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9 Best Hiking Socks in 2020

Do you enjoy hiking trail after trail? If so, it’s very important to wear the right clothing so you can ensure your body is kept free from injury. It’s especially imperative to buy yourself a pair of the best hiking socks to protect your feet at all times.

Hiking socks are perfect for people who are just starting to tackle light terrain, as well as for experts who walk all sorts of trails and encounter mixed terrain. They can provide sufficient cushioning to keep your feet – including your toes – free from damage, and they can help with pressure sores. They can also help with protecting your feet against impact as you walk along.

The socks can be made from a variety of materials, including wool. A hiking sock made from wool will also provide warmth if you’re out and about during cold weather.

Finding the right hiking socks is just as important as wearing the right type of hiking boots.

With so many different hiking socks on the market, it can be hard to decide which pair of socks are right for you and work out which are suited to the outdoor activity that you enjoy doing. This guide will help you find the best socks that will cater to your needs and keep your feet fresh, warm, and – most importantly – free from damage.

View The Best Hiking Socks Below

1. Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion

Darn Tough Hiker Full Cushion

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This is a great sock for wearing in any weather condition. These socks will allow your foot to breathe, even on hot days. They will also combat bacteria naturally to stop any unpleasant odors. This is due to the wicking feature on the sock. They are made from merino wool that provides good comfort while you walk. Also, due to the way they are designed, they won’t slip down when you walk – this will help to prevent blisters forming.

If you are wearing these socks during warm weather, don’t worry as these socks will dry quickly. This means you won’t be left wearing a damp sock, which can be very unpleasant. Darn Tough manufactures their socks in the US to make sure the quality of each sock is of a high standard. Not to mention, they come with a guarantee for life.

Pros:
+ Combats bacteria and prevents odor
+ This sock keeps moisture away from your skin
+ Made using merino wool for maximum comfort
+ These are quick-drying socks
+ Can be worn in any weather condition

Why We Like It – This is a fantastic sock that will fit nicely into any boot. It will provide the right level of comfort for the foot and shin, protecting from any friction from the boot when walking. The material used is of great quality and, if you find this product does become faulty, it also comes with a guarantee for life.


2. Darn Tough Mountaineering

Darn Tough Mountaineering

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This is another fantastic hiking sock from Darn Tough! These socks will suit you if you hike light or very tough trails and will ensure your feet are comforted and protected no matter what trail and speed of hiker you are. If you are looking for hiking socks that won’t fall down your leg as you walk, then these are an ideal pair of socks for you. These won’t slip or cause excess merino wool material to gather under your foot, which can be rather painful on a long outdoor trail.

They are made from merino wool that is known for its comfort, allowing your feet to breathe when they become hot. Even as a light hiker, you can suffer from sweaty feet, especially as wool socks make you sweat more, but the great design. The knit of these socks ensure that moisture doesn’t stay on your feet and will dry quickly. They also naturally fight bacteria to make sure the odor is kept under control.

Pros:
+ There is no unpleasant odor with these socks
+ These hiking socks won’t slip
+ Brilliant for tough hikes
+ Made from breathable merino wool material
+ Lifetime guarantee on these hiking socks

Why We Like It – These are some of the best socks for hiking that will keep your feet dry and odor-free. They come with a guarantee for life and are tough enough to withstand all-day outdoor use. The merino wool provides great cushioning inside your hiking shoes as you walk along, and they are uniquely made for hiking activities.


3. Danish Endurance Merino Wool hiking socks

Danish Endurance Merino Wool hiking socks

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That’s right, these socks have been expertly tested by a leading mountaineer who has put these hike socks through various tests. These hiker socks have been designed by experts in Denmark and manufactured in Portugal. The Merino wool material is the best value for money, due to the amazing benefits it provides to light hikers and professional hiking experts alike. There is a light cushioning on the heel of this sock that will prevent blisters from forming.

