The best hiking socks protect your feet from blisters and hotspots, allowing you to comfortably enjoy every moment of your outdoor adventure.
As a hiker, your feet do most of the work and take the stress of hiking. While it is normal to experience mild pain and foot aches after hiking all day or walking a long distance, wearing the right hiking socks can help prevent that and be the reason that your feet are comfortable.
What You Should Know Before Buying Hiking Socks
Hiking socks are made from fabrics such as:
Named after a highly prized sheep in harsh mountain environments, merino wool is popular for its moisture-wicking features as well as the comfort it provides. It is also breathable and regulates temperature. Since it takes longer to build up a stink, it allows for long days of wearing on hiking trips.
Ultra-Soft Merino Wool
Socks made from ultra-soft merino wool fabric do not itch. The fabric keeps your feet comfortable and helps you keep warm on your hiking expedition. They also have odor-resistant qualities and most manufacturers give a lifetime guarantee for them because of the quality.
Also known as polyamide, Nylon is the number one synthetic fiber in the world. It is most popular for its strength and durability while being water-resistant and abrasion-proof.
However, the downside to it is that it does not absorb moisture from the skin and it is not breathable. This means that sweat is trapped against the skin and there is no free airflow. Therefore, wearing socks made from nylon for a long period can increase the risk of fungal infection and odor build-up.
Most manufacturers combine nylon fabric with others for elasticity and durability.
Lycra spandex is a popular elastic fiber that has a strong resistance to stretching. It is usually mixed with other fabrics at a 3%-10% ratio for flexibility and elasticity. Socks with lycra spandex fibers fit snugly and can maintain their shape over a long period.
Alpaca wool fabric is softer and more comfortable than ordinary wool because each fiber length is shorter. It is naturally hypoallergenic, making it perfect for sensitive skin. It has both moisture-wicking properties and an insulator for temperature regulation.
Virgin wool fiber is the product of a lamb’s first shearing. It is the finest and softest wool produced. The term is also used for wool gotten from an adult sheep that has not been processed, dyed, woven, or used in any manner.
Like all wool, socks made from the virgin wool fiber are soft, odor-resistant, and have moisture-wicking properties that help to keep your feet dry and fresh outdoors.
Another fabric for making hiking socks is Acrylic. It costs less than natural fibers as it is synthetic. It is popular for being soft and lightweight while providing some warmth. It also has moisture-wicking properties.
While the acrylic material is wrinkle-resistant and does not fade, it is not as durable as other fabrics and it can cause itching. This is why most manufacturers blend it with other materials, especially natural fibers.
Many hiking socks have a small percentage of the spandex fabric added to them. This is because it is elastic and helps the socks to retain their shape by keeping the rate of wrinkling or bunching to the barest minimum.
Cotton is popular around the world as the softest and most comfortable all-natural fabric. However, on its own, it is not an ideal fabric for outdoor adventures because it dries slowly, absorbs moisture, and has no insulation.
Many socks manufacturers blend it with other fabrics because it is comfortable.
Combed cotton fabric is a variant of regular cotton that is combed. After combing, the fibers are left long and straight without impurities, making the fabric softer and stronger than regular cotton. This also makes it ideal for sensitive skin.
The fabric is also more durable and has both quick-drying and odor-resistant properties. Because it is more expensive than conventional cotton, combed cotton is used for premium fabrics and socks.
Polyester is a durable synthetic fabric that wicks moisture and is resilient for withstanding the wear and tear of the outdoors. It dries quickly and insulates. Alongside being wrinkle-resistant, the fabric is long-lasting and it fades slower than the cotton fabric.
The downside to the polyester fabric is that it is not breathable, so sweat cannot evaporate from the feet. It is also not the best option for sock fabric if you have sweaty feet. So, most manufacturers blend it with other fabrics for the durability it offers.
Also known as Olefin, Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber that is known for its durability. It is lightweight, wicks moisture, and is stain-resistant. It also has a better thermal insulating power than other synthetic fibers.
It is mostly used for sports socks because it wicks sweat from the feet and is quick-drying, leaving your feet warm and dry.
Like polyester, polyamide is a synthetic fiber that is abrasion-resistant, durable, and is designed to absorb and wick moisture. It is also stretchy and wrinkle-resistant.
The polyamide material is soft to the touch and comfortable. Compared to other raw materials for creating textiles, it has the highest abrasion-resistance. It is mostly used for socks because it does not pile and can stay snug on the feet.
In making the best hiking socks, manufacturers use a combination of these materials because each material has its properties, and combining them improves the functionality and quality of the socks produced.
Hiking socks come with padding on the heel and ball of the feet. This is to provide protection and cushioning when you are on a trail.
To create padding, manufacturers weave materials like acrylic that are suitable for long-wearing into these areas or increase the density of the weave. However, be sure that the amount of padding in your selected socks does not make your shoe too tight.
Choosing the right height for your socks is usually a matter of personal preference or style. Hiking socks come in various heights ranging from short, where it does not show above your shoes, to high, where it is tall enough to reach your knees.
