Top 10 Best Hiking Socks Reviewed by an Avid Hiker
May 28, 2019

Hiking socks are an essential piece of apparel for any hikers. Your feet, after all, are the vehicles which will be carrying you over the distance you set to walk. We all know that the slightest annoyance has the potential to become an unbearable hindrance.

Without a decent pair of socks, our feet can get all kinds of sores and blisters, and these may start as uncomfortable, but over a longer duration can be debilitating and a sure fire way to ruin a good walk, or worst still, they can lead to greater problems further down the road.

So, a common question would be what are the best socks for hiking? With so many different socks to choose from, and at varied prices, I have taken on the challenge of finding out for you which are the best socks for hiking, considering various conditions and footwear.

How do you determine a sock’s length?
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Please note, that there are so many ways of listing the height of socks, and very often it appears that the meanings overlap. To that extent, I will work to the following key.

  • Ankle Sock – Just covers the ankle
  • Boot – Comes part way up your calf
  • Calf – Comes over calf
  • Knee High – Reaches or even covers the knee

Also the following hiking socks are listed according to the season they were meant to be worn in, and in order of least impressive to the best hiking socks from my own experience with them out on the South West Coast Path and I would like to add that whenever I go out hiking, I always take a selection of socks with me to change if I get wet feet or if I feel any discomfort coming on.

Product Season Recommended For Our Verdict Price
socks
Balega Blister Resist
Spring, Summer Running, Hiking Best hiking socks to prevent blisters Check Price

IceBreaker Hike + Lite Crew Socks
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter Outdoors, Hiking, Trekking Best socks for all year round hiking Check Price

SmartWool Run
Spring, Summer Multi Sport, Hiking Best hiking socks for warm weather Check Price

Thermalica – Luxury Merino Wool Thermal Socks
Autumn, Winter Hiking, Trekking Best socks for winter hiking Check Price

Darn Tough Cushioned Boot Sock
Autumn, Winter Outdoors Lifestyle, Hiking, Trekking Best socks for long distance hiking Check Price

SmartWool Outdoor
Autumn, Winter Hiking, Trekking Best smartwool socks for hiking Check Price

Best Socks
for summer hiking

5. YUEDGE Men’s Cushion Performance Socks

Material Composition 80% Combed Cotton, 17% Nylon, 3% Spandex
Style Ankle sock
Available Sizes L - XL
Material Type Cotton
Outer Material Cotton
Season Spring Summer
Recommended for Sports Activities
Our Verdict Best budget socks for short activities

These socks were the cheapest set that I tested; in fact, they came in a pack of three and at the same price as many of the other pairs tested. I felt that I should throw in a budget pair into the mix to compare against the more costly brands. The Yuedge Outdoor Sports Socks are advertised as being wicking, breathable, cushion, and anti-blister casual crew socks.

They were thin and relatively comfortable for general exercise, or day to day wear around the house or for short bursts of sport, but after a vigorous day on the trail, I soon began to feel tender patches and sores. I am sure that for brisk walking and short walks they are perfect, especially at the price.

4. Rymora Compression Socks

Material Composition 65% Nylon, 20% Elastane, 15% Lycra
Style Calf
Available Sizes S - L
Material Type Nylon
Outer Material Nylon
Season Spring Summer
Recommended for Sports Activities
Our Verdict Best lightweight hiking socks

Designed to improve circulation, enhance performance and to keep your blood flowing during long haul flights, I would save this pair of socks for the latter and look to other socks for comfortable hiking. These socks were a little too tight to be comfy, and too thin to be worn in my hiking boot. There was a lot of movement between foot and boot, causing rubbing in various places.

With graduated compression which decreases up the leg to improve blood flow to the heart, this lightweight, calf-height sock from Rymora also offers a seamless toe and a non-slip cuff.

3. SmartWool Run

Material Composition 51% Wool, 46% Nylon, 4% Elastane
Style Ankle Sock
Available Sizes S - XL
Material Type Mesh, Nylon Wool
Outer Material Synthetic
Season Spring Summer
Recommended for Multi Sport, Hiking
Our Verdict Best hiking socks for warm weather

This sock boasts a Four Degree fit system with dual elastic for good stretch and recovery, however, the sock seemed a little too tight on the foot for me. It really depends on how thick the foot is and how accustomed you are with compression-style socks.