This is paramount for a hiking sock. If you find your feet get warm, there is a great mesh ventilation feature on the upper part of these socks to make sure your feet are kept dry and cool. If you and your family are keen on outdoor hiking, the great news is these socks are suitable for the whole family and come in a range of sizes and colors so you can all get the best value out of these hiking sock sets.

Pros:
+ Includes mesh ventilation on the upper part of the socks
+ Made from merino wool
+ Suits all outdoor hiking activities and even everyday use
+ Uniquely designed in Denmark
+ Have been through tough testing by mountaineer professionals

Why We Like It – These are the best hiking socks. The whole family can wear these light and comfortable pairs of socks any time of the day, or even for everyday walks. The sock includes great features and has been expertly tested to withstand tough outdoor use.


4. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks

Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks

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If you are looking for a pair of hiking socks that are perfect for trail running and all sorts of activities, then this is one of the best crew light socks for you. These Smartwool PhD outdoor hike light crew socks provide fantastic cushion to your feet as you run, walk, or complete the trail of your dreams. Just like the Darn Tough hiking socks, these are also made using merino wool.

Although these contain only 56% of the material, which is great if you prefer not to have too much wool in your socks and if you suffer from sweaty feet. The other materials used in these socks are nylon and elastane. Together, these materials make a great hike light crew sock that is tough and durable. These hiking socks are very comfortable and provide a nice, snug, and flexible fit.

There’s a flexible area around the ankle, which is great if you’re using these for trail running as they won’t restrict your movement as you run. Plus, they reach up to 3-inches high on your leg, and they won’t slip down. These hiking socks are easy to clean. All you need to do is turn them inside out, and they are ready to be freshened up.

Pros:
+ Smartwool PhD sock made from merino wool, elastane, and nylon
+ Hiking sock that goes high up the leg at 3-inches in length
+ Sock is perfect for trail runners and all outdoor activities
+ Fantastic warmth on these hike light crew socks
+ These crew light cushion socks provide great protection for your feet

Why We Like It – These Smartwool PhD outdoor crew light cushion socks are perfect for trail runners and any type of sport. The sock is light and fits nicely around the leg, providing protection from hiking boots that come up high on the leg. The hiking sock is easy to wash and stays in great shape.


5. Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion

Darn Tough Coolmax Micro Crew Cushion

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Darn Tough manufacturers some great high-performance hiking socks, as well as socks for all types of sports. That’s why they have featured on this list again. This offering from Darn Tough is perfect for trail runners, as they provide sufficient cushioning to the feet to protect them from the impact as you run. They’re not too thick like some of the hiking sock designs.

They are made from a combination of materials and are perfect for people who don’t like to wear wool socks as they contain only nylon, acrylic, polyester, and lycra. These light hiker micro crew socks are great for hikers. Also, they will keep your feet free from moisture, making sure they’re dry as you continue your sports activity. Each micro crew cushion sock has no visible seams. These Darn Tough socks won’t cause blisters, which can be a hazard of trail running due to the rugged terrain.

Pros:
+ Allows feet to be moisture-free as you tackle trail running
+ Made from a mixture of nylon, acrylic, lycra and Coolmax polyester
+ No noticeable seams on these micro crew light cushion socks
+ These micro crew light socks will dry quickly
+ Amazing lifetime guarantee on these light hiker micro crew sock set

Why We Like It – These Darn Tough socks are perfect for a hiker or trail runners looking for a light hiker micro crew sock set. The micro crew cushion sock will provide a great light cushioning to the feet while keeping them cool and dry. As with the other Darn Tough hiking sock sets, these also come with a lifetime guarantee. You can’t get better than that for the best hiking sock that caters to a range of sports activities.


6. Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight

Farm to Feet Damascus Lightweight

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This is a lovely pair of hiking socks from Farm to Feet. These light crew hiking socks are made from a mixture of materials to ensure your foot is protected at all times. Each hiking sock combines three great materials, including wool, spandex, and nylon, which has all been sourced in the U.S. and makes a strong and tough pair of hiking socks.