However, I recommend socks that are at least mid-length or taller than the cuff of your hiking boots. This is because taller socks will protect your skin from directly rubbing against your shoe cuff.
Getting the right sock fit will make your hiking even more enjoyable. If your socks are too small, they can cause sock spillage or create pressure points. If they are too big, they will have wrinkles that rub and cause blisters on your feet.
To get the perfect hiking socks to prevent blisters, you need to know the size of your foot, not your shoe. This is because sometimes, your shoe size may be one size up, leading you to buy large socks.
If you do not know your foot size, measure your foot and see a sizing chart or check using an online sock size converter. If your foot is between sizes, order a size down to avoid having excess sock material.
The perfect socks should feel snug against your feet, not overly tight. If the heel cup is perfectly lined with your heel, it fits properly.
What are the Best Hiking Socks?
Here are the best hiking socks available today. To arrive at this list, I have painstakingly gone through available hiking socks, making sure to pay attention to their features and reviews by real users.
You will also find a FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the recurring questions about hiking socks.
Quantity: 1 pair
Fabric: 61% Merino Wool, 36% Nylon, 3% Lycra Spandex
The Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock is made from a combination of fabrics that are designed to keep your feet comfortable and warm.
It is made from 61% Merino wool that protects your feet in any weather. It is naturally antimicrobial, meaning that it repels bacteria and odor. It provides extra comfort by wicking moisture, helping you stay dry outdoors.
The sock has ribbed support that prevents it from slipping and bunching. It is perfect for rugged conditions as it is designed for the toughest trail. Its high-density knitting process makes it comfortable and durable without bulking.
- Made from quality Merino fabric,
- Antimicrobial and repels odor and bacterial,
- Moisture-wicking and quick-drying,
- Fully padded to create a soft landing while keeping your feet warm,
- The snug fit keeps it on your leg,
- Lifetime guarantee
- Might shrink after washing,
- If you have big feet, the snug fit might be a bit tight
Quantity: 1 pair
Fabric: 50% Alpaca, 35% Acrylic, 8% Spandex, 7% Nylon
The Peruvian Link Alpaca Socks is made from a combination of materials, mostly Alpaca wool that is warm, soft, and comfortable. It also uses spandex and nylon fibers for a stretchy and snug fit.
It uses aloe-infused alpaca wool that keeps your feet soft and prevents athlete’s foot. Its moisture-wicking and quick air drying properties make it ideal for quick use. They are designed to keep your feet protected in any weather condition and it is durable and does not fray unless washed in hot water.
In this review, the Peruvian Link Alpaca Socks has been selected as the best premium buy. However, while it costs a lot, the performance makes it worth every dollar spent.
- Made from soft fibers for a comfortable experience,
- Uses aloe-infused alpaca wool to keep your feet soft and prevent blisters,
- Breathable and perfect for any weather condition,
- The quick air-drying process makes it ideal for use,
- Made thick to provide extra cushion
- The extra elastic may make them stretch a little more than expected,
- It is a bit pricey
Quantity: 3 pairs
Fabric: 54% Polyester, 45% Cotton, 1% Spandex
The Dickies Dri-Tech Men’s Socks are made from soft breathable fibers that control moisture and keep your leg comfortable all day long. It comes with ventilation channels that are well-positioned for increased airflow and moisture control.
It has a reciprocated heel and toe feature that keeps it snug and fit on your leg while providing full cushion support for your feet. While it is tall enough to cover your ankle bone, it is not scratchy on calves.
For this review, I have chosen the Dickies Dri-Tech Men’s Socks as the best budget buy because it offers outstanding features for a less pricey product.
- Has ventilation channels for increased air circulation,
- Its arch-compression keeps the sock in place,
- It provides full-cushion comfort for the feet and in-step support,
- Fast dry technology,
- Best budget buy
- Wear and tear from frequent use is quick,
- Comes with a lot of lint that takes a while to remove
Quantity: 3 pairs
Fabric: 75% Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 10% Stretchable Elastic
The Meriwool Merino Wool Socks is lightweight and breathable. It offers support for your feet in any weather and is thermally insulated to keep your feet warm in wet and cold environments.
Made from 75% Merino wool, it has 10% stretchable elastic that keeps it snug on your feet, preventing slipping and bunching. It has moisture-wicking and odor-resistant properties that keep your feet refreshed all day long while preventing blisters.
It is soft, lightweight, and does not irritate. The material regulates your body temperature so that you are never too cold or hot.
- A ribbed knit design for elasticity,
- Insulated for maximum protection in a cold environment,
- The odor-resistant property keeps you comfortable in active use,
- Water-resistant so it keeps your feet dry and prevents blisters,
- Arch-compression keeps your feet comfortable for long use,
- They are thick and large so they take up space when packed
Quantity: 5 pairs
Fabric: 75% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 3% Spandex
Made from 75% cotton material, the Feideer Wicking Socks are notable for their ventilation and moisture-wicking properties. It is fully cushioned to provide comfort and prevent blistering while reducing friction and absorbing shock.