In my opinion, these socks are much better suited to a hiking trainer than hiking boots. To be honest, they grasped the foot a little too tight for my taste and caused my inner toes to rub together. But that being said, it really depends on how loose or tight you prefer your socks to be. If you’re one of the people that enjoy wearing socks with a firmer grip than these are for you. As the material goes, they were a little on the thin side, hence my recommendation to wear them with a trainer.

All in all, good socks for those who prefer short, footwear during a relaxed summer hike. Perhaps could do with a little more cushioning!

2. IceBreaker Hike + Lite Crew Socks

Material Composition 61% Wool, 37% Nylon, 2% Elastane
Style Boot
Available Sizes S - XL
Material Type Wool
Outer Material Merino
Season All year round
Recommended for Outdoors, Hiking, Trekking
Our Verdict Best Socks for all year-round hiking

These light cushion Merino wool crew socks seemed a lot thicker than I had expected when I first put them on, and, as I was wearing my trainer for a springtime coast walk, I wondered if they may be a little too hot for the day. As it turned out, heat was not an issue. To be honest, there weren’t a lot of issues with these socks at all.

Anatomical fitting, with enhanced support for ankle and instep, a seamless toe closure, breathe zone and a comfort cuff, the IceBreaker socks are designed for comfort, endurance, and ventilation. And they seemed to supply all three in abundance.

I can say that the IceBreaker Hike are very comfortable, cool, and there was just enough cushioning on the soles for me to have no trouble with that dull ache at the base of my foot that often occurs after a long walk. I would recommend these socks for trainers or boots. And whilst they are promoted as summer and springtime socks, I have worn much thinner socks than these throughout the winter, so I do recommend them for all year-round purposes.

1. Balega Blister Resist

Material Composition 32% Nylon, 32% Drynamix, 30% Mohair, 4% Microfibre, 2% Elastane
Style Ankle Length
Available Sizes S - XL
Material Type Mohair, Drynamix
Outer Material Mix
Season Spring Summer
Recommended for Running, Hiking
Our Verdict Best hiking socks to prevent blisters

The Balega Blister Resist is a comfortable lightweight sock, which uses its Drynamix Air conditioning fabric system to help keep your feet both cool and dry. When I wore these, I was out in my hiking trainers, as being a quarter length ankle sock, I thought they would be lost in a boot, and that lack of coverage could cause some discomfort and abrasion to my upper ankle.

These are among the best hiking socks for summer, and I would say for more athletic sports too. The design is quite funky, and the snug fit never needed adjusting throughout my hike. Whilst the Drynamix technology repels moisture, the mohair felt comfortable and soft against the foot, and the elastic was strong enough to hold but not too tight to prevent circulation or leave unsightly marks.

Best Socks
for winter hiking

5. Danish Endurance Alpine Performance Sock

Material Composition 38% Wool, 30% Nylon, 30% acrylic, 2% elastane
Style Knee high
Available Sizes S - L
Material Type Wool, Nylon, Acrylic
Outer Material Mix
Season Autumn, Winter
Recommended for Hiking, Trekking
Our Verdict Best waterproof socks for hiking

Designed in collaboration with a former Navy Seal, this knee-high sock was probably better suited to a wintertime alpine adventure as opposed to a mid-spring coastal walk along the English Riviera.

With arch and ankle braces designed to keep the sock in place and wicking ventilation zones to control temperature, these socks are designed to keep you comfortable, dry and warm.

More appropriate to a boot than a trekking shoe, these would no doubt be a considerably warm sock, as being knee high, they are practically tights. During my springtime walk, these socks did get a little heated but saying that they were not too sweaty around the toes by the end of my walk. However, these were one of the least comfortable socks for me, especially as they got tangled with my knee support, and the two together seemed to constantly dig into the back of my knee and felt they were cutting my circulation off.

4. Danish Endurance Merino Hiking Socks

Material Composition 33% Merino Wool, 33% Acrylic, 33% Nylon, 1% Elastane
Style Over Calf
Available Sizes S - L
Material Type Merino Wool
Outer Material Mix
Season Autumn, Winter
Recommended for Hiking, Trekking, Outdoors Activities
Our Verdict Best socks for active men

Designed to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable, with cushioning to prevent abrasion and also to optimize moisture transportation, the Danish Endurance Merino Hiking calf height socks are configured to be both strong and durable.

