Best Camping/Hiking Socks – Reviews and Guide 2020

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Last Update: 15.Mar.2020

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Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks - Men's

This Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew is our Top Pick as a lightweight cushioned hiking sock. Built with ample compression paneling and a 60% merino wool blend, it has one of the best fits tested. The merino wool feels soft against the skin while providing insulation when wet. It also breathes very well making it a great option for running or hiking in warm weather.
Best Choice Go to Amazon Shop

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock

Whether you make long treks with a backpack or log shorter hikes more frequently, the unique blend of wool, nylon, and elastane in the lightweight SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock helps the sock dry quickly, breathe sufficiently, and stay in place, regardless of the hike you're on.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 15.Mar.2020

Hiking is all about walking long on hilly or mountainous paths, breathing clean and fresh air, observing nature (not just looking at it), and living every moment. It is not only a great travel experience but it offers many benefits to your mind and body too. Before you go hiking, you need to consider a lot of things. Keep in mind that the path can be long, rocky, or even dangerous in some cases. Your feet carry your body all the way to hiking track, and so you have to make sure that your feet stay comfortable. The best way to ensure that is to get the right hiking shoes and socks.

While everyone has good hiking shoes getting good hiking socks is equally important as well. Here is a buying guide for the best ones.

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks - Men's

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking socks provide miles of comfort and durability—trail-tested on the Vermont Long Trail, these socks provide a high level of cushioned performance.
This Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew is our Top Pick as a lightweight cushioned hiking sock. Built with ample compression paneling and a 60% merino wool blend, it has one of the best fits tested. The merino wool feels soft against the skin while providing insulation when wet. It also breathes very well making it a great option for running or hiking in warm weather.
Go to Amazon Shop
Pros

Merino wool wicks away moisture and breathes

Comfortable

Thin material

Breathable

Cons

Not recommended for use at low temperatures.

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock

Patent-pending Indestructawool technology lets you experience durability at its peak with the comfortable Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks. They're ready for any trail adventure on your list.
Whether you make long treks with a backpack or log shorter hikes more frequently, the unique blend of wool, nylon, and elastane in the lightweight SmartWool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock helps the sock dry quickly, breathe sufficiently, and stay in place, regardless of the hike you're on.
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Pros

Incredibly comfortable

Durability

Virtually seamless toes offer extraordinary comfort

Cons

Slow to dry

Expensive

Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight Technical Hiking Crew Socks - Men's

Damascus, Virginia, is a veritable hiker's paradise situated mere steps from the Appalachian Trail. Namesake Farm to Feet Damascus lightweight hiking socks are ideal for cool climates or stiff boots.
Named for one of the most hiker-friendly towns anywhere along the Appalachian Trail, the Damascus is the go-to sock for serious section- and through-hikers. With our most advanced features and a fine-tuned blend of cushioning and ventilation, this lightweight crew offers superior comfort and moisture management thanks to super-fine 19.5-micron merino wool that naturally resists odor-causing bacterial buildup.
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Pros

Comfortable

Compatible with hiking

Breathable

Merino wool delivers incredible moisture management and next-to-skin comfort

Cons

Expensive

Benefits of Using Hiking Socks

Hiking socks may not be the number one priority for hiking, but they can help prevent blisters and provide a pain-free hiking experience. Having a pair of good socks for hiking ensures that your feet are cushioned enough for walking on long and rocky paths. With best socks for hiking, your feet remain dry yet warm during hiking. Here are the main benefits of getting the best socks for hiking.

Cushioning the foot

Hiking socks provide more cushioning to your feet than the ordinary ones do. They are specially designed to cover and cushion the front and heel of the foot. They are more durable, sturdy, and warm to use. Now, you may be thinking that you don’t need extra cushioning on your feet, but think again. Try a ten-mile hike over a rocky hill or terrain. You will see how every bit of cushion to your feet helps to prevent throbbing at the end of a long hike.

Keep the feet dry

When hiking on long tracks, you never want your feet to become wet. Wet feet not only make your shoes wet but can be painful and stinky too. Wet feet are more susceptible to infections as well as blisters. Hiking socks take away the perspiration from your feet and retain it in the fabric, keeping your feet dry and safe from blistering.