As with many of the hiking sock sets on this list and the Darn Tough socks, these Farm to Feet hiking socks also has a seamless toe box area to ensure blisters aren’t formed on that part of the foot. If you take part in a variety of sports and leisure activities, these hiking socks will support and provide comfort to your feet whatever the activity, whether it’s low impact or high impact. They will make your feet feel cool while inside your hiking shoes. If you suffer from smelly feet, don’t worry – these socks help to control odor while keeping your skin dry.

Pros:
+ Keeps the foot fresh and odor-free
+ The sock provides amazing compression and comfort for all outdoor activities
+ Fantastic hike light crew sock that is made in the USA
+ Made from nylon, wool, and spandex to make this light crew hiking sock set
+ Provides great cushioning to busy feet

Why We Like It – This is a fantastic medium crew hiking sock from Farm to Feet that ensures comfort for any outdoor sport. The sock incorporates different materials to provide the best fitting. This durable sock and is perfect for a light hiker or an expert runner.


7. Wrightsock Coolmesh Crew Socks

Wrightsock Coolmesh Crew Socks

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Do you like your hiking sock to fit comfortably around your calf? If so, this is an ideal hiking sock for you, as these medium crew socks go up to your calves, but don’t sit too high up your leg, which can be uncomfortable for some people. Made from a variety of materials, each sock is light but also tough enough to withstand daily use. The sock material combines lycra, polyester, and nylon and can be cleaned in the washing machine after each use.

The best news about this mixture of materials is that they allow the foot to breathe and not become too hot, ensuring they stay dry. There is a double layer design on this sock pair to make the foot feel comfortable on each step. Every pair of socks from Wrightsock have been made in the USA. This ensures quality, just like some of the other socks on this list, including the Darn Tough sock collection.

Pros:
+ Has a design feature to help the sock remain in place
+ This pair of socks will clasp your calf and are not too long
+ A medium crew sock that has unique moisture control
+ Hiking sock that is perfect for all-day use
+ Great light hiker sock designed for men

Why We Like It – This hiking sock is light enough to wear throughout the day but ensures the same comfort as other hiking socks. It’s a medium crew and will fit well into hiking shoes or trainers if you prefer depending on the type of activity you are doing. This pair of light hiker socks are specifically designed for men.


8. Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Sock

Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker Sock

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This is another pair of the best hiking socks that are made using merino wool and other materials such as spandex, polyester, and nylon to create something light. The cushioning on these hiking socks is fantastic – there are cushion areas on various places to ensure you are protected with every step you take. Another of the best design features on these hiking socks is that they won’t shrink when they have been washed, but make sure you follow the washing instructions to ensure you wash them correctly.

These socks for hiking come in a range of colors, including charcoal, black, khaki, navy, and even green banana or purple velvet! As with the Darn Tough socks, these come with a lifetime warranty, as this company – along with Darn Tough – makes high-quality socks that are designed to last.

Pros:
+ These tough hiking socks won’t shrink in the wash
+ A great medium crew hiking sock
+ Sock contains merino wool, nylon, spandex, and polyester
+ Supreme cushioning in various places on these hiking socks
+ This pair of socks comes with a lifetime warranty

Why We Like It – These are hiking socks that are made to last and will provide ultimate comfort with various cushioning throughout the sock. You won’t feel any itching from the merino wool, which is great if you tend to find wool does this to your skin. That’s the last thing you want happening when you’re on a long trail, or while running.


9. Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew sock

Icebreaker Hike+ Light Crew sock

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If you love hiking in the mountains or going on long trail walks, then these are the best hiking socks for you. Each pair are made in the USA. As with the Darn Tough and other socks on this list, these come with a lifetime guarantee. However, you won’t need to use it – these socks are strong and durable, protecting you no matter what type of hiking you’re participating in.

This sock provides fantastic thermal warmth, so even if you enjoy hiking in very low temperatures, they will ensure your foot is kept at optimal warmth. You’ll be able to continue with your hike without the cold getting to you, as the wool adds extra heat and protection. If you find a snug fit works best for you, then these socks are perfect as they fit great around the leg and have been sculptured to do so.

