn Tough Hiker Crew Socks will always fit perfectly.
The Best socks for Cold Weather
1. Icebreaker Merino Hike crew socks
Icebreaker takes its concern for the environment further with their Merino Hike crew socks. The merino wool construction weighs very little and is exceptionally soft to the touch. It does not cause any itching and feels quite natural compared to those materials made in laboratories that use petrochemicals.
The nature of Merino is such that it is natural, renewable, and also recyclable. In fact, it is correct to believe that the material is biodegradable too. Hence, these features make it environmentally friendly, ethical, and sustainable all at the same time.
Another benefit that Merino provides is that it has the ability to regulate temperature. This means that a person’s feet will remain cool on hot days and stay warm and snug on cold days. Regardless of the weather conditions outside, this material will stay dry and fresh. It is a naturally odor-resistant fiber.
The Merino Hike crew socks have an anatomical toe box so that the feet can fit in better. Everyone knows that the left and right foot are different from each other. The big toes stand against each other while the little toes are furthest away from each other. Keeping this fact in mind, it is logical to think that differently shaped socks are necessary, as is the case with shoes.
Some other distinctive features about this pair of socks are that it has Achilles support to avoid slipping off of the socks and ankle and instep support as well. Seamless toe stitches and improved ventilation are the two other features worth mentioning.
2. Falke TK2 Trekking Socks
Sometimes, the weather may be so cold that hikers become weary of frostbites on their toes. This event may cause plan cancellations, but with the Falke TK2 hiking socks, brave any weather with comfort and ease.
These socks have all synthetic material consisting of the following:
9% of polyamide
1% of elastane.
These thin yet warm socks will keep a hiker’s feet warm when combined with the right type of shoes.
The materials in these socks’ fabric allow for super easy and quick drying. It does not absorb much moisture, unlike the cotton variants. The socks have cushioned toes and footbeds to make sure that there is maximum comfort throughout the whole hiking session.
These socks are affordable and do an excellent job of keeping a person’s feet comfortable, well fitted, and dry. The cushioning makes sure that there is no direct contact between the feet and the shoes. This feature helps in avoiding blisters and chaffing.
The Best Socks for Wet Weather
1. SEALSKINZ waterproof trekking socks
Hiking does not mean it is always sunny, and the weather is always dry. There are times when it may start to rain or drizzle. Wet weather conditions cannot keep a person from hiking, but the thought of wet and damp feet might.
In such cases, hikers can always get their hands on some waterproof socks like the SEALSKINZ Waterproof Trekking Socks. Adding to their waterproof feature is the fact that they are windproof and very breathable. These socks are thick and will provide the warmth that a hiker needs on cold and wet days.
The elastic ankle part makes sure that the socks fit into the contours of a person’s feet. This way, one can stop worrying about it slipping and jamming everything near the toes. For added comfort, these socks come with a padded heel, footbed, and toes. This feature also absorbs shock. The merino wool material makes sure that everything inside the shoe is dry and breathable.
2. Dexshell Hytherm Pro socks
The Dexshell Hytherm Pro socks are some of the best hiking socks for rainy days. The Porelle membrane of the socks makes sure that water does not pass through the material and make contact with the skin of a hiker’s feet.
The merino wool material regulates the temperature inside the shoes so that even in cold weather, the feet will stay warm and dry. This pair of socks is very durable and does not cause any abrasions, thanks to the nylon exterior.
When it comes to cleaning the product, hand wash it, or machine wash it. Either way is acceptable as long as the temperature of the water does not cross 40-degrees Celsius. The best parts of these socks are that they are comfortable, ideal for rainy days, and are also environmentally friendly.
The Dexshell Hytherm Pro socks are also windproof.
The Best Socks for Boots
Boots can require thicker and taller socks in order to avoid discomfort and chafing. Of course, socks can’t save you if your boots suck. If you need a new pair, feel free to check out our Hiking Boot Buying Guide.
1. SmartWool PhD Hiking Crew Socks
Wearing boots is common, and maybe even required during winter. Sometimes, buying warm boots is not enough to keep one’s feet warm. To make sure that the toes do not give in to frostbite, get a pair of Smartwool Hiking crew socks. Built with the sole purpose of performance in mind, this pair of socks can tend to any person’s adventure needs.
A person’s performance enhances when they feel comfortable in their shoes. Thus, the Smartwool socks have warm insulation that allows for snug toes and feet even on cold days. It comes with a fitting system called the 4 Degree Elite system. This feature makes sure that nothing gets into the way of one’s performance while engaging in an outdoor activity.
For better breathability and comfort, the Smartwool PhD Hiking crew socks have Indestructawool technology with mesh material in some parts. The Indestructawool technology increases the durability of the socks to a great extent. The users of these socks will face no problem with moist and damp feet even if they use it the whole day.
While going on hikes and walks, it might take a long time to cover the required distance. In such cases, the hiker may get tired, and the wrong socks will add discomfort to the feet. Smartwool PhD Hiking crew socks have light cushioning that can serve as a padding for the feet. This way, the feet will not feel sore and tired.
Taking comfort to the next level is the virtually seamless toe stitchings. A person will not feel anything around the tips of the toes. This fact is because the sewing of the seams is very light and thin.
2. Fruit of the Loom Heavy Duty Socks
Wearing sturdy boots usually means a person is getting ready for some heavy-duty action. For such situations, they will need an equally tough pair of socks that can last through the heavy work. And for this reason, Fruit of the Loom Heavy Duty Socks are a great choice.
Durability comes first if the plan is to work in them for most days. The primary material of these socks is high-quality, extra-thick cotton. Hence easy wear and tear are not problems that will remain in the minds of the user. The socks also consist of 22% polyester and 1% each of lycra and other fibers.
They are 14 inches wide so that the feet will not feel constricted. The cushioned and reinforced sole also does an excellent job of making the feet feel free and comfortable throughout the whole day. They keep foot fatigue at the lowest possible level. They helps the user stay on their feet for a more extended period.
Another quality that makes up the best socks for hiking is the ability to stay dry and fresh. These socks are very breathable and do not cause the feet to sweat excessively. While some cotton socks can be very absorbent and difficult to dry up, the Fruit of the Loom Heavy Duty Socks have well ventilated, moisture-wicking material.
Making sure that everyone can afford this excellent product regardless of what they do for a living and where they work, the brand has kept the price as low as possible. What a person gets with this product is a mix of performance, durability, and comfort.
Socks are a significant part of a hiker’s attire. Without the best hiking socks, one would feel uncomfortable throughout the whole hike and spoil some memorable moments. There are many types of socks available in the market, and each of them is ideal for different reasons and conditions.
Cotton socks are light and cool but can absorb a lot of moisture, which is undesirable when it comes to hiking. The best socks for hiking are made of synthetic material or wool. These have temperature regulating and quick-drying abilities, making them the ideal choice for hikers.
Always go for short crew or crew socks when it comes to hiking, as these give extra protection from ankle chaffing and insect bites. These styles will also prevent scratches from rubbing against twigs and shrubs. With the list of products provided above, anyone can get the best hiking socks for themselves and their adventures.