Keep the feet warm

 While it is necessary to keep your feet dry, they should not turn too dry and cold as well. When your feet become very dry, excessive dead skin on and in between your toes can cause a build-up of infectious bacteria and fungi. Your heels will be all cracked up with very dry feet.

To prevent feet from becoming too dry, it is important for them to stay warm. Warm feet prevent infections and other foot diseases. Warm feet remain soft. Warm socks remove the heat and perspiration away from the feet. This is why you should wear warm socks in not only colder areas, but hotter regions as well.

Prevent Blisters

 Wet foot strain on the foot, long walking time, allergies, and production of excessive oil in the skin – these are all the causes of blisters. Any of these can cause blisters while hiking. You do not want to get blisters on your feet that spoil your trip. Make sure your feet are well protected from any chances of getting blisters by wearing good quality and comfortable hiking socks.

Your feet remain comfortable and cozy

 Good quality hiking socks keep your feet well-cushioned and at the right temperature. They are soft and have a nice feel against your feet. Walking on long trails can be exhausting, especially when you have rocky and rough paths to walk through. To make sure that your feet do not get tired soon, you have to pick a comfortable pair of socks.

Common Hiking Sock Materials

Polyester. Polyester is the cheapest material for hiking socks. If you do not have to hike on hilly or rocky areas and to look for a short and smooth hike, polyester may be good for you.  Polyester give longer life than cotton and wool. However, it is not the first choice of material for the best hiking socks. Look at the pros and cons of polyester socks to see if they can fit your requirements or not.

Pros

  • They last long
  • Fades less than other fabric
  • Dries quickly

Cons

  • Not absorbent
  • Not environment-friendly 

Cotton. Many people consider cotton socks the best for city walking and short hikes. Cotton remains one of the most commonly used materials.

Pros

  • Cheaper than most materials
  • Best for backpacking or compact packing
  • Absorbs the moisture from feet

Cons

  • Tends to retain moisture that can lead to blisters
  • Less smooth and comfortable than wool

Silk. Not many people prefer silk fabric for hiking as they are not very durable and may give a slippery feel to the feet. However, silk makes good lining socks and it is always used in combination with a mix of materials. Silk is also a natural heat insulator, which is good for keeping feet warm in the hot climate without feeling too hot.

Pros

  • Keeps feet warm yet not too much hot
  • Compact for backpacking
  • High wicking

Cons

  • Not very durable
  • Can feel slippery on the feet

Wool. Wool is usually considered as the best material for hiking. Wool socks are ideal for all types of walking. They are fit for strenuous hiking and walking in colder regions.

Pros

  • Antibacterial
  • Padded for comfort
  • Long-lasting
  • Removes moisture
  • Thick and provide warmth

Cons

  • Can be too warm and make the feet hotter
  • Can be too thick and sometimes may not fit for boots

Merino Wool. Merino wool socks are an upgrade to regular wool socks to give better durability, moisture-free, stink prevention, and comfort. Best selling and premium quality footwear is usually made of merino wool. Merino wool is a preferred material for its good moisture managing properties.

Pros

  • Very warm and comfy than other materials
  • More breathable than wool
  • Antibacterial
  • Very good moisture removing properties
  • Keeps feet dry

Cons

  • Expensive
  • There can be holes in it because of woolen material

What to look for when buying the best hiking socks

Hiking socks are not the most technical product you need to buy for your hiking or camping trip. So, there are not many things to consider when buying. However, here is a list of a few things that do matter.

 

Preferred Thickness and Insulation

 

Hiking socks are normally available in three different varieties for thickness, lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight. Some manufacturers have upgraded the latter and introduced a new type called the ‘trekking style,’ which is extra thick. Here are some tips for choosing the thickness of the socks on the basis of weather and insulation.

  • For summers and hot reigons, lightweight to medium weight pair is preferable.
  • For cold, whether you should not get anything less than medium weight and heavyweight.
  • If you have to hike in extreme weather, trekking style options are the best option.
  • Having socks of the right thickness is also important to ensure that they fit well into your  shoes or boots.
  • Lightweight and medium weight socks can fit into all types of shoes and boots. However, the heavy ones can be a bit tight when worn inside athletic shoes.
  • Heavy-weight socks are a good option when you have hiking boots. But if you are looking for something to wear with sneakers or tight-fitting hiking boots, go for lighter ones.
  • Trekking socks will fill any shoes that have plenty of room for the feet to relax. Otherwise, they cannot fit your hiking boots.