You will also notice that the sock won’t bulk up when you walk, as this helps to prevent blisters, and no one wants blisters when they’re climbing a mountain. Once you have finished your hike or activity, these socks can simply be washed in the washing machine for easy and effective cleaning.

Pros:
+ The ideal sock for mounting hiking in any weather condition
+ Sock material includes lycra elastane, nylon, and wool
+ High-quality hiking socks made in the USA
+ The toe box on these socks are seamlessly closed
+ A keen hiker will be protected at all times in this light hiker pair of socks

Why We Like It – These are the best socks if you regularly go on long mountain walks and need good protection. The socks are light, so you won’t feel weighed down as you walk, but they are still tough and sturdy to help you complete your hike without any blisters.


Hiking Socks Buyer’s Guide

Hiking

This is a fantastic activity that can be enjoyed by everyone! It’s great if you are looking for ways to entertain the kids but also incorporate some exercise at the same time. It’s a fantastic form of exercise and will keep you fit. It can also be very relaxing and calming as you walk through nature.

Hiking man in the mountains

Hiking can be done at the pace you feel most comfortable walking at, or it can be very vigorous and fast-paced if you can push yourself to do so. Either way, no matter how fast you go, you are still burning calories and giving your body a good workout.

You can hike in the countryside or along specifically designed trails. If you have a dog, going on a long hike is perfect for them to burn off some energy and to have a good amount of exercise and exploration.

Some expert hikers will try to tackle the toughest mountain climbs and may plan to partake in hikes found in various countries to push themselves to their limits. As with mountain climbs, there can be other factors that can affect the body, such as the altitude – there higher you go, the less amount of oxygen there is available to breathe.

Various types of mountains exist in the world, such as mountains that will be covered in snow or ice, and along with that comes cold conditions. Other mountains are a mixture of grass, rocks, and uneven surfaces that can put a lot of pressure on your feet as you walk along. When walking along rocky terrain, you must always be careful not to injure yourself. Sprained ankles are a common injury for the hiker.

Sore feet and blisters can be some of the disadvantages of hiking due to the constant pressure and impact that happens to each foot as you walk along. It’s imperative to buy the correct hiking shoe and sock to keep these injuries to a minimum.

Socks

Defined as an item of clothing that most people will wear when wearing footwear, socks play an essential part in keeping your foot dry, comfortable, and protected.

Socks on Table Top

They are made from a variety of materials. Some are made purely with cotton only, while others will have a mixture of nylon, polyester, and many other materials. Some socks for hiking, contain wool or, like the Darn Tough ones, they are made from merino wool to help with temperature control. This material provides warmth when needed. The nice, soft wool won’t rub harshly on your toes.

The main reason why socks are used is to combat sweaty feet. The foot can produce a lot of sweat throughout the day, and the sock will absorb this. Some socks have special ventilation areas to allow better airflow, and other socks can help pull the moisture from the foot. This also helps with odor control.

Odor can be an issue for some people. Wearing a sock can help to control this issue and fight bacteria growth. The hotter your foot becomes, the more chance they will sweat more and produce an odor. The Darn Tough Coolmax light hiker micro crew socks allow your feet to stay cool, and they will keep your foot dry to prevent odor.

Sock length can vary from a micro crew to ones that are longer and go further up the calf. It depends on what your preference is, but some sock lengths will suit different footwear types better than others. For example, if you are wearing a hiking boot that is higher than your ankle, a partial wool hiking made sock – like the Icebreaker light crew sock – is a good option as it goes to at least mid-way up your calf so you won’t feel the boot rubbing against your skin as you walk.

If you are wearing an ankle boot or a shoe that goes under your ankle then a hiker micro crew light sock, such as the Darn Tough Coolmax, would be the ideal choice.

Wool vs Mixed Fabrics

Each material has it’s own benefits to help you maintain good foot hygiene and protection. Wool hiking socks can provide a great amount of warmth. They are ideal to use during cold weather or when hiking on extremely cold mountains where there is a risk of frostbite and other issues.