It has excellent elastic features that provide flexibility; including an elastic arc brace for movement range. The elastic ribbed cuffs keep it snug and prevent bunching without causing friction.
The socks are breathable and have a mesh ventilation feature that wicks moisture and keeps your feet dry to enjoy a comfortable day outdoors.
- Mesh ventilation with precision knit for comfort,
- Fully cushioned to absorb shock and reduce friction,
- Elastic arc brace for flexibility,
- Durable and wear-resistant,
- Colors do not bleed during wash
- Might not fit if you have wide feet
Quantity: 3 pairs
Fabric: 80% cotton, 20% polyester
The Time May Tell Men’s Hiking Socks is designed for comfort, flexibility, and warmth. Made from 80% cotton and 20% polyester, it wicks moisture and keeps your feet dry and cool all day.
It features a terry design at the bottom that serves as a cushion while the soft treatment prevents blisters and reduces friction. It has arch support on the instep that prevents displacement and a reinforced toe that keeps it comfortable while you are outdoor.
Not spending time outdoors? The Time May Tell Men’s Hiking socks is also versatile as it can be worn with casual shoes for partying or daily living.
- Soft treatment of socks reduces friction,
- Terry design on sock bottom provides cushion,
- Elastic compression supports the shin,
- Lengthened welt reduces slipping or bunching,
- It can be matched with sporty or casual shoes for any occasion
- It only has two available sizes
Quantity: 1 pair
Fabric: 40% Polypropylene, 35% Virgin Wool, 25% Polyamide
Made from a blend of fabrics, including merino wool, the Falke Merino Wool Men’s Socks offers comfort and style for easy hiking and daily activities.
It is ultralight with light cushioning that makes contact with shoes frictionless. It also has superior thermal insulation, performs rapid moisture-wicking, and regulates the temperature of your feet.
With its triple-layered structure, the Falke Merino Wool Men’s Socks prevents blisters by quickly moving moisture from your feet and allow the circulation of cool air.
- Triple-layered for moisture wicking,
- Light cushioning for comfort and adjusted protection,
- Thin padding on the heel to avoid slippage,
- Toe box and cushioning for a snug fit,
- Only suitable for easy hiking trips,
- It may lose elasticity after several washes
Quantity: 1 pair
Fabric: 63% Ultra soft merino wool, 30% Nylon, 7% Spandex
The CloudLine Merino Wool Hiking Socks is made from lightweight merino wool and is designed for long hikes and long-lasting comfort. It has reinforced cushion zones that make it durable and provide the softness your feet need outdoors.
It is both stylish and functional as the vibrant colors make you look good while its antimicrobial properties keep your feet fresh and ward off smell.
It also has quick moisture-wicking properties that keep your feet dry all day long. If you ever need to wash it while on a trail, the quick-drying feature ensures that you are not delayed. The sock features arc support to reduce blisters and soreness.
- Antimicrobial properties keep your feet fresh,
- Lifetime guarantee from manufacturers,
- Can be worn for multiple days outdoors,
- Wider toe area for extra room in hiking boots,
- Quick-drying and odor-resistant
- It May be a little tight around the calf
Quantity: 5 pairs
Fabric: 55% Combed Cotton, 40% Polyester, 2% Spandex
The Mirmaru Trekking Socks is one of the best hiking socks to prevent blisters and it is perfect for hiking, trekking, and a range of outdoor activities.
It is made from a combination of fabrics that are blended for durability and strength while keeping your feet warm and dry. The socks feature high-density fibers and cushioning in the underfoot area that provides comfort and protects against blisters caused by friction.
It has med-compression and elastic features that protect and support pressure points while the compressed top holds the sock snugly on the calf.
- Reinforced underfoot for added comfort,
- Med-compression to protect pressure points,
- Extra cushion finish provides extra comfort for feet,
- Breathable fibrous materials for improved airflow,
- Elastic arc for support, stability, and flexibility
- Actual size may differ from displayed size
Made from high-quality merino fabric, my top pick for this roundup is the Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock. I chose this product because of its antimicrobial property that repels odor and bacteria, leaving your feet fresh for long. I also like that it is fully padded to keep your feet warm and provide a soft landing on your hiking expenditure.
However, be sure to check out other products to see which one fits your need as all the hiking socks mentioned in this review are ideal for an enjoyable day outdoors.
Questions and Answers About Hiking Socks
Do I need sock liners for hiking?
Choosing to get sock liners depends on your need. While sock liners reduce friction and wick excess moisture, you may not need to get them if you have quality hiking socks. However, getting them for added protection is a good idea.
Does wearing 2 socks help prevent blisters when hiking?
Wearing 2 socks helps to prevent blisters by reducing friction with your foot. When you wear 2 pairs of socks, the friction occurs between the socks and not between your skin and socks.
Wearing an inner sock has the added benefit of wicking moisture from your foot, making your skin less prone to damage, while the outer layer absorbs moisture and provides cushioning.
How Thick Should My Socks Be?
The thickness of your socks depends on the fit of your chosen hiking boots. If you have low-volume feet, you should get thicker socks, while thinner socks are perfect for a high volume foot.