Although it states in its Amazon description that this sock is great for year-round activity, I actually found it to be uncomfortable heat during a cool springtime walk, although the sock was not moist with perspiration afterward.

The elastic actually seemed quite intrusive and felt on the verge of cutting into the top of my calf. Apart from those minor issues, the sock fit well inside my boot and was comfortable and soft against my foot.

3. Smartwool OutDoor

Material Composition 56% Wool, 41% Nylon, 3% Elastane
Style Boot Length
Available Sizes S - XL
Material Type Merino Wool
Outer Material Synthetic
Season Autumn, Winter
Recommended for Hiking, Trekking
Our Verdict Best smartwool socks for hiking

Although these socks include ventilation zones to optimize breathability and the displacement of any moisture, the Smartwool Outdoor sock actually created quite a lot of heat during my walk.

These were a boot high sock, quite lightweight, relatively thin, but surprisingly warm. I wore them inside my trainer whilst hiking a stretch of the South West Coast Path, but I have since worn them out on Dartmoor in a boot too and they were an even better fit in a boot, especially over longer distances.

A comfortable sock to wear, and not too tight and felt cushioned enough to keep me comfortable throughout my walk when in my hiking trainer.

Although these socks include ventilation zones to optimize breathability and the displacement of any moisture, the Smartwool Outdoor sock actually created quite a lot of heat during my walk.

These were a boot high sock, quite lightweight, relatively thin, but surprisingly warm. I wore them inside my trainer whilst hiking a stretch of the South West Coast Path, but I have since worn them out on Dartmoor in a boot too and they were an even better fit in a boot, especially over longer distances.

A comfortable sock to wear, and not too tight and felt cushioned enough to keep me comfortable throughout my walk when in my hiking trainer.

2. Darn Tough Cushioned Boot Sock

Material Composition 64% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon, 3% Lycra
Style Boot Length
Available Sizes S - XXL
Material Type Wool
Outer Material Synthetic
Season Autumn, Winter
Recommended for Hiking, Trekking, Outdoor Lifestyle
Our Verdict Best socks for long distance hiking

A comfortably tight fit, the Darn Tough Cushioned Boot sock is built for superior performance, with seamless construction to prevent slipping, cushioning for perfect support and the Merino wool is antibacterial to reduce the risk of feet odor.

This was a comfortable sock, and its high ankle makes it ideal for boots in the winter, but that being said, I wore these in the summer in a trainer and they were just as comfortable as one could hope. In fact, I wore these socks for the longest stretch of the Coast walk – walking in them for ten miles with no problems arising.

1. Thermalica – Luxury Merino Wool Thermal Socks

Material Composition 80% Wool (Merino), 15% Polyester, 5% Elastane
Style Over Calf
Available Sizes L
Material Type Wool
Outer Material Wool
Season Autumn, Winter
Recommended for Hiking, Trekking
Our Verdict Best socks for winter hiking

The Thermalica socks were the only socks packaged in an attractive box, which although looks great, is perhaps a bit of an overkill for a pair of socks, and cumbersome to fit into any backpack so is obviously going to be discarded at first opportunity, without littering, of course.

They were thick, but surprisingly light, as well as also feeling very cool and breathable. These socks were ideal in a boot as the height protects your ankle from any abrasion the top of your boots may produce. There is enough elastic throughout the sock’s construction to hold the sock in position which fits comfortably over the foot, but there’s not too much to restrict circulation at all or leave markings.

After having worn this sock on a relatively warm and dry day, the sock which boasts the ability to absorb 30% of their dry weight without transferring any discomfort to the wearer, didn’t really get a good testing in that respect, but after a lengthy stint on the South West Coast Path, my feet remained cool throughout. Also, being made of high Merino Wool content, they have a terrific thermal retention rating.

Conclusion

Before you go, I will leave you to enjoy a couple of stills I took while out and about, testing the socks. And remember, you can’t really enjoy the benefits of hiking if you don’t have the proper equipment.

Trev Lewis

Main Editor

About the Author

"I am so glad that I found walking and would recommend it to anyone who is in need of a little direction."

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