Colorful wool socks

Wool socks aren’t ideal for everyone as some people find they can irritate their skin or provide too much warmth, and they start to overheat. Also, some people won’t wear wool as it’s an animal product and goes against their ethics.

Merino wool is regularly used in hiking socks, such as the Darn Tough and Smartwool PhD outdoor crew socks. This wool is known for its softness and can provide warmth.

If you do like wearing wool, and it doesn’t affect your skin, then the Darn Tough Mountaineering socks contain merino wool. They will keep warmth in, and they are specifically tailored to the needs of mountain climbers in any weather condition.

A mixture of fabrics can work better for people and offer additional features to help with protection. Socks that contain more lycra or elastane provide a better fit and grip to the skin, giving them a more snug fit.

The Wrightsock Coolmesh sock contains lycra, spandex, polyester, and nylon, allowing the foot to breathe and be sufficiently cushioned, meaning you can wear these socks throughout the day and they won’t let you down.

A key factor to consider when purchasing a sock is the material it’s made out of. You don’t want to buy something that will react badly with your skin or not provide the benefits that you need. Each review above will give you information on the material that’s used in each sock to help you decide on the best one for your needs.

Cushioning

All of the socks that have been reviewed have various types of cushioning on them. Cushioning is one of the main features to look for when selecting a sock for outdoor activity, as it’s important to protect not only your feet from getting sores and blisters but also the impact of when your foot hits the ground. This also includes the effect it has further up your body and mostly on your knees.

You will generally find cushioning on the heel of the sock and sometimes towards the toe area. For socks that are designed for use with boots, you may find cushioning on the front shin area to ensure there isn’t any rubbing from the boot as you walk along.

If you are trekking on extreme terrains, then a good tip would be to buy boots that also include cushioning to give extra protection. If you need a vast amount of protection, you could insert an insole to reduce the impact on your knees. Insoles can be made from foam, gel, and memory foam.

Washing

It’s important to wash each sock in the correct way to ensure you don’t damage the sock or, even worse, shrink it, meaning you can’t use them again.

Each sock will have instructions on how to wash them the best. Some will require that you turn them inside out, and, for others, you will simply be able to put them in the washing machine just as they are.

This depends on the type of material that has been used, as the Darn Tough merino wool socks will need to be turned inside out before washing and then put on a warm, gentle cycle.

To dry your socks, you can allow them to dry naturally, or some can be put into the tumble dryer.

Other Uses

The socks on this list can be used for any sport or even daily-use but are great for walkers and hikers. A pair of great running socks – especially if running on a trail – is the Darn Tough Coolmax socks, as they have all the features that are key when doing this type of exercise. They have sufficient cushioning and can dry quickly. Plus, they will keep your foot cool.

Each of the socks on this review can be used for everyday wear. Purchasing a pair means they won’t be that one that always gets pushed to the back of the draw.

What makes a sock good for hiking?

Cushioning and ventilation areas are key features to look for when purchasing a sock for this type of activity. These two factors are important for light hikes and extreme mountainous climbs and all weather conditions.

If climbing in very cold conditions, then you need to add warmth to the list of key factors to consider, as warmth plays a large part in safeguarding your foot to make sure you can continue to climb and to prevent frostbite from taking over. For cold mountain climbs, the Darn Tough Mountaineering socks are your best option.

Are hiking socks worth it?

Yes, they are worth it, just the same as buying the correct climbing shoes or boots. There is no point in risking blisters forming on your foot because you have worn a regular sock. They might have seams to join the toe box, which will cause your toes to rub as you walk along. All of the socks on this list are uniquely designed to give a seamless toe area fixture.

The Farm to Feet Damascus lightweight sock is a great item to buy, as the design is seamless. Plus, they provide cushioning and ensure an odor-free foot.

Should hiking socks be thick or thin?

They can be either. Thin and thick socks provide different benefits but are both fantastic for climbing and long walks.