Comfort

Socks made from merino wool are the most comfortable. They provide the right cushioning to your entire foot. However, if a woolen and thick pair makes your feet hotter, you should consider other materials, such as cotton or polyester.

You can also get woolen socks with cooling technology that allow air to circulate and keep your feet cool and dry.

Durability

Hiking socks are generally thicker, sturdier, and more durable than regular socks. Socks that are not too durable can tear during your trip, which is not only uncomfortable but can even cause injury or blisters.

Drying Speed or Wicking

Wicking capability allows for your feet to remain dry even after long hours of walking. Therefore, you should consider options with wicking qualities. This means that they have a good drying speed and are quick enough to remove moisture from your feet. This helps prevent the chances of your feet developing blisters in the foot.

If you naturally sweat a lot or you are going in a warmer area, then socks with better wicking capability should be your number one choice.

Women’s-Specific Socks

 For women, the criteria for selecting hiking socks are not that different. The socks should be above the ankle length to prevent blisters. It is better not to get cotton socks as they do not absorb moisture very well. 

Our recommendation

Now that we have told you why you need hiking socks and how to look for the best ones, we feel compelled to suggest some of the best hiking socks. Here are six best hiking socks for different hiking needs. We hope to help you choose the right ones for your upcoming adventure.

Best Lightweight Hiking Socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light. Darn Tough is one of the top hiking socks manufacturers. When you compare the durability and cushioning of these socks with other heavy and thick ones from the same manufacturer, you will obviously notice the difference because of the lightweight. These ultra-lightweight socks have better durability and comfort than other lightweight socks. The moisture-managing is great and does not get smelly at all.

Best Cold Weather Socks

1000 Mile Heat Walk Sock. Where Darn Tough is one of the best manufacturers of woolen socks, we decided to check out other hiking socks for cold weather that have more or less the same quality but lesser price.

As the name suggests, these socks are perfect for keeping your feet warm when hiking in cold areas.

1000 Mile Heat Walker keep your feet warmer more than all the others in this list. You do not have to worry about sweating as the socks are very breathable and do not let your feet stay sweaty and stinky. If you are buying these, make sure you use, keep them only for hiking in colder areas. They are too hot to use in the summer or spring season.

Best Summer Hiking Socks

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Mini. For warm weather, we picked the PhD Outdoor Ultra Light Socks by Smartwool. They come at a great price, which is only $17. The socks have a good fit, superb breathability, and are very comfortable. They do not have the best durability in the list but are a very good option for lightweight summer socks when you do not need enough cushioning.

These socks are lightweight and great for backpacking, but the material is thinner in critical areas like heel, where you may need more cushioning. If your hiking trip lasts longer than usual, this pair of socks is not suitable for you.

Best Wool Hiking Socks

DG Hill Thermal 80% Merino Wool. If you are looking for the best woolen hiking socks, check out DG Hill Thermal Socks. Unlike most woolen socks, these are made up of 80% merino wool rather than 50-60% wool. Whether you are heading to a cold region for hiking or just want to give your feet woolen comfort, DG Hill Thermal Socks can be your pick.

The weaving is tight, making it very durable. There is also extra material in the toe and underfoot, providing proper cushioning.

However, as with all woolen socks, you can only wear them in the winter season and so are not fit for other seasons, as it will cause a lot of sweating and discomfort.

Best Waterproof Hiking Boots

SealSkinz Trekking ThickMid. SealSkinz Trekking Thick Mid is our top pick for best waterproof hiking socks. Other than the great waterproof feature, this pair has other appreciable features. It is durable, has the right thickness, and can easily fit into boots. In addition to wet conditions, you can use them for mountaineering and trekking as well. 

The socks are thick, sturdy, and very efficient for waterproofing. However, the comfort level is slightly less than thicker woolen socks from Smartwool and Darn Tough, and feel stiff at the back of the feet.

Conclusion

When you plan a hiking trip, make sure you wear good quality hiking socks. Hiking socks are very important to protect your feet from blisters, infections, sprain, or any other problem. Hiking trips has a durable construction than the normal socks which have wicking mechanism and cushions your feet on all the critical areas. Here we have talked about how you can choose the best hiking socks for yourself.

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