Thick ones will be more suited to colder weather conditions or for long and bumpy country trails. Thin ones are great for regular footpath trails and trail running. It’s also down to your liking if you prefer one more than the other,

What is the best sock for hiking?

Foot of a hiker with shoes and socks

It’s hard to say, as they are all great socks. Darn Tough produce socks that are great for mountain climbing. They will keep your foot dry and cool when running.

If you’re looking for a sock that is perfect for the whole family, kids included, then the Danish Endurance socks are ideal. They have been tested by professional climbers who know how important it is to wear the correct clothing when climbing. They can also be used for everyday wear, so you really can get great use out of them.

What is the best brand of sock for an expert hiker?

There are many brands on this review that manufacture socks for experts. Any brand of sock above will suit expert hikers, but if you are looking for the ultimate sock, then the Darn Tough Mountaineering sock provides everything an expert climber would require. Best of all, they come with a guarantee for life.

The Danish Endurance sock is another good choice for an expert as a leading professional has tested them in this field.

What is the best light hiker micro crew sock?

A great light hiker sock is the Darn Tough crew sock as it has great cushioning that will protect you from getting blisters and will help to reduce the impact on your joints. There is also a seamless toe join so that your toes won’t rub against any seams as you walk. These socks are suitable for anyone to use during various sporting activities.

Can socks keep your feet dry?

woman warming her feet near campfire on camping

Yes, this is the main purpose of a sock! They will absorb any moisture that is emitted from your foot as you walk or climb. Over time, socks have been developed to feature the additional benefits of cushioning, airflow, and warmth.

There are many fast-drying socks on this list that are of good quality. They’re perfect if you’re using them for sports where you may sweat more. Sports, such as trail running, will make your foot perspire more, especially in hot conditions, so it’s vital to have a pair of quick-drying socks, such as the Darn Tough Coolmax micro crew cushion socks.

What are the best socks for men?

All of the socks above are great for men and come in a range of sizes to suit all, but if you’re looking for a sock that is uniquely made and designed for men, then the Wrightsock Coolmesh crew sock is the best choice. There is a design feature that ensures it will stay in place no matter how much movement occurs. Plus, it’s great to use throughout the day.

Conclusion

There are so many hiking socks available to purchase on the market. With so many different brands providing the next best one with additional cushioning and added support, it can be hard to choose hiking socks that meet all your needs.

Hiking socks are ideal for any type of outdoor activity or sport, but there are specific ones that will protect your feet the most when doing extreme hiking or climbing mountains. Some socks are great if you regularly enjoy trail running as they provide support against the impact of the ground. Plus, they are light enough to keep feet cool and dry.

A mixture of materials is used in some of the socks on this list. Some socks are made using only merino wool, such as one of the Darn Tough socks. Other materials used to make many of these socks include nylon, polyester, spandex, and lycra. Some of the wool socks are made with merino wool and some from standard wool.

If you’re concerned about wearing wool hiking socks on hot days, don’t worry. Many of the socks on this list can be worn all year round, like the Darn Tough socks, including their wool designed ones.

The socks on this list come in a variety of lengths. Some will go higher up your leg than others. Depending on what type of hiking boot or shoe you’re wearing, it’s always better to purchase a sock that will go higher than the boot level, ensuring you don’t suffer from any rubbing as you go along a trail or climb a steep mountain.

Each sock has built-in cushioning that will help to prevent blisters forming. Many have ventilation areas to help your feet stay dry.

Some of the socks that feature above come with a lifetime warranty. This includes all of the Darn Tough socks and other brands like Wigwam. By offering this to their customers, they are very confident that your socks will last you forever. They have been expertly made, and the designs have been tested to withstand prolonged use. This also makes these socks the best value as you won’t need to buy another pair again. They will be replaced if anything does happen to them.

All of the socks above are great, and you won’t be disappointed after purchase. If you do a range of outdoor sports or activities, it may be worth buying a few different types – such as a longer pair and a shorter pair – to see how they suit your needs. So, go ahead! Treat yourself to a new pair and let your feet feel the benefits.

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